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Visiting Fellow Archive (2005-2006)

Mary Louise Pratt


The 2005-2006 Institute for the Humanities Visiting Fellow is Mary Louise Pratt, Silver Professor, Departments of Spanish and Portuguese, and of Social and Cultural Analysis, New York University.

She will be in residence at the University of Illinois at Chicago from February 27 to March 10, 2006, offering two seminars and a public lecture. The two seminars are open to faculty and advanced graduate students. Preregistration is not required but it is highly recommended for the seminars. The lecture on March 9 is open to the public.


Seminar I: Tuesday, February 28, 2006 from 2-5 p.m.
“Global Dystopias”
This seminar aims to “work through” some of the narratives through which globalization has been brought into being as an object of knowledge, a structure of desire, a form of historical consciousness, and a script. It examines several proposals for “telling the story otherwise” from ethnography, economics, and cultural studies, through such concepts as “scale” and “friction.”

Seminar II: Monday, March 6, 2006 from 2-5 p.m.
“Planetary Longings”
This seminar takes up the emergence of planetary consciousness, and the concomitant impasse between (a) the perceived need for universals on the one hand and (b) the perceived need to reject the European Enlightenment’s claims to a monopoly on the universal (to use Samir Amin’s term). Current recastings of the idea of the “cosmopolitan” are examined in similar terms.

Seminar III: Thursday, March 9, 2006 at 4:00 p.m.
Keynote Lecture at “Covering New Ground” Graduate Student Conference
“Beyond Translation: Towards a Geolinguistic Imagination”
Language has not been a category of analysis in the new vast literature on globalization, yet global-scale processes are constantly channeled by language, and language is invariably a source of what Ana Tsing calls the “friction” through which such processes occur. More deeply, one can go on to ask how specific properties of human language determine the historical possibilities of globalization. This lecture will consider ways of providing linguistic dimensions to contemporary planetary thought, and will take up the U.S.’s own language crisis brought into view after 9/11.

Seminars will take place in the Institute for the Humanities, lower level, Stevenson Hall, and are open to faculty and advanced graduate students. Preregistration is highly recommended. To preregister, please contact Linda Vavra, 996-6354, .