10.4. Guest Lecture with Visiting Professor Leszek Koczanowicz: The Anxiety of Modernity – Two Genealogies of Modern Hamartia

The guest lecture will be held at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies Common Room (Fabianinkatu 24, 3rd floor) on 10.4. at 10.15–11.45.

Leszek Koczanowicz, HSSH Visiting Professor and HCAS alumnus, will deliver a guest lecture The Anxiety of Modernity: Two Genealogies of Modern Hamartia on Wednesday April 10.

Time: 10:15 - 11:45 am

Place: Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, Common Room (Fabianinkatu 24A, 3rd floor)

The lecture explores the commonly experienced feeling of being somebody else as one of the most fascinating developments of modernity. As I argue, this feeling results from the axial tendencies of modernity, such as the division of labour, social stratification, the dissolution of commonly endorsed values and the emergence of the individual as a separate social category. Combined, these tendencies produce the ever more widespread belief that one's identity is an alien thing imposed on one from outside. To analyse this condition, I draw on the notion of hamartia, which was coined in ancient poetics. If, in antiquity, hamartia was associated with prominent individuals who failed to recognise their real situation, in modernity, hamartia is democratised and comes to concern almost everybody.

Leszek Koczanowicz is Professor of Cultural Studies and Political Science at Department of Cultural Studies at the SWPS University (Poland). He specializes in theory of culture, social theory, and cultural aspects of politics. His previous appointments include inter alia Wroclaw University, SUNY/Buffalo (1998–1999 and 2000–2001), Columbia University (2004–2005), and SUNY/Geneseo (2013), Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (2015-2016) and Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies (IRES) at Uppsala University (2019).  Leszek Koczanowicz is the author and editor of twelve books and numerous articles in Polish and English, including Politics of Time: Dynamics of Identity in Post-Communist Poland ( Berghahn Books 2008),  Lęk nowoczesny. Eseje o demokracji i jej adwersarzach (Modern Fear: Essays on Democracy and its Adversaries, 2011), and Politics of Dialogue. Non-Consensual Democracy and Critical Community (Edinburgh University Press 2015).  He was an editor (with Idit Alaphandry) Democracy, Dialogue, Memory: Expression and Affect Beyond Consensus (Routledge 2018). His last books to date are Anxiety and Lucidity: Reflections on Culture in Times of Unrest (Routledge 2020) and The Emancipatory Power of the Body in Everyday Life: Niches of Liberation (Palgrave 2023). He is invited as a Member to School of Social Study at Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton for the academic year 2024/25. 

Click here to read more about the HSSH Visiting Professor Program.

Join the HSSH Friends and re­ceive the news­let­ter to your email!

You will find the instructions for joining HSSH Friends here.