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Slavoj Zizek with Eric Dean Rasmussen The Last Hegelian: An Interview with Slavoj Zizek One ofthe most prolific thinkers alive, Slavoj ¿izek has written over two-dozen books rangingfrom Lacan, Kant, Hegel, and Deleuze, to Hitchcock, David Lynch, and Krzystof Kieslowski. Born in 1949 in Slovenia, then part of the Socialist Federal Republic ofYugoslavia, ¿izek was educated at the University ofLjubljana (BA, philosophy and sociology, 1971; MA, philosophy, 1975; DA, philosophy, 1981) and at the Université Paris-VIII (DA, philosophy, 1985). ¿izek ran as pro-reform candidatefor the presidency ofSlovenia in thefirst democratic election in 1990 and served as the Republic's ambassador ofscience in 1991 following Slovenia's declaration ofindependence. Since 1979, he has been on thefaculty at the University of Ljubljana.¿izek burst on the U.S. critical scene with The Sublime Object of Ideology (Verso, 1989). In his earlyworks, helinkedLacan andpopularculturein suchbooksas Looking Awry: An Introduction to Jacques Lacan Through Popular Culture (MTT P, 1991); For They Know Not What They Do: Enjoyment as a Political Factor (Verso, 1991); Enjoy the Symptom! Jacques Lacan in Hollywood and Out (Routledge, 1992); Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Lacan (But Were Afraid to Ask Hitchcock) (Verso 1992; 1996). Among his later books that have dealt more with moral and political issues are Tarrying With the Negative: Kant, Hegel, and the Critique of Ideology (Duke, 1993); The Ticklish Subject: The Absent Centre of Political Ontology (Verso, 1999); The FragileAbsolute: Or Why the ChristianLegacy is Worth FightingFor (Verso, 2000); Did Someone Say Totalitarianism?: Four Interventions in the Misuse of a Notion (Verso, 2001); On Belief (Routledge, 2001); Welcome to the Desert of the Real (Wooster P, 2001); The Puppet and the Dwarf: The Perverse Core of Christianity (MIT P, 2002). 2003 saw two single-volume books dedicated to¿izek: Tony Myers' Slavoj Zizek (Routledge) and Sarah Kay's Ziiek: A Critical Introduction (Blackwell). The Zizek Reader (Blackwell) was published in 1999 and Conversations with Zizek (Blackwell) appeared in 2004. This interview took place in Chicago, IL on 29 September2003. It was conducted by Eric Dean Rasmussen, a graduate student at University ofIllinois - Chicago. Eric Dean Rasmussen: In The Puppet and the Dwarf, one of your theoretical maxims is that "in our politically correct times, it is always advisable to start with the set of unwritten prohibitions that define the positions one is allowed to adopt." You argue that, although proclamations for various forms of multiculturalist spirituality are currently in vogue, professing "serious" religious beliefs—that is, proclaiming one's faith devoutly and unironically—is an unwritten prohibition, at least in academia. Do you really think that expressing sincere belief is so taboo in public discourse, at least in the United States? In fad, aren't we witnessing a resurgence 80 the minnesota review of fundamentalism? Slavoj Zizek: No, no I don't think this is any longer the unwritten rule. I think that what we usually refer to as the "post-secular turn" really designates not quite the opposite tendency, but that some kind of spirituality is again "in," even in academic circles. For example, in one of the predominant orientations, so-called deconstructionism, with ifs traditional ontotheology —where you assert God as a supreme being and so on—is over. But then you play all of these games—there is no God, but there is some absence, a void, calling us, confronting us with our finitude. There is, as Lévinas would put it, a radical Otherness confronting us with the absolute responsibility, ethical injunction, all that. So, what interests me is precisely this kind of—how should I put it?—disavowed spirituality. It is amusing to follow the more detailed ramifications of these rules— what is prohibited, what is not. For example, this abstract Jewish spirituality is in; in other circles, some kind of pagan spirituality is in. Of course these are in clear contrast to "mainstream" America, the Bible Belt, where you get more orthodox belief. But even there, belief already functions in a different way. The so-called moral majority fundamentalism is—to put it in slightly speculative Hegelian terms—the form of the appearance of its opposite . Let's be serious: Nobody will convince me...


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