DYSTOPIA–Renowned Danish philosopher Jesper R. Hansen-Storost will be coming to Dystopia College as part of the college’s Visiting Lecturer Series, Provost Eddina Field has announced. Field said it is “a singular honor to have a scholar of his caliber with us here at Dystopia.”
Field admitted that she has not actually read any of his work—“Seriously, who has time?”—but that he “has a lot of letters before and after his name,” so he must be pretty impressive.
Hansen-Storost, a professor of theoretical theory at the University of Helvedesmund in Nådhavn, specializes in post-theory theory and will be speaking on “Spøgelseteori [Ghost Theory] in the Post-Truth Era.” Ghost Theory, a conceptual system developed by the eminent professor, concerns “the continuing influence of theory after its death.” Hansen-Storost explained by phone from Nådhaven that he does not question the “ugly, gasping death” of “theory” in the early 2000s, but believes that its specters are restless, doomed to continue walking the halls of academe until students actually understand them and grasp their point.
He believes that the continuing presence of this Ghost Theory combined with the current post-truth climate will result in a situation in which scholars “feel compelled to continue pursuing non-existent truth,” but will do so in vain because, whereas in earlier times there was “a slippery play” among “arbitrary signifiers,” those signifiers “did at least point, even if it wasn’t clear toward what.” Now, however, in the post-truth era, “basically, signifiers will not even try to point at anything, not even suppressed psychic drives, not even archetypes of the collective unconscious, and not-truth (complicated by the absence of truth by which to define it by means of opposition) will become the opiate of the masses, including the disenfranchised minorities who have previously imagined that the world at large could be made to give even a single fuck.”
In addition to giving the lecture, which the public is welcome to attend, Hansen-Storost will be visiting several classes in the English department and meeting informally with students, according to Dept. Chair Donna B. Askenme.
Asst. Prof. of English and Literary Theory Si R. Faze, one of the professors whose classes Hansen-Storost will be visiting, said he is “not unhappy” about the chance for his students to meet and talk with a scholar who has achieved such eminence, adding, however, that he is puzzled about why his own superior theoretical work has received little notice.
Senior English major Rich Kidd and Adjunct Prof. of English Will Bardly both lamented that they will not be able to attend the lecture or meet with the visiting scholar because of their current incarceration but said they hope to watch the video afterward. Junior Beyonda Real and sophomore Marc Bywords, however, said they will attend and are “quite excited about it, actually.” They said they have read “a little” of Hansen-Storost’s work and found it fascinating, despite its difficulty. Further questioning led to the admissions that Real checked out one of the scholar’s books from the Dusty Booker Library but never got past the introduction, and Bywords “just Googled some summaries.” Nevertheless, they said they are eager to meet Hansen-Storost, “partly to hear what he has to say, but mainly, you know, just to say we did.”
After the lecture, Hansen-Storost will meet informally with students and faculty at The Dead Albatross, the popular local pub. Bartender Sam Smartt, who has not only read but also memorized most of Hansen-Storost’s work, said the scholar’s theories are compelling, but that there seem to be some gaps in logic that he is eager to discuss with the professor. In preparation for the event, he said, the bar has been well stocked with Carlsberg beer and Akvavit, the latter of which he would personally describe as “nasty.”
Asst. Prof. of English Owen Hornblower will be handling the arrangements for the gathering from the college’s end, Smartt said.
T. Allen Culpepper