Why Konstantinović's 'Philosophy of Parochialism' Matters Today

Monday, March 4, 2019
Marshall D. Shulman Seminar Room, 1219 International Affairs Building (420 W 118th St)

Please join the Harriman Institute, in collaboration with the East Central European Center and the Njegos Endowment for Serbian Language and Culture, for a workshop with Branislav Jakovljević (Stanford University) and Branka Arsić (Columbia University) in association with Aleksandar Bošković’s seminar "Balkan as a Metaphor."

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Radomir Konstantinović’s Filozofija palanke (The Philosophy of Parochialism, 1969). Konstantinović’s book is relevant not only in Serbia and countries of the former Yugoslavia, but also beyond in the context of our global world. Filozofija palanke offers a new analysis of the causes of totalitarianism, as well as an innovative methodology of the political reading of literature, specifically poetry. The English translation of Konstantinović’s book by Ljiljana Nikolić and Branislav Jakoviljević, introduced and edited by Jakoviljević, is forthcoming. The workshop is open to the general public. 

Branislav Jakovljević is Professor and Department Chair at the Theater and Performance Studies at Stanford. He is the author of Alienation Effects: Performance and Self-Management in Yugoslavia 1945-1991 (University of Michigan Press 2016), winner of the 2017 ATHE Outstanding Book Award, and of the Joe A. Callaway Prize for the Best Book on Drama or Theater for 2016-17. His most recent book, Smrznuti magarac i drugi eseji (Frozen Donkey and Other Essays, 2017), was published in Serbian language in Belgrade. Jakovljević publishes widely on subjects ranging from history of modernist theater, to experimental performance, to avant-garde and conceptual art, to contemporary performance. His articles appeared in leading scholarly journals in the United States (Theatre Journal, TDR, PAJ, Art Journal, Art Margins, Theater) and in Europe. In 2013 he chaired the 19th annual Performance Studies international conference "Now Then: Performance and Temporality" at Stanford University. His first book Daniil Kharms: Writing and the Event was published by Northwestern University Press in 2009.

Branka Arsić is Charles and Lynn Zhang Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. She specializes in literatures of the 19th century Americas and their scientific, philosophical and religious contexts. She is the author, most recently, of Bird Relics: Grief and Vitalism in Thoreau (Harvard University Press, 2016), which was awarded the MLA James Russell Lowell prize for the outstanding book of 2016. It discusses how Thoreau related mourning practices to biological life by articulating a complex theory of decay, and proposing a new understanding of the pathological. She has also written On Leaving: A Reading in Emerson (Harvard UP, 2010), and a book on Melville entitled Passive Constitutions or 7½ Times Bartleby (Stanford UP, 2007). She co-edited (with Cary Wolfe) a collection of essays on Emerson, entitled The Other Emerson: New Approaches, Divergent Paths (University of Minnesota Press, 2010) and (with Kim Evans) a collection of essays on Melville, entitled Melville’s Philosophies (Bloomsbury, 2017). Her work has appeared in such journals as Common KnowledgeDiacriticsELHJ19LeviathanNew England QuarterlyNineteenth Century Prose, Qui Parle?RepresentationsTelos, and Textual Practice, and discusses such authors as Mary Rowlandson, Anne Bradstreet, Jonathan Edwards, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emily Dickinson, Herman Melville, Henry David Thoreau, Stanley Cavell and Gilles Deleuze. Arsić is currently working on two book projects. The first, Ambient Life, Melville, Materialism and the Ethereal Enlightenment focuses on images of the elemental, vegetal and animal that traverse Melville's work as a means of investigating how he imagined the capacity of matter to move and transform. The second book project, Butterfly Tropics: Emily Dickinson, The Archive and The Lyric, investigates Dickinson’s obsession with transmutation and invisible continuities among discrete bodies promised by entomological life forms, to raise the question of how such a preoccupation governs her understanding of the poetic form, as well as what it does for her manner of archiving poetry in fascicles, sets, envelopes, letters or, simply, boxes and chest drawers.