This virtual lecture will be streamed via Zoom.
Past Event October 17, 2020 / 12:00pm – 2:00pm
Theory is Cancelled
Presented by Idea Capital
Join us for Discrit, a free art education initiative spanning lectures, screenings, workshops, and panels designed to foster lively conversation and speculation about contemporary art and culture. This installment of Discrit features Nathan Lee, Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Film and Media at Emory University. Lee will share his lecture “Theory is Cancelled: Donald Trump and the trolling of critique.”
On September 4, 2020, the White House released a memorandum ordering federal agencies to identify and eliminate any spending on “critical race theory.” The professed goal of this directive was to initiate an ideological purge of any suggestion that “the United States is an inherently racist or evil country.” That critical race theory should find itself thus mischaracterized and dragged into the swamp of bareknuckle electioneering is part of the longer story of conservative hostility to academia—and the latest chapter in the peculiar entanglement of the Trump administration with critical theory.
Did postwar philosophy give rise to “fake news” and “alternative facts”? Why has it been suggested that a theoretical questioning of truth, language, reality, and power is equivalent to the rantings of a reality TV president? Is Trump the walking, tweeting embodiment of postmodernism? This talk examines the way recent commentators have posed such questions and speculates on what theory can – and cannot – tell us about the Trumpist derangement of truth.
Discrit (“critical discourse” / “discourse critique”) is an initiative of public knowledge-sharing and discussion. Spanning lectures, seminar-style discussions, critiques, and screenings, Discrit provides the public with programming dedicated to explorations of contemporary art and culture and free, university-quality art education. Discrit is Joey Molina and Chris Fernald.
Joey Molina is a multi-disciplinary artist and scholar working between video, installation, and collage. Their work engages with visual culture as material, object, and ephemera. Molina’s research interests include horror films, queer theory, and new media. They received their BA from Georgia State University in 2013 and will be on track for their MA in Film and Video at Georgia State University in Fall 2020.
Chris Fernald is an artist, writer, and cultural programmer. He is the Co-Founder of Discrit and a Graduate Student in the History of Art at Williams College. His work has been exhibited in group shows in New York and Mexico City, and his poetry and art criticism have seen publication in both Canada and the US. His writing and creative work often examine how modernity’s crises disassemble and re-constitute notions of personhood. Recurring subjects of interest include techno-spirituality, post-human cosmologies, lifestyle minimalism, animism, and the digital’s relation to the afterlife. He received his BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2013.
Nathan Lee is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Film and Media at Emory University. He holds an MA in Curatorial Studies from Bard College and a PhD in Modern Culture and Media from Brown University. His research focuses on the aesthetics, politics, and theorization of post-cinematic media as well as the legacy of critical theory and the rise of a “postcritical” ethos in the humanities. His writing has appeared in Cultural Critique, Camera Obscura, Film Comment, Bookforum, Art Papers, The New York Times, and The Village Voice. He has curated projects and exhibitions in New York, Istanbul, and Providence, RI.
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