Lezing & Debat
Seminar with Joanna Bourke: ‘Public Intellectuals’
In Spring 2011 historian Professor Joanna Bourke (Birkbeck College, University of London) is the fourth Visiting Professor on the Treaty of Utrecht Chair, hosted by the Centre for the Humanities at Utrecht University. On 11 April there will be a seminar on ‘Public Intellectuals’ with Joanna Bourke, Laurie Taylor, Steven Connor and Bas Heijne.
What is the role of the public intellectual? Is it to disseminate knowledge and emotional discernment to that amorphous figure of the “general public” or does the public intellectual have a duty to fulfilling a more disruptive function in developing a critical, questioning attitude towards the world? Today, the “charismatic style” that is often attached to the public intellectual is itself co-modified. Is this to be welcomed as a way of ensuring that intellectual labor is more widely circulated or is there a risk that the public intellectual will be co-opted to the status quo? In the twenty-first century, might the role of the public intellectual in questioning the commonsense of its time and encouraging resistance to what makes life unjust and ugly be more important than ever?
Joanna Bourke is Professor of History at Birkbeck College, University of London. She is the prize-winning author of nine books, including histories on modern warfare, military medicine, psychology and psychiatry, the emotions, and the history of rape. Awareness of gender, race and class plays a major role in professor Bourke’s work. In Spring 2011 she holds the Treaty of Utrecht Chair, which is founded to highlight the relevance of the Treaty of Utrecht (1713) in current European and international perspective. www.uu.nl/treatyofutrechtchair.
Laurie Taylor is a distinguished sociologist and radio and television presenter. He was one of the founding members of the National Deviance Conference, a group of radical and critical criminologists who met regularly at York University (where he became Professor of Sociology). Among other books, he is the co-author (with Stanley Cohen) of Psychological Survival, a study of long-term prisoners, and of a study of identity in the modern world entitled Escape Attempts: The Theory and Practice of Resistance to Everyday Life. He was a regular contributor to BBC R4’s "Stop the Week" and the presenter of "The Radio Programme" and "The Afternoon Shift". He is currently filming the third series of “In Confidence for Sky Arts”, an hour-long interview programme involving leading thinkers of the day. Guests so far have included Jonathan Miller, Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Will Self, Stephen Fry, Shirley Williams, and Andre Previn.
Steven Connor is Professor of Modern Literature and Theory at Birkbeck College London. He is also the College Orator and the Academic Director of the London Consortium Graduate Programme in Humanities and Cultural Studies. He is the celebrated author of books on Charles Dickens, Samuel Beckett, and James Joyce, in addition to being a leading theorist of postmodern culture. His most recent books include Dumbstruck: A Cultural History of Ventriloquism (2000), The Book of Skin (2003), Fly (2006), on the history of the fly in poetry, painting, religion, and science, and The Matter of Air: Science and Art of the Ethereal (2010). Connor is a regular contributor to discussions and debates on the radio (especially BBC's Radio 3) and is in demand internationally as a public speaker. www.stevenconnor.com.
Bas Heijne is a writer and columnist for NRC Handelsblad and is also known for hosting the Dutch Telvision Programme 'Zomergasten'. He has developed into one of the most appealing and interesting Dutch political essayists. Someone who exceeds the current political and polarized debates in the Netherlands. In 2005 he received the Henriette Roland Holst prize for Hollandse Toestanden, a collection of columns he wrote for the NRC Handelsblad. His essay collection De wijde wereld (The Wide World, 2000) was nominated for the AKO Literature Prize. His latest work is a book entitled Harde liefde. De Nederlander op zoek naar zichzelf (Hard love. The Dutchman in search of himself).
This event is free of charge. Register by sending an email to email@example.com, mentioning 'Public Intellectuals' in the subject line.
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