How Did We Get to Here? A Conversation with Jeffrey Alexander and Peter Beilharz
This year’s Thesis Eleven Annual Lecture will take the form of a conversation between Professor Jeffrey Alexander (Yale University) and Thesis Eleven Founding Editor, Professor Peter Beilharz. This event is hosted by Thesis Eleven and sponsored by the Greek Centre for Contemporary Culture.
Wednesday June 28, 2023
At the Greek Centre for Contemporary Culture, Melbourne
All welcome, reception to follow the main event
Jeffrey Alexander and Peter Beilharz have been in conversation for thirty years. Drawing on a friendship that spans the personal, sociological and theoretical, this year’s Thesis Eleven Annual Lecture will bring these discussions into a public forum. Together and in person, it will be an opportunity for Jeff and Peter to pick up on the themes that have evoked their mutual interest over the years. Their discussion will address issues of continuity and change since the nineties, glance back to the sixties and take time for serious engagement with the present. This will involve reconsidering hopes and expectations over the past decades and provide the opportunity to revisit the research programs that have emerged to mediate these. The conversation will take several slices of Jeff’s work as a way to open these issues up. They will discuss Jeff’s most recent work, on objects, icons, performance; his momentous work from 2006, The Civil Sphere; and glance back to where all this began.
Jeff and Peter are currently working on a project that will endeavor to coalesce their thirty years of dialogue and conversation into publication form.
Jeffrey Alexander is the Lilian Chavenson Saden Professor of Sociology at Yale University, founder and co-Director of Yale’s Center for Cultural Sociology, and co-editor of the American Journal of Cultural Sociology. Among his recent books are The Drama of Social Life (2016), What Makes a Social Crisis? The Societalization of Social Problems (2019), and Populism in the Civil Sphere (2021, co-edited with Peter Kivisto and Giuseppe Sciortino).
Peter Beilharz is Professor of Critical Theory at Sichuan University. He is Founding Editor of Thesis Eleven. His most recent books are Circling Marx and Intimacy in Postmodern Times, both 2020, and Chain -Toward the Blues and The Photographs of Zygmunt Bauman, with Janet Wolff, both 2023 and The Work of History, with Sian Supski, 2022.
The Thesis Eleven Annual Lectures commenced in 2002. Lecturers have included Bernard Smith, George Markus, Tessa Morris-Suzuki, Joanna Bourke, Maria Pia Lara, Stuart Macintyre, Alastair Davidson, Philippa Mein Smith, George Steinmetz, Ron Jacobs and Eleanor Townsley, Peter Thomas, Krishan Kumar, Keith Tester, Nikos Papastergiadis, Chiara Bottici, Noeleen Murray, Emilia Palonen, Michael Peters, Peter Beilharz and Susan L Robertson. In 2020 there was no lecture, but the Covid Crisis Series online instead.
Cover image: Oceanic (2006), Morel Morton Alexander. From the cover of Jeffrey Alexander’s edited volume: The Civil Sphere in East Asia (2019).