Singularities : Language, Literature, Culture and Philosophy

January 9, 2012 - January 10, 2012
Centre for Linguistics, Jawaharlal Nehru University

212 Committee Room
School of language, Literature and Culture Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University
New Delhi 110067

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National Seminar on

‘Singularities: Language, Literature, Culture and Philosophy,’ on 9th and 10th January 2012.

Organised by Centre for Linguistics, JNU

Supported by Indian Council for Social Science Research

Venue: 212 Committee Room, School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies (SLLCS).


In contemporary philosophical scholarship the notion of ‘Singularity’ has acquired great prominence. Scholars have attempted to define the phenomenon in terms of ‘acausal discontinuity,’ a ‘discontinuous jump,’ an ‘unpredictable event,’ and so on. These definitions can at best be only knowledgeable approximations of the real sense of the notion. However, those who work in the domains of language, literature, cultural studies, and philosophy know how to work with the phenomenon and to apply the notion creatively. The notion was proposed in 20th century philosophy, especially in the works of Heidegger, in the specific context of the finitude of human existence. Singularity, in many of the philosophical works of this period, was conceived of as that which never ceases to erupt in time in response to the diverse states of closure of being, be it that of the human being, community, language or literature. Singularity is thus that which without itself consolidating into a whole, continuously breaks out of a given whole, thus preventing the structural and degenerating closure of the latter. This breaking out has also seen as the birth or emergence of an alternative presence. It is not difficult to see that much of the principal orientations of philosophers like Blanchot, Levinas, Derrida, Gadamer, Nancy and Agamben are hinged on this seminal notion. The notion has been effectively put to use by scholars who work on language from social, cultural and historical perspectives, by literary scholars, and those who have attempted to see community in terms of its continuous dialogical de-/reconstruction. The seminar is open to scholars in India who work and can dwell on the diverse interpretations and practices of this rather ephemeral notion of Singularity.


Monday, 9th January 2012:

Session I: 10 a.m. to 1.15 p.m.

1.       Introduction of the theme of the Seminar.  Franson Manjali, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

2.       Manas Ray, Centre for the Study of Social Sciences, Kolkata, “Against Negation: Suicide, Self-consciousness and Jibanananda Das’ poem, One Day Eight Years Ago.

3.       Abey Koshy, Shri Shankara Sanskrit University, Kalady, "Deciphering the Libidinal Dimensions of Levinasian Ethics"

4.        Debaditya Bhattacharya, Sri Venkateshwara College, New Delhi, “Testifying to the Limits of the ‘event’: Witness-accounts as literature.


Session 2: 2.30 p.m. – 5. 30 p.m.


5.       Soumyabrata Choudhury, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, “Patria-Genealogy of a Singularity.”


6.       Prasenjit Biswas, North Eastern Hill University, Shillong, “The Singularity of Language: Politics of the Impossible and Other Contingencies.”

7.       Vinod Chandran, (Retd.) Sri Kerala Varma College, Thrissur, “Emergence of the ‘Singular’: An Engagement with Alain Badiou’s Theses on Event, Subject and Truth.”

Tuesday, 10th January 2012


Session 1: 10 a.m – 1 p.m.

8.       Saitya Brata Das, Sri Venkateshwara College, New Delhi,On Beatitudes: Towards a Critique of Historical Reason.”

9.       Rustam Singh, Eklavya, Hoshangabad, “Simulating – The Heart Breaking.

10.    Simi Malhotra, Jamia Milia Islamia, Delhi, “Singularities: Traversing popular culture.”

Session 2: 2. 30 p.m. – 5. 30 p.m.


11.    Souvik Mukherjee, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, “Ab(Sense) of An Ending: Telos and Time in Digital Game Narrative.”


12.    F. G. Asenjo, University of Pittsburgh, (in absentia), “The Whole In the Part.”

13.    Achia Anzi, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, “Between Reality and Presentation: the Aesthetic of Map.”

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