[SydPhil] Collegium Phaenomenologicum 2018

Dimitris Vardoulakis D.Vardoulakis at westernsydney.edu.au
Tue Nov 7 04:11:00 AEDT 2017

I am forwarding the message below on Andrew Benjamin's request:

Dear Colleague,

I am writing, as the Director of the 2018 Collegium Phaenomenologicum in Citta di Castello, Italy, to tell you a bit about the event and to ask that you consider either attending or encouraging your students to attend.

In case you are unfamiliar with the Collegium, please allow me to tell you a bit about it. The Collegium is a three-week gathering that occurs every year in a small town in Umbria, Italy. Generally speaking, a topic or a related series of topics is selected by that year's director, scholars are invited to participate in a variety of ways constituting a "faculty" for a given week, and graduate students and recent Ph.D.'s apply to attend the collegium for the entire three-week arch as "participants." Each week one scholar offers a central "course" on that week's topic, which comprises three two-hour lectures, followed by one hour of discussion, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings. These courses provide the backbone for each of the three weeks. Around the course are organized "text seminars," on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons, in which six to eight students are led by faculty members in a discussion of texts stipulated by the course-giver, as well as three or four satellite "lectures" on Tuesday and Thursday, which are given by other speakers and are related in some way to the central course theme. In sum, each week there is one central course, three to four lectures, and eight or nine text seminars.

Admission to participate in the Collegium is extremely selective, with between thirty and fifty students and academics early in their careers being admitted to attend as participants. And over the three weeks, about 45 invited faculty members total will cycle through in one-week rotations. Although it varies from year to year given the topic and the director, about half the participants are usually from North America and half are from other parts of the world. Past Collegia have featured courses or lectures by such eminent figures as Jacques Derrida, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Emmanuel Levinas, Werner Marx, Gianni Vattimo, Robert Solomon, and John Sallis.

This year, the focus of all three weeks will be the philosophy of Aristotle, and in particular, the participants will watch over there three weeks as the human being, as zôon logon echon/zôon politikon emerges out of/as an extension of/in opposition to the way of being of a simple zôon or a natural living being. From the three course-givers to the independent lecturers to the text seminar leaders, I think you will agree that we have a terrific lineup of expert and original Aristotle readers. And every text seminar will be led or co-led by at least one faculty member who can work closely and expertly with the Greek text.

Additionally, we will have a 'Zôê-Drawing Course' for the participants, offered by artist-in-residence, Mathew Girson, whom some of you may remember from 2016's Heidegger Circle meeting--he showed a series of extremely faint sketches of Heidegger's library in his Schwarzwald Hütte. Girson teaches drawing as a practice for training one's vision to bring beings to light. The aim of this two-hour course (to be held on Tuesday afternoon of the first week) will be to teach the participants to perceive the dynamics Aristotle sees at work in life, in the living of the living being. By the heightened attentiveness provoked by the drawing activity itself, the students will come to see living beings as a soul actualizing and dynamically ordering through time the material potency of the body. All participants will have a sketchbook and set of pencils, and they'll be encouraged to keep sketching for the entire three weeks.

The weekend trips will be organized according to those two "drives of Nature" that Nietzsche uncovered at the source of Ancient Greek tragedy in the Birth of Tragedy. The first weekend we will experience the lusty embodied Dionysian moment in the art of the Etruscans in the tombs and museums of Orvieto, stopping off for some wine-tasting at a vineyard on the way back to Città di Castello. The second weekend, we will enjoy the Apollonian luminosity and pristine order of the Byzantine mosaics of Ravenna.

I hope that graduate students and young faculty will consider attending as participants, and I also hope more established faculty members will STRONGLY urge their students to attend. This year's meeting will be an invaluable experience for any student working centrally on Aristotle, and even for any student working on a topic in ancient Greek philosophy. But I am also hoping that the program will be of interest to students working in quite distant periods and on a variety of fundamental philosophical issues, indeed, to all students who just want to firm up their understanding of this most fundamental thinker in the Western tradition.

Please let me know if you have any questions or requests. And please feel free to contact the Collegium assistants at any point in the coming months with any practical problems that arise--Cameron Coates (CCOATES at depaul.edu<mailto:CCOATES at depaul.edu>) and Khafiz Kerimov (KKERIMOV at depaul.edu<mailto:KKERIMOV at depaul.edu>). Any potential participants from Australia can also contact Professor Andrew Benjamin at Monash University (andrew.benjamin at monash.edu<mailto:andrew.benjamin at monash.edu>) for further information.


Sean D. Kirkland
Associate Professor, Director of Graduate Studies
Department of Philosophy
2352 N. Clifton Ave. Suite 150
DePaul University
Chicago, IL, 60614, USA

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