University of Virginia, College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Irrationality and the Contemporary

May 4, 2018


"Irrationality & the Contemporary" is a one-day symposium, scheduled for Friday, May 4, 2018, in Wilson Hall 142. In light of the ongoing climate of skepticism and other signs of the retreat of liberalism around the world, our panels and keynote presentation will consider the play between rationality and irrationality in the post-1945 period and especially in our public discourse, bringing together scholars from diverse disciplines to reflect on forms of irrationality that appear in our politics, new media, the university, and neoliberal institutions. Professor Wendy Chun (Modern Culture and Media, Brown University) will deliver our keynote lecture. Cumulatively, the symposium strives to illuminate conditions constitutive of the contemporary moment, as well as historical forces that may be contributing to the incremental dissolution of infrastructures that support liberal democracy. 


This event is made possible by generous support from the Buckner W. Clay Endowment, the Institute of the Humanities and Global Cultures, New Literary History, the Department of Politics, the Department of English, and the Food, Fuels, and Forests Working Group.


Tentative Lineup:

Wendy Chun, Modern Culture and Media, Brown

Jonathan Flatley, English, Wayne State

Deborah Lawrence, Environmental Science, University of Virginia

Jennifer Fleissner, English, Indiana University

Bradley Pasanak, English, University of Virginia

Elizabeth Losh, English and American Studies, William & Mary

Lisa Friedman, Reporter, The New York Times

Austin Hetrick, English (PhD Candidate, event organizer), University of Virginia

Jap-Nanak Makkar, English (PhD Candidate, event organizer), University of Virginia

Homer Statue
Wilson Hall 142
9:00 am