New Books in the Arts & Sciences:
Celebrating Recent Work by Nico Baumbach
By: Nico Baumbach
Almost fifty years ago, Jean-Louis Comolli and Jean Narboni published the manifesto “Cinema/Ideology/Criticism,” helping to set the agenda for a generation of film theory that used cinema as a means of critiquing capitalist ideology. In recent decades, film studies has moved away from politicized theory, abandoning the productive ways in which theory understands the relationship between cinema, politics, and art. In Cinema/Politics/Philosophy, Nico Baumbach revisits the much-maligned tradition of seventies film theory to reconsider: What does it mean to call cinema political?
In this concise and provocative book, Baumbach argues that we need a new philosophical approach that sees cinema as both a mode of thought and a form of politics. Through close readings of the writings on cinema by the contemporary continental philosophers Jacques Rancière, Alain Badiou, and Giorgio Agamben, he asks us to rethink both the legacy of ideology critique and Deleuzian film-philosophy. He explores how cinema can condition philosophy through its own means, challenging received ideas about what is seeable, sayable, and doable. Cinema/Politics/Philosophy offers fundamental new ways to think about cinema as thought, art, and politics.
About the Author:
Nico Baumbach is associate professor of film and media studies at Columbia University. He holds a Ph.D. in Literature from Duke University. His research and teaching focus on critical theory, film theory, documentary, and the intersection of aesthetic and political philosophy. His first book Cinema/Politics/Philosophy is forthcoming from Columbia University Press. He is currently working on a book titled The Anonymous Image.
About the Speakers:
James Schamus is an award-winning screenwriter (The Ice Storm), producer (Brokeback Mountain), director (Indignation), and former CEO of Focus Features, the motion picture production, financing, and worldwide distribution company whose films have included Moonrise Kingdom, Milk, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Kids are All Right, The Pianist, Coraline, and The Dallas Buyers Club. He is the author of Carl Theodor Dreyer's Gertrud: The Moving Word, published by the University of Washington Press. He earned his BA, MA, and Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Berkeley. He directed the short documentary That Film About Money. Recent producing and executive producing credits include Suffragette, Casting JonBenet and A Prayer Before Dawn.
Bruno Bosteels is professor in LAIC and the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society. His research covers a wide range of topics in literature, culture, and politics in modern Latin America as well as contemporary philosophy and political theory. He is the author of Badiou o el recomienzo del materialismo dialéctico (Palinodia), Alain Badiou: une trajectoire polémique (La Fabrique, translated into German with Laika), Badiou and Politics (Duke), The Actuality of Communism (Verso, translated into German, Korean, and Serbian) and Marx and Freud in Latin America (Verso, Spanish translation with Akal). Between 2005 and 2011 he also served as general editor of Diacritics: Review of Contemporary Thought. He is currently preparing two new books, one on contemporary post-Heideggerian thought, titled Philosophies of Defeat: The Jargon of Finitude (Verso) and the other, The Mexican Commune (Duke). With Joshua Clover he edits the book series "Studies in Literature and Revolution" for Palgrave Macmillan; and with George Ciccariello-Maher the book series "Radical Américas" for Duke University Press. He is also the translator and/or editor of half a dozen books by Alain Badiou, among them Theory of the Subject (Continuum/Bloomsbury), Philosophy for Militants (Verso), Rhapsody for the Theatre (Verso), Wittgenstein's Antiphilosophy (Verso) and The Adventures of French Philosophy (Verso).
Debashree Mukherjee works on modern South Asian visual cultures and industries, with a focus on late colonial Bombay cinema. Her research explores the relations between bodies, production practices, aesthetics, and technology within specific media ecologies. Her current book manuscript, Parallel Action: Bombay Cinema and the Practice of Modernity (1929-1945), investigates the relationship between a consolidating film industry and a nation on the verge of political independence, using the lens of material practice. Debashree has published in various academic journals and anthologies, and is a core editor with the peer-reviewed journal, BioScope: South Asian Screen Studies. Trained as a filmmaker, she has worked in Bombay’s film and television industries on projects such as Omkara (dir. Vishal Bhardwaj, 2006). Committed to the missions of public and digital humanities, Debashree curated an exhibition of Indian film ephemera titled Maya Mahal in 2013, and is actively involved with the online film annotation platform www.indiancine.ma.
Homay King is Professor in the Department of History of Art and Eugenia Chase Guild Chair in the Humanities. Her fields of specialty include American film history, global post-war film history, and global contemporary art with a focus on lensed and time-based media, with expertise in critical theory, including film theory, psychoanalysis, semiotics, and twentieth-century continental philosophy. She received her doctorate from the Department of Rhetoric at the University of California at Berkeley. Her essays on film, photography, contemporary art, and theory have appeared in the journals Afterall, Camera Obscura, Criticism, Discourse, Film Criticism, Film Quarterly, OCTOBER, and Qui Parle, and numerous edited collections, including the exhibition catalog for China: Through the Looking Glass (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2015). She is a member of the Camera Obscura editorial collective and a co-founder of Bryn Mawr College’s Program in Film Studies.