Antrittsvorlesung von Hugh J. Silverman, Professor für Philosophy und vergleichende Literatur- und Kulturwissenschaften, Stony Brook University, New York im Rahmen der Fulbright-Professur am Institut für Kunst- und Kulturwissenschaften.Filmstill von Kate Winslet und David Kross in "The Reader", 2008
Giorgio Agamben, in Homo Sacer and States of Exception, is concerned primarily with those states of exception -- life and death situations -- in which persons are stripped of their bios (their humanity) in favor of pure zoe (bare life in its most rudimentary forms). But can there be a post-state of exception? What would it look like? How can a society live with the differences? How do the traces of a former society pervaded with a state of exception (Ausnahmezustand) reinscribe themselves in a society that follows? Can the post-state of exception society overcome its prior state? In light of these modern versions, will there be a way to think prior states of exception in order to mark the aporias of the present age and to think the contemporary marked by the persistent traces of the recent past? Some familiar ancient stories that populate contemporary thinking and three recent films (Das Leben der Anderen , Good Night and Good Luck, and Der Vorleser) shall help us articulate the aporetic and the postmodern inscriptions of difference in the modern.