Townsend Center Seminars, Spring 2014

November 07, 2013
A scholarly seminar

Starting in spring 2014, the Townsend Center will sponsor multi-week graduate seminars that reach across disciplines. The seminars will be led by visiting scholars who will also deliver public lectures and participate in other campus activities.

Our first visitor will be Lawrence Weschler, director emeritus of the New York Institute for the Humanities, distinguished writer in residence at the Carter Journalism Institute at NYU, and staff writer for The New Yorker for over twenty years. Weschler will hold the 2014 Avenali Chair in the Humanities and offer a seminar titled “Fraught Crossroads” (January 21 - February 14), which he describes as “an examination of the fraught history of the crossroads where class, race, sex and violence have converged across American history, as suggested, initially, by a consideration of assemblage artist Ed Kienholz’s 1970 masterpiece Five Card Stud.” While in residence, Weschler will deliver two Avenali lectures: Art and Science as Parallel and Divergent Ways of Knowing (January 27) and A Typology of Convergences: Towards a Unified Field Theory of Cultural Transmission (February 3). He will also present a public colloquium entitled Uncanny Valley: On the Digital Animation of the Face in collaboration with the Philosophy department.

In April 2014 philosopher Catherine Malabou will be in residence as the Una’s Lecturer. Malabou teaches at the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University in London.

She is the author of The Future of Hegel (2005), What Should We Do with Our Brain? (2008), Plasticity at the Eve of Writing (2009) and Self and Emotional Life: Philosophy, Psychoanalysis, and Neuroscience (2013). Her work has created the foundation for a wide range of current research focusing on the intersections between neuro- and biological science and the humanities. In coordination with the Townsend Center’s Thinking the Self Initiative, Malabou will teach a seminar called "Animation/Reanimation: New Starts in Eternal Recurrence" (March 31 - April 28). During her residency, Malabou will deliver the Una’s Lecture (April 14): Odysseus’ Changed Soul, a contemporary reading of Plato’s Myth of Er (Republic, Book X). She will also participate in a workshop on Plasticity and Pathology: The History and Theory of Neural Subjects (April 11- 12). This workshop will bring together diverse scholars interested in the historical and conceptual problems of life and particularly the life of human beings in the neural age.