Ph.D. Curriculum

JUNE SESSION. June 1st – June 22nd, 2014

Media and Communication - June First Year First Group
Media and Communication / Digital Design - June First Year Second Group
Media and Communication - June Second Year

AUGUST SESSION. August 2nd - August 23rd, 2014

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.)

JUNE SESSION // June 1st – June 22nd, 2014.

Media & Communication: June First Year, First Group // June 1st – June 22nd, 2014.

Simon Critchley: TRAGEDY'S PHILOSOPHY. (3 credits)
This seminar will investigate tragedy as a philosophical view that challenges the authority of philosophy.

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).

Siegfried Zielinski: AUDIOVISUAL HISTORY AND TECHNOCULTURE. (3 credits)
Surveys the history of mediations through which ideas and visual representation have become a material force. It enables an archeology of hearing and seeing by technical means.

Samuel Weber: MEDIA AND THE UNCANNY. (3 credits)
Explores the philosophical concept of the uncanny as it bears on the media by reading Sigmund Freud, Martin Heidegger, and Jacques Derrida.

Alenka Zupancic: NIETZSCHE AND LACAN. (3 credits)
The courses will focus on two main questions, both in relation to Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche and to Freudo-Lacanian psychoanalysis. Through discussion and readings this course willl examine focus around two themes, Negativity and Real.

Elie During: TRANSPARENCY: IDEOLOGY, METAPHYSICS, AESTHETICS. (3 credits)
Focuses on persistent ideological and critical discourses that surround notions such as transparency, opacity, mediation, ambiguity.

Mandatory Seminars and Workshops:

Wolfgang Schirmacher: RESEARCH METHODS. (1 credit workshop for First Year students)
Introduction to basic research styles such as phenomenology, hermeneutics, dialectics, deconstruction in preparation for EGS dissertation projects.

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

Elective Seminars and Workshops:

Wolfgang Schirmacher: RESEARCH FOR DISSERTATION. (1 credit workshop)
Discussing projects for Ph.D. dissertations in order to find connections to philosophical works and locate directions for theoretical research.


Media & Communication / Digital Design: June First Year, Second Group // June 1st – June 22nd, 2014.

Neil Leach: A THEORY OF DIGITAL DESIGN. (3 credits)
Presents a theoretical framework for understanding and evaluating a new way sensibility towards design that is sweeping through not only architecture and urbanism but all of the creative industries.

John Frazer: EVOLUTIONARY DIGITAL DESIGN. (3 credits)
Explores conceptual generic ideas encoded in digital form to create a population of genetic code scripts that are then developed in an environment and subject to analysis and selection in a cyclical manner.

Achim Menges: MACHINE AND MATERIAL COMPUTATION. (3 credits)
Focuses on the latent computational convergence of digital procedures and physical processes, with a particular focus on its ramifications on design thinking and practice.

Patrik Schumacher: PARAMETRISCISM & AUTOPOIESIS. (3 credits)
Presents an outline of the theory of architectural autopoiesis, a unified theory of architecture that contextualizes the discipline’s most fundamental concepts, methods and values historically with respect to architecture’s societal function.

Benjamin Bratton: PLANETARY-SCALE COMPUTATION. (3 credits)
Develops a theory and program for design in the age of planetary-scale computation, emphasizing the forces that drive the possibility of form, and locates design within a complex and contradictory global computational economy.

Alisa Andrasek: OPEN SYNTHESIS AND DESIGN. (3 credits)
Explores the necessity for resilient bounding of global-local, generic-particular relations and transference, a navigational system for which increasingly accelerated scientific discoveries are taken not as obstacles but as opportunities for further synthesis.

Mandatory Seminars and Workshops:

Wolfgang Schirmacher: RESEARCH METHODS. (1 credit workshop for First Year students)
Introduction to basic research styles such as phenomenology, hermeneutics, dialectics, deconstruction in preparation for EGS dissertation projects.

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

Elective Seminars and Workshops:

Wolfgang Schirmacher: RESEARCH FOR DISSERTATION. (1 credit workshop)
Discussing projects for Ph.D. dissertations in order to find connections to philosophical works and locate directions for theoretical research.


Media & Communication: June Second Year // June 1st – June 22nd, 2014.

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.

Victor J. Vitanza: LYOTARD: HESITATING THOUGHT. (3 credits)
The works of Jean-Francois-Lyotard: Just Gaming (with Jean-Loup Thébaud), Libidinal Economy, and The Differend: Phrases in Dispute. We will also study Laura Kipnis's Marx: A Video (in relation to Libidinal Economy); sections from Werner Herzog's Where the Green Ants Dream (in relation to The Differend); and John Hancock's Bang the Drum Slowly (in relation to Just Gaming).

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.

Michael Schmidt and DJ Spooky: MUSIC PHILOSOPHY & SOUND. (3 credits)
Discusses the philosophy of music of Arthur Schopenhauer, Roland Barthes and Theodor W. Adorno and explores the clashes and resonances between multiple styles and cultural approaches to music—from classical composition to rap, hip-hop and avant-garde sound collage.

Slavoj Žižek: HEGEL: NECESSITY AND CONTINGENCY. (3 credits)
A provocative reading of Hegel which connects his so-called idealism to contemporary philosophical, psychoanalytical and aesthetic discussion, and the emphasis on Nietzsche, Marx, Freud, Lacan, Quantum Theory, and the contingency as Hegel’s driving motive.

Pierre Alferi: ADVANCED EXPERIMENTAL FILM. (3 credits)
Theory and practice of experimental filmmaking will be explored – an exercise in cinematic poetry. Participants are encouraged to show and discuss their own work.

Mandatory Seminars and Workshops:

Wolfgang Schirmacher: PH.D. TUTORIAL. (1 credit)
Discusses the outlines for possible Ph.D. thesis projects.

Elective Seminars and Workshops:

Wolfgang Schirmacher: RESEARCH FOR DISSERTATION. (1 credit workshop)
Discussing projects for Ph.D. dissertations in order to find connections to philosophical works and locate directions for theoretical research.


AUGUST SESSION // August 2nd - August 23rd, 2014.

Media & Communication: August First Year, First Group // August 2nd - August 23rd, 2014.

Alain Badiou: PHILOSOPHY, ETHICS, ART. (3 credits)
In defense of systematic philosophy and in a critical dialogue with Gilles Deleuze basic issues such as the ethics of fidelity, truth, politics, and art are rediscovered, proclaiming a manifesto for philosophy.

Martin Hielscher: 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.

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: SEX AND PHILOSOPHY. (3 credits)
How to understand hospitality in our mad age - a Derridean reading of social practices by a pithy psychoanalyst.

Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri: 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.

Geert Lovink: POLITICS AND AESTHETICS OF THE WEB 2.0. (3 credits)
Provides an overview from blogs, search, online video, Wikipedia and social media to activist strategies like Wikileaks.

Mandatory Seminars and Workshops:

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

Sigrid Hackenberg: FOUNDATION IN MEDIA PHILOSOPHY. (1 credit workshop)
Introduces and explores the critical differences as well as productive blending of Communication Theory and Continental Philosophy which culminates in 'Media Philosophy'.

Wolfgang Schirmacher: PH.D. TUTORIAL. (1 credit)
Discusses outlines for possible Ph.D. thesis projects.

Elective Seminars and Workshops:

Suzanne Doppelt: ADVANCED PHOTOGRAPHY. (1 credit workshop)
Photography as non-representational language will be demonstrated and explored. Students have the opportunity to discuss their own work with an renowned French photographer.

Mark Daniel Cohen: ACADEMIC WRITING. (1 credit workshop)
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.


Media & Communication: August First Year, Second Group // August 2nd - August 23rd, 2014.

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.

Thomas Zummer: MICHAEL FOUCAULT. (3 credits)
A critical reading of the philosopher Michel Foucault who changed our understanding of modernity with his inquiries into madness, punishment, sexuality and the technologies of the self.

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 Vilem Flusser).

Hendrik Speck: CODE, CONTROL AND RELIGION. (3 credits)
Investigates the clash between freedom and control in in the semi religious digital empires, evaluates the liberating impact of the Internet for media, art, and culture.

Graham Harman: BLACK HOLES. (3 credits)
Examines the positive and negative features of metaphysical discourse as opposed to that of mathematics and the natural sciences.

Mandatory Seminars and Workshops:

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

Sigrid Hackenberg: FOUNDATION IN MEDIA PHILOSOPHY. (1 credit workshop)
Introduces and explores the critical differences as well as productive blending of Communication Theory and Continental Philosophy which culminates in 'Media Philosophy'.

Wolfgang Schirmacher: PH.D. TUTORIAL. (1 credit)
Discusses outlines for possible Ph.D. thesis projects.

Elective Seminars and Workshops:

Suzanne Doppelt: ADVANCED PHOTOGRAPHY. (1 credit workshop)
Photography as non-representational language will be demonstrated and explored. Students have the opportunity to discuss their own work with an renowned French photographer.

Mark Daniel Cohen: ACADEMIC WRITING. (1 credit workshop)
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.


Media & Communication: August Second Year, First Group // August 2nd - August 23rd, 2014.

Judith Butler: ETHICS AND POLITICS AFTER THE SUBJECT. (3 credits)
Addresses theories of the subject and explores issues of gender politics, subversion of identity, power, ethical violence.

Laurence Rickels with artist Klaus Wyborny: HAUNTED THOUGHT AND ART. (3 credits)
A critical analysis of the accidental structure and underworld happening in literature, performance and video art. An invited artist demonstrates the transformative processes involved. Martha Rosler, Sue de Beer, Diana Thater, Robert Bramkamp and Caspar Stracke have participated previously.

François Noudelmann: AFFINITIES IN PHILOSOPHY, ARTS, AND SCIENCE. (3 credits)
A transdisciplinary search for hidden patterns with revealing and concealing powers.

Catherine Malabou: ANIMATION/REANIMATION: NEW STARTS IN ETERNAL RECURRENCE. (3 credits)
The seminar discusses the eternal recurrence and transformation of life, opening to questions of memory, repetition, erasure and change.

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.

Wolfgang Schirmacher: SCHOPENHAUER – LIVING DISASTER. (3 credits)
A timely reading of the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer and his radical turn from spirit to body which influenced Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, Sigmund Freud, Ludwig Wittgenstein, The Frankfurt School but also composers such as Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss as well as writers such as Samuel Beckett, André Gide and Jorge Luis Borges.

Mandatory Seminars and Workshops:

Wolfgang Schirmacher: PH.D. TUTORIAL. (1 credit)
Discusses outlines for possible Ph.D. thesis projects.

Elective Seminars and Workshops:

Suzanne Doppelt: ADVANCED PHOTOGRAPHY. (1 credit workshop)
Photography as non-representational language will be demonstrated and explored. Students have the opportunity to discuss their own work with an renowned French photographer.

Mark Daniel Cohen: ACADEMIC WRITING. (1 credit workshop)
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.


Media & Communication: August Second Year, Second Group // August 2nd - August 23rd, 2014.

Judith Balso with poet: POETRY AND PHILOSOPHY. (3 credits)
The complex relationship between poetry and philosophy and the notion of poetry as a thought will be explored in a cordial dialogue with an internationally recognized poet. Jacques Roubaud, Yang Lian, Jan Zwicky, Michel Deguy, Alessandro de Francesco, Philippe Beck, Nachoem Wijnberg have participated previously.

Sylvere Lotringer: JEAN BAUDRILLARD. (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.

Jacques Rancière: SHOWING, TELLING, DOING. (3 credits)
Discussing the political question of the use and valua of images, the political significance and meaning of showing, and the extent to which showing can be equated with telling and with demonstrating.

Werner Hamacher: CRITIQUE OF PURE FEELING. (3 credits)
Investigates the virtual, movement, affect, sensation, expressions after Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. The body thinks with pure feelings before it acts and sensation is a transformational call-back to feeling.

Geoffrey Bennington: DECONSTRUCTION: THE POLITICS OF DERRIDA. (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: PSYCHOANALYSIS, MEDIA, DECONSTRUCTION. (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.

Mandatory Seminars and Workshops:

Wolfgang Schirmacher: PH.D. TUTORIAL. (1 credit)
Discusses outlines for possible Ph.D. thesis projects.

Elective Seminars and Workshops:

Suzanne Doppelt: ADVANCED PHOTOGRAPHY. (1 credit workshop)
Photography as non-representational language will be demonstrated and explored. Students have the opportunity to discuss their own work with an renowned French photographer.

Mark Daniel Cohen: ACADEMIC WRITING. (1 credit workshop)
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.