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Double Lecture: Eugenie Brinkema (MIT) and Julius Greve (University of Oldenburg) “Decomposition and Deformation: Literature, Film, Philosophy”

Monday 6 May 2019
Media | Art | Politics (MAP)
P.N. van Eyckhof 1
P.N. van Eyckhof 1
2311BV Leiden
003 C

Lectures Series in Media | Arts | Politics
Convened by Pepita Hesselberth and Yasco Horsman

On Monday May 6, Professor Eugenie Brinkema of MIT and UvA and Dr. Julius Greve of the University of Oldenburg will present paired lectures—one focusing on literature and one focusing on film—exploring decomposition, decay, deformation, and plasticity in relation to torture, geotrauma, aesthetic form, and ethics.

Professor Brinkema’s lecture, “The Fascinations of Violence: Martyrs and the Ethics of Deformation,” focuses on Pascal Laugier’s 2008 new-extremist horror film Martyrs, arguing that the film generates a formal violence that is coextensive with the very aesthetic fascinations that structure it, rendering an account of violence that is monstrative and creative, cinematically demonstrating not the violation of body but the impersonal, non-embodied violence of a fascination with formal possibility, one shared by horror and metaphysical philosophy.

Dr. Greve’s lecture, Geotrauma and Narrative Form: Decomposing Nature in Cormac McCarthy’s Early Fiction,” asks: How to rethink trauma in the context of today’s turn to the question concerning materiality in the humanities? What is the role of narrative form in the delineation of concepts of nature that resonate with, but are partially independent of, those forged in and by philosophical discourse? How to come to terms with the difference between decomposition as a literary theme, on the one hand, and decay as a process in and by fiction? Dr. Greve traces the concept of nature in the early work of American writer Cormac McCarthy, as it is construed by literary rather than philosophical means, rendering visible a transhistorical and transatlantic constellation, including schools of thought such as Schellingianism and speculative realism.

Eugenie Brinkema is Associate Professor of Contemporary Literature and Media at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and currently a fellow in Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam. Her research in film and media studies focuses on violence, affect, sexuality, aesthetics, and ethics in texts ranging from the horror film to gonzo pornography, from structuralist film to the visual and temporal forms of terrorism. Her articles have appeared in the journals AngelakiCamera ObscuraCriticismdifferencesDiscoursefilm-philosophyThe Journal of Speculative Philosophyqui parle, and World Picture. Recent work includes articles on irrumation and the interrogatory in violent pornography and the formal affectivity of no longer being loved in Blue is the Warmest Color. Her first book, The Forms of the Affects, was published with Duke University Press in 2014.

Julius Greve is a lecturer and research associate at the Institute for English and American Studies, University of Oldenburg, Germany. He is the author of Shreds of Matter: Cormac McCarthy and the Concept of Nature (Dartmouth College Press, 2018), and of numerous articles on McCarthy, Mark Z. Danielewski, critical theory, and speculative realism. Greve has co-edited America and the Musical Unconscious (Atropos, 2015), Superpositions: Laruelle and the Humanities (Rowman & Littlefield International, 2017), and “Cormac McCarthy Between Worlds” (2017), a special issue of EJAS: European Journal of American Studies. He is currently working on two edited volumes that deal with weird fiction, media studies, and cultural ecology, and is working on a manuscript on the relation between modern poetics and ventriloquism.

This talk is part of the Leiden Lectures on Media | Art | Politics, organized by Pepita Hesselberth and Yasco Horsman, and made possible with the support of

For more information about upcoming events, check out the event series webpage.

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