Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute




Exilic Inscriptions: Mobility and the Resistance to Theory

This event was held virtually as a Zoom webinar and the live stream recorded on YouTube.

Scroll down to the bottom of this page to view the event video.

Please join us for a presentation by Galin Tihanov George Steiner Professor of Comparative Literature at Queen Mary University of London as part of the seminar series Red Migrations: Marxism and Transnational Mobility After 1917 organized by Philip Gleissner and Bradley Gorski. This event is cosponsored by the Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures at The Ohio State University and the Department of Slavic Languages at Georgetown University.

“The resistance to theory” is a title of a 1982 essay by Paul de Man (later included in his eponymous book). But in this talk it serves as no more than a homophonic fillip to begin to think about exile mobility and the complex often contrasting ways in which they work to facilitate the generation inscription or forsaking of theory.

In this talk Galin Tihanov will reflect on exile and mobility focusing in on their historically attested capacity to generate theoretically valid discourses. In line with the theme of “Marxism and Transnational Mobility after 1917” Tihanov will include a couple of cases from the time after World War I. Finally he will consider the phenomena of globalisation and mass migration today investigating whether and how they might be linked to the current wave of resistance to theory.

Galin Tihanov is the George Steiner Professor of Comparative Literature at Queen Mary University of London. He has held visiting appointments at universities in Europe North and South America and Asia. He is the author of five monographs including The Birth and Death of Literary Theory: Regimes of Relevance in Russia and Beyond (Stanford UP 2019). Tihanov’s research interests range from Russian German and Central-European intellectual history to world literature cultural theory cosmopolitanism and exile. He is elected member of Academia Europaea past president of the ICLA Committee on Literary Theory and member of the Executive Board of the Institute for World Literature (IWL) at Harvard University; he is also honorary scientific advisor to the Institute of Foreign Literatures CASS (Beijing). He is currently writing Cosmopolitanism: A Very Short Introduction commissioned by Oxford UP.

Event Video