Prof. Gregg Lambert
Syracuse University, New York USA, The Humanities Center, Founding Director 2008-2014
Wednesday, November 1st 2017
4 - 6 pm, ATTP Main Space
followed by snacks and drinks
Reflections on a Silurian Lake: Lucretius, Meillassoux, and Lyotard
At this point, let us return a few millennia to our Epoch of his majesty the Ego called the Anthropocene, which many humanists have taken up as a critical perspective in order to “de-center” the anthropocentric presence of the Subject in its opening to the material universe. This de-centering operation usually involves a supplanting of the Subject by absence, which often assumes the form of a speculative thesis involving time on a planetary or even paleontological scale, as in the case of Quentin Meillassoux’s arche-fossil (Meillassoux, After Finitude, 2008). Thus, absence is no longer determined in relation to “consciousness of,” as in phenomenology, but rather in terms of the “not yet, or the no longer” of the Subject.
The question that concerns us is "what," or rather, “where is time,” or more specifically, whether the theme of time and temporality could even be possible.
To illustrate this perspective, rather than turning to Meillassoux´s duration of an ancestral past demonstrated in the facticity of the arche-fossil, I will return to Lyotard, who in the mid-1980’s in a series of reflections on the inhuman (Lyotard, The Inhuman: Reflections on Time, 1991), speculated on the absence that occurs 4.5 billion years in the future – when the sun has exploded and the earth and all of its inhabitants no longer exist.
After completing his Ph.D, under the direction of late French philosopher Jacques Derrida, Professor Lambert joined the Department of English at Syracuse University in 1996, and was later appointed to Full Professor and Chair of English in 2005. In 2008, he was appointed as the Founding Director of the Humanities Center, where he currently holds a distinguished research appointment as Dean’s Professor of Humanities in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Since 2008, Professor Lambert has also served as Principal Investigator and Director of the Central New York Humanities Corridor, a regional collaborative research network between Syracuse University, Cornell University, the University of Rochester, and the NY6 Liberal Arts Consortium which has been generously supported by three consecutive awards from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
In addition to the Humanities Corridor, he has also directed several other major multi-institutional research and interdisciplinary initiatives, including the Society for the Study of Biopolitical Futures (with Cary Wolfe, Rice University), the Trans-Disciplinary Media Studio (with SU School of Architecture) and The Perpetual Peace Project, a multi-lateral curatorial initiative partnered with Slought Foundation (Philadelphia), the European Union National Institutes of Culture, the International Peace Institute, and the United Nations University, Utrecht University Centre for Humanities, and the Treaty of Utrecht Foundation (the Netherlands). In 2013, he was elected as a member of the International Advisory Board of the Consortium of Humanities Centers and Institutes.
Author of eleven books, critical editions, and more than a hundred articles in journals and critical editions, Professor Lambert is internationally renowned for his scholarly writings on critical theory, philosophy, the role of the Humanities in the contemporary university, and; especially for his work on the French philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Jacques Derrida.