Fellows Lectures Archive (2015-2016)
"THE RHETORIC OF PLATO’S MIMĒSIS: THE RHETORICAL THEORY OF IMITATION IN THE REPUBLIC"
Department of English
Plato’s concept of mimēsis is commonly viewed as a foundational term in the humanities, a crucial concept in literary, aesthetic, and performance theory. The term is comparatively neglected in the discipline of rhetoric, and its emergence through Socrates’ rhetorical criticism largely has been ignored by Plato scholarship. In this paper, I argue for four changes in how Plato’s concept of mimēsis ought to be interpreted, all of which favor a greater recognition of the importance for the Republic in the development of the rhetorical tradition. One, I suggest that Plato develops his theory of mimēsis through a method of rhetorical theorizing, consistent with contemporaneous forms of rhetorical theory. Two, this stands at odds with the more common interpretations, which, I argue, too hastily “transcendentalize” mimēsis inasmuch as they presume that Plato’s mistrust is based on a larger mistrust of sensibilia, seeming, and appearances. Three, I suggest that these two changes provide crucial support for Hans-Georg Gadamer’s (1934) view that the apparent attack on the poets is ultimately a red herring: his real target was, in fact, the “spirit of sophism” in Athens, a point made apparent by the obvious parallels between the Republic and Sophist dialogues. Four, because Plato’s mimēsis is derived from rhetorical theory and not from, as it is too often assumed to be, doctrinal metaphysics that split seeming from being, and because this rhetorical theory is ultimately designed to attack sophistry, Plato’s view of rhetoric cannot be collapsed into his critique of sophistry nor attributed to a doctrinal distrust of seeming and appearances. Consequently, the general assumption that the condemnations of poetry, sophistry, and rhetoric are equivalent and, moreover, equally grounded in Platonist metaphysics, is in need of significant reevaluation.
“THIS WILL COVER THAT: WRITING AND BUILDING FROM THE DEATH OF CORBUSIER TO THE END OF ARCHITECTURE”
School of Architecture
In 1966, the simultaneous publication of Robert Venturi’s Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture and Aldo Rossi’s L’architettura della città announced the arrival of the “architect-critic” as a new mode of architectural auteur in the wake of modernism’s dissolution. The adoption of this hybrid form of practice between writing and designing (words and things, ideology and form) intensifies the necessarily “paper” foundation of all architecture, and demonstrates that the establishment of contemporary architectural theory was an effect of the needs and provocations experienced within a wide range of architectural practices.
Today, as we witness a new technological shift from paper to paperless architecture, a set of external urgencies have been identified that threaten to return to a self-evident or natural relation between form and ideology. In charting two genealogies of the architectural realignment of words and things over the last fifty years (namely, the index and the speech act), the research aims to set out alternatives to this contemporary closure.
"CIVILIZING WAR: IMPERIAL POLITICS AND THE POETICS OF NATIONAL RUPTURE"
Department of English
Civil war is today synonymous with the developing world. It is also synonymous with debates about international intervention. Recent conflicts in Sri Lanka, Sudan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and most recently Syria are cases in point.
This is a relatively new phenomenon. For in nineteenth-century Britain, civil war was understood as a distinctly metropolitan problem rather than a crisis unique to the peripheries. Instead of justifying imperial intervention (as it does today), civil war in the Victorian imagination described those antagonisms that properly belonged to places already “civilized,” where modernity had already arrived. It is only at the turn of the century that civil war begins to justify international intervention in the name of development. This lecture offers a genealogy of civil war that tracks its metamorphosis from an Occidental affair to an Oriental crisis over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This genealogy illustrates how representations of civil war have been integral to the rise of the modern nation-state and its partner projects, imperialism and decolonization.
“HISTORIES OF MOTORING, MATERIALITY AND MOBILITIES IN BOMBAY/MUMBAI’S TAXI TRADE”
Department of Anthropology
Tarini Bedi is a sociocultural anthropologist and Assistant Professor in UIC’s Department of Anthropology. Her research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of urban and political anthropology, urban theory, cultural geography, gender studies, and mobilities. Her first book “The Dashing Ladies of Shiv Sena: Political Matronage in Urbanizing India” will be released in May 2016 by SUNY Press. It provides insight into the political networks powered by low-level women politicians in postcolonial, globalizing cities and on their margins. She is currently working on the research and writing of a book manuscript “Everyday Technologies of the Urban: Motoring and Mobilities in Bombay/Mumbai’s Taxi Trade” which is under contract with the University of Washington Press. Recent articles related to both projects have appeared or are forthcoming in the journals “Women’s Studies International Forum”, “Politics and Gender”, “Environment and Planning A”, “City and Society”, and “Mobility in History”.
“WHAT’S SEX GOT TO DO WITH IT?: JACKIE “MOMS” MABLEY, DESIRE, AND THE ETHICS OF BIOGRAPHY”
Departments of African American Studies and History
Date(s): Monday, 2/22 4:00 PM to Monday, 2/22 6:00 PM
Campus Address: Lower Level / Stevenson Hall
Address: 701 South Morgan
Location: Chicago, IL
Contact: Linda Vavra
Phone: (312) 996-6352
Jackie “Moms” Mabley was a performer who, over a career in comedy that spanned more than 60 years, cultivated and mastered incongruities: an old woman who on stage gleefully expressed desire for young men; a female comedian who dared to speak of black women’s sexual desire in an arena rarely forgiving women assertive enough to claim their own bodies and pleasures; a harmless grandmotherly figure who used her humor to unequivocally attack Jim Crow; a black woman whose life in public concealed the closely protected details of her private life.
“Looking for Moms Mabley” reconstructs the career of the comedian Jackie “Moms” Mabley’s, from performer in tent and variety shows on the chitlin’ circuit of black theaters the 1920s, ‘30s, and ‘40s, to headliner at Harlem’s famed Apollo Theater in the 1940s and ‘50s, to popular national crossover entertainer in the 1960s and 1970s. Retracing the steps of Mabley’s stage, radio, recording, television and movie career involves not simply cataloguing the names, dates, and locations of her performances, but mapping the multiple manifestations of her comic personae, and the audiences that her shifting stage identities called into being.
Using multiple lenses to examine one woman’s career in comedy and her life beyond the stage, “Looking for ‘Moms’ Mabley” is a cultural biography that looks both at Mabley and through her. Mabley’s humor and her eventual comedic dissemblance as “Moms” reflect her public navigation of her own sexuality and illuminate the changing racial, gender, and sexual politics of her times.
This paper will explore the challenges and possibilities, both ethical and archival, of uncovering the life behind Mabley’s well-crafted public mask
"PARADOXES OF FRANCOIST STASIS: MIGUEL ESPINOSA AND THE ART OF PROTEST"
Department of Hispanic and Italian Studies