Celebrating Recent Work by Nico Baumbach

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New Books in the Arts & Sciences:
Celebrating Recent Work by Nico Baumbach

By: Nico Baumbach

Almost fifty years ago, Jean-Louis Comolli and Jean Narboni published the manifesto “Cinema/Ideology/Criticism,” helping to set the agenda for a generation of film theory that used cinema as a means of critiquing capitalist ideology. In recent decades, film studies has moved away from politicized theory, abandoning the productive ways in which theory understands the relationship between cinema, politics, and art. In Cinema/Politics/Philosophy, Nico Baumbach revisits the much-maligned tradition of seventies film theory to reconsider: What does it mean to call cinema political?

In this concise and provocative book, Baumbach argues that we need a new philosophical approach that sees cinema as both a mode of thought and a form of politics. Through close readings of the writings on cinema by the contemporary continental philosophers Jacques Rancière, Alain Badiou, and Giorgio Agamben, he asks us to rethink both the legacy of ideology critique and Deleuzian film-philosophy. He explores how cinema can condition philosophy through its own means, challenging received ideas about what is seeable, sayable, and doable. Cinema/Politics/Philosophy offers fundamental new ways to think about cinema as thought, art, and politics.

About the Author:

Nico Baumbach is associate professor of film and media studies at Columbia University. He holds a Ph.D. in Literature from Duke University. His research and teaching focus on critical theory, film theory, documentary, and the intersection of aesthetic and political philosophy. His first book Cinema/Politics/Philosophy is forthcoming from Columbia University Press. He is currently working on a book titled The Anonymous Image.

About the Speakers:

James Schamus is an award-winning screenwriter (The Ice Storm), producer (Brokeback Mountain), director (Indignation), and former CEO of Focus Features, the motion picture production, financing, and worldwide distribution company whose films have included Moonrise Kingdom, Milk, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Kids are All Right, The Pianist, Coraline, and The Dallas Buyers Club. He is the author of Carl Theodor Dreyer's Gertrud: The Moving Word, published by the University of Washington Press. He earned his BA, MA, and Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Berkeley. He directed the short documentary That Film About Money. Recent producing and executive producing credits include Suffragette, Casting JonBenet and A Prayer Before Dawn.

Bruno Bosteels is professor in LAIC and the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University. His research covers a wide range of topics in literature, culture, and politics in modern Latin America as well as contemporary philosophy and political theory. He is the author of Badiou o el recomienzo del materialismo dialéctico (Palinodia), Alain Badiou: une trajectoire polémique (La Fabrique, translated into German with Laika), Badiou and Politics (Duke), The Actuality of Communism (Verso, translated into German, Korean, and Serbian) and Marx and Freud in Latin America (Verso, Spanish translation with Akal). Between 2005 and 2011 he also served as general editor of Diacritics: Review of Contemporary Thought. He is currently preparing two new books, one on contemporary post-Heideggerian thought, titled Philosophies of Defeat: The Jargon of Finitude (Verso) and the other, The Mexican Commune (Duke). With Joshua Clover he edits the book series "Studies in Literature and Revolution" for Palgrave Macmillan; and with George Ciccariello-Maher the book series "Radical Américas" for Duke University Press. He is also the translator and/or editor of half a dozen books by Alain Badiou, among them Theory of the Subject (Continuum/Bloomsbury), Philosophy for Militants (Verso), Rhapsody for the Theatre (Verso), Wittgenstein's Antiphilosophy (Verso) and The Adventures of French Philosophy (Verso).

Homay King is Professor in the Department of History of Art and Eugenia Chase Guild Chair in the Humanities at Bryn Mawr College. Her fields of specialty include American film history, global post-war film history, and global contemporary art with a focus on lensed and time-based media, with expertise in critical theory, including film theory, psychoanalysis, semiotics, and twentieth-century continental philosophy. She received her doctorate from the Department of Rhetoric at the University of California at Berkeley. Her essays on film, photography, contemporary art, and theory have appeared in the journals Afterall, Camera Obscura, Criticism, Discourse, Film Criticism, Film Quarterly, OCTOBER, and Qui Parle, and numerous edited collections, including the exhibition catalog for China: Through the Looking Glass (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2015). She is a member of the Camera Obscura editorial collective and a co-founder of Bryn Mawr College’s Program in Film Studies.

Rob King, Associate Professor of Film at Columbia University, is a film historian with interests in American genre cinema, popular culture, and social history. Much of his work has been on comedy. His award-winning The Fun Factory: The Keystone Film Company and the Emergence of Mass Culture (University of California Press, 2009) examined the role Keystone’s filmmakers played in developing new styles of slapstick comedy for moviegoers of the 1910s. His recent follow-up, Hokum! The Early Sound Slapstick Short and Depression-Era Mass Culture (University of California Press, 2017), challenges the received wisdom that sound destroyed the slapstick tradition. He has published articles on early cinema, class, and comedy in a number of anthologies and journals, and is the co-editor of three anthologies: Early Cinema and the “National” (John Libbey & Co., 2008), Slapstick Comedy (Routledge, 2010), and Beyond the Screen: Institutions, Networks, and Publics of Early Cinema (John Libbey & Co., 2012). He is also working as co-editor of the Oxford University Press’s Oxford Handbook of Early Cinema, which is scheduled for publication in 2019.