Theorizing @ Penn

Theorizing

An experimental forum for thinking through literature, philosophy, and culture beyond disciplinary boundaries.
Founded and organized by students at the University of Pennsylvania since 1996, Theorizing is a non-profit lecture series. The program is coordinated by graduate students in the Program in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory.

Our coordinator for 2013-2014 is Devorah Fischler. Organizing committee members: Avi Alpert, Alison Howard, Cliff Mak.

Our series is made possible by the generous support of the Program in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory and our many generous departmental and institutional co-sponsors.
upcoming

Jed Esty

Thursday, April 24, 5pm
Van Pelt Library, Room 302
(Class of 1954 Room)

Realism after the Cold War:
Periodization and Power

This set of remarks aims to take seriously the idea that the end of the Cold War was an active precondition for US literary criticism's ability to think beyond a realist-modernist dyad (particularly in periodizing the history of the novel 1870-2014). I will try to survey critical realisms now in relation to the idea of a post-hermeneutic method gaining traction in the humanistic disciplines; the genealogy of realism/modernism debates in 1950s/60s US cultural criticism; and the ongoing dissolution of national fields as the presumed mission of literary-critical practice in the US university.

Jed Esty is professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania. He is author of A Shrinking Island: Modernism and National Culture in England (2004) and Unseasonable Youth: Modernism, Colonialism, and the Fiction of Development (2012); with Ania Loomba, Suvir Kaul, Antoinette Burton, and Matti Bunzl, he edited Postcolonial Studies and Beyond (2005).

cancelled

Gabriel
Sessions

This talk has been cancelled.

May Sinclair and the Aesthetics of Rationality

This paper argues for a new interpretation of the philosophical context of stream of consciousness literature based on Sinclair's contemporaneous writing. It hopes to show how Sinclair's theory of stream of consciousness literature arises not simply from "modernist fragmentation," or from depth psychology, but from a deeply metaphysical project, contextualized by Sinclair's readings in philosophical traditions reducible to neither the analytic nor continental schools we know today. It represents an effort to record how ideas pass out of intuitions and feeling, and, in so doing, reconcile the personal scale of that subject's intervention with cosmic processes of evolution, the growing rationality of the universe, first hand.

Gabriel Sessions is a graduate student in the Program in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory at the University of Pennsylvania

archive

Cliff Mak

Tuesday, February 4, 5pm
436 Cohen Hall

The Age of the World Lolcat

Situating popular forms of contemporary film and digital media in a global and literary-historical context, this paper looks at the mechanisms by which both highly-wrought CG-animated studio films (such as Life of Pi) and web-based vernacular micro-forms (image macros, animal memes, etc.) authorize their own circulation as texts exceptionally suited for modern global, postsecular audiences.

Cliff Mak is a graduate student in the Program in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory at the University of Pennsylvania

Rita Felski
is William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor
of English at the University of Virginia
and editor of New Literary History


Thursday, November 21, 6:30pm
Fisher-Bennett 401

a five part definition and redescription of the idea of critique as it is deployed in contemporary literary and cultural studies #felski

cancelled

Jungha
Kim

This talk has been cancelled.

"I'm Still at War with Myself...
in This Beautiful and Terrible City": Transnational Adoption and Endless Labor in Jane Jeong Trenka's Fugitive Visions

Jungha Kim is a graduate student in the Program in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory at the University of Pennsylvania

archive

Sarah
Nicolazzo

Thursday, Sept 26, 6:30pm
Fisher-Bennett Grad Lounge

Vagrancy, Slavery, and Emancipation: Obeah at the Limits of Free Labor

Tracing the influence of vagrancy law on late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century debates surrounding slavery in the British Caribbean, this essay argues that vagrancy came to signify a possible theory or practice of freedom that exceeded the dictates of "free labor." I ask what forms of excess are signified by "vagrancy" in a supposedly post-slavery society--in other words, what forms of freedom cannot be legitimated as such? For one possible answer, I turn to the criminalized syncretic religious practice of obeah and its portrayal in literary texts.

Sarah Nicolazzo is a graduate student in the Program in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory at the University of Pennsylvania

Works in Progress

Sarah Nicolazzo

Thursday, Sept 26

Rita Felski

Thursday, Nov 21

Works in Progress

Cliff Mak

Tuesday, Feb 4, 5pm

Jed Esty

Thursday, April 24, 5pm

Last modified April 19, 2014
Maintained by Cliff Mak
Program in Comparative Literature
School of Arts & Sciences
University of Pennsylvania

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