Graduate Seminars

Graduate Seminars are four-week graduate courses that reach across disciplines. They are led by distinguished scholars and artists in residence who also deliver lectures and take part in public events on campus. In some cases these seminars will be coordinated with emerging campus programs, such as Religious Studies, or to the Townsend Center Initiatives, which now include Thinking the Self; Music & Sound; Human Rights; and Global Urban Humanities.


Bollas book cover
Exploring the work of psychoanalyst Christopher Bollas

Influential psychoanalyst Christopher Bollas is scholar-in-residence at the Townsend Center the first week of November 2016. This seminar discusses work on unconscious perception of objects and on fractured unconsciousness.

Past Seminars

Folio from a Ragamala (Garland of Melodies), Los Angeles County Museum of Art

This seminar explores specific understandings of the human mind, its faculties, functions, and modes of action and integration, as expressed in literary and philosophical texts from South India over the last two millennia.

Ocampo and Tagore: the Last Farewell, Paris, May 1930

Beatriz Sarlo is a scholar of Latin American literature and culture and one of the most important Argentine literary and cultural critics of the last 40 years. Her four-week seminar meeting in November 2015 will examine the discourse on travel as a way to account for different symbolic, political, social, and ethnic experiences.

Image from the play, Ubu and the Truth Commission

Jane Taylor holds the Wole Soyinka Chair of Drama and Theatre Studies at Leeds University. Her five-week graduate seminar meeting in spring 2015 will construct a framework for considering sincerity and performance in both historical and modern contexts.

Book Cover: Moved by the Past by Eelco Runia

Avenali Chair in the Humanities Eelco Runia is currently in the Department of History at the University of Groningen and chair of the Centre for Metahistory. Beginning with Victor Hugo’s remark that “a revolution is a return from the fictitious to the real,” this four-week seminar will consider how Hugo’s words fundamentally question what might be called the realist project and contain a thought-provoking theory about how sublime historical events come about.

Kienholz work titled Five Car Stud

Lawrence Weschler is director emeritus of the New York Institute for the Humanities and former staff writer of The New Yorker. His four-week graduate seminar meeting in spring 2014 will use Edward Kienholz's Five Car Stud as a point of departure to examine the convergence of class, race, sex and violence across America.

Self Book by Catherine Malabou

Catherine Malabou is professor of philosophy at the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University in London. Her four-week graduate seminar meeting in spring 2014 will provide a philosophical approach to central questions of memory, repetition, erasure and change.