We are pleased to announce an online lecture by
Tadeusz Sławek
(University of Silesia)

‘Like a Thief in the Night’: Pandemic and the Culture of Healing

This lecture is going to be the a part
of the 2020/2021 Fall Edition of the
American Studies Colloquium Series.

Thursday, November 26, 2020
at 4:45 p.m

You can get 2 OZN points for participating in this event.
Check how to collect OZN points online.

poster by Paulina Derecka (@paulinaderecka)


This lecture will be streamed online. To attend, click the button below or enter https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88615359780 into your browser, and join the meeting.


In 1987 the Australian rock band Midnight Oil soared high on the world charts with their song Beds Are Burning. Its message was an appeal to recognize the rights of the original tribal populations of Australia as well as a call for more respect for the natural environment. Borrowing the Midnight Oil’s rhetorical concept, it is just to claim that today we are in a situation in which our beds are burning in a nearly literal sense. Air pollution submerging cities in clouds of smog, democracies wavering all over the world, mounting nationalisms and waves of chauvinistic and wall-building politics, over a million dead of a virus the existence of which many people do not seem to admit.

The pandemic is a virus, but it is more than this: it is a dramatic symptom of the malaise of the way of life, a sharp curve which we cannot fail to negotiate. Starting from the 17th century time of the plague, we shall be asking questions how to survive the crisis, how to live on, and how to think the change without which our future is bleak. It is a particularly important mission of the humanities to respond to the challenge of the catastrophe; respond with hope, expressly stated by Hölderlin: “But where the danger is, also grows the saving power.” Looking at various texts (from 17 th century London to Louise Glück) will be trying (no more than trying) to find this “saving power” and grope towards the “culture of healing”.


Tadeusz Sławek, professor of comparative literature at the University of Silesia, between 1996 and 2002 the Rector of this University. With the double bass player Bogdan Mizerski performs essays for voice and double bass. Most important publications: The Typewriter. On Jacques Derrida’s Theory of Literature (with Tadeusz Rachwał) (1992), Calling of Jonah. Problems of Literary Voice (with Donald Wesling) (1995), Man, World, Friendship in the Works of William Blake (2001), Revelations of Gloucester (2003, Grasping. H.D. Thoreau and the Community of the World (2009), Reversing the World. Sentences from Shakespeare (2012), Departing (2015), Never without the Rest. On the Urgency of Incompleteness(2018).

Year 2021/2022

May 30: The (Early) Literature of COVID-19. Session V

May 24, 2022

This open seminar will explore initial literary responses to the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, offering participants opportunities to talk through this world-changing event. By the end of the seminar, participants should be able to not only identify but also to interpret and evaluate common features of early COVID literature within and beyond the United States.

American Studies Colloquium Series

June 2: Eat, Migrate, Love: Gastronomic and Sexual Desire as Identity

May 24, 2022

This talk, whose title plays off the Julia Robert’s film “Eat, Pray, Love,” will explore queer films and queer immigrants’ relationships to food as part of the cultural identity, and how the rituals around food preparation and consumption informs their negotiations in the US.

Year 2021/2022

June 8: Sounds of Dune(s): Music-landscaping in Cinema

May 24, 2022

In this workshop we’ll talk about Frank Herbert’s “Dune” and its many adaptations (both real and unrealized), in order to see how music and sound are used to bridge sensory gaps in cinematic experiences, and how to write about such synaesthetic encounters in our research.

Year 2021/2022

May 23: Gender/Sexuality Conference ASC

May 23, 2022

ASC’s Gender/Sexuality Research Group invites all students and faculty members to the first ASC’s Student Conference on gender and sexuality in American studies. We have an exciting day planned, with a keynote by Dr. Richard Reitsma and four panels of student presentations, on everything from feminist theories to representation of trans characters on TV and challenging the norms of masculinity.

American Studies Colloquium Series

May 19: ‘bits of agitation on the body of the whole’: Animals in COVID-19 Literature

May 19, 2022

Given its origins in horseshoe bat populations, the SARS-CoV-2 virus offers many opportunities to re-think our relationships with the nonhuman world around us. In this talk, Raymond Malewitz will explore emerging cultural narratives embodied in COVID poetry and fiction, which tend to reinforce the stiff differences between the human and the nonhuman as physically and conceptually separate from one another.