Thinking Humanly, Acting Wisely
A Symposium on Thomas Pfau's "Minding the Modern: Human Agency, Intellectual Traditions, and Responsible Knowledge"
Date & Time:
6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
University of St. Thomas
O'Shaughnessy Educational Center Auditorium
Application has been made for continuing legal education credit.
In recent years, the humanities have been attacked on several fronts. Humanistic study, it is claimed, is not marketable; its truths do not reduce to method; its skills cannot be measured. Yet, as Thomas Pfau suggests in Minding the Modern, perhaps the humanities can neither be sold, nor automated, nor quantified, because neither can the human being herself. What is at stake in the humanities is our commitment to specifically human ways of thinking and acting as such.
How might Pfau's argument help us think about the contemporary role of the humanities in Catholic universities like our own, in other institutions of higher learning, and in our broader political and economic order?
Thomas Pfau is the Alice Mary Baldwin Professor of English, with secondary appointments in Germanic Languages & Literatures and in the Duke Divinity School. A native of Germany, Prof. Pfau began his academic career in 1980 as a student of History and Literature at the University of Constance. In 1982, he came to the U.S. where, at UC-Irvine, he joined the Graduate Program in Comparative Literature and Theory. In 1985, he continued his studies in the Comparative Literature Program at SUNY-Buffalo where he received his Ph.D. in 1989 with a dissertation on self-consciousness in Romantic poetry and theory (Wordsworth, Shelley, et al.). Since then, his interests have gradually broadened to include topics in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature, philosophy, and intellectual history. Besides translating and editing two volumes of theoretical writings by Hölderlin and Schelling, he also edited three essay collections on English Romanticism, as well as special issues of South Atlantic Quarterly (1996) English Romantic Review ( 2010, 2011), and Modernist Cultures (2005). To date, he is the author of three monographs: Wordsworth's Profession (Stanford UP, 1997) Romantic Moods: Paranoia, Trauma, and Melancholy, 1794-1840 (Johns Hopkins UP, 2005) and Minding the Modern: Human Agency, Intellectual Traditions, and Responsible Knowledge (Notre Dame UP, 2013). He has published some thirty-five essays in numerous essay collections and scholarly journals on a wide range of writers, including Rousseau, A. Smith, Kant, Wordsworth, Wollstonecraft, Coleridge, Shelley, Goethe, Beethoven, Eichendorff, Schleiermacher, Thomas Mann, Walter Benjamin and other writers and philosophers.
This event is hosted by the Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law and Public Policy.