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Life of Ideas, Notions, and Concepts with Guest Enzo Traverso*

March 29, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

| free
2017-2018 Symposium_Life of Ideas_Traverso

Enzo Traverso, the Susan and Barton Winokur Professor in the Humanities at Cornell University, will be giving a talk titled “Burdens of the Past. The Age of Left-Wing Melancholia.”

The talk is part of a yearlong talk series “Life of Ideas, Notions, and Concepts” curated by MHC faculty board member Frédéric Rondeau which included fall and spring panels of UMaine faculty, as well as upcoming guest speaker Éric Méchoulan.

Enzo Traverso was born in Italy, studied history at the University of Genoa and received his PhD from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) of Paris in 1989. He has taught political science in France and been visiting professor in several European and Latin American countries. In 2013 he became the Susan and Barton Winokur Professor in the Humanities at Cornell University. His publications, translated into a dozen languages, include The Jews and Germany (1995), The Origins of Nazi Violence (2003), Fire and Blood: The European Civil War 1914-1945 (2015), The End of Jewish Modernity (2016).

Traverso will talk about his latest book: Left-Wing Melancholia: Marxism, History, and Memory (New York: Columbia UP, 2017)

From the back jacket :

Throughout the twentieth century, argues Left-Wing Melancholia, from classical Marxism to psychoanalysis to the advent of critical theory, a culture of defeat and its emotional overlay of melancholy have characterized the leftist understanding of the political in history and in theoretical critique.

Drawing on a vast and diverse archive in theory, testimony, and image and on such thinkers as Karl Marx, Walter Benjamin, Theodor W. Adorno, and others . . . Traverso explores the varying nature of left melancholy as it has manifested in a feeling of guilt for not sufficiently challenging authority, in a fear of surrendering in disarray and resignation, in mourning the human costs of the past, and in a sense of failure for not realizing utopian aspirations. Yet hidden within this melancholic tradition are the resources for a renewed challenge to prevailing regimes of historicity, a passion that has the power to reignite the dialectic of revolutionary thought.

Enzo Traverso’s March 29 talk will take place at the Allen and Sally Fernald APPE space, Stewart Commons IMRC. Refreshments will be served.

Part of the McGillicuddy Humanities Center’s 2017-2018 symposium Juvenescence/Obsolescence: Humanities Approaches to Aging across the Ages.

MHC Symposium


March 29, 2018
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
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Allen and Sally Fernald AP/PE Space
Stewart Commons IMRC, UMaine
Orono, ME 04469 United States
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