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2013 – Older Talks

Taking McLuhan Seriously

The media theorist Marshall McLuhan is often dismissed as a trendy television pundit of the 1960s, even if one who occasionally resurfaces with each new media revolution: the internet, smartphones, the cloud. My view is that McLuhan is actually one of the most important figures in the 20th century humanities, one whose basic teachings are still far from exhausted or even understood. In this lecture I will focus on the important features of McLuhan’s “tetrad” theory, according to which all media (that is, all human products) have a fourfold structure of enhancement, obsolescence, retrieval, and reversal. This theory will be examined, and its strengths and weaknesses addressed. For the Poster.

Date: Wednesday, 18 December 2013, from 17.30 to 19.30 in the FF-B06.

Presenter: Dr. Graham Harman is a Distinguished University Professor at the American University in Cairo. He is a philosopher of metaphysics, and one of the founding members of the Speculative Realism movement. Harman is the editor of the Speculative Realism book series at Edinburgh University Press, and (with Bruno Latour) co-editor of the New Metaphysics book series at Open Humanities Press. He is the author of ten books, most recently Bells and Whistles: More Speculative Realism (2013) and The Quadruple Object (2011).

Constructing a Case: Reflections on Comparative Studies

This talk uses an examination of the very different critical receptions of two highly similar novels, Jan Potocki’s Manuscript Found in Saragossa and Charles Maturin’s Melmoth the Wanderer, as an entry point into an examination of methodologies of comparative literature. Are the similarities between these two novels meaningful, or simply a bizarre coincidence? Examining how one goes about answering this question leads to a broader contemplation of how comparative studies pursue their object of inquiry, and what the underlying premises of those efforts are. What does comparative literature seek to know, and how does it do so?

Date: Thursday, 05 December 2013, from 16.45 to 17.45 in the G-160 Seminar Room.

Presenter: Dr. Katarzyna Bartoszyńska, Assistant Professor, Program in Cultures, Civilization and Ideas, Bilkent University

“Language, Divinity, Difference in Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead”

Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead is the journal of elderly minister John Ames, written to the seven-year-old son that he knows he will never live to see grow up. Though quite traditional in his conception of God, Ames nevertheless embraces progressive and even atheistic ideas regarding the divine. My contention is that Gilead resists being read strictly as an exploration of language’s failure to express the transcendence of divinity, or, conversely, solely as an articulation of language’s cryptic capacity to enact such inability. Rather, it troubles this distinction by articulating an in/expressibility that makes divinity discernible as difference.  paper is part of a project on the archival nature of national imaginings: the ways in which the idea of the nation depends upon institutions of collective memory which range from monuments and museums to literature and film. More specifically, this section of the project focuses on the mode of identification associated with these technologies of memory, exploring critically the production of what we might call the “archival subject.”

Date: Thursday, 10 October 2013, from 16.45 to 17.45 in the G-160 Seminar Room.

Presenter: Dr. Andrew J. Ploeg, Program in Cultures, Civilization and Ideas, Bilkent University

The Posters of Other Talks

 CCI CS – 10 October 2013 – Dr. Andrew J. Ploeg

CCI CS – 11 September 2013 – Dr. Daniel Leonard

CCI CS – 26 April 2013 – Professor Felicity Nussbaum

CCI CS – 28 March 2013 –  Dr. Trevor Hope

CCI CS – 27 February 2013 – Dr. Mihaela Harper