What: The Dean’s Lecture Series
Where: Great Hall (Peterson Student Center) When: 8 p.m.
Details: Free of charge and open to the public
“Are Characters Persons?”
Philip Fisher, Harvard University
Dept. of English and American Language and Literature
Friday, October 5
How dependent is our idea of individuality on the clarity and distinctiveness that we find in literary characters and remember later as a standard for personhood? What conditions might limit the usefulness of any equation between literary characters and the lived experience of individuality over time? Do modern philosophy, economics, and social theory give us alternative ideas of personal identity over time that cannot be represented by traditional ideas of character and vivid personal identity?
Philip Fisher is the Reid Professor of English at Harvard University and holds the additional appointment of Harvard College Professor. During 1996-97 he was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. He has been chosen as a Senior Scholar at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles, and spent two years at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. He has written on the English and American novel, on cultural institutions such as museums, and on the passions. His research interests include contemporary American painting and its institutions. He has written on the works of Jasper Johns, Frank Stella and, most recently, Cy Twombly.
“Tocqueville on the Problem of Freedom”
Alice Behnegar, Boston College Arts and Sciences Honors Program
Friday, October 26
In Democracy in America Tocqueville explores the tension between equality and freedom. The lecture will focus on his account of the effect of equality on the human soul – the psychology of equality – and the consequences for human freedom.
Alice Behnegar is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Boston College, with a joint appointment in the Honors Program, where she teaches courses in the western cultural tradition, and the Political Science Department, where she teaches courses in political theory. After receiving an A.B. from Smith College and a J.D. from Stanford University she practiced law for a number of years before returning to graduate school for a doctorate from the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. Her primary area of study is the history of political thought.