¡Zizek! and the Public Intellectual Craze

A public conversation and film screening about celebrity, cultural theory, and the phenomenon of the public intellectual


Fields of Knowledge
  • Pedagogy
  • Performance
  • Philosophy / Theory
  • Public culture

Organizing Institutions



Aaron Levy


Cinema Studies Program and the Program in Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania

Opens to public



4017 Walnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104


75% Formal - 25% Informal

  • Zizek

Slought is pleased to announce "¡Zizek! and the Public Intellectual Craze," a public conversation and film screening about the phenomenon of the public intellectual today on Thursday, December 1, 2005 from 6:30-9:00pm. Eduardo Cadava, Anne Norton, and Jean-Michel Rabaté will engage in conversation, with Daniel Dayan present as a respondent, followed by the Philadelphia premier of "Zizek!," a new film about Slavoj Zizek, the Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic known as "the Elvis of cultural theory." Director Astra Taylor will provide opening remarks at the premier and will answer questions from the audience.

Slavoj Zizek has published over 50 books (translated into 20 languages) on topics ranging from philosophy and Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis, to theology, film, opera and radical politics. He was a candidate for, and nearly won, the Presidency of his native Slovenia in the first democratic elections after the break-up of Yugoslavia in 1990. According to a recent profile in The New Yorker, Slovenia has a "reputation disproportionately large for its size due to the work of Slavoj Zizek."

The documentary Zizek! trails the public intellectual as he crisscrosses the globe—racing from New York City lecture halls, traversing the streets of Buenos Aires, and pit-stopping at his home in Ljubljana, Slovenia. In transit, Zizek obsessively reveals the invisible workings of ideology through a unique blend of Lacanian psychoanalysis, Marxism and pop culture critique. He is also unafraid to turn his critical gaze on himself, offering commentary on his private life and growing international celebrity. (2005, 71 minutes, Color. In English and Slovene with English subtitles.)

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Director Astra Taylor was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1979 and raised in Athens, Georgia. She holds an MA in Liberal Studies from the New School for Social Research and has been an instructor in sociology departments at the University of Georgia and State University of New York, New Paltz. Her writing has appeared in the Monthly Review, the Nation, and Salon. In the spring of 2006 the New Press will publish her first book, an analysis of the contradictory and inspirational legacy of the 1960s for those who have come of age in the decade's shadow. In the summer of 2002 she joined the Documentary Campaign, a New York City based not-for-profit corporation dedicated to the production and distribution of documentary films that promote social justices and human rights, to associate produce the Campaign's first feature, Persons of Interest. Directed by Allison Maclean (Jesus' Son), Persons of Interest is about the round up and detention of Muslims and Arabs in the aftermath of September 11th. The film was an official selection at the 2004 Sundance, Rotterdam, and Human Rights Watch film festivals and won the Amnesty International Humanitarian Award at the Chicago International Documentary Film Festival. She founded Hidden Driver Pictures with Laura Hanna in early 2005.

Anne Norton is Alfred Cass Term Chair Professor of Political Science and Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania. Norton has authored numerous books, chapters and articles on American popular culture and political theory. Her most recent books are Leo Strauss and the Politics of American Empire (Yale University Press, 2004) and 95 Theses on Politics, Culture, and Method (Yale University Press, 2003). Her research has included a study of American political culture; the role of time in political theory, ethics, and historical methods; and issues of authority and sexuality in the education, reign and deposition of Maharajah Jai Singh of Alwar.

Daniel Dayan is director of the CNRS (Laboratoire d'Anthropologie des institutions et organisations sociales) and Professor of Sociology at l'Ecole des Hautes études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. After completing studies at Stanford and at l'Ecole des Hautes études en Sciences Sociales (where he worked with Roland Barthes) he has taught at Stanford, the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Paris II as well as the Universities of Oslo and Geneva. He has been a member of the American Film Institute and recently participated in the program "Changing Media, Changing Europe" for the European Science Foundation.

Eduardo Cadava and Jean-Michel Rabaté are both curators at Slought.

"I have this terrible feeling that they expect something which they will not get. [...] The question is not what I can give them. But, are these expectations legitimate? What do these expectations tell them about themselves?"

-- Slavoj Zizek on his growing international celebrity

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A lecture by Slavoj Zizek about freedom and domination, and the relationship between capitalism, consumerism and fundamentalism

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