Alain Badiou’s Being and Event, recently translated into English, is a striking and strange addition to the tradition of continental thought. Its key reference points have never before been arranged together: set theoretic mathematics, Mallarmés poetry, Lacanian psychoanalysis and post-Marxist (quasi-Maoist) political thought. Nonetheless, in what is certainly his most important work, Badiou brings these together to form a novel system of thought which in one stroke provides an ontology, an account of the order in being, and the means whereby the subject can change this order.
This course will endeavour to elucidate the structure and central claims of Being and Event. The main lectures will be explicitly devoted to this discussion, while a supplementary class will provide the skeleton of the mathematics that Badiou utilises (these latter classes are highly recommended as illuminative of the main lectures, and why not learn some maths while you’re at it, anyway?).