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

Posted on Posted in Critical Theory, Events

Denver, Colorado

Saturday, May 20

7-9 pm

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

RSVP.  Donations appreciated.


“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.

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