Speaking of Light

My talk from last Tuesday at the Institute for Advanced Study here at Durham is available as an .mp3 here. Here’s the abstract for the talk:

In 2001, U.S. vice-president Dick Cheney argued in an interview how the American government would have to learn “spend time in the shadows” and work on the “dark side.” This paper traces a long thinking of power in terms of light and transcendence from Plato’s notion of the good beyond being in The Republic through to the Sun King of early modernity and looks at how power’s invocation of darkness is part and parcel of the end of thinking power’s transcendence, given the utter immanence of nationalistic thinking that is the story of sovereignty in the modern period.

I used a power point and reference it (I talk about the aesthetics of Zero Dark Thirty and 24), which is here.

Amazingly I managed months after giving that abstract to cover much of that, except instead of the Republic I turned to the “nocturnal council” of the Laws. Also, the IAS has all recordings from its talks here, going back to 2008: there are some really good talks, for example, on time that I’ll be downloading.

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