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Independent Reading Groups

In the spirit of the Institute, IPLAI reading groups are not-for-credit innovative, interdisciplinary programs of exploration that cross boundaries and ask big questions. They are created and convened by McGill students and faculty for their colleagues and thus are open to any and all McGill students, staff and faculty. Participants are not required to have existing expertise in the subject. A keen curiosity is enough. For more information on a particular group, or to join that group, please contact that group's convenor.

Winter 2015 Series

Improvisation, Collective Action, and the Arts of Activism.

This reading group proposes to explore the relationship between improvisatory practices and social transformation. What are the dimensions of collective action that improvisatory arts bring to the fore? Why is the trope of musical and theatrical improvisation repeatedly invoked by a variety of actors engaged in processes of social change? What forms of agency do improvisatory forms of art open up for inquiry? What modes of poiesis, both political and aesthetic, do they render perceptible? How might the uses of arts-based improvisational categories in studies of extra-artistic phenomena contribute to the reconfiguration of the ostensibly discrete boundaries between aesthetics and politics, theory and action, research and practice? For more information please contact Ila Carrillo Rodriguez (illa [dot] carrillorodriguez [at] mcgill [dot] ca). Tuesdays 3-5pm Mctavish 21-6.  Reading List -- PDF icon winter_2015_iplai_reading_group_proposal.pdf

Jacobi, Schelling, and Baader: The Controversy on the Divine Things

The aim of the reading group is to analyse and discuss the writings of F.H. Jacobi (1743-1819), Franz von Baader (1765-1841), and F.W.J. Schelling (1775-1854). In the wake of Kant’s redefinition of the relation between reason and religion, these thinkers struggled with questions concerning the nature of religious experience, the possibility of revelation, the uses and limits of human reason, the social and historical function of religion, among other issues. By helping define the major themes and debates of post-Kantian idealism, they occupy a major place in modern philosophical historiography, and have in recent times become the subject of renewed interest among scholars and philosophers. Given their far-reaching influence, these thinkers should attract a wide readership across the humanities at McGill. The prospect of the reading group has already attracted the interest of students and faculty members from Religious Studies, Philosophy, Islamic Studies, Russian and German Literature, and CREOR. For more information, please contact Hadi Fakhoury (hadi.fakhoury.mail.mcgill.ca). Wednesdays (every other week), 5:30-7:30pm, Senior Common Room Birks Building. Reading list -- PDF icon iplai_w15_-_jacobi_schelling_and_baader.pdf

Reading the Bible as Political and Legal Text III

The purpose of this group is not to read the Bible as a devotional text, but rather as a political and legal one. Reading the Bible in this way is important because it provides the basis for a more thorough understanding of the ideas on which the western political and legal formations are grounded. This reading group has two main functions. First, it is to confront the biblical text within its own canonical context. The focus of our attention will be on reading and discussing the text itself. Secondly, it is to explore and discuss together the relevance of biblical thought and ideas to political and legal thought. For more information please contact Blair Major (blair [dot] major [at] mail [dot] mcgill [dot] ca). Tuesdays 12:30-2pm, Ferrier 422. (every other week). Reading list -- PDF icon reading_the_bible_as_a_political_and_legal_text_iplai.pdf


Fall 2014 Series

Alain Badiou: Being and Event

Jacques Lacan: Ecrits, Part II

Reading the Bible as a Political and Legal Text II

The Early Modern World: Works in Progress


The submission deadline for Winter 2015 Reading Groups is 28 November 2014. Click here for proposal instructions.