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I am Charlie… you are… we are Charlie. Photo: L’association “THE YOUNGZ” at sxminfor.fr

I am Charlie… you are… we are Charlie. Photo: L’association “THE YOUNGZ” at sxminfor.fr

This week, we ask faculty member Jan Völker who currently teaches «Ideology: a thing from the past?» about the event of Charlie Hebdo, the symptomatic slogan « Je suis Charlie » and finally, his specialty––ideology.

Read more if you want to find out if ideology is dead or still alive and kicking
Alain Badiou speaks in 2010 at Fnac Montparnasse (Paris) (photo from Wikipedia)

Alain Badiou speaks in 2010 at Fnac Montparnasse, Paris (photo from Wikipedia)

Legend has it that when Jacques Derrida spoke, one had to arrive two hours early to get a seat. On Youtube we see recordings of Lacan and Deleuze speaking for huge audiences in packed lecture halls. When Jacques Rancière and Alain Badiou spoke in Berlin last year they filled a huge theatre to the last spot. It comes thus as quite a surprise, perhaps even as a mild disappointment, when one arrives to Badiou’s seminar a mere 30 minutes early, breathless after a final sprint through the hallways of the École Normal Supérieure, to find a lecture hall not much bigger than Bard College Berlin’s—only half filled.

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Alain Badiou

Alain Badiou

Things happen in a city like Berlin. There is almost too much to do, too many things to experience. Ground-breaking exhibitions, grand festivals and public lectures by world-famous thinkers are on constant offer. So it was that on Thursday 18 and Friday 19 January, the renowned, left-wing French philosopher Alain Badiou gave two public lectures in Berlin, on democracy, and on art and politics. Someone at ECLA found out, an email was sent and two days later a large group of students found themselves amid the crush of academics, political activists, artists and students in the Senatssaal of Humboldt University.

The first lecture, titled ‘“Democracy” against Democracy’, was an investigation into the conceptual relationship between philosophy, truth, democracy and politics. Badiou claimed that democracy is not reasonable: reason concerns itself with the truth, the favouring of one true thing above others; democracy concerns itself with equality. For Badiou, this fundamental realization gives rise to others, including a view according to which democracy is not an end in itself, but a means – just one possible route on the journey towards a new politics. Professor Badiou is a witty and charismatic speaker, true to the tradition of modern French philosophy. After the lecture, ECLA students and faculty split up to continue discussions in one of Berlin’s many bars and cafés, stopping off for the traditional Döner at Hackescher Markt, in the hub of Berlin’s nightlife district.

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