CIDRAL 2012-3 




Professor Thomas Elsaesser (University of Amsterdam/IKKM Weimar)

How to Create a Public Intellectual, Posthumously

Tuesday 13 November, 5-7pm in John Casken Lecture Theatre, Martin Harris Centre, Oxford Rd.

According to Richard Posner, public intellectuals— eminent persons able to speak with authority to the public on the political and moral issues of the day – are in decline, pushed aside by pundits, opinionators or ideologically driven spin masters. Posner thinks this trend can be reversed, and maybe even reverse-engineered, using the very media that have undermined both quality control and trust, to service a need that clearly still exists.

My lecture is about a more modest quest: the circumstantially imposed obligation, but subsequently quite happily assumed opportunity to bring back from oblivion a member of my own family: neither prophet nor public intellectual, yet a voice in the wilderness nonetheless, barely heard between ideological extremes, considered by many not of his time, but may be therefore of ours. I shall focus on the sources and traces, the people and places that I encountered in my (most likely) failed attempt to re-invent a life with the means and media of today.

Thomas Elsaesser is Professor Emeritus of Film and Television Studies at the University of Amsterdam and from 2006 to 2012 was Visiting Professor at Yale University. He has authored, edited and co-edited some twenty volumes, many of which have been translated, notably into German, French, Italian, Hungarian, Korean and Chinese.  His most recent books as author are Film Theory: An Introduction Through the Senses (New York: Routledge, 2010, with Malte Hagener) and The Persistence of Hollywood (New York: Routledge, 2012).

This lecture is the closing event of the SALC launch programme. Followed by a wine reception.

Postgraduate Masterclass on WG Sebald

2-3.30pm in Roscoe Building, Brunswick Street, Room 3.5.

Thomas Elsaesser with respondents: Janet Wolff (Professor Emerita, EAC) and Dr Monica Pearl (EAC)

For details of the readings:

All welcome!