For: PhD and select Graduate Students
Dates: Oct 8, Oct 29, Nov 12, Nov 26, Dec 10, 2015
Place: Lipsius 002, Leiden
Organizer: Ernst van Alphen
As suggested by some of the participants of last year’s seminar, the coming semester the theory seminar will be devoted to Reading and Looking, to the conventions that underlie our significations of text or image. Whereas reflections on reading and looking were central to poststructuralism and deconstruction, within the present return to thematic approaches of word and image this self-reflexive attitude focusing on the critical act of making sense, has become marginal. Enough reason to return to the issues that were in the 1980s and 90s promising a new future for a new Art History and a new Literary Studies.
The goals of the seminar are to allow participants to exchange their ideas and experiences, to work together on establishing productive ways of dealing with often difficult theoretical texts, and to relate these to one’s own research project; to explore issues and concepts of importance for today’s interdisciplinary humanities, and to practice academic skills such as organizing the content of a session, presenting ideas, discussing issues, and chairing discussions.
All sessions are organized by two, sometimes three, participants who form teams of presenters. These teams do not do all the talking; they initiate and orientate the discussions. The sessions are divided during the first session. Think ahead of where you feel you can make a contribution, or where you may have a particular need for input. The presenters should meet ahead with me to discuss their plans for the session. The work forms you want to deploy (lectures, presentations, discussion, group work) is entirely up to you. Think carefully of what kind of session you want to contribute, and what forms of academic exchange may be fruitful to that goal.
Some points to consider. Do make sure the session presents an in-depth engagement with the readings. Come up with a clear and realistic time schedule. Make use of Blackboard and AV-equipment. Try to think of a way to make the meeting interactive, to involve all participants. At the ending of each session, allow time for evaluation by the other participants and the instructors.
Experience shows that there are three things to avoid. Firstly, try out different approaches and formats to avoid repetition. A developing routine quickly becomes boring. Second, do not divide the readings between the team members, so that each participant presents one article respectively. Rather, select aspects, topics, or concepts you find relevant to more than one article, and combine, compare, and contrast as you go along. Finally, resist the temptation to all present your own objects of study and research projects. That way, the readings often do not get the attention they deserve. Limit the number of case studies to no more than two per session, and allow for time for detailed engagement with the articles as well.
- All readings will be send to you as attachment to an email.
- The seminar takes place in different rooms, See the schedule where it will be when.
- Meetings start at 14:15 in the afternoon and end around 17.00.
- For practical information, including reserving AV-equipment, contact the LUCAS office
- To plan the sessions, contact Ernst van Alphen: firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone 020 6739504, 0648888072, or 071 5272249
8 October: Lipsius 002
The Reader in History
- Jane Tomkins, “The Reader in History”, in Tompkins (ed.), Reader-Response Criticism. Pp.
- Jonathan Culler, “Semiotics as a Theory of Reading”, in The Pursuit of Signs. Semiotics, Literature, Deconstruction. (Ithaca, Cornell U.P., 1981), pp. 47- 79
- Jonathan Culler, “Literary Competence”, in Structuralist Poetics: Structuralism, Linguistics and the Study of Literature (London, Routledge, 1975) pp. 113 – 130
29 October: Vrieshof4/008A
Allegories of Reading
- Paul de Man, “Reading (Proust), in Allegories of Reading: Figural Language in Rousseau, Nietzsche, Rilke, and Proust (New Haven 1979, Yale U.P.), pp. 57 – 78
- Ernst van Alphen, “Frans Kellendonk’s Allegorical Impulse”, Journal of Dutch Literaure, in press
- Jonathan Culler, “De Man’s Rhetoric”, in Framing the Sign: Criticism and Its Institutions. (Norman 1988, University of Oklahoma Press), pp. 107 – 138
12 November: Lipsius 002
Theatricality of the Image
- Norman Bryson, “The Image from Within and Without”, in Vision and Painting: the Logic of the Gaze. (New Haven 1983, Yale UP), pp. 67 – 86
- Norman Bryson, “Discourse, figure”, in Word and Image: French Painting of the Ancien Régime. ( Cambridge 1981, Cambridge UP), pp. 1-28
- Michel Fried, “Art and Objecthood” 
26 November: Lipsius 002
Looking, Reading and Blindness
- Barbara Johnson, “The Frame of Reference. Poe, Lacan, Derrida”, in The Critical Difference. Essays in the Contemporary Rhetoric of Reading” (Baltimore 1980, the Johns Hopkins University Press) pp. 110-146
- Shoshana Felman, “Forms of Judicial Blindness, or the Evidence of What Cannot be Seen: Traumatic Narratives and Legal Repretitions in the O.J. Simpson Case and in Tolstoy’s The Kreutzer Sonata” in The Juridical Unconscious. Trials and Traumas in the Twentieth Century. (Cambridge 2002, Harvard UP), pp. 54 – 105
10 December: Lipsius 002
Looking as Recognition versus Looking as Reading
- Louis Marin, “Towards a Theory of Reading in the Visual Arts: Poussin’s The Arcadian Shepherds”, in N. Bryson (ed.), Calligram: Essays in New Art History from France (Cambridge 1988, Cambridge UP), pp. 63 – 90
- Julia Kristeva, “Giotto’s Joy”, in N. Bryson (ed.), Calligram: Essays in New Art History from France (Cambridge 1988, Cambridge UP), pp. 27 – 52
- Mieke Bal, “Recognition: Reading Icons, Seeing Stories”, in Reading Rembrandt: Beyond the Word-Image Opposition” (Cambridge 1991, Cambridge UP), pp. 177 – 215