Indiana University Bloomington

Reading Group Schedule

Michel Chaouli (German / Comp. Lit.)
Patrick Dove (Spanish & Portuguese)
Jennifer Fleissner (English)
Andrés Guzmán (Spanish & Portuguese)
Oana Panaïté (French & Italian)

The reading group usually meets Fridays, 2 - 3:30 pm, in Maxwell Hall 222, unless noted otherwise.

We use the translation by A.V. Miller: G.W.F. Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1977). (An electronic edition is available through IUCAT.)

Fall 2023
September 1
Preface (1 - 22).

September 8
Preface, cont. (23 - 45).

September 15
Introduction, A. Consciousness: I. Sense Certainty or the ‘This’ and ‘Meaning’; II. Perception or the Thing and Deception (46 - 78).

September 22
III. Force and the Understanding: Appearance and the Supersensible World (79 - 103).

September 29
B. Self-Consciousness: IV. The Truth of Self-Certainty; IV.A. Independence and Dependence of Self-Consciousness: Lordship and Bondage (104 - 118).
Guest: Terry Pinkard (Georgetown Univ.)

October 6
IV.B. Freedom of Self-Consciousness: Stoicism, Skepticism, and the Unhappy Consciousness (119 - 138).

October 13
Fall Break. No meeting. 

October 20
C (AA). Reason: V. The Certainty and Truth of Reason; V.A. Observing Reason (139 - 159).

October 27
V.A. Observing Reason, cont. (160 - 180).

November 3
V.A. Observing Reason, cont. (180 - 210).

November 10
V.B. The Actualization of Rational Self-Consciousness Through Its Own Activity (211 - 235).

November 17
C. Individuality Which Takes Itself to be Real in and for Itself (236 - 252).

November 24
Thanksgiving Break. No Meeting.

December 1
C. Individuality, cont. (253 - 262).
Guest: Robert Pippin (University of Chicago). The group meets in Maxwell Hall 122.

Spring 2024
January 19
BB. Spirit. VI. Spirit. A: The True Spirit: The Ethical Order. a: The Ethical World (263- 278)
Guest: Jay Bernstein (New School for Social Research).
The group meets in Maxwell Hall 122.

January 26
A.b. Ethical Action; A.c. Legal Status (279 - 293).

February 2
B. Self-Alienated Spirit: Culture. I: The World of Self-Alienated Spirit (294 - 328).

February 9
B.II. The Enlightenment: The Struggle of the Enlightenment with Superstition (328 - 349).

February 16
B.II.b: The Truth of Enlightenment; B.III. Absolute Freedom and Terror (349 - 363).

February 23
C. Spirit that is Certain of Itself: Morality (364 - 382).

March 1
C. Spirit that is Certain of Itself: Morality, cont. (393 - 409).

March 8
CC: Religion. VII: Religion. A: Natural Religion (410 - 423).

March 15
Spring Break. No meeting.

March 22
VII.B: Religion in the Form of Art (424 - 452).

March 29
Symposium on the Phenomenology of Spirit.

April 5
VII.C: The Revealed Religion (453 - 478).
Guest: Andrew Cole (Princeton University)

April 12
DD: Absolute Knowing (479 - 494).

Reading G.W.F. Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit


Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit (1807) is a landmark in the history of Western philosophy, one that has had a profound influence on a wide range of intellectual traditions, including Marxism, psychoanalysis, phenomenology, existentialism, deconstruction, feminism, Black studies, and queer studies among many others. Hegel described the Phenomenology as an “exposition of the coming to be of knowledge.” This description speaks, albeit in somewhat muted terms, to the vast swaths of terrain covered in this work: from the pre-Socratics, Aristotle and stoicism to Spinoza, Kant, and Fichte; from Greek tragedy to the Enlightenment and Romanticism; from ethics to politics. But it also alludes to what Hegel describes as the restless—the turbulent, troubled, unsteady—nature of what he calls Geist (spirit or mind). It may be difficult for us today to align ourselves with the much-discussed Hegelian aspiration to produce a systematized account of the ways we know and understand the world (we tend to view this as a relic of the past). Still, the proposition that our attempts to know the world are fraught with turbulence, conflict, and restless change offer a compelling point of departure for reading Hegel today.

The reading group meets Friday afternoons starting September 1, 2023, from 2 till 3:30, in Maxwell Hall 222. Like all Center activities, the reading group is open to the public.

Graduate students may receive independent-study credit for taking part in the reading group (1 - 4 credits of CTIH-T 700). Interested students should contact any of the conveners to agree on a work plan and get permission to register.


The Reading Group constitutes the intellectual heart of the Center and predates the Center by many years. Here are some of the major texts the group has studied:

Adorno, Aesthetic Theory
Arendt, The Human Condition
Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics.
Badiou, Being and Event.
Bakhtin, Art and Answerability.
Beauvoir, The Second Sex.
Bergson, Matter and Memory.
Blumenberg,The Legitimacy of the Modern Age.
Cavell, The Claims of Reason.
Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe.
De Certeau, The Mystic Fable, Vol. 1.
Deleuze, Cinema I; Difference and Repetition.
Fink, Play as Symbol of the World.
Foucault, The Hermeneutics of the Subject.
Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams.
Gadamer, Truth and Method.
Glissant, Poetics of Relation.
Heidegger, Being and Time; Contriburtions to Philosophy (Of the Event).
Husserl, The Crisis of European Sciences.
Lyotard, The Differend.
Merleau-Ponty, The Phenomenology of Perception; The Visible and the Invisible.
Plato, The Laws.
Rancière, The Names of History.
Sedgwick, Epistemology of the Closet.
Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations
Zizek, The Puppet and the Dwarf.