18 August to 22 August 2013

The Philosophy of Walter Benjamin

Introduction: The German Jewish philosopher and cultural critic Walter Benjamin (1892-1940) is widely acknowledged as the thinker whose writings and thoughts are essential to our understanding of modernity. The tradition of European philosophy and literature is the proper context of Benjamin's thoughts and writings, Berlin and Paris serve as its locus par excellence. Benjamin's writings offer invaluable analyses, lucid observations, and bright new interpretations and perspectives of nineteenth and twentieth century art, architecture, and thought. His observations and discussions of core problems and central figures in the expressions of continental thought are reflected in his many writings.

The Amsterdam summer programme on Walter Benjamin aims to address the philosophical basis of his writings. The topics to be discussed will include: the nature and task of language; the conception of experience, memory, and tradition; the idea of life; translation, history, and the task of the translator; Goethe's Wahlverwandtschaften; motives in Baudelaire; myth, law, and life in Kafka; waiting, remembrance, eternal return, and the future of philosophy.

Co-organisers: The Faculty of Philosophy, VU University, Amsterdam; The Jewish Adult Education Centre ‘Crescas', Amsterdam, The Amsterdam- Maastricht Summer University and Felix Meritis.

Application: Please complete the AMSU application form on the right top of this page. As soon as your form will be received our administration will send you a message with information about the course fee payment. Once the payment is received your registration will be completed and your place secured. 

University Students are entitled to a discounted fee of 195,00 Euro and to receive ECTS. If you are a student and wish to appy please send us an email and you will receive information about the students' application procedure.

Deadline for application: A few places are still available and they will be allocated on the first come first served basis. We therefore invite you to send us your application form as soon as possible.

Dates: 18 - 22 August 2013
Capacity: 25
Language of Instruction: English
Location: Felix Meritis, Keizersgracht 324, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Fee: 695,00 Euro.
Grant: Reduced fee of 195,00 Euro for University students
Credit points: This course entitles to ECTS
Registration: Sunday the 18th of August 2013 at 14:00

Information/ contact details:
Mr. Ruggero Lala,
Director of Programmes.
The Amsterdam-Maastricht Summer University - AMSU.
P.O. Box 53066. NL-1007 RB Amsterdam. The Netherlands
Tel: +31 (0)20 620 0225; Fax: +31 (0)20624 9368
Email: office@amsu.edu


Sunday, 18th of August 2013 
14:00 - 15:00 Participants Registration
15:00 - 17:30 Introduction to the programme
Reinier Munk - Opening: "Über das Programm der kommenden Philosophie"
Eli Friedlander - How can philosophy emerge from the Paris arcades?
Vivian Liska - The legacy of Benjamin's messianism; Agamben and other contenders
Welcome drinks

Monday, 19th of August 2013
09:30 - 17:00 
Eli Friedlander - Morning lecture: The role of language in Benjamin's philosophy
Reinier Munk - Morning reading: parts of "On Language as such and on the Language of Man" concerning the form of the realization of the task of man in language and its relation to Benjamin's conception of revelation
Vivian Liska - Afternoon lecture: Benjamin's dialectic of attentiveness
Eli Friedlander - Afternoon Reading: Image, archetype, dialectics at a standstill, commentary - The Arcades Project: selections from convolute N (pp. 460-464)
From 17:00 - Social and Cultural programme

Tuesday, 20th of August 2013
09:30 - 17:00 
Vivian Liska - Morning Lecture: The Translator - Benjamin's translation-essay (in comparison with Blanchot)
Reinier Munk - Morning reading: Parts of Epistemo-Critical Prologue of Trauerspiel
Eli Friedlander - Afternoon lecture and reading: Benjamin's essay on Goethes Wahlverwandtschaften, in particular the relation of life, beauty and semblance in the work of art and the notion of the expressionless
From 17:00 - Social and Cultural programme

Wednesday, 21st of  August 2013
09:30 - 17:00 
Eli Friedlander - Morning Lecture: The concept of experience, the transmission of experience, experience and memory, experience and tradition
Reinier Munk - Morning Reading: "Experience and Poverty", parts of "Some Motifs in Baudelaire" concerning the factor of shock in the transformation of experience
Eli Friedlander - Afternoon Reading and lecture: parts of "Paris of the Second Empire in Baudelaire", The Arcades Project: Convolutes H (The Collector), I (The Interior, the Trace) and M (The Flâneur)
From 17:00 - Social and Cultural programme

Thursday, 22nd of August 2013
09:30 - 17:00 
Reinier Munk - Morning Lecture and Reading: Myth, Law and the articulation of life in Kafka - Benjamin on Kafka (including the Benjamin-Scholem-correspondence on Kafka)
Eli Friedlander - Afternoon Reading and lecture: on waiting, remembrance, eternal return - ‘Fate and Character', Selections from the "Berlin Childhood around 1900", and The Arcades Project: Convolutes D (Boredom, Eternal Return)
Reinier Munk - closing remarks: "Über das Programm der kommenden Philosophie"
Certificates awarding and farewell drinks.

Course Leaders & Lecturers:

Reinier Munk
is professor of Modern Philosophy and Modern Jewish philosophy at the  Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. He is also editor of the book series Amsterdam Studies in Jewish Philosophy and Studies in German Idealism.

Eli Friedlander
is professor of philosophy at Tel Aviv University. He received his PhD from Harvard University. His recent book Walter Benjamin: A Philosophical Portrait draws together Benjamin's corpus of writings so as to present it as a rigorous configuration of philosophy with an overarching coherence and a deep-seated commitment to engage the philosophical tradition.

Vivian Liska
is professor of German literature and director of the Institute of Jewish Studies at the University of Antwerp. Her main academic work focuses on modern German literature, German-Jewish thought, feminist theory, and modernism. Liska's critical work has dealt with, among others, Walter Benjamin, Franz Kafka and Hanna Arendt.

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