Irony: a series of meetings on the Word of the Year

Culture - 04 October 2022

The terror of irony. A journey through modern philosophical thought. A series of seminars starting October 17

"Irony" is IULM University's word of the year. A central word in that dictionary of critical thinking that IULM is committed to offering to students, the academic community and the citizenry.

At a complex moment in our history, a new series of meetings dedicated to irony and modern philosophical thought kicks off, in the belief that they serve to imagine different ways of thinking and avoid situations already experienced in the past.

Irony, as a form of writing between the lines, has always been a tool for the public expression of the heterodox thoughts in eras of persecution, coercion and conformity. Yet, irony can also prove to be a trap: while it serves to escape fear, it can instill terror in those who lack the intellectual strength to handle it with awareness or in those who cannot stand any form of dissent.

Irony, Aristotle said, is the opposite of boasting: it is exercised against those who believe, or wish to make believe, that they know more than what our faculties allow us

This is why irony accompanies philosophers (not all of them): it is an indispensable weapon against that presumption of knowledge that is often an obstacle to authentic knowledge, as well as a defense against the interference of power and censorship.

Pierre Bayle, Michel de Montaigne, David Hume, Søren Kierkegaard, and Karl Marx, but also a contemporary novelist of the prominence of  David Foster Wallace, will be the subject of as many encounters, which will help us read these authors in a different light, that of irony.

The series of meetings is curated by Emilio Mazza and Alberto Mingardi.

Admission is open to all IULM students and the general public, after registering at this form


  • oct. 17, 2022, 5:45 p.m.: Pierre Bayle
    Gianluca Mori (University of Eastern Piedmont)
    Coordinator Emilio Mazza (IULM University)

  • oct. 24, 5:45 p.m.: Michel de Montaigne
    Biancamaria Fontana (Institut d'études politiques de l'Université de Lausanne)
    Coordinator Alberto Mingardi (IULM University)
  • nov. 14, 5:45 p.m.: David Hume
    Emilio Mazza (IULM University)
    Coordinator Alberto Mingardi (IULM University)

  • nov. 21, 5:45 p.m. Søren Kierkegaard
    Dario Borso (scholar, writer and translator)
    Coordinator Emilio Mazza (IULM University )
  • nov. 28, 5:45 p.m. David Foster Wallace
    Stefano Bartezzaghi (IULM University)
    Coordinator Emilio Mazza (IULM University)

  • dec. 12, 5:45 p.m. Karl Marx
    Luigi Marco Bassani (University of Milan)
    Coordinator Alberto Mingardi (IULM University)

 "The Terror of Irony" is part of the Badge of Honour initiative.
In order to obtain Badge of Honour recognition, it is necessary to attend all the meetings.