Russell Wallis – Britons, Poles and Jews after WWI

in Academic Service - Archive by on November 26th, 2009

Royal Holloway University of London

Department of History

Date: 26 November 2009

Russell Wallis (Royal Holloway) – Britons, Poles and Jews after WWI

From WWI onwards, British society responded to a series of atrocities and humanitarian crises in different parts of the world. The first of these was the so-called ‘rape of Belgium’ by German forces in late 1914. The second was the race murder of the Armenians by Turks. Part of the response to German and Turkish crimes in 1914 and the mass murder of the Armenians by Turks was that atrocity was un-English. In this sense, the response to atrocity was framed by a sense of national identity: in other words, who the English thought themselves to be. Victory in the Great War had confirmed Britain’s international reputation and self-perception both as a defender of small nations and a protector of vulnerable minorities. However, with regard to the nascent Polish state these two ideas came into conflict. This paper explores the forces that dictated British reactions to brutal anti-Semitism in Poland. In particular two distinct but connected war aims were at variance: firstly, the re-establishment of Poland as a separate democratic state and, secondly, the banishment of repression as a method of control. To accommodate the former, the British felt compelled to give the latter considerable latitude.


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Tim Thornton – Clinical Judgement and the Medical Humanities

in Academic Service - Archive by on November 25th, 2009

The Humanities and Arts Research Centre at Royal Holloway University of London

Philosophy and the Humanities

Date: 25 November 2009

Tim Thornton (UCLan) Clinical Judgement and the Medical Humanities

Tim Thornton is Professor of Philosophy and Mental Health and Director of Philosophy in the International School for Communities, Rights and Inclusion. 
As well as contemporary philosophy of thought and language, his research concerns conceptual issues at the heart of mental health care. He has written research papers on clinical judgement, idiographic and narrative understanding, the interpretation of psychopathology and reductionism and social constructionism in psychiatry.

He is the author of Essential Philosophy of Psychiatry (OUP 2007), Wittgenstein on Language and Thought (EUP 1998), John McDowell (Acumen 2004) and co-author of the Oxford Textbook of Philosophy and Psychiatry (OUP 2006).

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Slavoj Zizek – Apocalyptic Times

in Academic Service - Archive by on November 24th, 2009

Birkbeck_Humanities2

Tuesday 24th November 2009 - 2.30 pm
Clore Lecture Theatre (B01), Clore Management Centre, Torrington Sq.

speaker_Zizek2Slavoj ZizekApocalyptic Times




Public lecture given by Slavoj Zizek.

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What are the Humanities For? – debate

in Academic Service - Archive by on November 19th, 2009

Birkbeck_Humanities2

Event Date: Thursday 19th November 6pm
Room 1.02 Malet Place, Engineering (UCL)

speaker_RosiBraidotti speaker_CostasDouzinas2

Rosi Braidotti (Utrecht) and Costas Douzinas (Birkbeck) debate and discuss.

According to an article in the Times Higher Education Supplement (29th October 2009) “humanistic scholarship ought to aspire to wisdom, but most academics do not rise to the challenge and address their peers rather than distressed mankind“. Is humanities research addressing the right questions? What contribution are the humanities making towards solving urgent problems? How can humanities disciplines renew themselves?

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Costas Douzinas:

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Rosi Braidotti:

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Lucille Cairns – Trauma and Testimony: The Case of Myriam Anissimov

in Academic Service - Archive by on November 18th, 2009

Date: 18 November 2009

speaker_Cairns_small_BWLucille Cairns (Durham University) – Trauma and Testimony: The Case of Myriam Anissimov

As Thomas Nolden has averred, ‘among today’s Jewish writers in France, Myriam Anissimov is the most engaged in reminding the reader of exactly what happened in the past’. Anissimov is by far the most prominent Jewish woman writer in post-WWII France consistently to foreground traumatic postmemory of the Shoah. Born in a Swiss refugee camp in 1943 to Jewish parents whose other family members were slaughtered in the Nazi death camps, Anissimov has commented that ‘je me suis toujours demandé pourquoi, moi, j’ai survécu et pourquoi les autres sont morts. Je me suis demandé aussi si vraiment j’avais le droit d’existence et si je n’étais pas coupable de quelque chose’ (‘I’ve always wondered why I survived and why the others died. I also wondered if I really had the right to exist and whether I wasn’t guilty of something’). Whilst Anissimov’s third novel, Rue de nuit (1977) sets a certain template for her later works, the most recent of which appeared in 2007, the mediation of second-generation symptomatology is complicated by a particular narratological choice that actually demarcates it from the rest of Anissimov’s oeuvre. Whereas most of that oeuvre is largely if not exclusively mimetic, Rue de nuit is cast in an ostensibly realist framework of post-war (early 1970s) Paris, but is in fact a dystopic, oneiric first-person narrative which provokes lectorial oscillation between belief and disbelief. Indeed, it has been justly qualified by celebrated Jewish writer Gilles Pudlowski as ‘très kafkaïen’ (‘very Kafkaesque’). In its exegesis of Rue de nuit, my paper will foreground the strengths of that departure from mimeticism in the forging of post-Auschwitz structures of feeling.

This is the inaugural event in the ‘Trauma Fiction History’. Colin Davis will introduce the session with a short paper, ‘Why Trauma?’, outlining the significance of trauma studies for work in the Humanities and laying out some of the aims of the series. This will be followed by a paper by Professor Cairns, entitled ‘Trauma and Testimony: The Case of Myriam Anissimov’.

series website HERE

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Colin DavisWhy Trauma

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Lucille Cairns – Trauma and Testimony: The Case of Myriam Anissimov

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Denis McManus – Heidegger, Wittgenstein and the Last Judgement

in Academic Service - Archive by on November 11th, 2009

The Humanities and Arts Research Centre at Royal Holloway University of London

Philosophy and the Humanities

Date: 11 November 2009

speaker_DenisMcManusDenis McManus (Southampton):
Heidegger, Wittgenstein and the Last Judgement

The paper examines some of Heidegger’s early reflections on religious belief. It focuses on his lectures on St Paul and on the latter’s remarks on the Last Judgment in particular. The reading offered illustrates, and thus helps to refine the identity of, a particular kind of recognizably ‘phenomenological’ reflection, which, firstly, can be expected to have an ontological pay-off, secondly, lacks immediate idealist consequences and, thirdly, naturally expresses itself in part through the critical use of the notion of a ‘theoretical attitude’. But this reading also points to a number of difficulties, which I bring into focus through an identification of some remarkable similarities between Heidegger’s remarks and remarks of Wittgenstein’s also on the Last Judgment. In this way, these early reflections of Heidegger’s can be seen to raise in new but concrete forms more familiar worries about his better known writings – not least Being and Time – as well as suggesting potentially useful ways of looking at those worries.

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Nick Holder – History and Archaeology: Finding some Common Ground

in Academic Service - Archive by on November 10th, 2009

Royal Holloway History Department Research Seminar Series

Date: 10 November 2009


Nick Holder (Royal Holloway) – History and Archaeology: Finding some Common Ground

The disciplines of history and archaeology have much in common, not least a common origin as they both grew out of antiquarianism in the 19th century. For much of the 20th century, however, history and archaeology moved apart, particularly as different theoretical approaches led them in different directions. In order to explore the possibilities of common ground, historians and archaeologists need to understand each other’s ‘protocols of evidence’. Nick Holder will look at the types of evidence and data created by archaeologists and consider ways that historians can make use of that body of evidence, as well as at some case studies of fruitful co-operation between archaeologists and historians.

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Walter Benjamin & Bertolt Brecht: Story of a Friendship?

in Academic Service - Archive by on November 6th, 2009

Birkbeck_Humanities2

Event Date: 6 November 2009
10am – 5pm Room B36 followed by book launch and drinks in Room B04

BenjaminAndBrecht

The English translation of Erdmut Wizisla’s formidable study Walter Benjamin and Bertolt Brecht: The Story of a Friendship is published this Autumn by Libris. No-one has a better view of the much disputed relationship between these two figures than Erdmut Wizisla, director of Berlin’s Benjamin and Brecht Archive. Greeting the German edition, Momme Brodersen spoke for many when he wrote: ‘If this book had appeared decades ago, it would have terminated an unproductive debate in one fell swoop: that of the influence – be it fruitful, be it disastrous – of probably the most significant German playwright and poet of the 20th century, Bertolt Brecht, on probably the most significant critic of his day, Walter Benjamin’. Our conference celebrates the book’s publication and explores the ways in which Wizisla’s study augments, challenges or re-constellates previous analyses (most notably the one emanating from that other ‘Story of a Friendship’, published in English in 1982, by Gershom Scholem).

The conference gathers together a number of leading scholars from across the Humanities, including:

Erdmut Wizisla (Berlin), Peter Thompson (Sheffield), Barbara Engh (Leeds), Tony Phelan (Oxford), Esther Leslie (Birkbeck), Chryssoula Kambas (Osnabrück).

Erdmut Wizisla will present and discuss the new edition of Walter Benjamin’s Collected Works – a vast undertaking of re-ordering, re-editing, re-annotating and revealing new materials – whose twenty-one volumes will appear over the course of the next decade.

Programme:
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Welcome and Opening words .

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Peter Thompson (Sheffield) Brecht, Benjamin and the Crisis of Modernity

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Chryssoula Kambas (Osnabruck) From West to East: An External Examiner Remembers

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Barbara Engh (Leeds) Friendship and Clang Figures

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Erdmut Wizisla (Berlin) The Benjamin Archive and the New German Benjamin Edition

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Tony Phelan (Oxford) Brecht on Benjamin: On the Philosophy of History

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Esther Leslie Constellations and Comradeship

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Final Questions and Close .

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Rorty and the Mirror of Nature

in Academic Service - Archive, HARC (Humanities and Arts Research Centre at Royal Holloway University of London) by on November 6th, 2009

InstituteOfPhilosophy_logo


Rorty and the Mirror of Nature

Friday 6 November, 9.30 a.m. – 6.00 p.m.

CHANCELLORS HALL, SENATE HOUSE, LONDON WC1

LIVE BROADCAST: 10:00 – 18:00 GMT

In collaboration with the Humanities and Arts Research Centre at Royal Holloway University.

In 1979 Richard Rorty published his magnum opus, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature. The headlining ambition of the book is to complete a turn Rorty discerned in current analytic philosophy against a constellation of ideas informed by the assumption that Mind serves as the foundation of epistemic authority. By setting this in a broader ‘therapeutic’ context inspired by Heidegger and Wittgenstein, the aim is to ‘liberate’ philosophers from their epistemologically fixated inquiries and, in the spirit of the book’s other hero, Dewey, provide them with a new intellectual task: helping to spread the ‘precious values’ of the Enlightenment by playing their part in “continuing the conversation of the West”. Its attempt to transform the philosopher from epistemologist to hermeneuticist makes Philosophy… more existential than programmatic in character. Nevertheless, its synthesis of the pragmatic and behaviourist elements in Sellars, Quine and Davidson with the historicism of Kuhn presents a challenge to those who wish to retain a ‘realist’ or ‘transcendental’ standpoint for inquiry, and thus aim to draw a methodological line in the sand between philosophy and science, or between philosophy and other ‘kinds of writing’. The purpose of this conference is to invite the speakers to address what they perceive to be the relevance of Philosophy… to their own work, respecting either its substantive claims or its conception of the contemporary role of the philosopher and the methods he or she should pursue (or both). Confirmed speakers: Robert Brandom (Pittsburgh) Bjorn Ramberg (Oslo) Michael Williams (Johns Hopkins) Albrecht Wellmer (Berlin)

speakers:

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speaker_Bjorn_rambergBjorn Ramberg (Oslo)
For the sake of his own generation: Rorty on destruction and edification
Respondent/Chair: Neil Gascoigne (Royal Holloway)



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speaker_RobertBrandomRobert Brandom (Pittsburgh)
Global Anti-Representationalism?
Respondent/Chair: Tadeusz Szubka (Szczecin)



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speaker_Wellmer_AlbrechtAlbrecht Wellmer (FU Berlin)
Rereading Rorty (II)
Respondent/Chair: Andrew Bowie (Royal Holloway)



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speaker_MichaelWilliamsMichael Williams (John Hopkins U)
Philosophy as Epistemology
Respondent/Chair: Mark Kalderon (UCL)



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Albrecht Wellmer – Adorno and the Difficulties of a Critical Reconstruction of the Historical Present

in Academic Service - Archive by on November 5th, 2009

Philosophy and the Humanities

5 November 2009

speaker_AlbrechtWellmer_BWAlbrecht Wellmer (Berlin):
Discussion of  Adorno and the Difficulties of a Critical Reconstruction of the Historical Present

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