Public Engagement

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2017 ICSI Public Lecture: Michael Taussig

Wednesday, June 14, 2017 at 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm

John L. Tishman Auditorium, University Center 63 Fifth Avenue, Room U100, New York, NY 10003

The Institute for Critical Social Inquiry will open part of its programming to the public – a series of lectures taught by this Summer's faculty cohort of K. Anthony Appiah (Professor of Philosophy and Law, NYU), David Harvey (Professor of Anthropology and Geography, CUNY), and Michael Taussig (Professor of Anthropology, Columbia).

Michael Taussig's lecture is entitled "Rastelli The Juggler, Or What Are The Turks Doing in Walter Benjamin's Theses on History and In the Bodily Unconscious?".

In addition to his famous essay on the storyteller, Walter Benjamin wrote stories. Taussig wants to resurrect a virtually unknown one concerning Rastelli, the juggler, as a contribution to Benjamin's theories concerning what he calls "the bodily unconscious" in relation to the first of his theses on the philosophy of history in which the figure of chess-playing Turk automaton plays the central role. This story and that thesis also highlight the role of the trick in history, thereby fleshing out Taussig's concept of "the mastery of non-mastery."

About the Institute:
The Institute for Critical Social Inquiry (ICSI) is designed to provide advanced graduate students and junior faculty from around the world with the opportunity to spend one week at the New School’s campus in Greenwich Village working closely with some of the most distinguished thinkers shaping the course of contemporary social inquiry. Each of these scholars will teach a week-long seminar on a foundational thinker or topic of contemporary concern in a series of hands-on, intensive, and intimate sessions.

Sponsored by The New School for Social Research.

Event Type

Lectures and Panel Discussions


General Public


Intellectual Culture and Big Ideas


The New School for Social Research


Free; Registration Required

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