Center for Interpretive and Qualitative Research
(CIQR -- "seeker")*

Jan. 26 (Thurs.), 2006, 4:00-5:30PM, Berger Gallery, 207 College Hall, Duquesne University.

All interested faculty, graduate students, and other parties are invited. Refreshments will be served.

Agenda: A panel on "How Critical Theory Can Inform Research."

Panel Members:

Dr. James Swindal, Dept. of Philosophy, "Working Off the Past: The 'Methodology' of Critical Theory."

Abstract: Critical theory is really a constellation of very different research agendas, aims, and practices. What is common throughout, though, is the firm belief that experience is the incontrovertible source of all
thought and action -- and that past experience, forgotten all too often in the modern period, is perhaps the richest source of all.

Dr. Laura Callanan, Dept. of English, "Literary Theory, Identity Politics, and the Ideals of Close Reading."

Abstract: Are there ethical implications for our embrace of the methodology of close reading in the context of identity politics? Is our relation to human representations ladened with a kind of ethical imperative if
we are looking to them for information regarding questions of cultural or individual identity? As humanists, what does the ethical responsibility to conduct our work in a spirit of respect look like? I will address these questions using the test case of Sarah Bartmann, the young Khoi-Knoi woman brought to England and put on display as a circus freak, only to die at the age of 25 and finally be dissected by the famous Baron Georges Cuvier.

Minutes

CIQR participants were treated to a panel on "How Critical Theory Can Inform Research," with presentations by Dr. James Swindal, Dept. of Philosophy, "Working Off the Past: The 'Methodology' of Critical Theory," and Dr. Laura Callanan, Dept. of English, "Literary Theory, Identity Politics, and the Ideals of Close Reading." After the presenters set out conceptions of critical theory and its research uses, especially Benjamin's idea of the "messianic" and the idea of "the opaque" in relation to the treatment of Sarah Bartman, a lively discussion ensued about the partriculars of critical theory and about the limitations of such research -- about its very idea of knowledge -- in its academic setting.