College of Arts & Sciences Department of English
1000 E. University Ave.
Laramie, WY 82071
Thurs., Feb 28th East Union Ballroom
1:30 p.m., Dr. Robert Pasnau of University of Colorado-Boulder, will present "Divisions of Epistemic Labor: Some Remarks on the History of Fideism and Esotericism"
Abstract: Who can know? Who can merely believe on faith? Who should be kept in the dark entirely? This essay considers various episodes from the history of philosophy -- Locke, Aquinas, Averroes, Maimonides, al-Ghazali -- where one or another such division of epistemic labor has been affirmed.
Bio: Robert Pasnau received his Ph.D. from Cornell in 1994. He is the editor of the Hackett Aquinas, and of the 2010 Cambridge History of Medieval Philosophy. An earlier book, Thomas Aquinas on Human Nature, won the APA Book Prize in 2005.
3:00 p.m., Dr. Brian Catlos of University of Colorado-Boulder, will present "'According to Right and Reason...' the Conundrum of Religious Diversity and Secular Law in the Medieval Mediterranean"
Abstract: The Mediterranean in the Middle Ages was ethnically diverse and religiously plural, with Christians, Muslims and Jews of various denominations living within the same societies. Each of these Abrahamic religions held the common conviction that it alone represented the true message of God, represented the true path to salvation, and had a singular mandate to shape the world and direct human behavior through law. And yet the demands of maintaining a complex society included the need to offer Infidel subjects a legitimate place in the framework of law -- one that would be regarded as reasonable by them and yet would not compromise the the message of the dominant faith. This presentation examines this problem -- one of the paradoxes of plurality of the Medieval Mediterranean -- in light of the legal status of Jews and Muslims in the Christian kingdoms of medieval Spain.
Bio: Since 2010, Brian Catlos has worked as an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder, with cross-appointments in History, Humanities and the Jewish Studies program; he is also a research Associate at the University of California Santa Cruz. He studies the dynamics of the social, economic and cultural interaction of ethno-religious groups in the Medieval Mediterranean, especially Christians, Muslims, and Jews in Iberia. In 1994, he received a B.A. in History and Philosophy from the University of Toronto (Canada), and an M.A. (1996) and Ph.D. (2000) in Medieval Studies (History) from the Centre for Medieval Studies. His The VIctors and the Vanquished: Christians and Muslims of Catalonia and Aragon, 1050-1300 (Cambridge, 2004) won two major prizes. The Muslims of Latin Christendom, 1050-1615 (Cambridge) and Infidel Kings and Unholy Warriors (Hill and Wang) are forthcoming in 2013. He was won many honors, including the Governor-General of Canada's Gold Medal and an NEH Research Fellowship.
7:00 p.m., Movie (tba), Classroom Building, Room 133
Fri., March 1 East Union Ballroom
10:00 a.m., Dr. Laurie Finke from Kenyon College and Dr. Martin Shichtman from Eastern Michigan University will present "Singing and Dancing on the Edge of an Inferno: Youssef Chahine's Destiny"
Abstract: Youssef Chahine’s Destiny opens with the burning of a heretic and ends with a book burning, attesting to the dangers of philosophy in the culture, politics, and religions of the Christian and Arab worlds of the medieval Mediterranean. The film sets a mythologized version of the 12th century Andalusian philosopher Averroes against aristocratic political cowardice and religious fundamentalism. Most interestingly, Chahine associates song, dance, and poetry with Averroes’ neo-Aristotelianism. Chahine transforms the philosopher’s investment in rationality into an irrepressible desire to enjoy life, to eat and drink, to break out into musical performances. We are interested in why Chahine chooses to make this film a musical of sorts. We intend to lead a discussion about how this coupling of philosophy with song and dance works in the film to contest oppressive state and religious power.
Bios: Martin B. Shichtman is Director of Jewish Studies and Professor of English Language and Literature at Eastern Michigan University and Laurie A. Finke is Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Kenyon College. Together they have written Cinematic Illuminations: The Middle Ages on Film (2009), King Arthur and the Myth of History (2004), and edited Medieval Texts and Contemporary Readers (1987). Shichtman is co-editor, with James P. Carley, of Culture and the King: The Social Implications of the Arthurian Legend (1994). Finke is one of the editors of the Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism and author of Feminist Theory, Women’s Writing (1992) and Women’s Writing in Middle English (1998). They have also authored numerous articles on medieval literature, contemporary literary theory, and film.