I had the pleasure of meeting with a handful of students yesterday– first-years in the college, ten of them back-to-back, to discuss their recent papers on Hamlet. As wonderful as these meetings were (I would write ‘thrilling,’ save that I’m afraid of being read as sarcastic), they unsurprisingly wore me out. Home for the night, exhausted, I thought to re-watch J. M. Coetzee’s 2003 Nobel Lecture, “He and His Man” — a characteristically strange and beautiful inversion of Defoe and Crusoe’s relationship which opens up onto questions of intersubjectivity, imagination, the profligacy of thought. Searching for the clip, I came upon new footage (posted just last month) of the following reading at the University of Cape Town. Perhaps because I spent so much of my day on the choreography of Claims / Evidence / Reasons, or, from the other direction, perhaps because the old man of the story is right, to read is to submit, even as the child of the story is right, there are holes between the pages, the stars, the numbers, between each of us and every other, and then perhaps because there’s something of these twin truths in almost every interaction with students . . . Whatever the reason, I find it quite extraordinary.
I find it quite extraordinary, and would love to hear what you think.
We wanted to draw your attention to a newly published essay by Amir Khan (Ph.D. Candidate, Department of English, University of Ottawa), entitled “Michael Jackson’s Ressentiment: Billie Jean and Smooth Criminal in Conversation with Fred Astaire“. The essay appears in a new issue of the journal Popular Music and Society, a special issue devoted to the late Michael Jackson. Khan attended the October 14-16, 2010 conference at Harvard on Cavell and literary studies, and he’s the person who took these photos of the event.
According to Khan, his essay’s reading of Jackson is an extension of Cavell’s original discussion of Fred Astaire (two moments of which we’ve cited, with video clips, here and here).
To access Khan’s essay online, please click here. Here is its abstract:
Little attempt is made at juxtaposing Michael Jackson’s art against that of his cultural predecessors. Reading Billie Jean (1983) and Smooth Criminal (1988) in conversation with Fred Astaire’s popular 1953 musical, The Band Wagon, for example, exposes all sorts of intertwining threads of significance and ressentiment, particularly in terms of race relations and cultural appropriation. Yet my purpose in this paper is not to assign the last word to either Michael Jackson or Fred Astaire, but to analyze what sort of ramifications their dialogue may have for American popular imagination.
We wanted to let you know that video recordings of the Simone de Beauvoir Today Symposium — which was hosted by the Center for Philosophy, Arts, and Literature at Duke University — are now available for free on iTunes. For a brief account of the event, written by ones of the participants, please click here. To access the free video recordings, please click here.
Via the PHILOS-L listserv, here is a note from Constantinos Athanasopoulos that we thought some of you would find of interest:
Fans of Wittgenstein and scholars on Wittgenstein Studies might find interesting the video presentation [embedded above] of the Wittgenstein and Photography Exhibition at the University of Cambridge- July and August 2011 (PandIS) at the BWS website:
There is also an interesting account in a pdf file of a previous Exhibition at Clare Hall (Cambridge) by Michael Nedo below the video at the same site.
Dr. C. Athanasopoulos, FHEA
I’m delighted to be able to post a video of the Harvard Humanities Center event celebrating the publication of Stanley Cavell’s autobiography, Little Did I Know: Excerpts from Memory (Stanford University Press), which took place October 14, 2010 in Harvard University’s Fong Auditorium (the kick-off event for a 2-day conference on “Stanley Cavell and Literary Studies”).
This panel — introduced by Homi Bhabha (Director of the Humanities Center) and moderated by Nancy Bauer (Tufts University) — featured presentations by Norton Batkin (Bard College), James Conant (University of Chicago), Arnold Davidson (University of Chicago and University of Pisa), Paul Franks (University of Toronto), and Sandra Laugier (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne). In the video, the speakers occasionally refer to selected passages from Little Did I Know and other texts that were reproduced on a handout which was distributed to members of the audience; to read the passages each speaker selected, please click on his or her hyperlinked name (in the list above).
My deep thanks to Prof. Bhabha and the Humanities Center for generously hosting this wonderful event and for allowing us to post this video here. Enjoy!
Here is part 1 of the video (which includes the introductions by Homi Bhabha and Nancy Bauer, and the presentations by Norton Batkin, Paul Franks, Arnold Davidson, and Sandra Laugier):
And here is part 2 (which includes the presentation by Jim Conant and the Q&A period):
We thought some of our readers would be interested in a symposium devoted to neuroscience and ethics that was held recently at Arizona State University. Here is a description of the event:
The Great Debate, held at Arizona State University on November 6, brought together a renowned group of scientists, philosophers, and public intellectuals to discuss whether advances in neuroscience and evolutionary psychology have significantly impacted how we understand the concept of morality. Panelists Steven Pinker, Sam Harris, Patricia Churchland, Lawrence Krauss, Simon Blackburn, and Peter Singer were joined by The Science Network’s Roger Bingham for a wonderful night of discussion and questions from the audience.
Click here to see videos of the discussion.
We wanted to let our readers know that the British Wittgenstein Society has made available streaming videos of a number of lectures given during their 2nd and 3rd Annual Conferences (the 2nd Annual Conference, held in 2009, was devoted to the topic of “Wittgenstein and Naturalism” and the 3rd Annual Conference was on the topic of “Wittgenstein and Aesthetics”). To access the videos, please click here.
There are recordings of talks by the following scholars: Noel Carroll, Jean-Pierre Cometti, Stephen Davies, Richard Eldridge, John Gibson, Garry Hagberg, Bernard Harrison, Alex Neil, Aaron Ridley, Dawn Phillips, Roger Scruton, Ben Tilghman, John Searle, Lynne Rudder Baker, David Papineau, Anthony Kenny, Meredith Williams.