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CAMRI seminar
Clint Burnham: The Subject Supposed to LOL: Slavoj Žižek and the Event 
of the Internet
Wed, 28/1, 14:00
Univ of Westminster
Harrow Campus
Room A7.01

Registration is possible by e-mail to [log in to unmask]


Is the Internet an Event? Does it constitute, as Žižek argues an Event 
should, a reframing of our experience, a retroactive re-ordering of 
everything we thought we knew about the social but were afraid to ask 

In this talk Clint Burnham will engage with Žižek’s recent work (Less 
than Nothing, Event, Absolute Recoil) as a way to argue, first, that in 
order to understand the Internet, we need Žižek’s “immaterial 
materialism,” and, in turn, to understand Žižek’s thought and how it 
circulates today, we need to think through digital culture and social 

As regards the Internet, then, no cynical disavowal, no 
Facebook cleanses, no shutting off the wifi: les non-dupes errent, or 
those who distance themselves from social media and the like are the 
most deceived. Next: the Internet’s two bodies: digital culture is both 
the material world of servers, clouds, stacks and devices and the 
virtual or affective world of liking, networking, and the mirror stage 
of the selfie. And here we must confront the “obscene underside” of 
digital culture: not only the trolls, 4chan porn, and gamergate bro’s, 
but also the old fashioned exploitation of labour, be it iPhone 
assembly-line workers at Foxconn, super-exploited “blood coltan” miners 
in the Congo, “like farmers” in India, or social media scrubbers in the 
Phillipines, who ensure your feeds are “clean” of porn, beheadings, and 
other #NSFW matter. These last concerns, then, mean we also have to 
think about what Žižek calls the “undoing of the Event” of the Internet, 
the betrayal of the Internet, its diseventalization.

Clint Burnham teaches in the department of English at Simon Fraser 
University, Vancouver, Canada. He is the author of more than a dozen 
books of criticism, poetry, and fiction, including The Jamesonian 
Unconscious: The Aesthetics of Marxist Theory (1995), The Only Poetry 
that Matters: Reading the Kootenay School of Writing (2011), editor 
(with Lorna Brown) of the public art catalogue Digital Natives (2011), 
and editor (with Paul Budra) of From Text to Txting: New Media in the 
Classroom (2012). His essay “Slavoj Žižek as Internet Philosopher” is in 
the recent Palgrave collection Žižek and Media Studies (eds. Matthew 
Flisfeder and Louis-Paul Willis), and he is currently writing a book on 
Žižek and digital culture called Does the Internet have an Unconscious? 
In the winter of 2014-15 he is living and working in Vienna as part of a 
residency with the Urban Subjects collective.

Forthcoming talks (open for registration)

Feb 4: Marisol Sandoval - From Corporate to Social Media: Critical 
Perspectives on Corporate Social Responsibility in Media and 
Communication Industries


Feb 11: Justin Lewis - Beyond Consumer Capitalism: A Movie Screening and 
Q&A with Justin Lewis