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Program Highlights and Events

The Critical Theory in the Global South Andrew W. Mellon Grant, directed by Penelope Deutscher (Professor, Philosophy and Comparative Literary Studies; Associate Director, Critical Theory), had acomplit-newsletter-highlights-globalsouth-400x210.jpg productive year of events, curriculum developements, visiting scholars, and more.

Read more updates from Critical Theory in the Global South.





Comparative Literary Studies Senior Colloquium | December 5, 2018

Comp Lit seniors and faculty advisors gathered to share their senior seminar projects.

comp lit senior seminar program image







"Genealogies of Emergency" with Professor Siraj Ahmed | December 6-7, 2018

Professor Siraj Ahmed is Associate Professor, English and Comparative Literature, Lehman College; Associate Professor, Ph.D. Program in English, The Graduate Center.

The Comparative Literary Studies Graduate Student Representatives, Sorrel Dunn and Wenhan Zhang, organized this graduate student workshop and lecture with Professor Ahmed. The events centered around Professor Ahmed’s recent book, Archaeology of Babel: the Colonial Foundation of the Humanities.

Co-sponsored by: Department of English and Critical Theory Cluster


Comparative Literary Studies Graduate Student Brown Bag Lunch Workshop Series
Grants and Fellowships Workshop | February 1, 2019

This workshop featured graduate student panelists who discussed best practices and tips on the applicant side of writing grants and fellowship applications. The graduate student panelists included: Jayme Collins (English); Kritish Rajbhandari (CLS) and Scott Newman (CLS). In addition, Professor Rebecca Johnson (English, Kaplan, MENA, CLS) joined us to discuss and share insider knowledge of the application review process.

De-mystifying Article Publications with Professor Chris Bush (CLS, French & Italian, GAMS, Modernism/Modernity) | February 12, 2019

This workshop addressed the insider perspective on article publication and academic journals—from the selection and review processes to how individual issues are put together.

“Freud’s Irreducible Death Drive” with Isabelle Alfandary | April 25, 2019

Isabelle Alfandary is Professor of American Literature at the Université Sorbonne-Nouvelle (Paris-3), France

In Beyond the Pleasure Principle, Freud makes the death drive the pivot of the economy of drives. The end of the dominance of the pleasure principle, and the taking over by the death drive, remain no less profoundly puzzling. It is precisely the question of death in the death drive that Professor Alfandary addressed, by taking and following to the letter, as much as possible, Freud’s hypothesis-turned-thesis.

The presentation was concerned with examining the status of the death drive within the Freudian economy of drives, in order to ultimately establish the signification and the sense of death—or at least what Freud means by “death”—in his theory of drives. Outlined in the meanders and reversals of the general theory of drives, is the place of death, in order to bring to light the role played by death in the drive. To this purpose, Professor Alfandary returned to the dualism claimed by Freud to define and characterize the economy and energetics of drives.​

Co-sponsored by the Department of French and Italian and the French Interdisciplinary Group.


Summer Institute for Psychoanalysis | June 24 – 27, 2019

The Summer Institute of Psychoanalysis addresses the impact of psychoanalytic thought on what it does not consider to be its primary target: culture, as expressed by other branches of knowledge as well as media in the broadest sense of the word from literature, cinema, and performance arts to social media. The Institute engages a conversation between psychoanalysis understood as theory, as clinical practice, and as ways of addressing the emotional spaces that other intellectual fields and creative media open up on a personal and collective level.

This year’s program on Psychoanalysis and Philosophy included lectures and workshops by:

  • Isabelle Alfandary (Professor, Paris 3 Sorbonne, and President, Collège International de Philosophie), “Psychoanalysis with or without Transference”
  • Michael Levine (Professor, Rutgers University), “A Flair for Theory: Freud, Fliess, Derrida, Kafka”
  • Rosaura Martinez (Professor, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), “Trauma, Psychoanalytical Frame, and Performativity”
  • Eric Santner (Philip and Ida Romberg Distinguished Service Professor, University of Chicago), “Three Essays on the Sexuality of Theory”
  • Alessia Ricciardi (Professor, Northwestern), “Psychoanalysis of Seduction: Reading Laplanche with Butler”
  • Domietta Torlasco (Professor, Northwestern), “Media and the Psychoanalysis of Rhythm: Lacoue-Labarthe, Derrida, and Stiegler”


More information and schedule of workshops.

Save the Date
Next year's Summer Institute of Psychoanalysis will take place in Paris at the Sorbonne Nouvelle the week of June 22-28, 2020 on the topic of "Psychoanalysis and Politics."

Comp Lit End of Year Gathering | June 6, 2019

We hosted an end of year celebration for Comp Lit faculty, graduate students and graduating seniors. This event was an opportunity to highlight accomplishments by our students and celebrate the end of the academic year with food, drink, and good cheer! Below is a list of Comp Lit prizes and awards received by our students:

Undergraduate Student Awards & Prizes
  • Sophia Lencioni: Highest Achievement in Undergraduate Research | “Transforming and Flinching away in Julio Cortázar’s “Axolotl” and Franz Kafka’s Die Verwandlung”
  • Lauren Place: Translation Award | “Kim Ae-Ran’s Run Dad Run: Korean Realism and the Value of Translation”
  • Jack Drumm: Distinguished Senior Essay Award | Sensing Deconstruction: Clarice Lispector’s Phenomenology in The Passion According to G.H."
  • Lois Biggs: Sam Weber Prize for Best Paper in Art, Literature, and Contemporary European Thought, Paris Program | “We Hold the Rock: Place, Protest, and Aesthetics on Alcatraz”
Graduate Student Awards & Prizes
  • Sorrel Dunn: Beiling Wu Prize 2018 | “Two Faces of Melancholia: reflections on Walter Benjamin’s Hamlet and Julia Kristeva’s Narcissus”
  • Carly Bortman: Best Seminar Paper Prize | "Thinking Mark, Citation, and Montaigne in Derrida's "Before the Law"
  • Xinyi Wei: Best Seminar Paper Prize | "Trembling and physicality in Kierkegaard, Artaud and Derrida’s writings"
  • Mauricio Oportus: Best First Year Paper Prize | "A Solitary Struggle: Justice and Responsibility in Walter Benjamin’s Zur Kritik der Gewalt​"
  • Kritish Rajbhandari: Best Dissertation Award | "Anarchival Drift and the Limits of Community in Indian Ocean Fiction" 



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