Spring 2017

The Literature & Philosophy Workshop Spring Schedule is now up on our website and included below. All workshops take place in Foster 305 unless otherwise noted; documents are generally available on the website a week in advance of the presentation.

Hope everyone is having a good start to the quarter!


Literature & Philosophy Workshop Spring 2017 Schedule

March 30th:   David Wellbery (LeRoy T. and Margaret Deffenbaugh Carlson University Professor of Germanic Studies, Comparative Literature, and Social Thought; Chair, Germanic Studies at the University of Chicago), “August Wilhelm Schlegel’s Concept of Literary Study, or, What is a Sonnet?” (Social Sciences 122)

April 13th:  Chenxin Jiang (PhD Candidate, University of Chicago Committee on Social Thought), “Translating and untranslating Chinese philosophy with Richard Wilhelm.”

April 27th: Haun Saussy (University Professor in the Department of Comparative Literature, Social Thought, East Asian Studies and the College at the University of Chicago), “A Correspondence Course in Philosophy. Li Zhi Polemicizes With Fellow Neo-Confucians in the 1580s.” (Foster 505)

May 4th: Aparna Ravilochan (PhD Student, University of Chicago Committee on Social Thought) “From a Day to a Thousand Years: Distorted Gestation Periods in The Mahabharata.”

One peculiar and persistent motif in the Mahabharata is the distortion of time that often accompanies pregnancy. Some of its characters conceive and give birth within a single day; others remain pregnant for as many as one thousand years. In this paper, I investigate what the elastic duration of pregnancy in the world of this text reveals about motherhood and the dharma of women.

May 18th: Jozef Majernik (PhD student Committee on Social Thought), “Understanding Jan Patočka’s political engagement through his reading of Dostoevsky”

Toward the end of his life, the Czech phenomenologist Jan Patočka became politically active for the first time, as a spokesman of the dissident movement Charter 77. In this capacity he wrote several essays, the first of which, entitled On the Matters of Plastic People of the Universe and DG 307, I interpret as his explanation and justification of his turn toward political engagement. My paper is a reading of this essay that pays particular attention to a peculiar formal feature of the essay – namely that it is presented as a reversal of Dostoevsky’s short story The Dream of a Ridiculous Man. In reversing this story, Patočka presents to us the two basic ways of human life and explains his political engagement as an action taken on behalf of the truly human way of life, which he calls “life in truth” or “the responsible life”. My translation of On the Matters… is appended to the paper.

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