Public Events at the JWTC

Monday, 29 June, 2015 - 10:30

Invitation to public events of the Johannesburg Workshop in Theory and Criticism

The theme for this year’s Johannesburg Workshop in Theory and Criticism is Bios, Techné and the Manufacture of Happiness.

The question of happiness lies at the heart of some of the most far-reaching traditions of human thought. Marxism attributes the loss of happiness to alienation and subjection to a capitalist mode of production. Psychoanalysis aims at bringing some form of happiness back by teaching us how to live with the Other within ourselves. The possibility of a good life has animated thinking about human good, especially in the realm of ethics and economics. We now live in an age when the idea of happiness is more than ever intertwined with that of health and the harsh facts of decline, decay and death. To be happy today is to be empowered by means of techniques, instruments and products; to assume greater control over one's life; to diminish one's subjection to misfortune, and to augment one's capacities to act and perform effectively.

The 2015 Session of The Johannesburg Workshop in Theory and Criticism (JWTC) will examine these changes. Of special interest will be the new understandings of mental processes and behaviour as well as the new media and social capacities to intervene into the workings of our bodies and brains, emotions and our mental life to alter them by rational design.



















The 2015 Session will feature a range of local and international speakers, including: Vinh-Kim Nguyen, Julie Livingston, Bronwyn Law-Viljoen, Kaushik Sunder Rajan, Anne Allison, Zen Marie, Behrooz Ghamari, Neo Muyanga, Eileen Moyer, David Goldberg, Lenore Manderson, Jenna Ng, Robert Muponde, Achille Mbembe, Gabrielle Schwab, Françoise Vergès, Garry Wilder, Ghassan Hage, Thembinkosi Goniwe and many others.

JWTC will collaborate this year with WISER's Medical Humanities programme. This is a major research area at WISER, focusing on issues ranging from organ transplantation to transgender and intersexuality to aging, histories of sex and neuroplasticity. The JWTC has received generous financial support from the Goethe Institute, The John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke University, the University of California Humanities Research Unit and WiSER and Wits University.

You are warmly invited to attend a series of public lectures, panels and discussions between the 29th of June and the 8th of July.

Click here for a programme of events.