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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 12, 2006

Philosopher Alain Badiou To Deliver Ida Beam Lecture

Renowned philosopher, author, playwright, poet, and activist Alain Badiou will discuss the role of philosophy in contemporary society during an Ida Beam Memorial Lecture at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 17, in Shambaugh Auditorium in the University of Iowa Main Library. His speech, "What is Philosophy? A Creative Repetition," is free and open to the public.

Badiou holds the Chair of Philosophy at Paris's renowned Ecole Normale Superieure and writes about ethics and politics. He brings a wide range of philosophical sources to bear on issues of contemporary political importance. Badiou is a poet, playwright, critic, screenwriter, aesthetician, and political activist; he is also among the most innovative philosophers of our time.

While on campus, Badiou also will participate in two additional events open to the public. On Monday, Oct. 16, he will hold an informal discussion of the question, "Is there a correct use of philosophy in the political field?" at 3 p.m., in Room E205, Adler Journalism Building. And on Tuesday, Oct 17, he will speak on "Contemporary Materialism and its Division: Bodies, Languages, Truths" at 4 p.m. in Room 101 of the Becker Communication Studies Building.

Of particular interest to questions of contemporary politics is Badiou's engagement with the question of evil and its political ramifications. In 1993, he published an analysis, critique, and reformulation of the discourse of evil in contemporary thought. Rejecting both the theological and the scientific interpretations of evil, he locates good and evil in the structure of human subjectivity, agency, and freedom.

Trained as a mathematician, Badiou is one of the most original French philosophers today. Influenced by Plato, Hegel, Lacan and Deleuze, he is an outspoken critic of both the analytic as well as postmodern schools of thought. Badiou's inventive writing on thinkers ranging from Plato, St. Paul and Samuel Beckett to Mao Zedong, Jacques Lacan and Heidegger offers a demonstration of philosophy's powers and its contemporary relevance.

Among Badiou's recently published works in English translation are "Saint Paul: The Foundation of Universalism" (2003), "Handbook of Inaesthetics" (2004), "Think Again: Alain Badiou and the Future of Philosophy" (2005), and "Alain Badiou and Cultural Revolution," a special issue of the journal Positions: "East Asia Cultures Critique" (2005).

Badiou's appearance is sponsored by the UI Department of Communication Studies - in conjunction with the Departments of English, Cinema and Comparative Literature, and the Project On the Rhetoric of Inquiry.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact 319-335-5707 to make arrangements.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Mary Geraghty Kenyon, 319-384-0011,; Program: Kembrew McLeod,