Sunday, May 24, 2009

Deresiewicz, William. "Adaptation: On Literary Darwinism." NATION May 20, 2009.

The appeal of evolutionary psychology is easy to grasp. Just think of Annie Hall. The last few decades have left us so profoundly disoriented about the most urgent personal matters--gender roles, sexual norms, the possibility of creating lasting romantic relationships, not to mention absolutely everything to do with family structure--that it's no surprise to find people embracing a theory that promises to restore order. Once we had religion to tell us who we are. Then, for a while, we had Freud. Now we have evolutionary psychology, which, as an attempt to construct a science of human nature on Darwinian principles, marshals two of the most powerful ideas in contemporary culture: science, our most authoritative way of knowing, and nature, our highest ground of moral appeal. No wonder the field is catnip to journalists and armchair theorists alike. Equip yourself with a few basic concepts--natural selection, inclusive fitness, mating choice--and you, too, can explain the mysteries of human existence. That evolutionary psychology has no real intellectual credibility, that mainstream biology regards it as a house of sand, rarely seems to come up. EP is the Malcolm Gladwell of science: facile and glib, but so persuasive and charming that no one wants to ruin the fun. To be fair, the problem lies less in the field's goals than in its claims. Much of its opposition is misguided and out-of-date. For a long time, evolutionary approaches to human behavior were discredited by the specter of Social Darwinism. More recently, the concept of a unitary human nature has been condemned as a form of bourgeois universalism--that is, of disguised ethnocentrism. But those who reject the notion of human psychology as a product of evolution (that is, of nature rather than culture) would undoubtedly recoil at the idea that human physiology is not a product of evolution. The only alternative is creationism. And if our bodies have evolved, then so have our minds, which a materialist philosophy (one that doesn't depend on supernatural entities like the Christian soul) must regard as products of our bodies--of our brains, nerves, sense organs and so forth. Surely no one would dispute that there is a universal bee nature or dog nature or chimpanzee nature. Why not then acknowledge, at least in principle, a universal human nature, however various its elaborations in culture? The question is, What does it consist of, how did it arise and can we discover it? Here is where evolutionary psychology falls down. . . . Read the rest here:

Ingold, Tim. "Anthropology is not Ethnography." PROCEEDINGS OF THE BRITISH ACADEMY 154 (2008).

Abstract: Anthropology has been shrinking. Once an inclusive inquiry into the conditions of human life, it has increasingly turned inwards on itself. One reason for this shrinkage lies in the identification of anthropology with ethnography. Such identification leads us to think of observation as a means to the end of description. The lecturer will aim to show, to the contrary, how description not just literary but graphic and performative - can be re-embedded in observation. Overturning the relation between observation and description will enhance anthropology''s potential to engage with biology, psychology and archaeology on the great questions of the origins and destiny of humankind. Download the entire paper here:

Malcolm, Noel. "The Odd Couple." STANDPOINT MAGAZINE (May 2009).

Zaretsky, Robert, and John T. Scott. The Philosophers' Quarrel: Rousseau, Hume, and the Limits of Human Understanding. New Haven: Yale UP, 2009.

They made a very odd couple. The French philosopher (or rather, Swiss - he was born in Geneva) was a small, gesticulating man with animated features and a bizarre taste in clothes: wearing what he called an Armenian caftan, he sought (like Lawrence of Arabia in the Beyond the Fringe sketch) to pass unnoticed in the street. Hume was a large, portly figure with an amiable but bovine face and a strangely vacant stare. He dressed conventionally; indeed, convention was something in which he - unlike Rousseau - rather strongly believed. The intellectual differences went deeper than that. Rousseau idealised natural innocence and saw the socialisation of mankind as a process of corruption. Modern man was an alienated being, and radical changes were needed to remedy that. For Hume, the civilising process in human history involved a complex web of interactions, through which moral behaviour was learned and refined, and political institutions were settled and gradually improved. Yet these two very contrasting thinkers did have some common ground. While both were products of the "Age of Reason", neither believed that reason, as such, had any motive power: sentiment and sympathy were the generating forces of human behaviour. Both, too, had suffered from the disapproval of the ecclesiastical authorities (Calvinism being the doctrinal bedrock of Edinburgh as well as Geneva). On religious issues, indeed, Hume was the more radical of the two. While Rousseau preached his own portentous brand of "natural religion", Hume demolished all theological arguments, including "natural" ones. With such very different temperaments, and largely different beliefs, it is a miracle that the warm friendship between them lasted as long as it did - which is to say, six months on Hume's side and about three on Rousseau's. . . .

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Holmes, Richard. "The Great De Stael." NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS May 28, 2009.

She was the only daughter of a Swiss banker, and one of the richest and cleverest young women of her generation in Europe. She wrote among much else one celebrated novel— Corinne, or Italy (1807)—which invented a new heroine for her times, outsold even the works of Walter Scott, and has never been out of print since. She personally saved at least a dozen people from the French revolutionary guillotine. She reinvented Parisian millinery with her astonishing multicolored turbans. She dramatically dismissed Jane Austen as " vulgaire." She snubbed Napoleon at a reception. She inspired Byron's famous chauvinist couplet, "Man's love is of his life a thing apart,/'Tis woman's whole existence." And she once completely outtalked the poet Coleridge at a soirée in Mayfair. For these things alone she should be remembered. Though married to the handsome Swedish ambassador (or possibly because she was so married), she took numerous lovers, and had four children, the most brilliant of whom—a girl, Albertine—was certainly illegitimate. She had a running and highly personal vendetta with Bonaparte, who hated bluestockings and once leaned over and remarked leeringly on her plunging cleavage: "No doubt, Madame, you breast-fed your children." He followed this up by censoring her books for being anti-French, actually pulping one of them in mid-printing (On Germany), and exiling her from France on at least three separate occasions between 1803 and 1812. Yet her lifelong opposition to the Napoleonic tyranny remained undaunted and conceived in the largest terms. Toward the end of her last exile, in November 1812, she wrote from Stockholm to Thomas Jefferson in New York, begging American intervention with a plea that echoes to this day: You will tell me that America has nothing to do with the European continent, but has it nothing to do with the human race? Can you be indifferent to the cause of free nations, you, the most republican of all? Despite these alarums and excursions, for twenty years she turned her beautiful château at Coppet, on the banks of Lake Leman, into an intellectual powerhouse and asylum for displaced writers and thinkers, the equivalent of Voltaire's Ferney. Then she died at the early age of fifty-one, having just married an astonishingly handsome Hussar officer, young enough to be her son, whose love she described poignantly as "nothing but a little Scottish melody in my life." . . . 

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Pub: Gjesdal, Kristin. "Georg Friedrich Philipp von Hardenberg [Novalis]." STANFORD ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PHILOSOPHY May 21, 2009.

The philosophical impact of early German romanticism in general and Georg Philipp Friedrich von Hardenberg (Novalis) in particular has typically been traced back to a series of fragments and reflections on poetry, art, and beauty. Moreover, his name has been associated with an aestheticization of philosophy, an illegitimate valorizing of the medieval, and a politically reactionary program. This view of von Hardenberg, however, is to a large extent rooted in the image created posthumously by his increasingly conservative friends within the romantic circle. Furthermore, von Hardenberg's philosophical reputation has been shaped by his critics, the most prominent of whom was Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. In spite of his death at 28, von Hardenberg (1772–1801) left behind a complex philosophical legacy that encompasses discussions of subjectivity and self-consciousness, issues in epistemology, moral theory, political philosophy, problems of interpretation, philosophy of history, philosophy of religion, the proto-existentialist experience of the finality of human life, as well as a significant contribution to aesthetics and philosophy of art. While von Hardenberg is best known for his literary production—including the prose poem Hymns to the Night (1800) and the unfinished novels The Apprentice from Said and Heinrich von Ofterdingen (both published in 1802)—this overview focuses on the argumentative presuppositions for and systematic implications of von Hardenberg's philosophical work (without thereby suggesting that his philosophy should be perceived as entirely separate from his poetic production). . . .

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Katsafanas, Paul. Review of Craig Dove's NIETZSCHE'S ETHICAL THEORY. NDPR (May 2009).

Dove, Craig. Nietzsche's Ethical Theory: Mind, Self and Responsibility. London: Continuum, 2008. Craig Dove's book promises to elucidate Nietzsche's ethical theory by drawing on recent work in the philosophy of mind. According to Dove, Nietzsche's work on self-consciousness "lays the foundation for the affirmative ethic he develops" (6). Dove maintains that one achieves Nietzsche's ethical ideal if one is capable of affirming the eternal recurrence of one's life and of loving fate (this is what Nietzsche calls amor fati). The accounts of eternal recurrence and love of fate appeal to claims about the nature of the self, freedom, and responsibility. Those concepts, in turn, are based upon Nietzsche's account of self-consciousness. So the ethical theory turns out to be rooted in an account of self-consciousness. Dove claims that once we read Nietzsche in this way, "important points of contact" emerge between contemporary philosophy of mind and Nietzsche's work (6). A great deal of the book is devoted to charting these points of contact. Although Dove isn't explicit about this matter, his hypothesis seems to be that recognizing these points of contact helps to illuminate otherwise puzzling aspects of Nietzsche's view. I will return to this point below. Read the whole review here:

Pub: PHAENEX 4.1 (2009).


  • "La notion de Weltanschauung: généalogie d'un concept et d'un processus" by ÉLODIE BOUBLIL 1-29 view-pdf
  • "Inter et Inter: a Report on the Metamorphosis of an Actress" by ISOBEL BOWDITCH 30-58 view-pdf
  • "Spirit and/or Flesh: Merleau-Ponty’s Encounter with Hegel" by DAVID STOREY 59-83 view-pdf
  • "Les objets intentionnels – à la frontière entre les actes et le monde" by MARIA GYEMANT 84-111 view-pdf
  • "Est-il possible de dire l’éthique de la proximité? Contribution au dossier Kierkegaard – Levinas" by DOMINIC DESROCHES 112-145 view-pdf
  • "The 'Inversions' of Intentionality in Levinas and the Later Heidegger" by ADAM KONOPKA 146-162 view-pdf

Book Encounters:

  • "Kelly Oliver's Women as Weapons of War: Iraq, Sex, and the Media" by TRACEY NICHOLLS view-pdf

Visit the journal homepage here:

Cfp: "The Question of Nature: from Phusis to Biosphere," Pacific Association for the Continental Tradition, Seattle University, October 8-9, 2009.

Inaugural Annual Meeting of PACT. The aim of PACT is to create a platform for philosophical dialogue on the West Coast. The annual conference alternates between Seattle and San Francisco. PACT takes "Continental Philosophy" in its broadest sense, and everyone with an interest in continental thinking is invited to send in a submission and to participate. Abstracts of 500 words (or complete papers) addressing the question of nature can be submitted through email to Gerard Kuperus The deadline for submissions is JULY 1, 2009. For more information, please contact: Jason Wirth or Gerard Kuperus


Harlot invites a variety of submissions and interactions from thinkers from both within and without the university. We encourage teachers to use this space in any variety of courses that deal with culture, communication, or persuasion, and we invite and value student submissions. We're also seeking to expand our editorial and technology teams to better meet our goal of mixing academics and non-academics in conversations surrounding rhetoric in everyday life. Our current openings are listed and described on the Harlot site, and we hope you'll consider applying or forwarding this call to whoever may be interested. As always, new reviewers are welcome on an ongoing basis. Contents: From the Editors: "Harlot's Progress" "Comic Fans and Convergence Culture: Community of Readers in The Master of Kung Fu" -- David E. Beard, Kate Vo Thi-Beard "Who Are You What Are You Why?" -- Christopher Higgs, Caitlin Newcomer "Toward Death and Violence Rhetorical and Creative Potential; a Reader's Text" -- Giovana Driussi Presidential Rhetoric: "Some Change" -- John Oddo "Speaking in Translation: Obama's Interview with Al Arabiya" -- John C Landreau "The Annotated Obama Poster" -- Ben McCorkle "I, Barack Hussein Obama: Virtual Crowds and Participatory Politics in the 2009 Inauguration" -- Elizabeth Losh For further information, visit or email

Cfp: "Darwin in the Twenty-First Century: Nature, Humanity, and God," University of Notre Dame, November 1-3, 2009.

Sponsored by the John J. Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values. This international conference is devoted to evolutionary theory in its scientific, anthropological, philosophical, and theological dimensions as a contribution to the 150th anniversary of the publication of the Origin of Species. Download conference postcard (PDF). Featured Speakers: Gennaro Auletta, Gregorian University, Rome Francisco Ayala, University of California, Irvine William Carroll, Blackfriars, Oxford University Celia Deane-Drummond, University of Chester Jean Gayon, University of Paris Paul Griffiths, University of Sydney Kenneth Miller, Brown University Alessandro Minelli, University of Padua Sandra Mitchell, University of Pittsburgh Simon Conway Morris, Cambridge University Robert Richards, University of Chicago Bernard Wood, George Washington University Archbishop Jozef Zycinski, University of Lublin, Poland Conference Goals: examine the present state of theoretical discussion of evolutionary theory within the biological sciences reflect on the future directions of evolutionary theory through interdisciplinary discussions by scientists, social scientists, philosophers of science, and theologians explore issues at the intersection of evolutionary theory for our understanding of human nature develop interdisciplinary dialogue involving theology, philosophy, and evolutionary biology to form new perspectives on evolutionary science, Christian humanism, and the theology of creation Call for Papers 20 minute contributed papers on topics of relevance to the conference themes will be accepted for simultaneous sessions on November 2 and 3. Abstracts of 200 words and brief C.V.s are due by June 12, with notification of acceptance by June 19. Abstracts and proposals should be emailed to Visit the conference webpage here:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Wood, Michael. "The Myth of Gabriel García Márquez." SLATE MAGAZINE May 18, 2009.

Martin, Gerald. Gabriel García Márquez: a Life. New York: Knopf, 2009. Many years later, and many times over, the famous writer was to remember the day he discovered how to set about writing his great novel. He was driving from Mexico City to Acapulco when the illumination hit him. He turned the car around, went home, and locked himself away for 18 months. When he reappeared, he had the manuscript of One Hundred Years of Solitude in his hands. In her hands, his wife had 18 months' worth of unpaid bills. When Gerald Martin, around the middle of his rich and resourceful biography, starts to tell this story, the reader may be a little surprised, even disappointed. "He had not been driving long that day when ... García Márquez, as if in a trance, turned the Opel around, and drove back in the direction of Mexico City. And then ..." Up to this point, Martin has not been challenging what he calls his subject's "mythomania"—how could he, since it's the basis of the writer's art and fame—but he has not been retelling the myths, either. He has been grounding them, laying out the pieces of what became the puzzles. And that's what he's doing here, too, it turns out. He is playing with us for a moment, precisely because the magic of this moment has to be acknowledged in some way. . . . Read the rest here:

Cfp: "Decodings," 23rd Annual Conference, Society for Literature, Science and the Arts, Atlanta, November 5-8, 2009.

The conference theme is "decodings," with all its possible referents, including: Do we decode nature, or are natural processes already full of encoding/decoding mechanisms along the lines of DNA? Is a digital representation a decoding of analog nature, or must we decode the digital to understand what is lost in quantizing natural continua? We invite panels, individual papers and artistic presentations on these or related topics, but will give full consideration to any panel or proposal within SLSA's scope. For further information, visit the society's conference page:

Fish, Stanley. "God Talk, Part 2." THINK AGAIN BLOG. NEW YORK TIMES May 17, 2009.

According to recent surveys, somewhere between 79 and 92 percent of Americans believe in God. But if the responses to my column on Terry Eagleton’s “Faith, Reason and Revolution” constitute a representative sample, 95 percent of Times readers don’t. What they do believe, apparently, is that religion is a fairy tale, hogwash, balderdash, nonsense and a device for rationalizing horrible deeds. Of course, there is more than name-calling to their antitheism; there are arguments, and the one most often made insists on a sharp distinction between religion and science, or, alternatively, between faith and reason. The assertion, generally, is that while “science is based on observation, religion is based on opinion” (RM Paxton) Or, in another formulation, science does not involve belief, it is “based on common observation” (Dave Goldenberg). Science “simply reports facts” (Bob W.) Or, in the same vein, “Science helps us to understand the world as it is” (Mark Grein). In short, while science provides a window on the world, religion places between us and the world a fog of doctrine and superstition, and if we want to become clear-eyed, we have to dispel (a word that should be taken literally) that fog. This is the promise offered by Christopher Hitchens, who tells his readers (in “God is Not Great”), “You will feel better . . . once you leave hold of the doctrinaire and allow your chainless mind to do its own thinking.” (Thinkers of the world, unite; you have nothing to lose but your chains.) Sounds good, sounds simple. Just free the mind of pre-packaged beliefs and take a good look at things. But is it that easy? Is observation a matter simply of opening up your baby blues and taking note of the evidence that presents itself? Does evidence come labeled as such – “I am evidence for thesis X but not Y”? Read the rest here: There have been many reactions to this column, including the following:

For a brief overview of Fish's position on the relationship between knowledge and belief, see:

Smith, Patricia. "Feminist Philosophy of Law." STANFORD ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PHILOSOPHY May 19, 2009.

Feminist philosophy of law refers to a body of scholarship that has grown out of and is closely associated with the feminist reform movement that began in the mid-20th century. It is concerned with analyzing legal structures, with identifying their effects on the material condition of women and girls, and with formulating new structures or reforms that could correct gender injustice, exploitation, or restriction. Thus it is the critique of law as a patriarchal institution. While the immediate goal of feminist jurisprudence has always been institutional analysis and reform, accomplishing it requires conceptual analysis and revision. This is because promoting freedom and equality for women reflects a profound shift in basic assumptions about the nature of women and their proper place in the world: namely, a shift from inequality to equality of the sexes. Given the scope and detail of this change, much feminist legal theory proceeds on two levels: one pragmatic, concrete, and particular, and the other conceptual and ultimately visionary. In this article the interaction of institutional analysis with conceptual revision will be illustrated by reviewing the evolution of the concept of equality in terms of several areas of scholarly development, directly connected to pragmatic feminist goals. . . .

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2009 Winter School, Melbourne School of Continental Philosophy, June 29 - July 17, 2009.

The Melbourne School of Continental Philosophy is pleased to announce its 2009 Winter School curriculum. Each course runs Monday to Friday 5 x 2 hour seminars. Week 1: June 29 - July 3 11am. Meaning and Metaphor in Nietzsche and Wittgenstein, Paul Daniels & Gareth Davies 2pm. Gilles Deleuze's Difference and Repetition, Jon Roffe Week 2: July 6-10 11am. Kant's Critical Philosophy 1, Marc Hiatt & Paul Daniels 2pm. Marx and Marxism, Andy Blunden Week 3: July 13-17 11am. Kant's Critical Philosophy 2, Marc Hiatt & Paul Daniels 2pm. Recent Continental Rationalism, Jon Roffe. Student/Unwaged Course Fees: 1 course $70 2 courses $120 3 courses $160 4 courses+ $200 Waged Course Fees: 1 course $110 2 courses $180 3 courses $240 4 courses+ $300 (early bird %10 discount ends June 4 ) Venue: The Academic Centre, Newman and St. Mary's College, University of Melbourne. For further details, recommended readings and enrolment go to; Send any questions, inquiries and completed enrolment forms to .


A century and a half after the publication of Origin of Species, evolutionary thinking has expanded beyond the field of biology to include virtually all human-related subjects—anthropology, archeology, psychology, economics, religion, morality, politics, culture, and art. Now a distinguished scholar offers the first comprehensive account of the evolutionary origins of art and storytelling. Brian Boyd explains why we tell stories, how our minds are shaped to understand them, and what difference an evolutionary understanding of human nature makes to stories we love. Art is a specifically human adaptation, Boyd argues. It offers tangible advantages for human survival, and it derives from play, itself an adaptation widespread among more intelligent animals. More particularly, our fondness for storytelling has sharpened social cognition, encouraged cooperation, and fostered creativity. After considering art as adaptation, Boyd examines Homer’s Odyssey and Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hears a Who! demonstrating how an evolutionary lens can offer new understanding and appreciation of specific works. What triggers our emotional engagement with these works? What patterns facilitate our responses? The need to hold an audience’s attention, Boyd underscores, is the fundamental problem facing all storytellers. Enduring artists arrive at solutions that appeal to cognitive universals: an insight out of step with contemporary criticism, which obscures both the individual and universal. Published for the bicentenary of Darwin’s birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of Origin of Species, Boyd’s study embraces a Darwinian view of human nature and art, and offers a credo for a new humanism.

Howard, Jennifer. "From 'Once Upon a Time' to 'Happily Ever After.'" CHRONICLE May 22, 2009.

Bottigheimer, Ruth B. Fairy Tales: a New History. Albany: SUNY Press, 2009. Long long ago, villagers and nursemaids spun stories, handing them down from generation to generation. Then collectors like the Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault came along, jotted them down, and transformed them into literature. That's one old story line about fairy tales. To hear Ruth B. Bottigheimer tell it, that story is itself a fairy tale." It has been said so often that the folk invented and disseminated fairy tales that this assumption has become an unquestioned proposition," Bottigheimer writes in the introduction to her most recent book, Fairy Tales: A New History (State University of New York Press, 2009). "It may therefore surprise readers that folk invention and transmission of fairy tales has no basis in verifiable fact. Literary analysis undermines it, literary history rejects it, social history repudiates it, and publishing history ... contradicts it." . . . Read the rest here:

Cfp: "Style in Theory / Styling Theory," University of Malta, November 26-28, 2009.

Inaugural International Literary Criticism and Theory Conference. “… one has to be in possession of literature.”—Jean-Luc Nancy “…truth demands a laborious science without style.”—Jean-Luc Nancy The two epigraphs to the conference—neither of which lacks disingenuousness—mark the tensions that have long existed between philosophy and literature over the question of style. Is Theory reallythe discourse to think through, perhaps even to impossibly resolve, those tensions? As a discourse arguably more hospitable than most to the“writer philosopher,” with investments both in “the impassive jouissance of science” (Nancy) and in “the surprise of writing itself” (Leavey), theory countenances the idea of “truth with style.” It is possibly the discourse that has come closest to the dream of a writing that would be neither philosophy nor literature, but that would retain the memory of both (Derrida). That, at least, is one of the stories theory tells itself. It is a complex story, because the place of style in theory is the question and history of the relations between philosophy, literature, and theory. In reopening that question and that history, this conference attempts re-articulations that appear particularly urgent now, when more than ever there is a keen awareness of writing’s different mediations and of the singularities that it plurally carries. And so, once again—style, in theory: What, in theory, is style? What is the role and place of style(s) in theory, in the writing practice of theory? Is theory style, and is this the same thing as saying it is stylized? Has theory gone out of style, never (or about) to return? Can theory be restyled? Style, in theory—is that the question of theory, and of theory’s future in the age of new media? The conference organizers invite abstracts for papers that explore these and related issues. The following additional points may serve as further invitations to thinking through the place of style in theory: • Is there a particular style—or styles, or patterns of stylization—proper to theory? Might this question be reframed in terms of the relation between le mode and la mode of theory? • Who are the theorists of style? What claims do they make for theory’s style? Is there, in effect, a canon of texts that think through the place of style in theory? What is there to be said anew about the rationale, the rhetoric, the history, the politics of that canon, assuming it exists at all? • Was theory really ever interested in style? With a number of notable exceptions, style contrives to be passed over in many commentaries of and on theory, its challenge not as explicitly addressed as might be expected. Is this explainable by speculating that style might actually be incidental to theory, conditional instead upon that towards which theory in each instance turns its gaze? • If the aim of philosophy has often appeared to be the achievement of a style-less writing, whereas literature has been the discourse marked by the cultivation and development of style, was it always theory’s agendato speak a certain philosophical commitment with and to style? If so, then the presentation of theory—theory’s style(s)—can perhaps be understood as definitional of theory. Can theory be understood as a re-mapping of the traditional borders of Darstellung and Dichtung? If so, how does this characterize the relationship between writing theory and styling theory? • If style is signature, and if style always finds itself within the order of the singular, what are the implications for thinking the style(s) of theory—this discourse that has significant investments in thinking through the singular? • Who are the authors who cultivate, develop and theorize style as their signature? How do their literary works illuminate style in theory and theory in style? • If the style of theory always “goes before it” and style is always implicitly recognizable, does this imply that style (and perhaps theory) is subordinate to an already existing aesthetic outlook? If this is so,and the recognition of style is taken to be inherently assimilative and open to recuperation, is it possible to speak of the style of singularity or the style of the event? What are the implications in this regard for the popular positioning of theory as operating from a critically interrogative “non-lieu”? • If we supposedly live, read, and write in a time “after theory,” why should the question of theory’s past, present, and future styles still be considered urgent? • Is there a dialectics of the posthumous in play when raising the question of style in theory? Are we simply commemorating a particular“generation,” or “a highpoint” of theory, or even an entire episteme when exploring the question of style in the wake of theory? What are we mourning, and what are we in wait of, when reopening the question of style in theory? • How does the question of style, in theory, now find itself related to“the post-humanities of tomorrow?” • If style is invested in writing as techne, how might the question of style, in theory, be reframed in the age of new media—in these times of greater critical attunement to what has been called technesis, of the quickly multiplying and reinvented resources of “electric language,” and of unprecedented manifestations of “archive fever”? How, in effect, is theory—the discourse on the letter—restyling itself in this digital age? • Is style, in theory, post-style, post-theory? Abstracts for papers, preferably stylishly brief, should be sent to by 30 June 2009, copied to the addresses below. The organizers will also be glad to respond to questions about the onference. Or visit the conference webpage here:

Notomi, Noburu. Review of Gail Fine's OXFORD HANDBOOK OF PLATO. NDPR (May 2009).

Fine, Gail, ed. Oxford Handbook of Plato. Oxford: OUP, 2008. The Oxford Handbook of Plato (OHP) contains twenty-two articles of substantial length (from 20 to 30 pages). Short footnotes and a bibliography accompany each chapter, and another concise bibliography and indices (locorum, nominum, subject) are added at the end of the volume. Readers may perhaps be overwhelmed by this huge volume of over 600 pages. The book is not to be used as an encyclopedia or dictionary. But it evokes new ideas and challenges to readers of Plato who, like its contributors, work in the analytic style. Each chapter guides readers to a particular topic or phase of Plato's philosophy, but each is, more or less, an independent contribution. Cross-references between the chapters are rare. Apart from the Introduction (ch.1), by the editor, the twenty-one contributions can be grouped into four categories: general background (chs.2-4), philosophical topics (chs.5-14), specific dialogues (chs.15-20), and legacies or receptions (chs.21-22). The combination of these different categories is one of the salient features of OHP that differentiate it from other similar volumes. For example, A Companion to Plato, edited by H. Benson (Blackwell 2006), is clearly intended as a topic-oriented guide (with 29 chapters); a similar arrangement is adopted in the Cambridge Companion to Plato, edited by R. Kraut (CUP 1992), which, however, has chapters that mix specific topics and some individual dialogues (Men., Rep., Soph., Phlb.). The editor indicates in her Introduction to this volume a clear policy of multiple approaches to particular dialogues or topics (pp.4-5). This policy certainly succeeds in enriching our understanding of Plato's philosophy. If readers find it difficult to move across the chapters, they are advised to consult the editor's Introduction first, which nicely summarizes the main points of each chapter. The Introduction is, however, not a mere summary of the following chapters, but also connects them together, in a way that presents the editor's own view of Plato's philosophy. Read the whole review here:

Monday, May 18, 2009

"Concept and Form: the CAHIERS POUR L'ANALYSE and Contemporary French Thought," Middlesex University, May 21-22, 2009.

Hosted by the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy. The Cahiers pour l’analyse was a journal published by a group of brilliant young philosophy graduates (including Jacques-Alain Miller, Jean-Claude Milner, Alain Badiou and François Regnault) at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. Ten issues of the journal appeared between 1966 and 1969 – arguably the most fertile and productive years in French philosophy during the whole of the twentieth century. Articles published in the Cahiers include landmark texts by Derrida, Foucault, Althusser and Irigaray, as well as seminal and brilliantly original texts by Miller, Badiou and other members of the journal's editorial circle. Guided by the examples of Canguilhem, Lacan and Althusser, the Cahiers was conceived as a contribution to a philosophy based on the primacy of concepts, on the rigour of logic and formalisation, in opposition to philosophies based on the categories of representation, of lived experience, or of the conscious subject of such experience. This conference will explore some of the more general philosophical issues bound up with the ambitious ‘ultra-structuralism’ at work in the Cahiers: the effort to develop a non-psychological, non-humanist theory of the subject that might be compatible with some of the insights of structuralism; the relation between psychoanalysis and logic; the scope and limits of formalisation; the relation between psychoanalysis and politics, and so on. PROGRAMME (downloadable here): Thursday 21 May 9:30-10:00am Registration and coffee 10:00-10:15am Introductory remarks: Peter Hallward, Middlesex University 10:15-11:30am Knox Peden, University of California at Berkeley, 'The Fate of the Concept' 11:30am-12:45pm Luke Fraser, University of Guelph, 'What is Structure?' 12:45-2:00pm Lunch (sandwiches provided) 2:00-3:15pm Tracy McNulty, Cornell University, 'Transmission Terminable and Interminable' 3:15-3:30pm Christian Kerslake, Middlesex University, brief demonstration of the Concept and Form website (under construction). 3:30-3:45pm break 3:45-5pm François Regnault, University of Paris VIII, 'Les Cahiers pour l'Analyse, depuis la Vérité jusq'à Dieu qui n'eut pas lieu' 5pm-6pm concluding discussion 6pm to 7:30pm Wine reception Friday 22 May 9:30-10:00am Coffee 10:00-11:15am Patrice Maniglier, University of Essex, 'Acting out the Structure: from Lévi-Strauss to the Cahiers pour l'Analyse' 11:15am-12:30pm Claude Imbert, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris, 'Lévi-Strauss and the Eighteenth Century: Forty Years Later' 12:30-1:30pm Lunch (sandwiches provided) 1:30-2:45pm Christian Kerslake, Middlesex University, 'Suture and Foreclosure in the Cahiers pour l'analyse' 3:15-4:00pm Jelica Šumič Riha, The Institute of Philosophy, Ljubljana, 'Logic of the pas-tout or Lacan with Aristotle' 4:00-4:30pm coffee break 4:30-5:45pm Adrian Johnston, University of New Mexico, 'Affects Are Signifiers: The Infinite Judgment of Lacanian Ultrastructuralism' 5:45pm-6:15pm concluding discussion Visit the conference homepage:

Pub: Nauta, Lodi. "Lorenzo Valla." STANFORD ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PHILOSOPHY May 14, 2009.

Lorenzo Valla (c. 1406–1457) was one of the most important humanists of his time. In his Elegantiae linguae Latinae, an advanced handbook of Latin language and style, he gave the humanist program some of its most trenchant and combative formulations, bringing the study of Latin to an unprecedented level. He made numerous contributions to classical scholarship. But he also used his vast knowledge of the classical languages and their literatures as a tool to criticize a wide range of ideas, theories, and established practices. He famously exposed the Donation of Constantine—an important document justifying the papacy's claims to temporal rule—as a forgery. He compared, for the first time, St. Jerome's translation of the Bible with the Greek text of the New Testament, thereby laying the foundations of critical biblical scholarship. In his Repastinatio dialectice et philosophie (Re-ploughing of Dialectic and Philosophy), also known as his Dialectics, he attacked scholastic-Aristotelian thought from an essentially linguistic point of view. Already highly controversial in his own times, Valla's works continue to provoke heated debate in modern times. . . . Read the rest here:

Third International & Interdisciplinary Conference on Emotional Geographies, Hawke Research Institute, University of South Australia, April 5-7, 2010.

Invited Speakers include: Professor Sara Ahmed (Goldsmiths College, University of London) Professor Pal Ahluwalia (University of South Australia) Professor Michael Dutton (Griffith University & Goldsmiths College) Professor Sophie Watson (Open University) Professor Stephanie Hemelry Donald (University of Sydney) We invite papers that interrogate emotion, society and space from diverse disciplinary and multidisciplinary backgrounds. We are interested in specific case studies as well as theoretical examinations of the nature of connections among these terms. The conference will be an exciting place to think about new ways of studying the natures, cultures and histories of emotional life. We welcome individual papers as well as panel proposals. We are happy to receive papers that engage in experimental as well as traditional formats. Possible topics include: • Embodiment and emotions; • Dynamics of affect; • Affective attachment and the other-than-human • Emotional labour and management; • Affective spaces and the transnational; • Migration, postcolonialism and emotions; • Indigenous knowledges and emotion; • Emotional architectures and landscapes of emotion; • Affect, sense, sensation; • Emotional publics and passionate politics; • Semiotics and poetics of affect/emotion; • Theories of affect, emotions, feelings; • Affect and tourism; • Queer spaces of affect; • Emotion and political reform. One special theme of the conference is Consuming and Producing Affective Spaces of Taste. Focusing on the relations of production and consumption we want to examine how spaces of tastes are being refigured within the cultural economics of transglobalisation. We are especially interested in specific studies of the changing geographies of food, tourism, and other material commodities, as well as more general theoretical investigations of the connections between production, consumption, emotions and space. The conference organizers welcome proposals for further special themes. Abstracts of 300 words to be sent to by July 17 2009.

Churchwell, Sarah. "A Room of Their Own, At Last." GUARDIAN May 16, 2009.

Showalter, Elaine. A Jury of her Peers: American Women Writers from Anne Bradstreet to Annie Proulx. New York: Virago, 2009. In A Jury of Her Peers, Elaine Showalter has produced the first comprehensive overview of the achievement of American women writers from the Puritans to the (not quite) present. She claims to be surprised that it hasn't been done before, but she shouldn't be. It is a daunting task, and few could carry it off with such aplomb. What unites these writers, for Showalter, is less their anatomical sex than the shared pressure of gender roles upon their art; nearly all the women she surveys had to overcome not only the inherent obstacles of creative expression and commercial competition, but also cultural expectations of a life of pure domesticity. Lydia Maria Child, a popular and prolific 19th-century author of novels and verse, made a list at the end of 1864 of what she'd accomplished that year: "Cooked 360 dinners. Cooked 362 breakfasts. Swept and dusted sitting room & kitchen 350 times. Filled lamps 362 times ..." In other words, the women Showalter surveys were all in need of a room of their own. In one sense, this is a familiar story, told not only by Virginia Woolf, but by Showalter herself 30 years ago, in A Literature of Their Own: British Women Novelists from Brontë to Lessing, her pioneering genealogy of British women's fiction within its social, cultural and political contexts. One of the founders of feminist literary theory, Showalter has long insisted that women writers should be taken on their own terms, and joined the chorus of her peers in the 1970s and 80s arguing that many had been unjustly neglected on the basis of their sex. Rebuttals soon followed that these writers had been justly neglected on the basis of merit, and should continue to be neglected. . . . Read the rest here:

Cfp: White, Daniel, ed. “Philosophy as Critical Theory: the Dialectic of Enlightenment Revisited," THE EUROPEAN LEGACY 15.4 (2010).

In The Dialectic of Enlightenment (Dialektik der Aufklärung, 1944) Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno invoked the voyage of Odysseus—especially his encounter with the Sirens—as a sustained metaphor for the emergence of the “subject” of knowledge, judgment, and discourse out of the mythic substratum of Homeric poetry. The authors understood Odysseus to be the progenitor of the modern Bourgeoisie, tantamount to the Socratic “self” derided by Friedrich Nietzsche and designated by Max Weber as the calculating ratiocinator who gave us “progress” in its various forms: capitalist, socialist, technocratic, and utilitarian. The Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School which the authors founded was designed to provide a groundbreaking position. Like Walter Benjamin’s work, in Adorno’s view, “[Its] outlook on modernity as archaic does not preserve the traces of an ostensibly ancient truth, but means the genuine break-out from the dream-captivity of bourgeois immanence” (Adorno, “Portrait of Walter Benjamin, Prisms, Gesammelte Werke 10,1, 247, my translation; also see Susan Buck-Morss, The Origin of Negative Dialectics, New York: Free Press, 1977, p. 61). Enlightenment in the key of Critical Theory thus escapes from the autonomous “subject” conceived by Kant in his essay “Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment?”; it then engages in the dialectical and communicative dialogue between “self” and “other.” Philosophy as critical theory then becomes irreducibly social and cultural. It can still recall G.W.F. Hegel’s project in which philosophy “transfigures (verklärt) reality, which appears unjust,” even if it cannot at present “reconcile (versöhnt) the real with the rational” as Hegel envisioned (Einleitung, Vorlesungen über die Philosophie der Weltgeschichte [Introduction, Lectures on the Philosophy of History], Sämtliche Werke, VIII, Georg Lasson, ed. Leipzig: Meiner, 1920, p. 55, my translation). Accordingly, in the proposed special issue I would like to call for a reopening of the meeting between the Odysseus and the Sirens. The key question I would like to address is, “What is the critical role of philosophy today in its relationship to other ‘voices’ in the social sciences and the humanities?” Some questions that contributors might consider are, for example: What are the most important forms which the Sirenic encounter takes now in the 21st century? How has it been transformed by the meeting of Europeans, the “elect,” the “chosen,” the “haves,” et al. with their “others”? What do the Sirens have to say about Odysseus? Is “consciousness” principally a matter of “constraint” or “closure,” as in the case of Odysseus tied to the mast? Is “identity” a matter of self-exclusion from an ecology of “differences,” as when the unitary Odyssean subject travels through the “strange” realm of voices yet remains “himself”? What is the role of philosophy once it has deconstructed what Ezra Talmor has called “the hierarchy of narratives” in which claims of truth and legitimization of power reside (see Talmor, “Hierarchy of Narratives III,” ISSEI Listserv, October-November 1997, as well as my “Comment” and the following exchange, 97‑11‑02 ff.)? Socratic “Philosophy,” as Nietzsche saw it, arose from the construction and rationalization of subjectivity in Greek texts from Homer through Plato. What is its “fate” or “course” now when it is undertaken as an interdisciplinary critical theory that can no longer assume the hegemony of the “subject” or its “reason”? How does Odysseus fare now that he must traverse the virtual dream-world of The Matrix? Papers should be 6,000 words in length, submitted by email in MS Word format, and in the documentation style specified by The European Legacy; they should include full contact information at the bottom of the cover page; they should be sent, by August 1, 2009, to Daniel White:, Wilkes Honors College, Florida Atlantic University, 5353 Parkside Drive, Jupiter, FL 33458, USA.

Bruns, Gerald L. Review of Two Books on Animals and J. M. Coetzee. NDPR (May 2009).

Cavell, Stanley, Cora Diamond, John McDowell, Ian Hacking, and Cary Wolf. Philosophy and Animal Life. New York: Columbia UP, 2008. Mulhall, Stephen. The Wounded Animal: J. M. Coetzee and the Difficulty of Reality in Literature and Philosophy. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2009. In 1997 the South African novelist J. M. Coetzee was invited to give the annual Tanner Lectures at Princeton University. His presentations were entitled, "The Philosophers and the Animals" and "The Poets and the Animals," and were later published as The Lives of Animals (Princeton University Press, 1999), a volume that also included texts by Princeton's original respondents to Coetzee's lectures -- Peter Singer (a philosopher), Marjorie Garber (a literary critic), Wendy Doniger (an historian of religion), and Barbara Smuts (a primatologist); the philosopher Amy Gutmann provided an introduction. Some of the respondents were brought up short by the fact that Coetzee's lectures were not really lectures at all but rather a two-part short story about a lecture and a seminar presented by a fictional Australian novelist, Elizabeth Costello, at Appleton College, an imaginary American university. As Coetzee developed it, the subject of Costello's lecture is our pervasive indifference to the horror of raising and killing animals for food -- a blindness Costello compares to the willful ignorance of Nazi death-camps among ordinary Germans and Poles during World War II. As it happens, Costello's argument is not so much in behalf of animal rights or vegetarianism as it is a polemic against the support that philosophy, with its genius for categories and distinctions, has always given to our inhumane treatment of non-human creatures. Hers is a bitter critique of reason as a distancing factor that insulates us against animal suffering. After complaints against Aristotle, Aquinas, and Descartes, she cites Thomas Nagel's famous question, "What is like to be a bat?," in order to reject his answer that there is no getting inside bat consciousness. Costello thinks Nagel is just withholding himself and his concepts of subjective experience from the bat. She proposes instead something like Keats's idea of "negative capability," namely the poet's ability to inhabit imaginatively the lives of others, whether human or otherwise (a nightingale, for example). For Elizabeth Costello, the mere fact of fiction-writing refutes Nagel's position: "If I can think my way into the existence of a being who has never existed, then I can think my way into the existence of a bat or a chimpanzee or an oyster, any being with whom I share the substrate of life." Sharing here means empathy with the "fullness of life" that every creature enjoys. Whether it is embodied in humans or non-humans, this fullness of life is Elizabeth Costello's definition of the good, and empathy is the requisite of the good life. . . . Read the rest here:

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Dobson, Roger. "Creative Minds: the Links between Mental Illness and Creativity." THE INDEPENDENT May 5, 2009.

At first glance, Einstein, Salvador Dali, Tony Hancock, and Beach Boy Brian Wilson would seem to have little in common. Their areas of physics, modern art, comedy, and rock music, are light years apart. So what, if anything, could possibly link minds that gave the world the theory of relativity, great surreal art, iconic comedy, and songs about surfing? According to new research, psychosis could be the answer. Creative minds in all kinds of areas, from science to poetry, and mathematics to humour, may have traits associated with psychosis. Such traits may allow the unusual and sometimes bizarre thought processes associated with mental illness to fuel creativity. The theory is based on the idea that there is no clear dividing line between the healthy and the mentally ill. Rather, there is a continuum, with some people having psychotic traits without having the debilitating symptoms. . . . Read the rest here:

Davis, Jordan. "Into the Wardrobe: C. S. Lewis's NARNIA." THE NATION May 25, 2009.

Miller, Laura. The Magician's Book: a Skeptic's Adventures in Narnia. Boston: Little, Brown, 2008. In his criticism and the Narnia books, Lewis puts a premium on lush physical description, going beyond sight and sound to emphasize smell, taste and touch whenever possible. And he has the knack for what Soviet critic Viktor Shklovsky called ostranenie, or "enstrangement"--presenting familiar objects, scenes, feelings or even religious beliefs in an unfamiliar light so that the reader can experience them as if for the first time. These are indispensable qualities of Lewis's best work, but they do not in themselves explain the fervor with which young readers form lifelong attachments to his stories. In The Magician's Book, Laura Miller has written an account of returning as an adult to the Narnia books, trying to understand what in them stunned her 9-year-old self into a life of wanting nothing more than to read. It is a strange, often dispiriting book, announcing itself as both memoir and literary criticism; in fact, Miller submerges her own story and never quite focuses completely on the work at hand or, for that matter, on what in Lewis's reading helped lead him to create an imaginary place she once longed to visit. Miller's declared goal is to illuminate the Narnia books' "other, unsung dimensions, especially the deep roots of the Chronicles in the universal experiences of childhood and in English literature." What Miller ends up doing is revisiting for a while the pleasure of identifying wholeheartedly with a character in a story. This immersion, incidentally, was a particular interest of Lewis's. His remarkable book-length essay An Experiment in Criticism is an attempt to suspend labeling books as good or bad. Instead, looking closely at what people do when they read, he works from the premise that discussion of books takes place only among that small, odd group of readers who take pure pleasure in reading and rereading books not for self-improvement or snob appeal but because going even a few days without reading makes them ill. The many, he writes, read books to gratify personal wishes, finding what they look for, as opposed to hearing what the books have to say, experiencing what they mean to do to the reader. Unfamiliar description is, for this kind of reader, an impediment, "like trying to sell him something he has no use for at a price he does not wish to pay." And the necessary conditions of good writing--excitement, mystery and what comes of seeking happiness--are mistaken for sufficient. Lewis diagnoses the habit of reading to identify with characters as "castle-building," the egoistic fantasizing dramatized in the (soon to be remade) Danny Kaye comedy The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. It is, he acknowledges, a pleasurable way to read, and it isn't fatal. He cites Anthony Trollope as an example of someone who began as a castle-builder and who went on to imagine worlds not entirely populated by himself. But for a critic, it is not the ideal mode when looking for what makes a book. There is, after all, something besides the reader to find. . . . Read the rest here:

White, Hayden. "The Aim of Interpretation is to Create Perplexity in the Face of the Real." HISTORY AND THEORY 48 (2009).

An Interview with Erlend Rogne. What structuralism taught me was that the situation is always structured. And like language, from the beginning it’s arbitrarily structured, or it is structured to the advantage of certain groups in the totality. The rules themselves are arbitrarily put in place. They also make communication possible. But one of the rules of language use and of social being is that humans not only can live by rules, but they can change rules, and can make a distinction between rule-governed activity and rule-changing activity. One comes to situations in which the press of the situation is to force you to come to one and only one conclusion about what you should do. But in reality you come trailing with all of these other obligations, so that you have to constantly think dialectically. I think structuralism ultimately is critical of highly structured societies. It tries to explain how social systems are possible, and how they function, but always behind it was the question of how social systems change. And that’s what poststructuralism dealt with: how does noise in the system build to the point where it explodes the system itself? That’s what Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Roland Barthes, and Jacques Lacan are all about. Post-structuralism is a necessary supplement, or complement, to structuralism. And it played itself out over a period of about thirty years, like all systems do. In came structuralism, in the period just before and during the Second World War, at a point in which capitalist society had reached a period of hyper-structuralization for purposes of war. A society shuts down any kind of individualism in times of war. It becomes a state of the exception, as Giorgio Agamben calls it. They say: “OK, once you had all of these freedoms and rights, but we can’t afford that now. The terrorists are about to attack us.” Just like President George W. Bush's perplexit y in the face of the real 67 is seeking to restrict the rights of Americans on the grounds that the terrorist threat requires that we can’t afford them, they’re luxuries. (Let me say that I don’t think they’re luxuries.) So structuralism, with Claude Lévi-Strauss and people of that ilk, and also like sociologists of Weber’s type before the War, really provides the solution to the question of how people like Adolf Eichmann, who thought they were just ordinary guys doing their job, could do what they did. How was it possible? They were so completely assimilated to the system that they’d lost all sense of there being an option to their performing these kinds of deeds. I think structuralism is really about the nature of advanced capitalist society, a society that becomes more and more structured and more and more determinative of the nature of the choices of the individual, while at the same time providing them with the sense that their choices are free! They say that it’s an open market, when in reality the advertising propaganda so condition the individual that there’s no choice involved! Structuralism explains how this terrible machine of advanced capitalist society, which is responsible for the destruction of the whole ecosphere, is possible. And post-structuralism explains how it is possible to oppose this machine. That’s the way I would put it. And by the way, I think that the French versions of structuralism and post-structuralism owe everything to Sartre and his attempt to combine existentialism and Marxist conceptions of history and society. Another person who really has had a profound influence on me is Roland Barthes. I think that Barthes was the most inventive writer and critic of the post-World War Two generation in France. It was under his inspiration that I turned not so much to linguistics as to discourse theory, and began to see history as discourse rather than as discipline. I would say that that was very liberating for me, as I know it has been liberating for others. Discourse has to do with the production of meaning through combination and through what Georg Lukács called composition. Research is a necessary part of the rules of the game of professional historiography—it sets restraints on what you can do—but still, the payoff is nothing if it doesn’t get distilled into a discourse. And the discourse can either be a narrative or it can be a structural work. But once you begin to see the human sciences, and the social sciences in general, as discourse, you see that these have their functions in the self-production of the human in response to different situations across time and space. . . . Read the rest here:

Spiegel, Gabrielle M. "The Task of the Historian." AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW 114.1 (2009): 1-15.

Traditionally, for historians, the ethical core of our professional commitment has been a belief that our arduous, often tedious labor yields some authentic knowledge of the dead “other,” a knowledge admittedly shaped by the historian's own perceptions and biases, but nonetheless retaining a degree of autonomy, in the sense that it cannot be made entirely to bend to the historian's will. This founding belief in the irreducible otherness of the past conferred on history its proper function, which was to recover that past in as close an approximation of “how it actually was” as possible. In the interest of preserving the autonomy of the past, the historian practiced modesty as a supreme ethical virtue, discreetly holding in abeyance his or her own beliefs, prejudices, and presuppositions. Yet this traditional understanding of the nature, epistemological grounding, truth‐value, and goals of historical research faced a significant challenge beginning in the late 1960s and the 1970s with the emergence of what came to be known as the “linguistic turn,” the belief that language is the constitutive agent of human consciousness and the social production of meaning, and that our apprehension of the world, both past and present, arrives only through the lens of language's precoded perceptions. Moreover, language, once understood as a relatively neutral medium of communication, sufficiently transparent to convey a reasonably accurate sense of reality, itself had been reconceptualized with the emergence of structural linguistics or semiotics, a movement that began with the publication in 1916 of Ferdinand de Saussure's Course in General Linguistics. Far from reflecting the social world of which it is a part, language, Saussure argued, precedes the world and makes it intelligible according to its own rules of signification. Since for Saussure such rules are inherently arbitrary, in the sense of being social conventions implicitly understood in different ways by differing linguistic communities, the idea of an objective universe existing independently of speech and universally comprehensible despite one's membership in any particular language system is an illusion. Such was the “semiotic challenge” posed to the practice of historiography by the rise of structural linguistics and continuing with the successive emergence of structuralism, semiotics, and poststructuralism, including the elaboration of deconstruction. The principal impact of these cognate developments was felt most intensely in the period after World War II; after 1965 they assumed the name “linguistic turn,” a term disseminated by the pragmatic philosopher Richard Rorty in his essay “Metaphysical Difficulties of Linguistic Philosophy” and generalized to various disciplines throughout the course of the seventies and after. Whether or not the linguistic turn constituted the kind of epistemological crisis for historiography that several of my predecessors in this office believed, it is clear that it represented a massive change in our understanding of the nature of historical reality, the methods of research we deployed in seeking to recover the past, and the nature of the truth claims that could be asserted about the product of our labors. Never entirely accepted in the full range of its claims, it nonetheless had a significant impact on how historians construed their basic tasks and the procedures and language in which they were conducted. Anyone who has lived through the last four decades of change in historiographical praxis can appreciate the need to investigate how such a profound transformation in the nature and understanding of historical work, both in practice and in theory, could have taken place. . . . Read the rest here:

Miller, Russell. "R. D. Laing: the Abominable Family Man." TIMES April 12, 2009.

Eighteen months before she died of leukaemia at the age of 21, Susan Laing, RD Laing’s second oldest daughter, was interviewed by The Sunday Times Magazine for a 1974 feature about the children of celebrities. Her contribution was unutterably sad. She claimed that her father, then the best-known psychiatrist in Britain bar Jung and Freud, could not get accustomed to his children being grown up. “We’ve got too many problems for him,” she said. “He can solve everybody else’s, but not ours.” It was a rare insight into the chaotic private life of a man lauded as one of the most controversial and remarkable figures in the history of psychiatry. RD Laing frequently asserted that mental illness was rooted in the family, yet he treated his own family abominably. He abandoned his first five children and left them in penury. He went on to father five more children with three different women, had innumerable affairs, was subject to violent drunken rages and became obsessed with his own fame. Yet he treated patients with extraordinary compassion and empathy, qualities he denied his own family. . . . Read the rest here:

Grayling, A. C. "Brain Science and the Search for the Self." NEW SCIENTIST March 20, 2009.

Belief in the idea of a substantial soul - a "you" that is separate from your body - was waning. In the absence of this metaphysical entity as a convenience for underpinning personal identity, what, asked Molyneaux, makes the retired general continuous with the eager subaltern of 40 years before, and he with the red-cheeked baby in his nurse's arms 20 years before that? In response, Locke added a chapter to his second edition which instantly caused a storm of controversy and has been famous ever since in the annals of philosophy. In that chapter Locke argued that a person's identity over time resides in their consciousness (he coined this term, and here introduced it to the English language) of being the same self at a later time as at an earlier, and that the mechanism that makes this possible is memory. Whereas a stone is the same stone over time because it is the very same lump of matter - or almost, allowing for erosion - and an oak tree is identical with its originating acorn because it is the same continuous organisation of matter, a person is only the same through time if he or she is self-aware of being so. Memory loss interrupts identity, and complete loss of memory is therefore loss of the self. . . . Read the rest here:

Morton, Brian. "It's the Greatest Show on Earth." OBSERVER March 8, 2009.

Dutton, Dennis. The Art Instinct: Beauty, Pleasure and Human Evolution. London: Bloomsbury, 2008. The peacock's tail gave Darwin considerable grief. A single feather made him feel "sick". The bird's cumbersome display seemed to confound the guiding principle of natural selection: that any evolved form should answer fittedness to environment. Not until his last book, The Descent of Man, did he come up with a satisfactory answer based on "natural selection in relation to sex". Even in his final years, Darwin had little to say about aesthetics but his theory of evolution does prepare the way for a comprehensive understanding of what art is and why we make it. Denis Dutton's title is also his conclusion. In 250 elegant pages, he demonstrates that aesthetics are linked at the profoundest level to our biological and cognitive prehistory, and that our "tastes" - those famously wavering and manipulable urges - emerged in the Pleistocene, and haven't changed in essentials since then. For Dutton, cultural relativism is an academic parlour game. Human arts speak to a universal human nature different only in plumage. This is an interpretation that runs counter to the view - held by Stephen Jay Gould among others - that art is merely the by-product of an over-sized brain and should be excluded from the natural selection rulebook. Evolutionary biologists have argued that human emotions emerged as a mechanism for orchestrating specific biological needs, harmonising potential actions in a useful way. Fear is a way of getting the body prepared for potential dangers. When risk and therefore fear are no longer aspects of day-to-day survival - no sabre-tooths on Hampstead Heath! - fear remains with us as an objectless emotion, and evolution leads smoothly on to Hammer House of Horror. . . . Read the rest here:

Shermer, Michael. "A Skeptic's Take on the Public Misunderstanding of Darwin." SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN (February 2009).

On July 2, 1866, Alfred Russel Wallace, the co-discoverer of natural selection, wrote to Charles Darwin to lament how he had been “so repeatedly struck by the utter inability of numbers of intelligent persons to see clearly or at all, the self acting & necessary effects of Nat Selection, that I am led to conclude that the term itself & your mode of illustrating it, however clear & beautiful to many of us are yet not the best adapted to impress it on the general naturalist public.” The source of the misunderstanding, Wallace continued, was the name itself, in that it implies “the constant watching of an intelligent ‘chooser’ like man’s selection to which you so often compare it,” and that “thought and direction are essential to the action of ‘Natural Selection.’” Wallace suggested redacting the term and adopting Herbert Spencer’s phrase “survival of the fittest.” Unfortunately, that is what happened, and it led to two myths about evolution that persist today: that there is a prescient directionality to evolution and that survival depends entirely on cutthroat competitive fitness. . . . Read the rest here:

"Has Einstein Failed Physics?" SCIENCE CENTRIC May 13, 2009.

The GBP3.6bn Large Hadron Collider is one of world's most advanced scientific experiments, built to smash protons together at huge speeds, recreating conditions moments after the Big Bang. Unfortunately it doesn't work. Now a new paper by a North East academic presents the intriguing possibility that the Large Hadron Collider didn't work not because of mechanical failure, but because basic theories of physics may be wrong. Dr Peter Hayes says: 'Theoretical physicists have been barking up the wrong tree for the last hundred years - because Albert Einstein's theory of relativity is inconsistent. 'Over the years many people have pointed out that there are logical flaws in the theory. Back in the 1960s Professor Herbert Dingle warned that large scale experiments drawing on relativity theory might end by destroying the world. Perhaps we are lucky that the Large Hadron Collider merely broke down!' Read the rest here:

Cfp: Philosophy and the Work of Art, Annual Meeting, Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy, Monash University, November 29-December 1, 2009.

Keynote Speakers will include: Tina Chanter - De Paul University, Chicago Miguel de Beistegui - Warwick University, UK Rosalyn Diprose - University of New South Wales, Australia Steven Crowell - Rice University, Houston The conference will also include special sessions on the work of: Genevieve Lloyd - Macquarie University, Australia Jeff Malpas - University of Tasmania, Australia Paul Redding - University of Sydney, Australia Further information is here:

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Barber, Michael. Review of Bill Martin's ETHICAL MARXISM. NDPR (May 2009).

Martin, Bill. Ethical Marxism: the Categorical Imperative of Liberation. Chicago: Open Court, 2008. Bill Martin seeks to restore to Marxist discourse, characterized often by an economic reductivism and philosophical positivism traceable to Karl Marx himself, neglected or even rejected ethical dimensions that have found a high point of expression in the ethics of Immanuel Kant. This admirable project of restoration recaptures ethical dimensions at least implicit in the work of Marx and more explicit in the early work, insofar as Marx's "fourth" formulation of the categorical imperative, namely to overthrow the conditions that degrade humanity, suggests how his project extends Kant's insights to the political and economic realm. This recovery of ethics also will entail that Marxists must address issues of subjectivity, intentionality, and normativity, which Marx may have thought his systemic analyses rendered irrelevant. It further entails that they must examine what is ethically required beyond simply advancing class interests, particularly of those to be found only in advanced capitalist nations. An ethical Marxism will also oppose any teleology or strict laws for history, in which humanity's goals could be achieved without any free, human effort and in which, as a result, such effort would seem no longer really to matter. At the same time, because ethics cannot transform society by itself, Martin wants to retain Marx's systemic analyses that begin with a primary focus on production and the commodification of labor, the producer of value. Marx, however, did not appreciate as well as Lenin did how capitalism was expanding globally through the colonial era until it reached its present imperialist status in which those who are competitively advantaged economically employ assorted strategies (including military force) to dominate others, instrumentalize their lives, and acquire resources, cheap labor, and markets. Since for Martin imperialism, with its devastating effects, is the ethical question of our time, he opposes Ronald Aronson's reformist and social-democratic post-Marxist foundationalism in favor of one that is revolutionary and communist. . . . Read the rest here:

Hsu, Jeremy. "Why Dead Authors Can Thrill Modern Readers." LIVE SCIENCE April 15, 2009.

Classic stories still retain their storytelling power centuries later, and smart remakes do well to retain much of the original plot. That's the case in a new literary mash-up, "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies," where Elizabeth Bennett and Darcy take time away from courtship to hone their martial arts skills on the walking dead – a twist welcomed by both critics and "Janeite" fans of British author Jane Austen. Such fascination with stories has compelled a small group of researchers to mine theories in evolutionary biology and psychology, in hopes of finding a connection between storytelling and the evolved human mind. Most agree that stories represent products of humanity's highly social existence, but debate rages over whether stories themselves may have evolved as an adaptation or social byproduct. Their early findings could help explain why the best stories endure, and why remakes can find success despite seemingly retreading old ground. After all, Austen and other beloved storytellers may have found the sweet spot in tickling the social sensibilities of a modern mind not far removed from early Homo sapiens, let alone 19th-century British society. . . . Read the rest here:

Miller, Cheryl. "Bad Little Fictions." CLAREMONT REVIEW OF BOOKS (Fall 2008).

Fisher, Paul. House of Wits: an Intimate Portrait of the James Family. Boston: Little, Brown, 2008.

Occasionally, I like to imagine my ideal dinner party. The guest list changes frequently, but George Eliot, Edith Wharton, and Jane Austen are always welcome at my table. Not the Jameses, however—at least not given Paul Fisher's wearying account of them in House of Wits: An Intimate Portrait of the James Family. By turns self-pitying, hypochondriacal, and—it cannot go unmentioned—sexually repressed, a more frustrated (and frustrating) clan of eminent Victorians one could scarcely imagine. In any event, the scheduling would be a nightmare, what with their many engagements and even more numerous nervous breakdowns. House of Wits might have been much more aptly titled "House of Fits." The trouble begins on the very first page, where Fisher, currently a professor of American literature at Wellesley, arranges epigraphs from Nietzsche and psychologist Alice Miller's The Drama of the Gifted Child (1983). Yes, it's that kind of book. Success, the Nietzsche selection declares, is the "biggest liar," and "great men" are "bad little fictions invented afterwards." The Miller quotation is all sympathetic psychobabble, with the poor "gifted child" suffering the agonies of "depression," "emptiness," and "self-alienation." There is no better summary of House of Wits: Fisher takes his "great men" and lays them out on the psychiatrist's couch, where he exposes the "gifted children" within, their fragile psyches still bruised from childhood traumas. . . .

Read the rest here:

Romano, Carlin. "An Author's Favorite Wittgenstein." CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION April 24, 2009.

Waugh, Alexander. The House of Wittgenstein: a Family at War. London: Bloomsbury, 2008. Who cares about Kant's eight siblings, or Kierkegaard's six, even if the early death of five of the latter helped trigger what we now call Kierkegaardian gloom? Doesn't the singular fame and importance of a cultural immortal rightly eclipse our interest in family members, unless they deserve attention on their own merits? Aren't such icons usually rebels anyway, honoring their families mainly by breaching their traditions and beliefs? Think back to the most discouraging experience a serious reader ever faces — starting one of those huge, putatively definitive biographies about a genius in the arts or politics. Publishing folk used to call them "Blotner bios," after a kitchen-sink effort on Faulkner, but the term has faded. You wade at the beginning through generations of Faulknerian mammies and pappies, grandmammies and grandpappies, greatand not-so-great uncles and aunts, on the theory that they significantly influenced the subject of the biography and should affect our understanding of his or her life. By Page 130, you find yourself praying for the birth of the book's subject as a Tibetan might pray for the next Dalai Lama. Happily, we're occasionally spared those doorstops, as with ancient notables. It's tough enough providing decent sketches of Plato's or Aristotle's actual lives, given our fragmentary evidence for much of the classical past. With an ancient luminary, it's simply impossible for an obsessive biographer to ramble on for scores of pages about whether Plato's allegory of the cave involved unrequited feelings for his grandmother. Of course, we can all think of exceptions to antifamily bias in intellectual biography. In the United States, we have the James gang — William, Henry, and Alice — who attract a new biographer about as often as Slavoj Zizek publishes a new book. They, at least, boast consequential, independent careers and a fascination and intimacy with one another that warrants exploration. But aren't most excessive voyages into the undiscovered country of a great figure's family simply a data dump by the author, or a showing off of exclusive material? Alexander Waugh's The House of Wittgenstein: A Family at War (Doubleday) stirs such thoughts for multiple reasons. . . . Read the rest here:

Cfp: "The Politics of Life: Michel Foucault and the Biopolitics of Modernity," Södertörn University College, Stockholm, September 3-5, 2009.

Confirmed Speakers: Thomas Lemke Maurizio Lazzarato Julian Reid Boris Groys Catherine Mills Johanna Oksala Frédéric Gros Vikki Bell Ever since the concepts of “biopolitics” and “biopower” appeared in the first volume of Michel Foucault’s The History of Sexuality in 1976, they have continued to provoke responses. In 1976 Foucault picks up themes already developed in Discipline and Punish, and describes a shift in the structure of power that takes us from the epoch of sovereignty, in which the right of the ruler is to take life or let live, to the modern conception of power as a way to enhance, render productive, compose, maximize, and administer life. In some respects this is an undeniable progress toward a more “humane” world, but, as Foucault underlines, it also leads to a biological conception of politics. To exterminate the enemy, to expel the degenerate, the enemy of the people or the class from the social body in order to attain purity—all of this will become possible precisely because the body politic comes to be perceived as a living entity that must be attended to, and not just a source of disturbances that must be repressed. Foucault’s research, which soon came to graft the concept of biopolitics onto the idea of a specifically modern idea of “governmentality,” and then to the idea of “apparatus of security”—all of which also constitutes a self-critique with respect to the earlier “disciplinary” model—has been a major source of inspiration for philosophy, political science and gender studies, as well as in bioethics and analyses of security apparatuses and techniques of surveillance. Foucault’s ideas have been critically extended in highly diverse ways, often taking them far beyond their initial formulations—all of which indicate the extent to which thinking with, through, beyond and perhaps also against the questions posed by Foucault has proved to be a fertile ground for research. The conference takes its point of departure in the work of Foucault, but seeks to gather researchers from all relevant fields in assessing the applicability of his thought to the present, which undoubtedly also means to envisage the possibility of different and alternative futures. It offers a limited space for presentations of ongoing research (approximately 20 non-invited papers will be accepted). Sessions will be organized primarily around the following three general topics: A) Body, gender, individuation: how has the question of biopolitics transformed the conceptualization of subjectivity, desire, and sexuality? How should we understand the processes of subject formation and of ”subjectivation” in contemporary societies, in which medical and other technologies have come to increasingly determine our ideas of selfhood? What are the political and ethical issues involved in such an ongoing redefinition of subjectivity? B) Surveillance, security, control: to what extent are Foucault’s analyses of surveillance and security apparatuses applicable today? Have we entered into a “society of control” (Deleuze), and if so, what are the challenges for current political theory and for the idea of resistance and for insurgent practices? What kind of techniques are today employed to survey, generate security, and control? C) Architecture, urbanism, and the ordering of space: how should we understand biopolitics in architecture and urban space? Are emancipatory architectures and urbanisms possible, in a situation in which, as Hardt and Negri claim, the Metropolis has replaced the Factory as a spatial paradigm? Can the concept of “heterotopia” be useful for the development of spatial and urban strategies? Send in your abstract of maximum 200 words, including information of affiliation and degree major to: Deadline for abstracts is May 15. Further information may be found here:

Cfp: "Cultural Translation," Cardiff University, December 11, 2009.

Etymologically, the word translation is linked, among other things, to “tradition” on the one hand and to “betrayal” on the other. . . . And yet the word tradition itself, linked in its roots to translation and betrayal, has to do with handing over. Tradition itself is nothing if it is not a transmission. How is tradition to be transmitted, to be passed on, if not through translation? (Rey Chow) The process of “cultural translation” is inevitably enmeshed in conditions of power – professional, national, international. . . . Given that that is so, the interesting question for enquiry is . . . how power enters into the process of “cultural translation” (Talal Asad) For this free interdisciplinary conference, we invite proposals on problematics of: Intercultural encounters Translation between cultures Postcolonialism and the politics of translation Diaspora, migration, mobility and cultural practices Ethnicity, language, representation and cultural identity Theories and practices of cultural translation Tradition, transmission, translation and problems of origins Re-examining the assumptions of translation Questions of technology, mediation and the voice Ethical and political problems in academic methodologies Proposals: 400-word proposals for 20-minute papers. Deadline: 1st September 2009 Further information may be found here: or email:

Rudd, Anthony. Review of W. Glenn Kirkconnell's KIERKEGAARD ON ETHICS AND RELIGION. NDPR (May 2009).

Kirkconnell, W. Glenn. Kierkegaard on Ethics and Religion: from Either/Or to Philosophical Fragments. London: Continuum, 2008. This book is an attempt to read Kierkegaard's early pseudonymous writings in the light of his early (non-pseudonymous) Upbuilding Discourses, and vice versa. Kirkconnell notes in his brief introductory chapter that we tend either to read only the pseudonymous works or to read them and the Discourses separately from one another. But, he notes, "Kierkegaard imagined an ideal reader who would divine the works were related and would compare the two series to one another . . . noting the contrasts and convergences between them" (2). So he proposes, as a hermeneutical experiment, that we should read these works in the order in which they were written, looking for connections between the signed and the pseudonymous works. And, he concludes: "This experiment does indeed yield interesting results" (146). Kirkconnell argues that his approach brings out the religious agenda underlying even what seem to be largely secular works such as Either/Or and Repetition, and shows the development of an increasingly rigorous religious outlook, from Judge William's accommodating inclusion of the religious within an autonomous, humanistic ethics in Either/Or to the radical Lutheran emphasis on human sinfulness and the need for grace in the Fragments. . . . Read the rest here:

"Narrative Medicine and Rare Diseases," Aula Pocchiari Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, June 26, 2009.

This meeting aims to promote among health workers the knowledge of narrative medicine as a functional tool in the management of patients, with particular attention to people with rare diseases. Rare diseases are often severe, chronic, and disabling conditions with a low prevalence in the population. They are difficult to diagnose and often non treatable. Patients and their families may have a perception of intense isolation, alike the sense of powerlessness felt by medical and health professionals who take care of these people. Therefore, it strongly emerges the need to build up a strong relationship between the affected person with a rare disease and the health workers. Narrative medicine aims to fill the gap between the bedside clinical knowledge of physicians (and more in general of health professionals) and the patient's subjective experience and to short that distance, "taking together” both actors in the management of the disease. This tool consists in different contributions from a number of approaches and techniques. The event includes the presentation of different perspectives and methodologies in the field of narrative medicine, through invited lectures, programmed speeches, plenary sessions and a poster session mainly devoted to practical experiences. Further information is available here:

"Towards a European Political Thought: in the Footsteps of Herodotus," European University Institute, Florence, July 6-7, 2009.

For further information on the inaugural conference of the European Society for the History of Political Thought, including the programme, please visit:

Monday, May 11, 2009

Pub: HISTORY AND THEORY 48 (February 2009).



Review Essays:

Visit the journal homepage here:

"Art, Aesthetics and the Sexual," University of Kent, May 21-22, 2009.

An international conference investigating the artistic status and aesthetic dimension of pictures and films with sexual imagery and themes. Speakers and respondents include: David Davies (McGill University, Canada) Elizabeth Cowie (University of Kent, UK) Susan Dwyer (University of Maryland, USA) Jerrold Levinson (University of Maryland, USA) Alex Neill (University of Southampton, UK) Michael Newall (University of Kent, UK) Elisabeth Schellekens (Durham University, UK) Murray Smith (University of Kent, UK) Kathleen Stock (University of Sussex, UK) Cain Todd (Lancaster University, UK). The conference programme and registration form are now available at:

Hassan, Ihab. "Literary Theory in an Age of Globalisation." PHILOSOPHY AND LITERATURE 32.1 (2009).

When the blackbird flew out of sight, It marked the edge Of one of many circles. Wallace Stevens, "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird" Forget the blackbirds for now. The question is: how many ways are there of questioning theory in our age? And if beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the earth wobbles under the weight of six billion beholders, what is beauty then? Or is beauty unmentionable in academe, despite the indiscretions of some scholars–Elaine Scarry, Fred Turner, Charles Jencks, among others–who have recently taken the name of beauty in vain? Again, forget beauty and the blackbirds; think of geography. Thomas Friedman went home one day and said to his wife, "Honey, I think the world is flat." He was echoing a technocrat in Bangalore who said to him, "Tom, the playing field is being leveled." Leveled or flattened, they both meant the world is very round: interactive, interdependent, instantaneous, contemporaneous–and viciously fractious withal. The Taliban vandalize priceless Buddhist statues; thieves armed with computers loot Aztec and Assyrian treasures; fatwa establish new guidelines for literary criticism; and the great museums of the world wrangle with governments, with history itself, about the patrimonies of art. This is a nasty condition, both flat and round. What kind of literary theory, what kind of aesthetics generally, can emerge from a world that defies Euclidean and non-Euclidean geometries with every diurnal spin? The answer to these real and mock queries seems lost in partisanship and prejudice, abrasive ideologies and slick skepticism. Sane critics may look for a way out in ideas of pluralism, eclecticism, hybridity, and cosmopolitanism, recently propounded by Kwame Anthony Appiah. Sooner or later, though, these ideas crash on the realities of our time: "ethnic violence, economic volatility, and empires in decline," as Niall Ferguson puts it in The War of the World. Above all, they crash on the obdurate self, on self-interest without borders. Is there a way out? . . . Get the answer here:

Edmundson, Mark. "Against Readings." CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION April 24, 2009.

If I could make one wish for the members of my profession, college and university professors of literature, I would wish that for one year, two, three, or five, we would give up readings. By a reading, I mean the application of an analytical vocabulary — Marx's, Freud's, Foucault's, Derrida's, or whoever's — to describe and (usually) to judge a work of literary art. I wish that we'd declare a moratorium on readings. I wish that we'd give readings a rest. This wish will strike most academic literary critics and perhaps others as well as — let me put it politely — counterintuitive. Readings, many think, are what we do. Readings are what literary criticism is all about. They are the bread and butter of the profession. Through readings we write our books; through readings we teach our students. And if there were no more readings, what would we have left to do? Wouldn't we have to close our classroom doors, shut down our office computers, and go home? The end of readings, presumably, would mean the end of our profession. So let me try to explain what I have in mind. . . . Read the rest here:

Cfp: "The Encultured Brain: Neuroanthropological Explorations," University of Notre Dame, South Bend, October 8, 2009.

The First Neuroanthropology Conference. One main part of the schedule will facilitate a kind of collective brain-storming, make connections (both mental and practical) meeting, rather than the standard anthropology panel set-up, where just a few people present 15 minute versions of their research. We will have two keynote presentations, as well as a lot of ’speed presentations’ in which participants will be able to briefly (about five minutes) talk to the whole assembled conference about what they are working on or would like to work on. We will have pre-printed message pads to allow the whole conference to share thoughts, as well as ample chances during breaks to grab the person you just heard share a great idea. There will also be an ongoing poster session for presenters so that we really get an opportunity to network in this emerging area of research. So much of what we hope to do is to create conversations over the fences that separate our respective disciplinary backyards, so we’re going to do our best to get people in touch. There will also be a roundtable on research methods for breaking new ground in neuroanthropology. In addition, we’ll have keynote lectures by Prof. Patricia Greenfield of UCLA and Prof. Harvey Whitehouse of Oxford University . Further information may be found here: