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Another Round? Towards a New Theory of the Contemporary

Theoretical Explorations Module XVII

Rohit Goel

10 May - 3 June 2023

Wednesdays and Saturdays

8 Sessions

INR 7,500 Participation

INR 10,000 Participation + Writing

6:30 PM IST - 8:30 PM IST 

Worldwide Registration Open

Online via Zoom

Download Course Poster


About the Course

The history of capitalist modernity is one of recurrent cycles of boom and bust – unprecedented growth in economy, politics, life, art eventually declines, only to pave the way for ‘another round’ of high and low (Thomas Vinterberg’s astute film and title), and then another, and another….


We typically conceive ‘the contemporary’ as a time after past cycles of boom and bust, a fresh start, a ‘here and now’ pregnant with possibilities to establish a permanently just future. In this present-as-aftermath version of the contemporary, we enjoy theorizing, protesting, voting, reforming, redistributing, and creating, which, having learnt the lessons of the past, ought ‘never again’ succumb to producing the debilitatingly repetitive cycles of success stunted by failure. But if the history of capitalist modernity has taught us anything, conceiving the contemporary as a rebirth, a lucky break or second chance, has failed to evade this repetition compulsion of capitalist modernity, as our ‘contemporary contemporary’ makes all too clear: today, economic, social, racial, gendered, national, and environmental crises pile up at a rate that far outpaces our well-meaning efforts to overcome them. One step ‘forward’ amounts to two steps ‘back’, while just futures continue to vanish in a rescinding horizon.


And so this course will rethink the contemporary as not simply a time after the past in which we can enjoy another round of trying for justice because we’ve survived past failures, but as a ‘disjunctive’, ‘untimely’ time between, at the threshold, on the edge of past and future, within the time of an ending past and the emergence of a possibly different future. To this end, we’ll read relevant selections from Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Lacan, and Agamben, along with the Slovenian School, while considering what good art looks like in this version of the contemporary: a liminal, threshold, edgy time, full of desire.

About the Professor

Rohit Goel is Director/Professor of the Bombay Institute for Critical Analysis and Research (BICAR). He is the co-editor of Lacan contra Foucault: Subjectivity, Sex, Politics (Bloomsbury) and has taught courses in critical theory, historiography, and politics at the University of Chicago, Sciences Po Paris, the American University of Beirut, and Jnanapravaha Mumbai. Rohit received the Fulbright IIE and Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA) fellowships to pursue years of Arabic language study in Syria and was awarded the Fulbright DDRA and Andrew C. Mellon Fellowship for PhD dissertation research in primary sources in Lebanon. He completed his BA from Harvard College and, as Harvard University’s Paul Williams Fellow to Emmanuel College, was granted an MPhil in Social and Political Sciences from the University of Cambridge. 


Students will receive a Certificate of Completion upon successful attendance of a course or a Certificate of Completion and Letter of Evaluation if they successfully attend and complete the final assignment. Those who complete three courses (attendance and writing) in the Theoretical Explorations track over two calendar years are eligible for a BICAR Diploma in Theoretical Explorations.

Refund Policy

We will refund your mode of payment — minus a 25% processing fee — if you choose not to take this course after the first session. Or, you can ‘roll over’ your balance to another or future BICAR course without a fee deduction.


To register, we can facilitate two modes of payment — either a direct bank transfer to our Indian account or we also have a PayPal link:


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