Wednesday, July 29, 2009
- Berlin, Isaiah. Enlightening: Letters 1946-1960. Ed. Henry Hardy, Jennifer Holmes and Serena Moore. London: Chatto & Windus, 2009.
- Hardy, Henry, ed. The Book of Isaiah: Personal impressions of Isaiah Berlin. Rochester: Boydell and Brewer, 2009.
Isaiah Berlin’s best work is contained in the form of essays and lectures on the history of ideas. Many will have read his short monograph The Hedgehog and the Fox (1953), a book which has some of the qualities of good conversation. It takes as its starting point a Greek fragment by Archilochus (quoted to Berlin by Lord Oxford) which states that “The fox knows many things but the hedgehog knows one big thing”. Berlin then sweeps off into one of his favourite devices – the list. Thinkers or writers who were obvious hedgehogs, he believed, were Plato, Lucretius, Pascal, Hegel, Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, Ibsen and Proust. Shakespeare leads the foxes in to bat, with an impressive team of Aristotle, Montaigne, Erasmus, Molière, Goethe, Pushkin, Balzac and, a little oddly, Joyce. But which was Tolstoy? Tolstoy, according to Berlin, was a fox who spent his life wishing he was a hedgehog.
The Hedgehog and the Fox survives as an after-dinner game more than a serious theory. If it is read slowly, it comes apart at the seams. . . .
Our faith is faith in some one else’s faith, and in the greatest matters this is most the case. Our belief in truth itself, for instance, that there is a truth, and that our minds and it are made for each other, —what is it but a passionate affirmation of desire, in which our social system backs us up?Has that desire disappeared? Is “cognitive dissonance” now our common fate? I think there is an urge called truth, a longing called trust, which our natures seem unable to quell despite the chameleon in us all. Paradoxically, that urge and that longing find fulfillment in self-abnegation, self-bracketing at least, and at best self-dispossession. Thus we tend to credit what demands nothing from us and trust those who have emptied themselves of their needs. Perhaps that is the mysterious call of our destiny, the secret lure of all our religions and philosophies. Perhaps that was the primogenial impulse of mind, after all. As to mind, its road has been long and anfractuous. Some say the journey began with the big bang. Some say it started with a stray asteroid rich in iridium, smashing into present-day Mexico, exterminating the monsters of the earth, and tearing a hole into evolution so that our ancestors could squeeze through. To this accident or event—maverick scientists ascribe to it the so-called Anthropic Principle, enabling sentience on planet Earth—we owe not only our existence but also our awareness of existence, and even the capacity to name and explain the event itself. In short, the gift of language. That’s reaching far back, back to the origins of our flawed consciousness. But in a self-conscious age that considers representations supreme—signs, symbols, images, simulacra—the reminder is apt. These semiotic shards and shavings of mind, slowly displacing nature as our environment, now largely constitute our world. And so we live among superabundant signifiers—but where’s the signified? We have perceptions without substance. We lull ourselves with the mantra “appearances are everything.” This mantra echoes throughout American politics, economics, private lives, even the arts. How live with this surfeit of seeming? Let’s finger the beads, not wring our hands. . . . Read the rest here: http://www.uga.edu/garev/hassan.html.
Cfp: "Controversy, Protest, Ridicule, Laughter, 1500-1750," School of English and American Literature, University of Reading, July 9-11, 2010.
Kirsch, Adam. "What's Romantic about Science? When Science Became a Source of Sublime Terror." SLATE MAGAZINE July 20, 2009.
Cfp: "Cognitive Ecology: the Role of the Concept of Knowledge in our Social Cognitive Ecology," University of Edinburgh, June 3-4, 2010.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Gentile, Valentina. Review of Lisa Dowling, ed. CAMBRIDGE INTRODUCTION TO MICHEL FOUCAULT. MOR (July 2009).
Cfp: "Feminism, Science, and Values," International Association of Women Philosophers (IAPh), University of Western Ontario, June 25-28, 2010.
Cfp: 25th Anniversary Conference, International Society for the Study of Narrative, Case Western Reserve University, April 8-11, 2010.
- Susan Stanford Friedman (University of Wisconsin Madison), author of Mappings, Penelope’s Web, and Psyche Reborn;
- Rita Charon (Columbia University), founder and director of the Program in Narrative Medicine, author of Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness, and co-editor of Stories Matter: the Role of Narrative in Medical Ethics; and
- Greil Marcus, author of Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century, The Dustbin of History, and The Shape of Things to Come: Prophecy in the American Voice.
- Fish, Stanley. "Henry Louis Gates: Deja Vu All Over Again." Think Again Blog. New York Times July 24, 2009 (http://fish.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/24/henry-louis-gates-deja-vu-all-over-again/).
- "Black officer at Gates home during arrest said scholar acted strange, supports arrest" (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-ap-us-harvard-scholar-arresting-officer,0,4731766.story)
- Williams, Juan. "Obama 'Has Gone Way, Way Too Far' in Gates Arrest." (http://newsbusters.org/blogs/matthew-balan/2009/07/24/juan-williams-obama-has-gone-way-way-too-far-gates-arrest)
- Gelzinis, Peter. "Flap Far from Black and White." (http://www.bostonherald.com/news/columnists/view.bg?articleid=1186759)
- "Obama Seeks to Clarify 'Stupidly' Comment" (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/07/24/cambridge-police-unit-demands-apology-obama-stupidly-remark/)
- Police Report on the Incident(http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/years/2009/0723092gates1.html)
- "The 'Unfathomable' Arrest of a Black Scholar" (http://edition.cnn.com/2009/US/07/22/gates.arrest.reaction/index.html)
- Stripling, Jack. "If It Can Happen to Him. . . ." (http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2009/07/22/gates)
- Washington, Jesse. "Gates arrest a signpost on racial road." (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090722/ap_on_re_us/us_harvard_scholar_analysis)
Update 2 (July 21, 2009): Charges dropped. Further information is here: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,534203,00.html?test=latestnews. Update 1 (July 21, 2009): When a police officer arrived on the scene to investigate the tip, Gates was reportedly already having an altercation with another sergeant inside the home. The professor allegedly shouted that he would not provide the police with information and that "[t]his is what happens to black men in America!" The sergeant reportedly then tried to calm Gates, to which Gates shouted, "[y]ou don't know who your [sic] messing with!"according to the report. The report said that the two then moved to the front porch, where Gates continued to shout that the sergeant was racist, catching the attention of roughly seven "surprised and alarmed" onlookers. . . . Further details on the incident here from the Harvard Crimson: http://uwire.com/Article.aspx?id=4161926. Original Post (July 20, 2009): Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., one of the nation's pre-eminent African-American scholars, was arrested Thursday afternoon at his home by Cambridge police investigating a possible break-in. The incident raised concerns among some Harvard faculty that Gates was a victim of racial profiling. . . . (Tracy Jan, Boston Globe July 20, 2009.) Read the rest here: http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2009/07/harvard.html.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Cfp: "Media Ecology and Natural Environments," Department of Communication and Journalism, University of Maine, June 10-13, 2010.
Cfp: Thirteenth Annual Conference, Association of the Study of Law, Culture and the Humanities, Brown University, March 19-20, 2010.
- Daily Telegraph, July 20, 2009 (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/culture-obituaries/books-obituaries/5873129/Leszek-Kolakowski.html)
- New York Times, July 20, 2009 (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/21/world/europe/21kolakowski.html?_r=2)
- London Times, July 22, 2009 (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article6722105.ece)
Cfp: "Phenomenology and French Epistemology," British Society for Phenomenology, St. Hilda’s College, University of Oxford, April 9-11, 2010.
Cfp: "In Derrida's Wake," School of Communication, Arts and Critical Enquiry, La Trobe University, October 9, 2009.
Hosted by English and Philosophy Programmes.
Keynote Speaker: Andrew Benjamin (Professor of Critical Theory and Philosophical Aesthetics, Monash University), "Justice, Law and Place: Derrida and the Unconditional"
8 October 2009 marks the fifth anniversary of the death of French deconstructionist Jacques Derrida. Given Derrida's concern with dates and contexts, but also with notions of trying to mourn for lost friends and the responsibilities of the living towards the dead and their legacies, it seems a more than appropriate time - perhaps a day late, because we hesitate, trying to postpone the inevitable - to bring together some friends and scholars of Derrida, not to mourn a man so concerned with the impossibility of mourning, but to begin to celebrate the enduring influence of deconstruction, to survey the state of play across the disciplines, in Derrida's wake.
And then, how does this unique context - not only 9 October 2009, but also La Trobe University, Bundoora, Australia - influence what is taking place? What is the relationship of Derrida and deconstruction to this context, to this time and these places? More generally, how are Derrida and the particularly European and North American phenomenon of deconstruction placed in the Antipodes? How does deconstruction take place in the Antipodes? And what can we make of the Antipodes after Derrida?
The aim of the symposium is threefold. Firstly, it is to pay our respects to Derrida not through mourning or memorialising, but through critically engaging with acts of deconstruction, and so acting responsibly towards Derrida's legacy. Secondly, our aim is to showcase current critical and theoretical applications of Derrida and deconstruction, from across as many disciplines as possible - literature, philosophy, linguistics, life-writing, cinema, media, music, performance, gender studies, the visual arts, architecture, design, law, politics, sociology, and others. Thirdly, our hope is to begin to build a network of interested Derrida scholars across Melbourne and Australia, and across the disciplines, with the aim of promoting and advancing the study of Derrida and deconstruction, with or without a uniquely Antipodean inflection, and the possibility of organizing future events. Publication opportunities are being sought, with the aim of publishing longer versions of the conference papers as either a special journal edition or a stand-alone publication.
This call goes out as widely as possible. Papers, of roughly 20 minutes in length, can address any aspect of Derrida's life, works, or thought, and can show deconstruction in operation across any area of scholarship. The deadline for proposals is 1 August 2009. Abstracts of up to 500 words should be sent to Derrida2009@latrobe.edu.au and should be accompanied by a brief biographical note.
Further information is obtainable from: Stephen Abblitts email@example.com.
Cfp: "Feeling Photography," Toronto Photography Seminar, University of Toronto, October 16-17, 2009.
Cfp: 5th Joint Conference, Society for European Philosophy & Forum for European Philosophy, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, August 27-29, 2009
Cfp: "Concepts of Knowledge," Canadian Society for Epistemology, Carleton University, November 6-7, 2009.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
- Cooley, D. R. Genetically Engineering Human-Animal Chimeras and Lives Worth Living pdf
- Humphreys, R. Animal Thoughts on Factory Farms: Michael Leahy, Language and Awareness of Death pdf
- Jaynes, M. The Ethical Disconnect of the Circus: Humanity’s acceptance of Performing Elephants pdf
- Nobis, N. Reasonable Humans and Animals: An Argument for Vegetarianism pdf
- Rose, D. Peter Singer’s Hegelianism: The Social Context of Equality pdf
- Stieg, C. The Intentionality of Plover Cognitive States pdf
- Weber, E. The Social Contract, the Conservative Attitude, and Antibiotics Development pdf
- Donnellan, L. Review of Brian Luke's Manhood and the Exploitation of Animals pdf
- Shaffner, J. Review of Gary Francione’s Animals as Persons: Essays on the Abolition of Animal Exploitation pdf
Monday, July 20, 2009
Carroll, Joseph. "Adaptive Function of Literature and the Other Arts." ON THE HUMAN FORUM (June 2009).
Read the rest here: http://onthehuman.org/humannature/?p=274.
42nd Annual Meeting, Cheiron: the International Society for the History of the Behavioural and Social Sciences, Le Moyne College, June 24-27, 2010.
"Situated Selves: Phenomenology, Law and Aesthetics," Department of Philosophy, University of Liverpool, October 30-31, 2009.
"New Directions in the History of Concepts," University College London and University of Oxford, September 17-29, 2009.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Cfp: "Recycling Myths, Inventing Nations," Department of English and Creative Writing, Aberystwyth University, July 14-16, 2010.
- the ways in which writers draw on myths to retell the stories of people and nations
- the re-inscription of myths in fiction as a challenge to “official” history
- the use of myth by writers to represent new kinds of personal or collective identity
- using myth as a way to rethink literary traditions
- the fictional critique of myth and its politics
- the links between story-telling, mythology, identity and history
- mythologising origin or originary culture
- the supernatural in relation to origin and ancestral identity
- recycling mythologies to reflect contemporary political, cultural and global crises.
We welcome proposals, in the form of a 250 word abstract on any of these topics, or a related area. The deadline for abstracts is 30th November 2009. Proposals, expressions of interest and enquiries by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.Or visit the conference webpage: http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/english/myth2010/.
- "Introduction: the Project of Creolizing Rousseau" by Jane Anna Gordon and Neil Roberts
- "Of Legitimation and the General Will: Creolizing Rousseau through Frantz Fanon" by Jane Anna Gordon
- "From Mestiçagem to Cosmopolitanism" by Alexis Nouss
- "Beyond Négritude and Créolité: the Ongoing Creolization of Identities" by Mickaella Perina
- "Rousseau, the Master’s Tools, and Anti-Contractarian Contractarianism" by Charles W. Mills
- "Rousseau and Fanon on Inequality and the Human Sciences" by Nelson Maldonado-Torres
- "From Rousseau’s Theory of Natural Equality to Firmin's Resistance to the Historical Inequality of Races" by Tommy J. Curry
- "Rousseau and the Problem of Democratic Transition in Postcolonial Africa" by George Carew
- "C. L. R. James and the Creolizing of Rousseau and Marx" by Paget Henry
- "Virtuous Bacchanalia: Creolizing Rousseau’s Festival" by Chiji Akọma and Sally Scholz
- "Rousseau, Social Alienation, and the Possibility of Generative Critique: a Review Essay" by Emily C. Nacol
- "On Pateman and Mills’s Contract and Domination" by Lewis R. Gordon
- "Space, Power, Consciousness and Women's Resistance: a Review Essay" by Gertrude Gonzáles de Allen
- Wilson Harris
- "Sylvia Marcos’s Taken from the Lips as a Post-secular Transmodern, and Decolonial Methodology" by Nelson Maldonado-Torres
- "On Sylvia Marcos’s Taken from the Lips" by Karen Torjesen
- "On Sylvia Marcos’s Journey along the Spiral of Nahuatl Gender and Eros" by Madina Tlostanova
- "Cosmology and Gender in Sylvia Marcos’s Taken From the Lips: Gender and Eros in Mesoamerican Religions" by María Lugones
- "Unapologetically to Introduce New Goals and Methods: a Reply" by Sylvia Marcos