David Kishik’s Self Study (ICI Berlin Press, 2023) is a genre-bending work of autophilosophy. It opens a rare, rear window into the schizoid position of self-sufficient withdrawal and impassive indifference. This inability to be enriched by outer experiences feeds the relentless suspicion that hell is other people. Laying bare his life and work, Kishik engages with psychoanalysis, philosophy, and cultural inquiry to trace loneliness across the history of thought, leading to today’s shut-in society and the autonomous subject of liberal capitalism.

David Kishik will read from his book, followed by a conversation with Maggie Nelson and a Q&A with the audience.


David Kishik lives in New York and teaches at Emerson College. Self Study is the fifth and final volume in his series of books, To Imagine a Form of Life. Previous titles include The Book of Shem and The Manhattan Project, both published by Stanford University Press. Some shorter texts appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, and Lapham’s Quarterly.

Maggie Nelson is the author of several acclaimed books of poetry and prose, including the forthcoming collection Like Love: Essays and Conversations (2024), the national bestseller On Freedom: Four Songs of Care and Constraint (2021), the National Book Critics Circle Award winner The Argonauts (2015), The Art of Cruelty: A Reckoning (2011), Bluets (2009; named by Bookforum as one of the top 10 best books of the past 20 years), The Red Parts (2007), Women, the New York School, and Other True Abstractions (2007), and Jane: A Murder (2005). In 2016 she received a MacArthur ‘genius’ Fellowship. She currently teaches at the University of Southern California and lives in Los Angeles.


Self Study: Notes on the Schizoid Condition
(Berlin: ICI Berlin Press, 2023)
Paperback | 12 EUR | v, 174 pp. | 17.8 cm x 12.7 cm | ISBN 978-3-96558-045-9

In English

Maggie Nelson
David Kishik

Organized by

The audience is presumed to consent to a possible recording on the part of the ICI Berlin.
If you would like to attend the event yet might require assistance, please contact Event Management.

KV Self Study

Image credit: Photograph by David Kishik, reflected in
Scott Lyall’s Talent, courtesy of the artist and Miguel Abreu Gallery