frank davis memorial lecture series

Resistance and Interpretation: Disciplinary Perspectives

Interpretation Through the Looking-Glass

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

17.30 - 18.30, Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre

drawing by Tenniel of Alice's hands holding up black cat
Illustration by John Tenniel for Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass (And What Alice Found There), 1871

Speaker(s): Miguel Tamen (Professor, Director of Programme in Literary Theory, University of Lisbon; and Regular Visiting Professor, University of Chicago)

Ticket/entry details: Open to all, free admission

Organised by: Dr Francesco Lucchini

“I have only one, very simple, idea about interpretation: interpretation should not be kept separate from other human activities. There are three main advantages to this, or so I will argue: the first is that we need not assume any difference in kind between interpreting and e.g. solving problems, describing your position relative to the world or other people, asking questions, contesting arguments or drawing inferences; the second, that interpretation is not to be seen as a special mental process, a consequence of certain peculiarities of things, or an emanation of any fancy arrangements between ever-pliant minds and ever-resisting matter. The third is that the problem of interpretation can be addressed in a relatively nontechnical way and that much is gained from retaining such nontechnical bluntness. My main precursor and constant source of inspiration is Alice, the heroine of Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass.” Miguel Tamen

Miguel Tamen's  main interests include philosophy and literature. He is the author of six books, among which Friends of Interpretable Objects (2001). He is a regular contributor to Common Knowledge. In 2010/11, he is a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow at the National Humanities Center, where he is in residence finishing a book tentatively entitled The Alice Books.

This series proposes a range of ways of approaching the specific resistance found in objects of enquiry, calling attention to the ways in which contemporary scholarship attends to the conditions that set up resistances with respect to disciplinary investigation. Distinguished scholars from different disciplinary traditions are invited to consider how the notion of resistance is dealt with in their field of research and reflect on the ways in which material and cultural factors inhibit or disturb smooth assimilation of artefacts and cultural activities into theory and predetermined categories of interpretation.

Sponsored by the FM Kirby Foundation

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