15 September 2022, 6-8pm (Charles Wilson Lecture Theatre, University of Glasgow, 3 Kelvin Way, Glasgow G12 8NN)

Professor Jack Halberstam (Columbia University), 'Unworlding: An Aesthetics of Collapse'

How can concepts such as the human, subject, object or animal be tipped out of their hierarchical formations? How can they form new orders of meaning and relations to one another? The major philosophical traditions of the last century, presume a totality of things, a form of being that exists through the sorting of subjects from objects, objects from things and things from unseen forces. And while world” and “life” seem to offer vectors for utopian thinking (“another world is possible”), these totalizing concepts have also been predicated upon anti-Blackness and from the elevation of the human above all other forms of life. Rather than holding out for new worlds, revitalized notions of life, or remade utopian dreams, this lecture begins with the premise that world-making, as currently conceived, can only proceed by way of unworlding or world unmaking. The talk follows a series of aesthetic experiments from the 1970’s to the present that revel in collapse, destruction and ruination.


Jack Halberstam, 'Unworlding: An Aesthetics of Collapse' (Gifford Lecture) imageJack Halberstam is Professor of Gender Studies and English at Columbia University. Halberstam is the author of seven books including: Skin Shows: Gothic Horror and the Technology of Monsters (Duke UP, 1995), Female Masculinity (Duke UP, 1998), In A Queer Time and Place (NYU Press, 2005), The Queer Art of Failure (Duke UP, 2011), Gaga Feminism: Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal (Beacon Press, 2012) and, a short book titled Trans*: A Quick and Quirky Account of Gender Variance (University of California Press). Halberstam’s latest book, 2020 from Duke UP is titled Wild Things: The Disorder of DesirePlaces journal awarded Halberstam its Arcus/Places Prize in 2018 for innovative public scholarship on the relationship between gender, sexuality and the built environment. Halberstam is now finishing a second volume on wildness titled: Unworlding: An Aesthetics of Collapse. Halberstam was recently the subject of a short film titled So We Moved by Adam Pendleton which played at MoMA through January 30, 2022.