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SU Humanities Center's Mini Seminar series continues with renowned critical theorist, German historian on Feb. 12, March 26

February 02, 2010

Rob Enslin
(315) 443-3403

The Syracuse University Humanities Center's Mini Seminar series continues with two events featuring University of California professors: literary critic and critical theorist Gabriele Schwab Gabriele Schwab and German historian Gerhard Richter. and German historian Gerhard Richter. Schwab will discuss her forthcoming book, “Haunting Legacies: Violent Histories and Transgenerational Trauma” (Columbia University Press, 2010), on Friday, Feb. 12. Richter will look at the theory, practice and politics of translation as they apply to 20th-century philosopher Martin Heidegger on Friday, March 26.

Both seminars, which are free and open to the public, run from 9 a.m.-noon in Room 304 of the Tolley Building. Seating is limited. To reserve a space, call (315) 443-7192.

“The purpose of the Mini Seminars is to present national and international scholars in a seminar-style format, which is usually more intensive and conversational than a traditional lecture setting,” says Gregg Lambert, Dean’s Professor of the Humanities and founding director of the SU Humanities Center. “Our goal is to create a dialogue about the public possibilities of humanistic inquiry as they pertain to interdisciplinary thinking and real-world issues.”

Past participants in the new series include W.J.T. Mitchell, the Gaylord Donnelley Distinguished Service Professor at The University of Chicago, and Richard Dyer, professor of film at King’s College London.

Schwab serves as chancellor's professor at the University of California, Irvine, where she holds a professorship in comparative literature and is a faculty associate in anthropology. The German-trained scholar studies 20th-century comparative literature (including that of North and South America), critical theory, psychoanalysis, cultural studies, literature and anthropology, and feminism. Schwab is the author of several acclaimed books that weave together psychoanalytic theory, literary interpretation, Native American literature and 20th-century comparative literature. “Haunting Legacies” explores how victims and perpetrators propagate violent histories over time, from colonialism and slavery to the Holocaust, to South African apartheid, to 9/11.

“Professor Schwab’s seminar will raise important questions about trangenerational responsibility, reparation and forgiveness in the context of interlaced memories across the boundaries of victims and perpetrators,” says Lambert, who is also principal investigator of the Mellon CNY Humanities Corridor with Cornell University and the University of Rochester. “It will likely conclude with a reflection on child soldiers and the increasing global violence against children.”

Richter is professor of German and director of the graduate program in critical theory at the University of California, Davis. His research and teaching focus on European critical thought since Immanuel Kant; modern German literature and culture; literature and philosophy; deconstruction; the Frankfurt School of neo-Marxist social theory; and literary, cultural and aesthetic theory.

Richter’s seminar is titled “Tell Me What You Think of Translation, and I Will Tell You Who You Are: Heidegger, Translation and the Politics of Carrying Across.” The award-winning teacher will explore the philosophical, linguistic and experiential implications of translating Heidegger’s work from one language to another. “In comparing Heidegger’s insights to those of other canonical theorists of translation, including Walter Benjamin and Jacques Derrida, we see implications for broader views of aesthetics, politics and works of historical interpretation,” says Lambert, adding that understanding, translation and interpretation are inseparable from what Richter calls the “movement of thinking” itself.

Richter will also deliver a private lecture the day before titled “The Work of Art Between Kant and Nietzche: Walter Benjamin’s ‘Cool Place’”—a nod to the famous German-Jewish Marxist philosopher who was briefly associated with the Frankfurt School and helped pioneer aesthetic theory.

Located in the Tolley Building, the SU Humanities Center organizes and presents the Syracuse Symposium for The College of Arts and Sciences; administers the Mellon CNY Humanities Corridor; and oversees a variety of other campus-wide humanities initiatives. More information is available at

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