Call for Applications


Truth and Knowledge

The UCLA Program in Experimental Critical Theory invites applications to its Winter and Spring 2015 core graduate seminar.

Some of the most fundamental questions human beings have asked themselves involve the nature of truth and knowledge. What do we know about the world we live in and ourselves, and how do we know what we (believe we) know? Is there such a thing as truth, or is all knowledge relative, historical, perspectival – even ideological? Are there limits to knowledge, things we simply cannot know, as Kant argued, or can our knowledge expand indefinitely? When we talk about truth, are we talking about the correspondence of our knowledge to objects in the world? What do Heidegger, Lacan, and Badiou (e.g.) mean when they insist that truth is categorically distinct from knowledge? How is truth as a juridical concept (“I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth”) different from other accounts of truth, such as those used in mathematics, logic, and science? Does truth function in politics (other than through the perception of its absence)? What is the role of truth in the humanities, in terms of both research and pedagogy? Does truth have a place in literature and art? What does Cézanne mean when he refers to “the truth in painting,” and what does it mean in Derrida’s book of that title? How does truth function in the contexts of rhetoric and pragmatism? Does gender have a relationship to truth and knowledge? How do race and class inflect the status and function of truth and knowledge? How do the concepts of data, information, and the digital revolution reorient our senses of truth and knowledge? These are some of the questions to be addressed in this year’s ECT core seminar, through readings of thinkers such as Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche, William James, Heidegger, Foucault, Lacan, Derrida, and Badiou.

Visitors to the seminar and other ECT sponsored events this year will include Alain Badiou, Jacques Rancière, Emily Apter, Zina Giannopoulou, Monte Ransome Johnson, Jerome Christensen, John Carriero, John H. Smith, Slavoj Zizek, Mladen Dolar, and Alenka Zupancic.

Graduate students in all Ph.D. and MFA programs at UCLA are invited to apply to the seminar, and the ECT graduate certificate program.  To apply, please write a one page statement describing your interests and experience in critical theory. Please include your name, email, departmental affiliation, and year in graduate school. Applications should be sent by November 15 to Asiroh Cham, Acting Student Affairs Officer for the Department of Comparative Literature.

Call for Applications