Humanities on the Edge series, 'The Political Turn' starts March 31

A world-renowned political theorist and an acclaimed historian will round out the spring 2011 schedule for "Humanities on the Edge," a multidisciplinary speaker series at UNL.

The series focusing on theoretical research in the humanities was launched in fall 2010. Featured speakers, who boast groundbreaking work, come from across the humanities disciplines. Organizers aim to bring to UNL the kind of cutting-edge humanities research that will define the future of critical thought.

The theme for the 2010-11 season is "The Political Turn" within the humanities.

Historian and author Sande Cohen will present "Criticism in the Age of Anti-Intellectualism" at 5:30 p.m. March 31. The arts and the humanities have traditionally offered a critical lens through which to think about the world. Cohen's lecture will examine what happens to the ability to think critically in an age in which culture is increasingly reduced to commercial values.

"We supposedly live in the information age of unlimited self-expression," Cohen said. "But such notions are still Whig history -- illusions of progress. In reality, what we are witnessing in the U.S. amounts to the taming of the arts and the humanities."

Ernesto Laclau, an Argentine political theorist and author, will present "The Discursive Construction of Social Antagonisms" at 5:30 p.m. April 21. Laclau, emeritus professor of political theory at the University of Essex and a visiting professor at Northwestern University, is most famous for his work on the theory of democracy. His talk will continue his analysis of the current state of democracy and will concentrate on how unavoidable political conflicts are formed in public discussions. He also will touch on the problem of populism in the contemporary world.

Both lectures will be held at the Sheldon Museum of Art, 12th and R streets.

For more details about the speaker series, visit the series' Facebook page or

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