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Nearly 100 scholars to attend six-week School of Criticism and Theory program

This summer marks Cornell's 13th year as host to the School of Criticism and Theory (SCT) and its 34th session, running June 13-July 22.

Each week, the 92 participants, who come from as far away as Australia and Hong Kong, will attend seminars, lectures, social events and a colloquium based on the in-progress work of the faculty. The intensive program "highlights key ongoing debates in the humanities and social sciences, and results in a vigorous exchange of ideas among participants from a variety of disciplines and backgrounds," said Amanda Anderson, director of SCT.

More than 21 percent of the participants are from outside the United States and represent many of the world's major research institutions. Participants are drawn by the intellectual breadth of the program and the opportunity to study with leading figures in critical theory.

Seth Perlow, a graduate student in English at Cornell, said SCT offers a chance to make important professional and personal connections with scholars that participants might otherwise never meet. He cites SCT's combination of lively debate and rigorous research as an excellent way to keep up with the most current discussions in critical theory.

Perlow enrolled partly because of how impressed he was by the public lectures he'd attended in the past. SCT, he felt, would be "an intellectually intense and rewarding way to spend the summer."

The seminars offered this year engage a broad range of topics -- from politics and religion to the "digital turn" in the humanities. The six-week seminars include: "Conformism, Antagonism, Critique: On the Post-Political Turn" (Timothy Brennan, University of Minnesota); "Antigone in Contexts: Humanism and the Challenges of Democratic Theory" (Bonnie Honig, Northwestern University); "Politics of Religious Difference" (Saba Mahmood, University of California-Berkeley); and "Digital Discourse: Theory, Art, Archive" (Timothy Murray, Cornell).

Four one-week mini-seminars will also be offered. These include: "Academic Freedom" (Stanley Fish, Florida International University); "Narratives of Dispossession" (Saidiya Hartman, Columbia University); "How We Think: The Transforming Power of Digital Technologies" (Katherine Hayles, Duke University); and "Sex and Secularity" (Michael Warner, Yale University).

Among the 12 public lectures offered during the session are "Academic Freedom: How Odd is That?" by Fish, July 13, and "Historical and Literary Approaches to the 'Final Solution': Saul Friedländer and Jonathan Littell," presented by former SCT director Dominick LaCapra, July 14.

"The vibrant Q&A after the lectures is one of the hallmarks of SCT," said Anderson. A full schedule can be found at

Linda Glaser is a staff writer for the College of Arts and Sciences.

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