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April 25, 2012

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"In 2011, we were witnessing (and participating) in a series of shattering events, from the Arab Spring to the Occupy Wall Street movements, from the UK suburban protests to Breivik's ideological madness. 2011 was thus the year of dreaming dangerously, in both directions: there were emancipatory dreams mobilizing protesters in New York, on Tahir Square, in London and Athens--and there were the obscure destructive dreams propelling Breivik and other racist populists all around Europe.

What is the meaning of these explosions? Do they have a common root?"
--Slavoj Žižek, Spring 2012

Slavoj Žižek, everyone’s favorite Slovenian cultural theorist and philosopher, is a senior researcher at the Institute of Sociology at the University of Ljubljana, as well as an international director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities in London. He has described himself as a Hegelian philosopher, a Lacanian psychoanalyst, a Christian atheist, and a Communist political activist, which he sees as four parts of the same cause. His books include First as Tragedy, Then as Farce; Iraq: The Borrowed Kettle; In Defense of Lost Causes; Living in the End Times; Less Than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism; and God in Pain: Inversions of Apocalypse (co-authored with Boris Gunjevic). Žižek has appeared LIVE from the NYPL three times before: to debate Bernard Henry Lévy, deliver a presentation on “Hollywood as an Ideological Machine," and lecture on the topic of “God Without the Sacred." He has been the subject of several documentaries, including The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema, perhaps the only film to analyze both The Matrix and Freudian penis envy.

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