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ETHICAL TACTILITY; OR, READING MADE STRANGE

Most recently Visiting Distinguished Professor at Emory's Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry and currently Kirk Distinguished Scholar in Residence at ASC, Adam Zachary Newton works at the boundaries of three knowledge practices: literary studies, philosophy, and religion. Besides a wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses, lectures, and published articles, his six books across multiple fields are Narrative Ethics (Harvard UP, 1995); Facing Black and Jew: Literature as Public Space in 20th Century America, (Cambridge UP, 1988); The Fence and The Neighbor: Emmanuel Levinas, Yeshayahu Leibowitz, and Israel Among the Nations (SUNY Press, 2001); The Elsewhere: On Belonging at a Near Distance (University of Wisconsin Press, 2005), To Make the Hands Impure, Art, Ethical Adventure, The Difficult and the Sacred (Fordham UP 2015), and most recently, Jewish Studies as Counterlife: A Report to the Academy (Fordham UP, 2019).

If we construe the everyday act of reading as an event in time, an act that takes time, what is it exactly that we make happen when we read? If we prefer to think of reading, rather, as engaging an object in space, are we no better, instrumentally speaking, than a reading stand; or does the human holding and handling of a book make a particular difference? Do we preside with mastery, as if we were conjuring a deck of cards? Or is there some different posture, besides virtuosity, that we adopt in relation to the book we hold in our hands? This lecture focuses on two limit-cases for an ethics of reading as touch by the 17th c French philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal and the 20th c "outsider artist" Henry Darger.

This event is free and open to the public and made possible by the James T. and Ella Rather Kirk Fund.

Wednesday, April 24 at 6:00pm to 7:30pm

Alston Campus Center, AL-Luchsinger Lounge
141 East College Avenue, Decatur, GA 30030

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