M.A. Curriculum

JULY SESSION. July 5th – July 25th, 2015

Media and Communication - July First Year First Group
Media and Communication - July First Year Second Group
Media and Communication - July Second Year

AUGUST SESSION. August 2nd – August 23rd, 2015.

Media and Communication- August First Year First Group
Media and Communication - August First Year Second Group
Media and Communication - August Second Year First Group
Media and Communication - August Second Year Second Group

Note: Please be advised that all seminars, colloquia and workshops of EGS are conducted at the Steinmatte Campus in Saas-Fee, Wallis, Switzerland. (How to get to Saas-Fee by air, rail, and road.)

Final confirmation of syllabi for each course will be published shortly. A good rule of thumb for preparation towards each seminar is to become familiar with the Professor's most recent works, as well as obtaining an overview of their body of work.

JULY SESSION. July 5th – July 25th, 2015

Media & Communication: July First Year, First Group // July 5th – July 25th, 2015.

Georges Didi-Huberman: EMOTIONS — IMAGES. INSIDE ROLAND BARTHES' LABYRINTHS. (3 credits)
Crying, people. Roland Barthes and Eisenstein’s mourners — oscillations of emotional motifs and the faces of ordinary people. Obviate, obtuse. From "third realism" to "third way" — reattributing [réaffection] the image through its displaced detail. Pathos, pothos. "Maybe I'm the only one to see" — pothos/pathos: the grief of one face to the mourning of all.

Werner Hamacher: BEING-WITH-WITHOUT-OTHERS: Hegel, Husserl, Heidegger, Blanchot, Beckett and Nancy. (3 credits)
Introduction into the ontology of the communal (the general, the universal, the commons, the together) since Hegel, focusing 1.) on the epistemic problems connected with the notion of 'the other', its 'status', 'figure', and 'function', its accessibility, presence, manifestation and withdrawal; and 2.) on the category of relation and the necessity of rethinking it in view of others who may not 'share' it: the necessity, therefore, of thinking a relation to a non-relation.

Wolfgang Schirmacher: MEDIA CULTURE & ARTIFICIAL LIFE. (3 credits)
Explores media culture as post-technological event (Ereignis), possibilities for the art of living authentically (Geviert), and ethical dasein beyond metaphysics (Gelassenheit).

Sylvere Lotringer: JEAN BAUDRILLARD: SIMULATION AND REVERSIBILITY. (3 credits)
A tribute to the EGS faculty member who recently passed away: An examination of Jean Baudrillard's philosophical legacy and his impact on the critique of contemporary culture.

Alessandro de Francesco: LANGUAGE ART. (3 credits)
This seminar investigates the use of written and spoken language in different kinds of artistic practices mainly from the second half of the 20th century up to contemporary art.In defense of a systematic theory of poetry and in a critical dialogue with Gilles Deleuze's basic issues such as the ethics of fidelity, truth, politics, and art are rediscovered under the aegis of a non-dualistic approach.

Mladen Dolar: A VOICE AND NOTHING MORE. (3 credits)
The enigmatic nature and political application of difference will be explored. Why does one split into two in anthropology, ontology, and politics, and why does it seem impossible to ever return to the assumed unity of the one?

Additional Seminars and Workshops:

Wolfgang Schirmacher: RESEARCH METHODS FOR MA & PHD. (1 credit)
Introduction to basic research styles such as phenomenology, hermeneutics, dialectics, deconstruction in preparation for EGS dissertation projects.

Wolfgang Schirmacher: FOUNDATION IN MEDIA PHILOSOPHY FOR MA & PHD. (1 credit)
Introduces and explores the critical differences as well as productive blending of Communication Theory and Continental Philosophy which culminates in 'Media Philosophy'.

GRADUATION evening on July 24 with Mike Figgis and the pianist Rosey Chan (Hong Kong / London)

The July Session includes an one-day field trip - July 18 - to Venice and a visit to La Biennale di Venezia - 56th International Art Exhibition, organized by Virginia Cutrufelli. (1 credit)


Media & Communication: July First Year, Second Group // July 5th – July 25th, 2015.

Wim Wenders: WIM WENDERS. (3 credits)
A seminar led by Wim Wenders.

Terrence Malick: TERRENCE MALICK. (3 credits)
A seminar led by Terrence Malick.

Chris Kraus: WRITING UNDER THE INFLUENCE. (3 credits)
Readings and discussion of a wide range of literary and critical texts that will initiate original writings in and outside of class. The seminar will focus especially on writing personal/critical texts that respond to visual artworks and films.

Barbara Hammer: CINEMA TRIPLETS: GALLERY, QUEER AND ESSAY FILMS. (3 credits)
Cinema Triplets explores three different directions for film art in a world where almost everything is a moving image. This seminar will examine and probe the form and function of film within a fine art, queer, and essayistic context. The seminar will look at examples of moving image projects that refuse and/or embrace the screen, read discussions and texts by the artist filmmakers and prepare a short projection project that will utilize the classroom space and/or the cultural and landscape options of Saas-Fee.

Eduardo Cadava: GENEALOGIES OF MEMORY AND PERCEPTION: LITERATURE AND PHOTOGRAPHY. (3 credits)
Since its advent in the nineteenth century, photography has been a privileged figure in literature's efforts to reflect on its own modes of representation. This seminar will trace the history of the rapport between literature and photography by looking at a number of literary and theoretical texts that address questions central to both literature and photography: questions about representation, reproduction, memory and forgetting, history, images, perception, and knowledge. Readings include texts by Nadar, Bergson, Kracauer, Benjamin, and Derrida.

Mike Figgis: ADVANCED INDEPENDENT FILMMAKING. (3 credits)
Focuses on the idea of narrative and non-linear storytelling ,blending the creative and the practical. Covering the practical aspects of directing, producing and writing films is also an integral pursuit of this seminar. Guest speaker Rosey Chan.

Additional Seminars and Workshops:

Wolfgang Schirmacher: RESEARCH METHODS FOR MA & PHD. (1 credit)
Introduction to basic research styles such as phenomenology, hermeneutics, dialectics, deconstruction in preparation for EGS dissertation projects.

Wolfgang Schirmacher: FOUNDATION IN MEDIA PHILOSOPHY FOR MA & PHD. (1 credit)
Introduces and explores the critical differences as well as productive blending of Communication Theory and Continental Philosophy which culminates in 'Media Philosophy'.

GRADUATION evening on July 24 with Mike Figgis and the pianist Rosey Chan (Hong Kong / London)

The July Session includes an one-day field trip - July 18 - to Venice and a visit to La Biennale di Venezia - 56th International Art Exhibition, organized by Virginia Cutrufelli. (1 credit)


Media & Communication: July Second Year // July 5th – July 25th, 2015.

Thomas Zummer: FOUCAULT 'S MEDIOLOGY: DISPOSITIF, HYPOMNEMATA, PHANTASM. (3 credits)
Time, in itself imperceptible, is rendered salient through a variety of intercessionary technologies — sand, shadow, water, or more complex kinetic devices— to make visible, or audible, its 'passage'. In our contemporaneity, technological time-based media are ubiquitous, and the intimacy between, for example, a naturally produced utterance and its technical reproducibility has become coextensive, and the imbrications and linkages of affect, culpability and consequence have become political and generative and often dangerous and invisible. What is an 'apparatus'? In this seminar we will begin with an inquiry into the nature of what one might call, variously, dispositif, apparatus, hypomnemata, phantasm, beginning with Foucault's early concerns with visibility and invisibility, and examining aspects of the notion of apparatus in the works of Benjamin, Kojeve, Simondon, Heidegger, Martin, Adorno/Horkheimer, Lyotard , Althusser, Deleuze, Derrida, Agamben, Ronell and Stiegler.

Mathieu Potte-Bonneville: IS PHILOSOPHY TALKING TO ANYONE? (3 credits)
Is it relevant, in order to understand philosophical statements, to consider the way philosophers address their hearers, their interlocutors, the way they choose to address certain people instead of others? And would it be possible to define philosophy, to distinguish it from science, from religion, from ordinary talk, by a specific way of constructing a situation where one person talks, or writes, to another person, or to a particular part of the community? From the subtitle of Nietzsche's Zarathustra ("a book for everyone and nobody") to Foucault's later concept of parrhesia (as a specific way of building one's own subjectivity through the ability to address dangerous truth to other people), this seminar examines various versions of this problem in contemporary philosophy.

Elie During: WHAT IS THAT DOES NOT EXIST? AN INTRODUCTION TO METAPHYSICS. (3 credits)
Ontology has been traditionally defined as a systematic inquiry into what there is. There are two interpretations of such an endeavour. For some, it is a matter of understanding what it means to be, in the most general sense. Others insist that the important issue—the one that characterizes metaphysics since Plato—is to get to know what really is and hence to mark off reality from mere appearance. Exercises in applied ontology guide our inquiries: Can we make sense of varieties of non-existence without reducing them, in some form or other, to the existent? And how does it matter? How does it affect our understanding of reality, the way we relate to things and raise questions about them?

Philippe Beck: PROSE AND POETRY NOW: QUESTIONS ABOUT A DRAMATIC STORY. (3 credits)
Examining how and why the history of a distinction between prose and poetry is specially concealed nowadays, due to the prose of the world. However, new and surprising distinctions are to be drawn, in order to understand why prose circulates in ancient poems and in poems of today, and why a poem still is not prose. A true and far-reaching story may then be reconstructed or delineated.

Geert Lovink: POLITICS AND AESTHETICS OF THE SOCIAL WEB. (3 credits)
Provides an overview from blogs, search, online video, Wikipedia and social media to activist strategies like Wikileaks.

Alenka Zupancic: NIETZSCHE AND LACAN. (3 credits)
The courses will focus on two main questions, both in relation to Friedrich Nietzsche and to Freudo-Lacanian psychoanalysis. Through discussion and readings this course will examine focus around three questions: the question of the mask (or masks) and its relation to power, the question of comedy and its philosophical relevance, the question of ontology in Lacan and Nietzsche.

Additional Seminars and Workshops:

Wolfgang Schirmacher: PH.D. TUTORIAL. (1 credit)
Meetings with the students who choose this professor as adviser, and discusses possible PhD thesis projects. Also applicable for other professors listed in the PhD Handbook.

Wolfgang Schirmacher: RESEARCH METHODS FOR MEDIA PHILOSOPHY . (1 credit)
Introduces the basic research styles such as phenomenology, hermeneutics, dialectics, deconstruction and explores the critical differences as well as the productive blending of Communication Theory and Continental Philosophy which culminates in "Media Philosophy".

Mark Daniel Cohen: ADVANCED ACADEMIC WRITING. (1 credit)
With focus on the development of productive thesis statements and the organization and composition of coherent argumentation in order to prepare students to begin their thesis and Ph.D. dissertations (12 students limit).

GRADUATION evening on July 24 with Mike Figgis and the pianist Rosey Chan (Hong Kong / London)

The July Session includes an one-day field trip - July 18 - to Venice and a visit to La Biennale di Venezia - 56th International Art Exhibition, organized by Virginia Cutrufelli. (1 credit)


AUGUST SESSION. August 2nd – August 23rd, 2015.

Media & Communication: August First Year, First Group // August 2nd – August 23rd, 2015.

Diane Davis: EMMANUEL LEVINAS: LANGUAGE AND ETHICS. (3 credits)
This course examines fundamental concepts developed at the intersections of language and ethics in the works of Emmanuel Levinas (e.g., face, illeity, substitution, trace, il y a), with a special focus on what he calls "the language relation", and with a consideration of comparative approaches in Immanuel Kant, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Blanchot, and Jacques Derrida.

Michael Schmidt and DJ Spooky: MUSIC AS A MEDIUM – MUSIC IN MEDIA: Adorno, Cage, Deleuze a.o. (3 credits)
Discusses the philosophy of music in Walter Benjamin, John Cage, Deleuze & Guattari and the ethics and aesthetics of music from Aristotle to Adorno and explores and reflects the clashes and resonances between sound, multiple styles and cultural approaches to music—from classical composition to rap, hip-hop and avant-garde sound collage, media and philosophy

Avital Ronell: FINITUDE IN PHILOSOPHY, LITERATURE AND ART. (3 credits)
Explores the finitude of language and the singularity of the ethical event in a culture of absence, disappearance, and escape in relation to memory, fiction, and the human.

Anne Dufourmantelle: FEAR, SECRECY AND DESIRE. (3 credits)
A seminar with Derrida, Heidegger, SImmel, and others.

Siegfried Zielinski: ARCHAEOLOGY OF MEDIA AND VARIANTOLOGY OF TECHNOCULTURE. (3 credits)
Surveys DIVERSE GENEALOGIES of mediations through which ideas and visual representation have become a material force. It enables an (an)archeology of hearing and seeing by technical means.

Michael Hardt: THE POLITICS OF THE COMMON. (3 credits)
Revisiting the political sphere and its underlying philosophies and evaluating the potential for a perceptual change that includes the Internet.

Additional Seminars and Workshops:

Wolfgang Schirmacher: RESEARCH METHODS FOR MA & PHD. (1 credit)
Introduction to basic research styles such as phenomenology, hermeneutics, dialectics, deconstruction in preparation for EGS dissertation projects.

Wolfgang Schirmacher: FOUNDATION IN MEDIA PHILOSOPHY FOR MA & PHD. (1 credit)
Introduces and explores the critical differences as well as productive blending of Communication Theory and Continental Philosophy which culminates in 'Media Philosophy'.

The August Session includes an one-day field trip - August 9 - to Venice and a visit to La Biennale di Venezia - 56th International Art Exhibition, organized by Virginia Cutrufelli. (1 credit)


Media & Communication: August First Year, Second Group // August 2nd – August 23rd, 2015.

Giorgio Agamben: HOMO SACER. (3 credits)
A questioning of how radical subjectivity and the coming community can contribute to a paradigm of human existence.

Christopher Fynsk: HEIDEGGER: PHILOSOPHY AND ART. (3 credits)
Explores the future potential of Martin Heidegger, one of Europe's most influential 20th century philosophers and addresses divergent practices of thought and art in post-Heideggerian thinkers.

Simon Critchley: HEIDEGGER'S BEING AND TIME. (3 credits)
An exploration of Martin Heidegger's magnum opus Being and Time and the key philosophical issues and concepts raised by the project that Heidegger called fundamental ontology, including Heidegger's relation to Husserl and his critical adoption of phenomenological method; his critique of traditional epistemology; his account of the nature of the world and the relation of persons to world; his critique of the Cartesian understanding of world and space; his account of intersubjectivity and his critique of modernity; the key concept of 'thrown projection' and an explanation of the various 'existentials' (state-of-mind, understanding, and discourse); his concepts of thrownness, falling, and inauthenticity; his account of moods and anxiety as the basic attunement of the human being; the meaning of care as the being of the human being; his critique of the realism-vs.-idealism debate; his concept of truth and his critique of the traditional concept of truth; and analyses of being-toward-death, conscience, authenticity, and historicity.

Laurence Rickels with artist Michaela Melián: HAUNTED THOUGHT AND ART: THE GHOST IS CLEAR (3 credits)
In 2015, the main topic of the serial seminar, haunting, will come up as the clear or plain text for close readings. What are the psychic and mediatic conditions allowing contact with the departed? Is it possible to situate haunting among the effects of the will's relationship to wishing? Freud and Schopenhauer link paranormal experience to the sliding scale of our dependency on the everyday categories of time, space, and causality from the night dream to waking fantasy. Ghosts are on a timer Freud attributed to the mourning process. What is the temporality of mourning, its success rate or its malingering on? To supplement Freud's understanding of the work of mourning Kuhn presented in the midst of his case study of a psychopathic fetishist what he referred to as existential mourning, based on Heidegger's reflections in Sein und Zeit on the passage, passing, or timing of our limited ability to be with the dead. This year's guest, media artist Michaela Melián, explores in many of her works the layering or sedimentation of history that gives haunting's counter-testimony and alternate-historical record.

Boris Groys: HISTORY AFTER THE END OF HISTORICISM. (3 credits)
Discusses current debates about the possibility or impossibility of the radical change in the context of the post-historical (or, rather, post-historicist) economic and socio-political order.

Luc Tuymans: PAINTING AS TRANSFORMATIVE ART. (3 credits)
This Belgian artist is one of the most influential painters of our time who rehabilitated figurative painting - with an aftertaste. He gleans his material from all sources and transforms film, tv, print, as well as traditional painting. Pre-existing imagery is visually exciting for an artist who demystifies art and is inspired by writers such as Thomas Pynchon. In 2001, Tuymans curated the Belgian pavilion at the Venice Biennale, and our students at the time admired his everyday life wonderment.

Additional Seminars and Workshops:

Wolfgang Schirmacher: RESEARCH METHODS FOR MA & PHD. (1 credit)
Introduction to basic research styles such as phenomenology, hermeneutics, dialectics, deconstruction in preparation for EGS dissertation projects.

Wolfgang Schirmacher: FOUNDATION IN MEDIA PHILOSOPHY FOR MA & PHD. (1 credit)
Introduces and explores the critical differences as well as productive blending of Communication Theory and Continental Philosophy which culminates in 'Media Philosophy'.

The August Session includes an one-day field trip - August 9 - to Venice and a visit to La Biennale di Venezia - 56th International Art Exhibition, organized by Virginia Cutrufelli. (1 credit)


Media & Communication: August Second Year, First Group // August 2nd – August 23rd, 2015.

Bruce Sterling: THE MEDIA PHILOSOPHY OF THE INTERNET OF THINGS. (3 credits)
With the "Internet of Things" paradigm, electronic interaction and digital surveillance move, by wireless broadband, into everyday physical objects such as wearables, mobiles, thermostats, lighting systems, appliances, cars, doors, windows, ventilation systems, power grids, water systems, transport systems, factory production, storage, and logistics. The epic struggle of the Internet of Things means digitizing anything with a barcode, a knob, a lever, a faucet, or an off-switch. In this workshop we use tools of "design fiction" to explore what an existent Internet of Things might be perceived as reality. In "design fiction" we create imaginary objects that tell of a possible world.

Mitchell Joachim: THE CITY: ECOLOGY, SOCIETY AND TECHNOLOGY. (3 credits)
What are the most stimulating solutions to global climate change? If we were given an imaginary "client" with an unlimited budget and colossal power, what should we design? The resounding formula for green thinking is broadly interpreted in three meta-themes; apocalyptic, technological, and traditional. Each category promises solutions and/or interpretations of our current environmental calamity. We explore critical philosophical, artistic, and scientific positions in each meta-theme that help elucidate this dilemma. Students read, evaluate, and synthesize projects and texts from great minds such as William Cronon, Bill McKibben, Bruce Mau, Mike Davis, Marshall McLuhan, Bjorn Lomborg, David Orr, Paul Virilio, Marshall McLean, Laurence Buell, and others. The final project is the production of a mock Madison Avenue advertising campaign that promotes urban "sustainability".

Pierre Alferi: PAUL KLEE. (3 credits)
The seminar addresses the underlying philosophy in Klee's teaching and on Heidegger's interpretation of his work.

Hubertus von Amelunxen: PHILOSOPHY OF PHOTOGRAPHY & FILM. (3 credits)
Explores issues of meaning and representation, the interface of photography, video, and film, and the terror of the body in digital space (with emphasis on Roland Barthes, Walter Benjamin and Vilém Flusser).

Martin Hielscher and Nicholson Baker: LITERATURE AS COMMUNICATION. (3 credits)
Introduces Literature as model of communication and stimulates creative writing and philosophical thinking. Includes a workshop with a guest author such as Marcel Beyer, Durs Grünbein, Shelley Jackson, Michel Houellebecq, Julian Barnes, Nicholson Baker, Colum McCann, Nuruddin Farah, Ilija Trojanow, or Jeffrey Eugenides.

Rebecca Comay: CONFLICT OF THE FACULTIES: KANT (WITH DERRIDA, FOUCAULT AND OTHERS). (3 credits)
Using Kant's Conflict of the Faculties as our core text, this seminar will be exploring questions of institutions, state power, ideology, academic (and other) freedoms, disciplinary and national borders, and the relationship of philosophy to law, religion, medicine, and art. Other authors to be considered will include Schiller, Hegel, Derrida, Foucault, Rancière, and Althusser. This three-day intensive course will be structured as follows: each morning will be devoted to one of the three essays in Conflict of the Faculties, followed in the afternoon by some related contemporary texts and issues.

Additional Seminars and Workshops:

Wolfgang Schirmacher: PH.D. TUTORIAL. (1 credit)
Meetings with the students who choose this professor as adviser, and discusses possible PhD thesis projects. Also applicable for other professors listed in the PhD Handbook.

Mark Daniel Cohen: ADVANCED ACADEMIC WRITING. (1 credit)
With focus on the development of productive thesis statements and the organization and composition of coherent argumentation in order to prepare students to begin their thesis and Ph.D. dissertations (12 students limit).

The August Session includes an one-day field trip - August 9 - to Venice and a visit to La Biennale di Venezia - 56th International Art Exhibition, organized by Virginia Cutrufelli. (1 credit)


Media & Communication: August Second Year, Second Group // August 2nd – August 23rd, 2015.

Bracha Ettinger: THE MATRIXIAL SUBREAL. (3 credits)
The seminar will explore artistic practice (painting, video) and psychoanalytic theory as rethinking ethics, space, Eros, trust and the human subject, in a feminist dialogue with Freud ("Beyond the Pleasure Principle", Death drive, Life drive), Lyotard, the late Lacan, (Anxiety, Encore, the "lamella"); enabling a dimension of "subreal" co-emergence and Eros of "borderlinking-borderspacing" which underlies trauma and phantasm, memory and representation; articulating a post-Lacanian subject informed by matrixial gaze, transubjectivity and "carriance".

Victor Vitanza: LYOTARD: HESITATING THOUGHT. (3 credits)
An introduction to select major works by Lyotard, with a focus on the status of little narratives (vs. the grand narrative) and of the pagus (vs. differend).

François Noudelmann: POTENTIAL LIVES. (3 credits)
The seminar will investigate the meanings of "living as" someone or something, through theoretical and emotional experiences. It will emphasize the psychic involvement of concepts, affects, the imagination, and it will go beyond the distinction between actuality and virtuality. Living as a conceptual character, experiencing moral attitudes through fiction, cannibalizing other thinkers' existence will be considered as effective lives.

Catherine Malabou: HABIT: GRACE OR ADDICTION? (3 credits)
The concept of habit plays a major role in the history of Western philosophy. From the function of habit in the creation of character in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics to its postmodern articulation in the early work of French philosopher Gilles Deleuze, philosophers have consistently acknowledged the value of habit. However, the spectrum of habit as a philosophical concept remains indeterminate. While the centrality of habit in particular thinkers such as David Hume and William James is commonly acknowledged, the significance of habit for understanding the history of philosophy has never been systematically catalogued. This seminar offers a representative overview of the ways in which habit has been mobilized in each of the major periods of Western philosophy. The history of habit will be traced from its advent in ancient Greece up to the current dialogue between philosophy and neuroscience.

Geoffrey Bennington: POLITICS IN DECONSTRUCTION. (3 credits)
Through a close textual analysis in the spirit of deconstruction this course moves beyond the static page towards a political reading of the power of deconstruction.

Elissa Marder: THE LIMITS OF THE HUMAN: PSYCHOANALYSIS & MEDIA. (3 credits)
Explores the limits of the human in different media in antiquity, modernity and postmodernity, examining questions relating to technology and birth, photography and psychoanalysis, and the radical forms that poetry takes in a prosaic world.

Additional Seminars and Workshops:

Wolfgang Schirmacher: PH.D. TUTORIAL. (1 credit)
Meetings with the students who choose this professor as adviser, and discusses possible PhD thesis projects. Also applicable for other professors listed in the PhD Handbook.

Mark Daniel Cohen: ADVANCED ACADEMIC WRITING. (1 credit)
With focus on the development of productive thesis statements and the organization and composition of coherent argumentation in order to prepare students to begin their thesis and Ph.D. dissertations (12 students limit).

The August Session includes an one-day field trip - August 9 - to Venice and a visit to La Biennale di Venezia - 56th International Art Exhibition, organized by Virginia Cutrufelli. (1 credit)