Irony and Excellence after the Enlightenment? Yeah, Right. Sure.

Thursday, January 17, 2013
5:30 pm Reception; 6:00 pm Discussion

Irony and Excellence after the Enlightenment?  Yeah, Right. Sure.
Matthew Girson and H. Peter Steeves

Matthew Girson, Associate Professor of Art, Media and Design at DePaul, and H. Peter Steeves,Professor of Philosophy at DePaul, will lead a public participatory discussion about art’s status in a postmodern age.

When modernity and the Enlightenment project revealed their final stages—a move toward irony, a rejection of authority, and a willingness to put the past aside—what became of art?  And what became of our ability to talk about excellence, merit, and quality in art?  An ironic culture may seem different from all that came before it, and yet, there are ways in which irony has, in some form or another, always been part of Western culture.  Together, Girson and Steeves hope to flesh out some of the important questions concerning the status of art—and questions of value—in a fully-ironic postmodern age.

The experimental format for this event is a “public and participatory discussion.”  Girson and Steeves will not read prepared lectures but will, instead, have a conversation with each other.  After the groundwork is laid, the audience will be invited to join in the conversation rather than wait for the traditional Q&A period.  It is hoped that this format will allow everyone to think together about irony and excellence, toward a common goal, with a common purpose.

Matthew Girson
, a 2005-2006 Humanities Center Faculty Fellow, is Associate Professor and teaches all levels of painting and drawing in DePaul’s Department of Art, Media and Design.  He also teaches for the Honors program and has offered courses in the First Year Program.  His artworks have been exhibited locally, nationally, and internationally.  Recently, an article that he wrote on Holocaust representation appeared in Lessons & Legacies XII, published jointly by the Holocaust Education Foundation and Northwestern University.

H. Peter Steeves is a Professor in the department of Philosophy at DePaul University and a 2001-2002 Humanities Center Faculty Fellow. His main areas of teaching and research include phenomenology, ethics, social-political philosophy, and the philosophy of science.  His books include The Things Themselves: Phenomenology and the Return to the Everyday, (SUNY Press, 2006), Animal Others: On Ethics, Ontology, and Animal Life (SUNY, 1999), and Founding Community: A Phenomenological-Ethical Inquiry (Kluwer, 1998). Steeves is currently working on a variety of research topics, including the origin of life, postmodern aesthetics, the nature of mourning, and cosmology.

This event is free and open to the public. Parking is available at the Sheffield Parking Facility located at 2335 N. Sheffield and in the Clifton Parking Deck located at 2330 N. Clifton. Contact DePaul Parking Services (773-325-7275) for rates.