Transparency in Post-War France

Sunday, February 11, 2018  6:00pm Maison Francaise

Registration

Free and open to the public

No registration necessary

First come, first seated

Transparency in Postwar France returns to a time and place when the concept of transparency was met with deep suspicion. It offers a panorama of postwar French thought where attempts to show the perils of transparency in politics, ethics, and knowledge led to major conceptual inventions, many of which we now take for granted.

Between 1945 and 1985, academics, artists, revolutionaries, and state functionaries spoke of transparency in pejorative terms. Associating it with the prying eyes of totalitarian governments, they undertook a critical project against it—in education, policing, social psychology, economic policy, and the management of information. Focusing on Sartre, Lacan, Canguilhem, Lévi-Strauss, Leroi-Gourhan, Foucault, Derrida, and others, Transparency in Postwar France explores the work of ethicists, who proposed that individuals are transparent neither to each other nor to themselves, and philosophers, who clamored for new epistemological foundations. These decades saw the emergence of the colonial and phenomenological "other," the transformation of ideas of normality, and the effort to overcome Enlightenment-era humanisms and violence in the name of freedom. These thinkers' innovations remain centerpieces for any resistance to contemporary illusions that tolerate or enable power and social coercion.

Participants

  • Author and Speaker

    Stefanos Geroulanos

    Assistant Professor of History

    New York University

  • Respondent

    Ayten Gundogdu

    Associate Professor of Political Science

    Barnard College

  • Chair

    Turkuler Isiksel

    James P. Shenton Assistant Professor of the Core Curriculum

    Columbia University

Events

By Semester