Psychoanalytic theorist to discuss alt-right and political correctness

Seton Hall’s Poetry-in-the-Round will host Slavoj Žižek, author of “The Sublime Object of Ideology and Less Than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow Dialectical Materialism,” for a special presentation titled “Samuel Beckett as the Writer of Political Abstraction; or, What Can Beckett Tell Us about the Alt-Right and Political Correctness?”

Photo via Wikimedia

The event is scheduled for Oct. 24, at 7:30 p.m. in the Jubilee Hall auditorium.

Žižek has written more than 50 books and contributes to media outlets such as The Independent and The Guardian. This presentation was brought to the university by Professor Russell Sbriglia, the assistant professor and director of undergraduate literature studies.

One of the main reasons that Sbriglia wanted to bring Žižek to campus was because “he was one of [Sbriglia’s] mentors and it’s rare that he does a specific talk about literature.” Sbriglia said that the English department’s Great Speaker Series is “usually speakers who are creative writers” and that “once in a while [they’ll] have a celebrated literary critic or even a philosopher.”

Those who are aware of Žižek’s works will know he is one of the most popular political and psychoanalytic theorists in the world. However, this talk is based on literature; mainly Samuel Beckett, but the philosopher may briefly talk about his essay in the upcoming book “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Literature but Were Too Afraid to Ask Žižek.”

Sbriglia mentioned that the effort to bring Žižek to the University has been in the works for about three years; a momentous feat for those seeking to hear the Slovenian philosopher.

Žižek is generally provocative and a “contrarian at heart,” but rather than simply being inflammatory for the sake of publicity, Žižek crafts an elegant and refined approach to modern topics.

Sbriglia believes Žižek can provide key details about how the use of identity politics to answer the calls of the alt-right and white nationalism “aren’t working or are inadequate.” Though much has been accomplished through ideology that encourages group identity; recently those methods are considered obsolete.

Žižek brings up “issues of class” rather than fighting fire with fire with the Alt-right in terms of identity politics. He pushes discourse that discusses the inequalities which exist on an economic level and how these factors contribute to sexism and racism in society.

Olivia Ferraro, an English major, said she agrees that the issues Zizek brings up are “interesting.”

However, when asked if she would attend, she cannot because “[she] has a lot of other stuff to do.”

Rai Dominguez can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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