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Primo Levi, The West, and the Rest

25Oct(Oct 25)6:00 pm28(Oct 28)6:00 pmPrimo Levi, The West, and the Rest6:00 pm - 6:00 pm (28)(GMT+00:00) Asia Society, 725 Park AvenuePrimo Levi ForumPrimo Levi Forum

Event Details

Centro Primo Levi 4th International Symposium 

October 25 at 5 pm

Primo Levi, The West and the Rest

Marc Nichanian (Sabancı University), Mahmood Mamdani (Columbia University), Gil Anidjar (Columbia University), Uri Cohen (Columbia University), Gayatri Spivak (Columbia University), Manuela Consonni (Hebrew University). With the participation of Michael Moore (translator of The Drowned and the Saved)

8:00 pm  – The Transparency of the Word. 

Multimedia performance (US Premiere). Music by Andrea Liberovici, text by Emilio Jona freely based on Primo Levi’s writings. Imaging by Controluce Teatro d’Ombre.

Performed by Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne* conducted by Lorraine Villaincourt. Le NEM will also appear at the Americas Society on October 27th with a different program.

October 28th  | 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm

After the Survivor 

Manuela Consonni  (Hebrew University), Gil Anidjar (Columbia University), Uri Cohen (Columbia University)

In Translation: Japan and Korea

Carol Gluck (Columbia University), Marco Belpoliti (University of Bergamo), John Treat (Yale University), Robert Gordon (Cambridge University), Michael Moore (translator of The Drowned and the Saved).


Marc Nichanian was Professor of Armenian Studies at Columbia University from 1996 to 2007 and is currently Visiting Professor at Sabanci University, Istanbul, in the Department of Cultural Studies. As editor of the Armenian language series GAM, a philosophical reviewhe published six volumes from 1980 to 2005. His recent publications in French include La Perversion historiographique, Paris: Leo Scheer, 2006 (translated into English by Gil Anidjar, The Historiographic Perversion, New York: Columbia University, 2008), and a three-volume study, Entre l’art et le témoignage (Geneva: MétisPresse, 2006-2008), on Armenian literature in the 20th century, of which the first volume was already available in English: Writers of Disaster (London: Gomidas, 2002). He has translated Walter Ben­jamin, Friedrich Nietzsche, Ernst Jünger, Maurice Blanchot, Jean-Luc Nancy, among others, into Armenian.

Mahmood Mamdani is the Herbert Lehman Professor of Government. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1974 and specializes in the study of African history and politics. He has received numerous awards and recognitions, including being listed as one of the “Top 20 Public Intellectuals” by Foreign Policy (US) and Prospect (UK) magazine in 2008. His essays have appeared in the New Left Review and the London Review of books, among other journals. He teaches courses on: major debates in the study of Africa; the modern state and the colonial subject; the Cold War and the Third World; the theory, history, and practice of human rights; and civil wars and the state in Africa. He is the author of many publications including When Victims Become Killers: Colonialism, Nativism and Genocide in Rwanda, Princeton University Press, Princeton, N.Y.,  Cape Town, London (2001), and Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics, and the War on Terror, Pantheon, New York (2009).

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak is University Professor at Columbia University.  She received her B.A. in English from Presidency College, Calcutta, 1959 and Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Cornell University, 1967. Her field of interest is the humanities in globalization and feminism.  She is the author of many books including In Other Worlds: Essays in Cultural Politics (1987; 2002), A Critique of Postcolonial Reason: Toward a History of the Vanishing Present (1999), and Other Asias (2005). Among Prof, Spivak’s articles that have sparked interest and debate worldwide are: “Subaltern Studies: Deconstructing Historiography” (1985),  “Can the Subaltern Speak?” (1988), “The Politics of Translation” (1992), “Righting Wrongs” (2003), and “Translating into English” (2005).

Gil Anidjar teaches in the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies and the Department of Religion at Columbia University. He is currently a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. He has written on Primo Levi in The Jew, the Arab: A History of the Enemy (Stanford UP, 2003).

Uri Cohen is a professor of Modern Hebrew Literature and Israeli culture at Columbia University. He is the author of Survival: Senses of Death between the World Wars in Italy and Palestine as well as a novel “Resting in Peace” and a documentary film “Ida Fink Traces of a Life” (Jerusalem Festival 2004), his book on the poetics of Orly Castel Bloom is about to appear. He has published on variety of topics that range from the prose of Primo Levi to Israeli cinema. Has edited and introduced the translation of Giorgio Agamben’s Remnants of Auschwitz into Hebrew and is currently writing on Hebrew cultures of war.

Manuela Consonni is professor of Italian Culture and Literature and of Modern and Contemporary Jewish History at the  Hebrew University Jerusalem. She is the Head of the Italian Studies Program at the Department of Romance and Latin American Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She wrote a monograph on the Memory of the Deportation and Extermination in Italy between 1945-1985. She published extensively on Jewish-Christian Relations after WW II, on Memory and Identity Issues, and on Gender questions. Her current research has the working title “Bracketing Death: Philosophical and Anthropological Analysis of Death and the History of the Shoah”. The research project combines the classical sources of the Shoah with a philosophical-anthropological analysis of Death. At the Hebrew University, she is part of the Editorial Board of the Journal “Italia – On the History and the Literature of Italian Jewry”.

Robert S. C. Gordon has taught at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. He is currently Reader in Modern Italian Culture at Cambridge and Fellow of Gonville and Caius College. He specializes in modern Italian literature, cinema and cultural history. He is the author of a history of modern Italian literature, A Difficult Modernity and several and several monographic studies including Pasolini. Forms of Subjectivity (Oxford UP, 1996). He has written and edited a number of books on Primo Levi, including Primo Levi’s Ordinary Virtues (2001), The Cambridge Companion to Primo Levi (2007, with Marco Belpoliti), the English edition of Levi’s collected interviews, The Voice of Memory(2000), and the first English-language edition of The Auschwitz Report (2006), Levi’s medical report on Auschwitz co-written with Leonardo Debenedetti. In 2009 he gave the inaugural Primo Levi Lecture in Turin, at the opening of the Centro Studi Internazionale Primo Levi. The lecture has been published as Sfacciata fortuna’. La Shoah e il caso(Einaudi, 2010).

Carol Gluck is George Sansom Professor of History at Columbia University, specializing in the history of modern Japan. Her books include Japan’s Modern Myths: Ideology in the Late Meiji Period, 1985; Showa: the Japan of Hirohito,1992Words in Motion: Toward a Global Lexicon (2009); and her forthcoming Past Obsessions: World War II in History and Memory; in Japanese, Toward Autonomy in US-Japan Relations with Wada Haruki and Kang Sangjung, 2003 and Thinking with History, 2007.

Marco Belpoliti, writer and essayist, is the curator of Primo Levi’s Complete Works in Italian (Einaudi, 1997) as well as of the postomous publications: Conversations and Interviews (Einaudi 1997); The Last Christmas of War  (Einaudi 2000); Asimmery and Life  (Einaudi 2002). He is the author of: L’occhio di Calvino (Einaudi 1996), Moro’s Photo (Nottetempo 2008); Il corpo del capo (Guanda 2009), Senza vergogna (Guanda). He is co-director of the magazine “Riga” and curator of the monographic issues on Italo Calvino, Primo Levi, Alberto Arbasino, Saul Steinberg, Antonio Delfini, Alberto Giacometti, and Gianni Celati. He is a contributor of the Turin daily “La Stampa” and “L’Espresso”. He curated the film Primo Levi’s Journey directed by Davide Ferrario. He teaches at the University of Bergamo.

John Treat is a professor of Japanese and Korean at Yale University. He has taught at Berkeley, Texas, Washington, Stanford and Seoul National. His History of A-bomb literature in Japan, Writing Ground Zero, was published by the University of Chicago Press in 1995, and its Japanese translation appeared this year from Hosei University Press.

Michael F. Moore is a writer, translator, and interpreter specialized in Italian, a Ph.D. candidate at New York University (ABD), and the chair of the Translation Committee of the PEN American Center. His published translations range from essays on international affairs and theology to avant-garde poetry. They include the novels Three Horses and God’s Mountain by Erri De Luca, Quiet Chaos by Sandro Veronesi, Pushing Past the Night by Mario Calabresi, and numerous short stories and essays by various authors. He is currently completing a new translation of The Drowned and the Saved for the Norton edition of Primo Levi’s complete works, and a new translation of the nineteenth-century classic, The Betrothed, by Alessandro Manzoni (Modern Library).

Andrea Liberovici studied composition, violin and viola at the Venice and Turin conservatories, acting at the Scuola del Teatro Stabile in Genoa and singing with Cathy Berberian at the International Festival in Montalcino in 1980. As composer and director, he co-founded Teatrodelsuono (theatre of sound), with the poet Edoardo Sanguineti (librettist of Luciano Berio) and Ottavia Fusco. Over the last decade Liberovici has created more than 35 projects exploring the relationship between music, poetry, theatre and technology in collaboration with such renowned artists as Claudia Cardinale, Peter Greenaway, Edoardo Sanguineti, Judith Malina, Vittorio Gassman, Ivry Gitlis, and Regina Carter. Most recently, his music has been performed by the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne of Montreal and the Toscanini Orchestra. This works have also been presented and produced by landmark cultural institutions such as Teatro di Roma, La Fenice in Venice and Salle Olivier Messiaen in Paris. He has been artists in residence at the INA-GRM and France Culture in Paris, the Steim Center for research and development in Amsterdam, and the GMEM National Centre of Musical Creation in Marseille.

Founded in 1989 by pianist and conductor Lorraine Vaillancourt, the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne (NEM) of Montreal is one of the world’s renowned contemporary music ensembles that celebrated last year its 20th anniversary.  Reflecting a variety of aesthetics, its repertoire is open to music from all continents. The 15-pieces chamber orchestra regularly premieres new works from around the globe. Their monographic presentation have recently included the music of Elliott Carter and Iannis Xenakis.

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