Sproul Hall
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Events
Thursday, March 21, 2019 | 4 – 5:30pmSproul Hall
Lecture: "Black Legends and the Invention of Europe"

Carmen Nocentelli, associate professor of English and comparative literature at the University of New Mexico, is a speaker in the Comparative Literature Colloquium series.

Spanish Black legend is often thought of as a unique phenomenon in the history of early modern culture. Yet the commonplaces of this legend—intolerable tyranny, unspeakable cruelty and a dubious ethnicity—were also deployed against Turks, Dutch and French. There was not just one Black Legend, but several, integral parts of an ethnoethics that developed steadily from the 15th century onward. As they circulated across national, linguistic and confessional boundaries, Black Legend commonplaces marked the shifting boundaries of Europe, investing this space with an imagined identity bound up in freedom, justice and purity of lineage.

Monday, April 8, 2019 | 3 – 4:30pmSproul Hall
Lecture: "The Body in Question: Science and Vitalist Reform in the Spanish Enlightenment"

Nicolás Fernández-Medina
Associate Professor of Spanish and Philosophy
Penn State University

In Spain, as in the rest of Europe, the question of vital force—or the immanent energy that promotes the processes of life and growth in the human body and in nature—had become one of the most pressing and perplexing questions to frame modern science in the 18th century. The origins and nature of vital force were being bitterly debated, but science was making them increasingly knowable through advances in microscopy and new discoveries in anatomy and the life-giving properties of blood. What became apparent to the ilustrados, or the enlightened thinkers in Spain concerned with the country’s modernization, was that while the barbed question of vital force generated new and fruitful discoveries about the body and nature, it could also challenge the authority of religion and the rationalist-empiricist project itself, and thus expose the power relations underpinning the task of epistemology.

Professor Fernández-Medina specializes in late 18th- to early 20th-century Spanish literature, philosophy and culture, including Enlightenment thought, interdisciplinary 19th-century studies, philosophy of science and the body, gender studies, social history of ideas in medicine, modernist aesthetics and the avant-garde.

Thursday, April 11, 2019 | 12 – 1:30pmSproul Hall
Daryabari Lecture: "Coercion and the Reader: A Defense of Anachronistic and Naive Scholarship"

Bita Daryabari Lecture Series in Persian Language & Literature

Adam Talib will discuss how coercion and violence are ubiquitous in Classical Arabic and Persian poetry and will offer an explanation as to why the topic has received relatively little attention. He will describe many of the difficulties he is facing in his attempt to write a study with urgent political implications as well as longstanding and valid taboos, and will invite the audience to discuss ways in which their teaching and research, as well as their disciplinary training, disguise the history of sexual coercion and violence.

Talib teaches classical Arabic literature at Durham University and is an associate editor of the Journal of Arabic Literature. He is the author of How Do You say 'Epigram' in Arabic? Literary History at the Limits of Comparison (Brill, 2018) and an award-winning translator of Arabic literature into English. His most recent translation, Raja Alem’s The Dove’s Necklace (co-translated with Katharine Halls), was published in 2016. He taught at the American University in Cairo from 2012 to 2017.

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