Stathis Gourgouris

Stathis Gourgouris is Professor of Classics, English, and Comparative Literature and Society and Director of the Institute of Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia University.  He is the author of Dream Nation (Stanford UP 1996) and Does Literature Think? (Stanford 2003), and editor of Freud and Fundamentalism (Fordham 2010). In May 2012, at the State Library of New South Wales, he gave the Sydney Lectures in Philosophy and Society, which were broadcast on Australian National Radio and are forthcoming as Lessons in Secular Criticism in the Lectures Thinking Out Loud publication series (Fordham UP, 2013). He is currently completing two additional works of secular criticism, The Perils of the One and Nothing Sacred. More Information


Musical Dis-Possessions

This paper follows Edward Said’s thinking about the inherently transgressive nature of music and is part of my broader research project on transgressive listening. Here, I focus on the relation between transgression and displacement or dispossession. Displacement is explored metaphorically in terms of the relation of music to image and reality, while the language of possession in the reality of dispossession is explored in two domains: 1) how Palestinian film-maker Elia Suleiman uses music and image to create a specific gestus in Brecht’s sense; 2) how Mazen Kerbaj, an extraordinary Lebanese trumpeter who is also a recognized graphic artist and part of an experimental scene in Beirut, conceptualizes music and image technologies in conditions of destruction. During the Israeli bombing of Beirut (2006), Kerbaj conducted a diary of sketches on his blog about daily life in a city under siege and released an incredible recording of him improvising on trumpet on this terrace while Israeli planes were bombing the city.