Fellows Lectures Archive (2017-2018)

PETER HYLTON LECTURE: “NONSENSE IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF ANALYTIC PHILOSOPHY”

September 28, 2017 at 4 PM

Peter Hylton Lecture

“Nonsense in the Development of Analytic Philosophy””

This talk concerns the concept of nonsense. A version of such a concept, based on the idea of verifiability or something similar, is often thought to play a central role in twentieth-century analytic philosophy. In this lecture I consider the role that the concept of nonsense actually plays in the work of some of the leading figures of that tradition.

Date(s): Thursday, 9/28 4:00 PM to Thursday, 9/28 5:00 PM

Address: 701 S. Morgan St.

Location: Chicago, IL, US

Contact: Linda Vavra

Email: lvavra@uic.edu

Website: https://huminst.red.uic.edu

Phone: (312) 996-6354

RODERICK FERGUSON LECTURE: “THE BOOKSHOP OF BLACK QUEER DIASPORA”

October 16, 2017 at 4:00 PM

Roderick Ferguson Lecture

“The Bookshop of Black Queer Diaspora”

“The Bookshop of Black Queer Diaspora” tells the story of how black queer diasporic activists and artists challenged neoliberalism in the nineteen seventies and eighties in North America and the U.K., doing so through a series of a visits to an imaginary black queer bookshop and through the artifacts contained within it.

Date(s): Monday, 10/16 4:00 PM to Monday, 10/16 5:00 PM

Address: 701 S. Morgan St.

Location: Chicago, IL, U.S.

Contact: Linda Vavra

Email: lvavra@uic.edu

Website: https://huminst.red.uic.edu

Phone: (312) 996-6352

WILL SMALL LECTURE “PRACTICAL ABILITIES IN HUMAN AGENCY”

November 14, 2017 at 4 PM

Will Small Lecture

“Practical Abilities in Human Agency”

The practical powers of human beings outstrip those of other animals—we can construct skyscrapers, reverse rivers, create artworks, found universities, and fly to the moon—but human agency differs from that of other animals in kind as well as degree. The philosophical tradition locates this difference of kind in the idea that human beings are rational agents, and since the seventeenth century this idea has typically been developed in theories in which mental processes of reasoning lie causally upstream of bodily action itself: the distinctiveness of human action consists in its being the causal upshot of what (these philosophers hold) is really distinctive about human beings, namely their mental activity. I argue that the modern focus on mental states and processes results in a one-sided and distorted conception of the role of reason in human agency; I offer an alternative by focusing our attention on practical abilities (e.g. the abilities to walk, to play the piano, to speak French). Such practical abilities are themselves structured by reason, not merely invoked by it.

Date(s): Tuesday, 11/14 4:00 PM to Tuesday, 11/14 5:00 PM
Address: 701 S. Morgan St.
Location: Chicago, IL, US
Contact: Linda Vavra
Phone: (312) 996-6352

HEIDI SCHLIPPHACKE LECTURE “KINSHIP AND AESTHETIC DEPTH IN THE GERMAN CLASSICAL NOVEL”

January 31, 2018 at 4 PM

Heidi Schlipphacke Lecture

“Kinship and Aesthetic Depth in the German Classical Novel”

Johann Wolfgang Goethe’s 1809 novel Elective Affinities (Die Wahlverwandtschaften) is marked by scenes of performance (characters reenact famous paintings in elaborate tableaux vivants) that complicate traditional kinship forms (monogamy, the nuclear family). These tableaux vivantsforeground materiality over narrative and trouble the presumed centrality of a vertical depth structure that links the novel form with the rise of the nuclear family and the modern interior subject. The carefully choreographed performances of paintings not only stage the characters in groupings that reshuffle their relationships to one another, but they likewise reintroduce a pre-modern notion of allegory into the modern novel that destabilizes modern epistemologies that conceive of both the subject and truth in terms of depth.
Date(s): Wednesday, 1/31 4:00 PM to Wednesday, 1/31 5:00 PM
Address: 701 S. Morgan Street
Location: Chicago, IL, US
Contact: Linda Vavra
Phone: (312) 996-6352

MARINA MOGILNER LECTURE “A RACE FOR THE FUTURE: THE SCIENTIFIC VISIONS OF MODERN RUSSIAN JEWISHNESS”

February 20, 2018 at 4 PM

Marina Mogilner Lecture

“A Race for the Future: The Scientific Visions of Modern Russian Jewishness”

The talk focuses on one of the many protagonists of the book project, A RACE FOR THE FUTURE: THE SCIENTIFIC VISIONS OF MODERN RUISSIAN JEWISHNESS, Samuel Weissenberg (1867–1928), who worked on a new positive theory of Jewishness. One of the best known and widely travelled Jewish race scientists of his time, introduced today by Encyclopedia Judaica as “perhaps the most distinguished of that first generation of Jewish anthropologists” after Cesare Lombroso, Weissenberg spent most of his life in provincial Elisavetgrad in the Pale of Jewish Settlement (today, Kropyvnytskyi in Ukraine). Legally, he was denied the right to reside beyond the Pale, however, living in Elisavetgrad was also his conscious and willing choice. Weissenberg turned upside down the standard relationships between an anthropologist possessing the authority of “Western knowledge” and the “Oriental” objects of his research. Moreover, Weissenberg provincialized Europe in the Jewish fin-de-siècle discourse by advancing a “Caucasian” theory of modern European Jewry’s origin. The talk explores Weissenberg’s complex scholarly self-positioning within the Russian late imperial situation that informed his understanding of groupness, hybridity and purity, territoriality, and Jewishness.

Date(s): Tuesday, 2/20 4:00 PM to Tuesday, 2/20 6:00 PM

Address: 701 S. Morgan Street
Location: Chicago, IL, US
Contact: Linda Vavra
Phone: (312) 996-6352

ANNE EATON LECTURE "PICTURES AND MORALITY"

April 5, 2108 at 4 PM

Anne Eaton Lecture

“Pictures and Morality”

This paper is about pictures. My focus is not the usual philosophical questions about how pictures represent, or how to conceive of their depictive content. Instead, I am interested in the moral character of pictures. What makes a picture the proper object of moral judgment in the first place? In virtue of which features can we judge a picture to be, for instance, racist or sexist or ableist? I develop an account of the morality of pictures that focuses on how they shape their audiences’ affective life (including feelings, desires, and pleasures). To this end I outline a model of pictorial rhetoric as that cluster of features in virtue of which pictures can be said to have a moral character, and I consider the application of this model to areas as seemingly diverse as pornography, advertising, high art, and propaganda.

Date(s): Thursday, 4/5 4:00 PM to Thursday, 4/5 5:00 PM
Address: 701 S. Morgan St.
Location: Chicago, IL, US
Contact: Linda Vavra
Phone: (312) 996-6352