The Midrashic Unconscious – Unearthing The Jewish Literary Voice Through Critical Theory

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Denver, Colorado

Saturday, May 20

7-9 pm

Lighthouse Writers Workshop, 1515 Race St. Denver, CO 80206

RSVP.  Donations appreciated.

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“Critical theory”—a broad intellectual movement dating back to 1920s Europe—profoundly helped shape the last generation’s progressive thought. What Frederic Jameson termed the “political unconscious” is now staging a major comeback amidst our current cultural climate.  And we desperately need quality literary voices to join the conversation.

Max Horkheimer, a founder of the critical theory movement, once said that such theory is a multi-faceted thought enterprise which seeks “”to liberate human beings from the circumstances that enslave them,” including both their thinking and means of communication.

But what many avid proponents overlook (in what’s now called “new critical theory”) is the movement’s distinctively Jewish origins, and its unmistakable Jewish voice.  The founders of the movement aimed not only to foster prophetic conversational critiques of culture, politics, and society, but also to radicalize and reshape our understanding of arts, literature, and media.

Literary writers today—particularly those with Jewish concerns—possess the unique potential to unearth the “critical voice” that can both stir imagination and transform our everyday grasp of reality.

We invite you to join this evening conversation with DU Center for Judaic Studies professor  Adam Rovner, novelist and literature instructor Rebecca Berg, and poet/hybrid forms writer Adam Fagin as we discuss critical theory, its unique Jewish voice, and its intersection with these writers’ current literary work.

Together, we’ll explore how critical theory can both enhance and reveal the “midrashic unconscious” of our present-day culture and literature.

“Something’s Happening Here” – The Summer of Love and the Birth of the Counterculture Commemorated 50 Years Later

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Denver, Colorado

Sunday, April 30

3:30-6:30 pm

The Deer Pile, 206 E. 13th Ave. Denver, CO 80203

RSVP.  Donations welcome.  

50  years ago this spring a collection of about 25 motley personalities representing different facets and community interests of the thriving Bohemian culture in San Francisco came together and formed what came to be known rather tendentiously as The Council for the Summer of Love.

The result was a gigantic “happening”, as they called it in those days, which went on until September.   Young people with long hair and funky dress gathered en masse in the Bay City’s Golden Gate Park on Sunday afternoons.  Some went naked and made love in public.  A whole new sound of rock music, pioneered by the SF-based group The Jefferson Airplane, splashed onto the scene.  Drugs, especially the mind-altering substance known as LSD or “acid”, was suddenly everywhere.  “Flower power” was the new watchword, as massive anti-Vietnam War protests now began to escalate.  The number one hit song that spring was “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)” sung by Scott McKenzie.  The Sixties Counterculture was born.

Come join writer and publisher Josiah Hess, Sixties cultural historian Roger Green, Denver photographer Richard Peterson, and University of Denver professors Christina Foust and Carl Raschke for an evening of reminiscence and rediscovery of this iconic episode in our history as well as a conversation about its enduring significance for both self-reflection and activism in these tense and uncertain times.  Peterson and Raschke were actually there when it happened.

This is the kickoff event for CRI Hub.