Leverhulme Visiting Professor

We are delighted that Professor Lionel Ruffel of Paris 8 will be hosted by the Institute from 15 January 2015 until the end of May as a Leverhulme Visiting Professor.

Programme of events

Leverhulme Lecture 1: Wed. 4 Feb. School 5, 1-2pm

Displaying the Contemporary

This first lecture has a twofold purpose: to display (i.e. to introduce) the very notion of the contemporary as a historical and aesthetic category, and to introduce it as a question of display. When we look back on how the word ‘contemporary’ was established as a broadly recognized historical identifier, we can see that the transformation of the public spaces of art played a major role.

Leverhulme Seminar 1:  Mon. 9 Feb Buchanan 216, 5.15pm

The Public Spaces of Contemporary Literature

In this seminar I argue that our epoch is marked by the end of the unitary representation of literature in its relation to the printed object and to what Habermas calls the idealized public sphere. My hypothesis is that a multiplicity of public spaces characterizes the contemporary moment in literature.

Leverhulme Workshop 1: Wed. 18 Feb 1-3pm, Buchanan 216

How to be a Contemporaneist. The Two Contemporaneisms

The academic study of literature was the central discipline in the transformation of the modern university into an institution designed to preserve our cultural heritage. It is this discipline therefore that has experienced most intensely the revolution of the contemporary as an academic object of study. This workshop will distinguish two ways of studying contemporary literature – a heritage-based one and an experimental one – and will highlight the latter.

Leverhulme Lecture 2: Mon. 23 Feb 5.15pm, School 5

The Contemporary and / in Media Time

This lecture explores ‘the contemporary’ as it relates to concepts such as simultaneity, synchronization, co-temporality, acceleration and obsolescence, bringing together the fields of literary theory and media studies. It argues that there is an essential relation between forms of contemporaneity, media-centred systems of representation and political communities.

Leverhulme Seminar 2:  Mon. 2 March 5.15, Buchanan 216

Ecosystems of Contemporary Literature. Towards a Collective Representation of Publication

If there is a common factor in the contemporary transformations of literature, it is that we have gone from a collective representation of the literary centred on the book as object and medium to one centred on an action and a practice: publication.

Leverhulme Lecture 3: Wed. 11 March, 1-2pm School 5

Historicities of the Contemporary

The contemporary is first and foremost a question of historicity. It signals that a historical model different from that of modernity (which is built on ideas of sequentiality, successivity, time division and euchronicity) is about to impose itself. This lecture is devoted to the contemporary regime of historicity which highlights the present, anachronism, and the superimposition of heterogeneous times.

Leverhulme Lecture 4:  Thurs. 2 April 5.15pm, School 1

The Locations of the Contemporary

This lecture will conclude the series by mapping the contemporary – a contemporary that is not merely geographical but also institutional, intellectual and artistic. The previous lectures were largely centred on time and history. This one also focuses on and arises from the spatial turn in contemporary theory and artistic practices.

Leverhulme Seminar 3: Mon 6 April 5.15pm, Buchanan 216

Vacuoles and Apparatuses. Literature in the Economy of Attention

Inspired by the work of French philosopher Yves Citton, this seminar addresses the question of literature in an economy of attention. Literature, written or read, is supposedly one of the most untimely activities of advanced/knowledge societies. But is this in fact the case? We will work on two contemporary modes of literature: vacuoles and apparatuses.

Leverhulme Workshop 2: Wed. 22 April 1-3pm, Arts Bdg Seminar Room room 4

How to be a Contemporaneist 2

This workshop will introduce a few approaches to the contemporary in experimental and institutional schools or movements (such as the Bauhaus or the Black Mountain poets). We will also discuss what has been described as a pedagogical turn in contemporary art. How can we, as academics, reuse these experiments?


Events are free and open to all. If you are interested in attending any of these, please contact Margaret-Anne Hutton at mh80@st-andrews.ac.uk.