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Carey, eds. Current Journal Articles Introduction: About once a month supply allowing , we post a listing of recently published historical articles about disability somewhat broadly defined. Categories: Journal TOC. Michigan State University Department of History. Thank you. Thank you all so much for coming. As director of the Institute for German Cultural Studies, I'm greatly pleased and deeply honored to co-host with Gerard Aching and the Africana Studies and Research Center this afternoon's exciting event featuring Toni Morrison and Claudia Brodsky, in conversation with each other and with us on Reading the Writing.
Doing so is also a joy because Claudia Brodsky is a scholar, teacher, and colleague of rare distinction, inspired accomplishment, and uncommon generosity of mind and spirit. Author of learned and path-breaking books such as The Imposition of Form, Studies, and Narrative Representation and Knowledge, ; Lines of Thought, Discourse, Architectonics, and the Origin of Modern Philosophy, ; and In the Place of Language: Literature and the Architecture of the Referent, , all of which are situated at the crossroads of literary analysis and philosophical inquiry.
She is an expert on comparative European and American studies, of literary history and narrative form, continental philosophy and critical theory, and the aesthetic value of modern letters in dialogue with science, history, society, and law from the 17th century to the present. Authors of focal interest to her include the entire canon of European modernity, but also major American writers such as Herman Melville and Toni Morrison.
At the heart of the investigations, be probing questions about the indispensable roles that creative writing and literary imagination can and should play in the public articulation of meaning, knowledge, justice, and shared life, especially when that life is also shaped by histories of violence as in slavery and genocide, conflict, inequality, indifference.
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For example, In the Place of Language is a brilliantly exacting book that offers new insights into the aesthetic properties and stakes of loss and presence, life and death, building and language in major literary works and critical theories of modern history into the 21st century. This entails the literary capacities of writing and reading to engage the complexities of such lived histories and to build different futures with them.
In this spirit, Claudia Brodsky has also been in active dialogue with Toni Morrison for many years. And the introduction to which Toni Morrison underscored the capacity of literature, quote, to insinuate into the reader's mind a far more complex narrative than official stories by national governments and public media can afford, end quote. For her contribution to that volume, Claudia Brodsky focused on the contemporary relevance of Immanuel Kant's philosophical distinctions between interested and disinterested judgment, and public debates about race, gender, and violence in the United States.
For the volume Race-ing Justice, En-Gendering Power: Essays on Anita Hill, Clarence Thomas, and the Construction of Social Reality, which Toni Morrison edited in , Claudia Brodsky brought her insights into theories of language to bear on doing things with words-- racism as speech act and the undoing of justice. Since the early s, she has conducted public, published, and also private interviews with Toni Morrison on a range of topics, most recently on the Nobel laureates work such as Home, published as a novel in , and Desdemona, which had its theatrical premiere in These extended recent conversations between Toni Morrison and Claudia Brodsky are intended for a joint book publication to be titled Aesthetic Activity.
Three new books by Claudia Brodsky are also forthcoming, one on the origins of language in the age of critique and two on the relationship between writing and building in the literary arts of modern history. Today we are especially fortunate to have her take part in this public conversation on reading the writing and the public significance of aesthetics, imagination, and judgment in the lived complexities we share. Please join me in extending a very warm welcome to Claudia Brodsky. Thank you, professor Adelson, and welcome everyone and thank you for joining us in a most exciting evening.
What a pleasure it is again to welcome Toni Morrison back to Cornell University. This public conversation is an unusual opportunity to add to our understanding of Toni Morrison and her work through the lens of a creative, intellectual collaboration. And as Professor Aching has said, you will take part in that collaboration. We're all grateful to Professor Adelson and to the Institute for German Cultural Studies, and to the Africana Center and its director for facilitating a very, very special occasion.
And I'm very grateful that all of you who have joined us. As many of you know, Toni Morrison is an alumna of Cornell University, having earned her master's degree in English here. She has returned to campus generously several times for public lectures and interaction with our students, especially during her tenure as an A. On behalf of the whole Cornell community, I want to thank Professor Morrison for her ongoing connection with us, which is so rewarding for our community, and for joining us tonight.
Toni Morrison grew up in Ohio and earned her bachelor's degree in English at Howard University in She spent the next two years at Cornell, receiving her master's in She has taught at several universities and worked for 20 years as an editor at Random House. Today she is the Robert F. She was living in Syracuse when she wrote her first novel, The Bluest Eye, rising at AM to write before work while raising two children alone after her marriage had ended.
The idea for The Bluest Eye came from a childhood memory of an African American classmate who longed for blue eyes.
Even at the age of 12, Toni Morrison understood something of the pernicious cultural influences that had made her classmate despise her own natural coloring. The first of her novels to gain nationwide attention, it received the National Book Critics Circle Award. Professor Morrison went on to publish seven more novels, as well as criticism, essays, and children's books. One of her many critically acclaimed works is Beloved, which received the Pulitzer Prize.
This powerful novel is based on the true story of a runaway slave named Margaret Garner. As she was about to be captured, she killed her infant daughter to spare her a life of slavery. And Professor Morrison has also written a libretto for a opera, Margaret Garner, based on the same story. In , Toni Morrison was awarded the most prestigious international recognition that a writer can achieve, the Nobel Prize for Literature. She is the second American woman to receive the Nobel in literature, and the first, incidentally, was also a Cornellian, Pearl Buck. So you want to get a Nobel Prize, you go to Cornell.
Just last spring, Professor Morrison published her latest novel, Home, the story of a traumatized young veteran of the Korean War.
Demonstrating, once again, her powers of compelling narrative and fresh, vivid language. I commend this book to you. The spring also brought another in her long list of honors. President Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Toni Morrison's novels are steeped in a piercing understanding of how history shapes the present day. Many variations of the African American experience are illuminated in her fiction with power, and humanity, and humor, and poetry. Her vision brings those multifaceted experiences before us with stunning originality.enter site
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In The New York Times, Leah Hager Cohen has observed, part of Morrison's longstanding greatness resides in her ability to animate specific stories about the black experience and simultaneously speak to all experience. That remarkable ability, the universalizing gift of all great writers, is something for which we, as readers, are intensely grateful as it enlarges each of our individual worlds.
I'm honored and thrilled to welcome and introduce as our guest this evening a renowned writer who has dramatically enriched the literature of the United States and the world. And I really specifically want to thank everyone involved in organizing this, who have had the brilliant idea of organizing it, my really beloved colleagues, Gerard Aching and Leslie Adelson, who were, as always, far too generous in their introductions and their specific comments. You can't? It's definitely on.
You don't hear me? Can you hear me now? You really can? What a shame. But what I wanted to say was it takes a great university-- I say this based on experience-- to understand that the literary imagination has to do with the lives that we lead. Not necessarily, or only, in an abstract sense, but really the ethical lives that we lead, and public lives that we lead, as well as the private lives we lead.
And that kind of devotion to the humanities and to literature in particular has always been, for me, very distinctive about Cornell. And I think everybody who introduced us only made that clear. So I want to thank you all very much, and this is really, the fact that we're here in a strange way, and this event was so generously organized so that we could continue a conversation that began many, many years ago, literally based on language. That is, when I had first arrived at Princeton, and Toni had first arrived at Princeton, I attended a lecture, a public lecture she gave, and it was just this one metaphor in the talk, and when we met at dinner afterwards, I asked her about that metaphor.
And Toni just sort of looked at me and said, oh, you got that one. And that was that. And it is not an exaggeration to say that, with interruptions, we really haven't stopped talking since. So it was really on the basis of the language that she was using, in my immediate-- just my immediate attention to it, because it was so arresting, in a way, that we ever got to know each other. So this is the conversation being continued, so to speak. But thanks to Cornell.
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And, as has already been said, you studied here at Cornell, Toni, and so would you want to amplify anything that was said about what you were studying and maybe some of the professors whom you had at the time. I'm trying to recollect some of the more important things.
The first thing, of course, was the faculty. I remember at least three of them, very well-- Robert Elias, Mr. At any rate, they were extraordinary. Also, I was under the impression that-- well, I'll tell you the truth, this is or 4.
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