Theory
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM (ET)
Downey 113

Semi-Detached: Theory Certificate Presents John Plotz

John Plotz (Brandeis University) lectures on his forthcoming book, Semi-Detached: The Aesthetics of Partial Absorption.

Semi-Detached is about what it means to get partially drawn in to a work of art. In it, Plotz asks, When you’ve half lost yourself in a book, what happens to the half left behind? Artworks are like virtual worlds that allow their audiences to feel that they are simultaneously inside and outside of them—both in an art gallery looking at a painting, and somehow within the world that painting depicts. Plotz offers a genealogy of 19th-century ideas about the partial immersion produced by novels, poems, and panoramas. That genealogy, he argues, can shed light on modern-day versions of world-blocking absorption: Virtual worlds, immersive gaming, even texting and Facebook.

Monday, February 15, 2016

06:00 pm - 07:30 pm

Lecture: Center for Humanities Monday Night Lecture Series

Franz-Joseph Arlinghaus, Bielefeld University We are not here to bring the love we bear to women into comparison, nor rank it with [other forms of love]. Opportunities and limits of comparisons in premodern and modern times. The title cites Montaignes `Essays, where he refused to compare or rank different forms of love (to your partner, your friend, your children ). Should they not be compared or can they not be compared? What are the limits of comparisons and what does `incomparability mean? Can `comparison and `incomparability be historicized? The paper tries some tentative answers to these and other questions by looking at the similarities and differences of how comparisons are used in modern and premodern times, with a clear focus on medieval and early modern comparisons.

Usdan University Center Usdan 300 (Daniel Family Commons & Lounge)

Monday, February 22, 2016

06:00 pm - 07:30 pm

Lecture: Center for Humanities Monday Night Lecture Series

Johannes Grave, Bielefeld University Comparing Pictures. Comparative Practices and their Implications In everyday life as well as in museums and galleries we are used to dealing with pictures by comparing them with other visual representations. With the academic institutionalization of art history the comparative viewing has become one of the most important basic tools in this field of study. It is primarily this comparative approach which helped art history to claim the status of an independent and serious academic discipline. But what does it mean to compare pictures? Which preconceptions of pictures are implied if they are made accessible mainly by comparative practices? The paper argues that the practice of comparing tends to conceptualize pictures as semiotic devices and to underestimate their particular performative and temporal qualities. Normal 0 21 false false false DE X-NONE X-NONE

Usdan University Center Usdan 300 (Daniel Family Commons & Lounge)

Monday, February 29, 2016

06:00 pm - 07:30 pm

Lecture: Center for Humanities Monday Night Lecture Series

Ali Behdad, UCLA An Object of Comparison: The Orientalist Photographer The word comparison, as Marriam-Webster reminds us, means an examination of two or more items to establish similarities and dissimilarities. But, can we speak of comparison without the co-presence of two or more cultural or literary objects? In my talk, I wish to elaborate a notion of comparison as an analytics to suggest that comparison need not always entail an act of interpreting the similarities or differences between literary and cultural objects, arguing that any object is inherently comparative to the extend to which it can be read in relation to, or even against its own aesthetic, cultural, historical, and political contexts. I put forth the notion of a comparative frame of mind, by which I mean a critical practice that is neither invested in the intrinsic connections between cultural and literary objects, nor attempting to disclose the incommensurable difference between them. With a comparative frame of mind, I suggest, we can look for meaningful patterns in whatever literary object or cultural archive we happen to study. Focusing on what I call the Orientalist photograph, I would like to offer three analytical concepts through which we can make a single object, in this case the Orientalist photograph, the object of comparisonthese concepts are network, circulation, and mediation. Although I will not define these terms in any specific way, I hope my uses of these analytical concepts in the context of my object of study provide an understanding of how they can help us move beyond our conventional way of organizing knowledge according to the logic of similarity or difference and to recognize the incommensurable, partial and provisional nature of comparison itself.

Usdan University Center Usdan 300 (Daniel Family Commons & Lounge)

Monday, March 28, 2016

06:00 pm - 07:30 pm

Lecture: Center for Humanities Monday Night Lecture Series

Jesse Torgerson Lying Comparatively: Ordered Times and Ruptured Worlds Imagine a world. In this world, the year in which you are living depends upon the city in which you are: there is no given AD or CE. To compose the record of such a world, you would have to make times and times places commensurate: times would have to be made to lie down together. The period we call `medieval was like to this world, and we can trace the monumental collection and classification activity that went into making time commensurable upon the pages of surviving manuscript books (codices). This talk thus begins by exploring these manuscript pages, not as simple containers for text, but as traces of layered, frenetic activities. But once the extent of the labor becomes clear, it is hard not to wonder: what impulse so drove people to `record the past that they would invest such time, energy, and resources? The motivation may have been much more dramatic than `to record. One pair of chronological compilers in Byzantine Constantinople George Synkellos and Theophanes the Confessor seem to have sought not to compare distant places, but to compare what was with what is, and so posit what could (or, should) be. In Synkellos and Theophanes gathering together of all times, and in their laying time down on the page, we might see a carefully emplotted rupture: the crafting of a re-imagined present, the proposition of an alternative cosmos. Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE AR-SA

Usdan University Center Usdan 300 (Daniel Family Commons & Lounge)

Monday, April 04, 2016

06:00 pm - 07:30 pm

Lecture: Center for Humanities Monday Night Lecture Series

Lauren Berlant, University of Chicago TBA

Usdan University Center Usdan 300 (Daniel Family Commons & Lounge)

Monday, April 11, 2016

06:00 pm - 07:30 pm

Lecture: Center for Humanities Monday Night Lecture Series

Sheldon Pollock, Columbia TBA

Usdan University Center Usdan 300 (Daniel Family Commons & Lounge)

Monday, April 18, 2016

06:00 pm - 07:30 pm

Lecture: Center for Humanities Monday Night Lecture Series

Peter Gottschalk Beyond Islam , Christianity , and Hinduism : The Quest for Compatible Categories of Comparison in the Academic Study of Religion Islam is a religion of peace. Islam teaches hate. The current American and European public discussion about Islam can be characterized by fierce debates regarding the nature of the religion. Muslim and non-Muslim journalists, academics, politicians, and self-declared experts take turns in the media spotlight to declare the essence of Islam and, by extension, of Muslims. Inherently, most such Western claims derive from comparison with other religions especially Christianity and Judaism or secularism or atheism. These comparisons derive from a long history of European and American domestic conquest, foreign imperialism, and Christocentric travel. Demonstrating the power of Western hegemony, many non-Westerners have eagerly sought to create an essentialized version of their religion to fit the paradigm of world religions. Some scholars and religious community members have challenged this approach and championed claims to Islam s , Christianitie s , and Hinduism s . Others have indicted the comparative study of religion because of its imperial and Christian heritage. Others have sought to disqualify the comparative use of the category religion itself as a theme. Since none of these approaches have proven effective, observers of religions must move beyond a focus on labels such as Islam, Christianity, and Hinduism. Serving too long as both first- and second-order terms, these categories prove incompatible for comparison when both practitioners and outsiders make vastly divergent claims to their meanings. Only through a focus on Muslims, Christians, and Hindus and their use of these terms can scholars create an adequate paradigm for comparison.

Usdan University Center Usdan 300 (Daniel Family Commons & Lounge)

Friday, April 22, 2016

01:00 pm - 02:30 pm

Indian Given: Theory Certificate Presents Josie Saldana

Maria Josefina Saldana-Portillo (NYU) speaks on her new book, Indian Given: Racial Geographies across Mexico and the United States (Duke, 2016). A light lunch will be served.

41 Wyllis 112

Monday, April 25, 2016

06:00 pm - 07:30 pm

Lecture: Center for Humanities Monday Night Lecture Series

Rachel Ellis Neyra TBA

Usdan University Center Usdan 300 (Daniel Family Commons & Lounge)

Monday, May 02, 2016

06:00 pm - 07:30 pm

Lecture: Center for Humanities Monday Night Lecture Series

Stephen Angle Beyond Comparative Philosophy Comparative philosophy, along with terms for various national or regional philosophical traditions (Chinese philosophy, Asian philosophy, and so on), have emerged astools to resist the hegemony of the strands of the Euro-American philosophical tradition that currently dominate philosophical discourse around the world. This lecturesketches how we have arrived at the present moment, explores the strengths but also the weaknesses of comparative philosophy, and points toward a future beyondcomparative philosophy.

Usdan University Center Usdan 300 (Daniel Family Commons & Lounge)