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"The Dialectical Screen: Walter Benjamin on Television" - Roland Végsö (UGA)

Roland Vegso
115 Peabody Hall
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A reception in the atrium of Peabody Hall will follow this talk. 

Today, Walter Benjamin is widely recognized as an influential theoretician of emerging media technologies during the first half of the 20th century. Yet, due to his untimely death in 1940, he is hardly ever discussed in the context of the history of television. I argue that recontextualizing Benjamin’s writings in relation to early television history should help us better understand his political interventions into the phenomenological thought of his times (his categorical rejection of both Heidegger and the neo-Kantian trends dominant at the German universities of his times). In turn, I argue that a clearer articulation of Benjamin’s theory of television can help us devise more effective ways of engaging our own media environments in the 21st century. 

Roland Végső is Professor and Department Head of English at the University of Georgia. His primary research interests are 20thcentury continental philosophy, modernism, and translation theory. He is the author of The Naked Communist: Cold War Modernism and the Politics of Popular Culture (Fordham UP, 2013) and Worldlessness After Heidegger: Phenomenology, Psychoanalysis, Deconstruction (Edinburgh UP, 2020). In addition, he is also the translator of numerous philosophical essays as well as two books: Rodolphe Gasché’s Georges Bataille: Phenomenology and Phantasmatology (Stanford UP, 2012) and Peter Szendy’s All Ears: The Aesthetics of Espionage (Fordham UP, 2016). He is the co-editor of the Provocations book series published by University of Nebraska Press.

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