Pheng Cheah Ph.D. ’98 to deliver Culler Theory Lecture

This year’s Culler Theory Lecture at the Society for the Humanities will examine philosophical accounts of the ways in which we organize the concept of reality.

Entitled “Beyond the World as Picture: Worlding and Becoming the Whole World [devenir tout le monde],” the Culler Lecture will be delivered by Pheng Cheah Ph.D. ’98, professor of rhetoric at the University of California at Berkeley. The talk will take place in the A.D. White House Guerlac Room at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 20, and will be followed by a reception. This event is free and open to the public, and no registration is required.

A scholar of multiple humanities disciplines with expertise in late 18th–20th century continental philosophy and contemporary critical theory, Cheah’s talk will address 20th century German philosopher Martin Heidegger’s essay, “Die Zeit des Weltbildes” (The Age of the World Picture” or “The Age of the World View”), along with ideas put forth by French scholars Deleuze and Guattari. A brief abstract for the lecture is located on the Cornell Events Calendar.

The Society for the Humanities hosts the Culler Lecture annually, as a form of acknowledging the Society’s ongoing legacy of promoting the value of critical theory. The selection of Cheah as this year’s Culler Theory Lecturer holds special relevance, as Cheah co-authored “Grounds of Comparison: Around the Work of Benedict Anderson” (Routledge, 2004) with Jonathan Culler, Class of 1916 Professor Emeritus in the Department of Literatures in English (A&S).

Event poster: Beyond the World as Picture

Cheah holds a Ph.D. in literatures in English from Cornell. His books include “What Is a World? On Postcolonial Literature as World Literature” (Duke University Press, 2016); “Inhuman Conditions: On Cosmopolitanism and Human Rights” (Duke University Press, 2007); and “Spectral Nationality: Passages of Freedom from Kant to Postcolonial Literatures of Liberation” (Columbia University Press, 2003). He is co-editor of several book collections.

Cheah will also offer a lunchtime workshop for humanities graduate students on March 21 from 12-2 p.m., entitled "The Nonhuman: Worlding and Critiques of the Anthropocene." The workshop, said Cheah, will “explore the converges and differences between the Heideggerian concept of worlding and recent critiques of the Anthropocene. What are the conceptual distinctions between the non-human as an ontological issue, the more-than-human and the entanglement of human beings and non-human beings? Why are these distinctions important and what are some of their ethical and political implications?”

To register for the workshop, interested graduate students should email Chloe Wray ( by Tuesday, March 19. Readings will be circulated in advance, and lunch is provided.

Julie Mclean is Program Manager for the Society for the Humanities.

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