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Seminar

IMC Seminar with Joseph Carroll : "Three Scenarios for Literary Darwinism"

Joseph Carroll envisions three alternative scenarios for literary study: one in which literary Darwinism remains outside the mainstream of literary study; one in which literary Darwinism is incorporated as just another of many different “approaches” to literature; and a third in which the evolutionary human sciences fundamentally transform and subsume all literary study.

Info about event

Time

Tuesday 12 November 2013,  at 11:00 - 13:00

Location

Nobelparken, Building 1483-3, room 312

Contact

Interacting Minds Centre

Joseph Carroll: I envision three alternative scenarios for literary study: one in which literary Darwinism remains outside the mainstream of literary study; one in which literary Darwinism is incorporated as just another of many different “approaches” to literature; and a third in which the evolutionary human sciences fundamentally transform and subsume all literary study. I locate current practices in a historical trajectory going back to the middle of the nineteenth century. Traditional literary humanism governed literary study until the poststructuralist revolution in the 1980s. Poststructuralism has isolated literary study from the production of knowledge and has adopted instead an ideological rationale for the profession. Repetition, exhaustion, and superficial variation are already now chronic conditions. The literary Darwinists, seeking to integrate literary study with the evolutionary human sciences, occupy a marginal role. In the first scenario, all this would remain stable. In the second scenario, literary Darwinism would be part of a “pluralist” vision in which incomplete and incompatible interpretive practices join together in casebooks. In the third scenario, the poststructuralist literary establishment crumbles quietly from within, succumbing to intellectual dry rot, and literary Darwinism attains to full maturity by absorbing the most comprehensive ideas in the evolutionary human sciences and integrating them with ideas specific to literary study. A mature literary Darwinism would be part of a transformed curriculum in which the evolutionary human sciences fully integrate the social sciences, linking them with evolutionary biology, molecular biology, and cognitive and affective neuroscience. The humanities would be continuous, both in concepts and in methods, with the evolutionary human sciences.

Location: Aarhus University, Nobelparken, building 1483-3, IMC meeting room (312)