The Seminar I

The Seminar I: What it Means to Research… (Autumn 2013)

Seminar I examines the nature of the task of writing a thesis, bringing together both philosophical and practical considerations as preparation for reading and writing critically for research. Delivery is designed in itself to challenge what it means to convene a seminar, i.e. what it means to orchestrate a set of readings, frameworks and debates, as well as how one might practically attend to such a task. Thus, in addition to mapping the broader ‘tradition of critique’ underpinning the arts and humanities, the seminar offers a ‘neutral’, deconstructive space for a live reading of epistemological, ethical and political matters.

Schedule & Readings 2013

PLEASE NOTE: sessions take place on different days/times in order to accommodate other relevant research and teaching events. The Seminar sessions run for 2-3 hours per week, over ten weeks in the autumn semester:

Thursday 26 September
Session 1: What is the Doctorate in Philosophy?
This session examines the nature of the PhD as both a lived process and a formally assessed qualification. It also explores the significance of the word ‘philosophy’ in its title.
Set Reading
(1) Woodhouse, M. (2000) ‘Recognizing Philosophical Subject Matter’, A Preface to Philosophy. Wadsworth, pp. 1-19.
See post-session blog-post: A Preface to the PhD

Thursday 3 October
Session 2: Theoria
This session begins to map a tradition of critique, examining various meanings of the term ‘theory’ and its significance to the research process.
Set Reading
(1) Davey, N. (2006) ‘Art and theoria’ in Macleod, K. and Holdridge, L. (ed.) Thinking Through Art: Reflections on Art as Research. Routledge, pp.20-39.
(2) Culler, J. (2000) Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction (Chapter 1). Oxford, pp.1-17.
See post-session blog-post: The Practice of Theory

Wednesday 9 October
Session 3: The Literature Review
This session provides a forum to discuss the early stages of research, in particular developing a literature review. The set reading presents examples of literature reviews to aid discussion.
Set Reading
(1) Mazumdar, R. (2007) ‘Urban Allegories’, Bombay Cinema: An Archive of the City. University of Minnesota Press, pp.xvii-xxxvii.
(2) Manghani, S. (2003) ‘Experimental Text-image Travel Literature’, Theory, Culture & Society, Vol.20, no.3, pp.127-138.
(3) Manghani, S. (2009) ‘Bombay Cinema: An Archive of the City – Ranjani Mazumdar’ (Review) in Film International, Volume 7, Part 1, 2009, pp.67-69.

Thursday 17 October
Session 4: Tradition(s) of Critique 
Set Reading
(1) Culler, J. (2000) Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction (Appendix: Theoretical Schools and Movements). Oxford, pp.121-132.
(2) Simons, J. (2002) ‘Introduction’, From Kant to Lévi-Strauss: The Background to Critical Theory. Edinburgh University Press, pp.1-16.
(3) Connell, M.F. (2002) ‘Hegel’, in Simons (ed.) From Kant to Lévi-Strauss: The Background to Critical Theory. Edinburgh University Press, pp.33-49.

Wednesday 23 October, 1-3pm (PGR room)
Session 5: Public Thinking
Special Guest seminar, ‘Public Thinking’, with Dougald Hine (followed by a Global Futures lecture, ‘Back from the Future’, at 5pm)
Set Reading
(1) Hine, D. ‘Time for Public Thinking‘ (February 2011) – see also: TEDxLondon talk

Thursday 31 October
(No Session)

Thursday 7 November, 5th Base Gallery, 4-6pm
Session 6: Research/Practice
WSA PGR-led exhibition & talk at 5th Base Gallery

Wednesday 13 November, 3-5pm
Session 7: Neurology of the Platonic Ideal
Set Reading
Zeki, S. (1999) ‘The Neurology of the Platonic Ideal’, Inner Vision: An Exploration of Art and the Brain. Oxford University Press, pp.37-49.
Plato, ‘Simile of the Cave’
Aristotle, ‘Origins of Imitation’

Thursday 21 November, 3-5pm
Session 8: The Visual as Argument
DISCUSS: ‘…visual studies remains a field that is mainly engaged with kinds of argument that do not need to make continual, close concerted, dialogic contact with images’  (Elkins)
Set Reading
Elkins, J. (2013) ‘An Introduction to the Visual as Argument’, Elkins, J. et al. (ed.) Theorizing Visual Studies: Writing Through the Disciplines. Routledge, pp.25-60.

Thursday 28 November, 3-5pm
Session 9: Methodologies
Session led by Ashok Ranchhod
Set Reading

Thursday 5 December, 3-5pm
Session 10: Archive Fever

Set Reading
(1) Carolyn Steedman (2001), ‘In the archon’s house’ from Dust (Chapter 1). Manchester University Press, pp. 1-16.
(2) Carolyn Steedman (2001), ‘The space of memory: in an archive’ from Dust (Chapter 4). Manchester University Press, pp. 66-88.
(3) Jacques Derrida, Archive Fever. A Freudian Impression’ (1996). Chicago University Press.
NB. Steedman prefaces her study (in Chapter 1) with reference to a conference in 1994, ‘Memory: The Question of Archives’, held at the Freud Museum in London, for Jacques Derrida gave a keynote address. His lecture has subsequently been published as ‘Archive Fever. A Freudian Impression’ (1996).