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An Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference: "Philosophy and Literature: In Search of Lost Synergy" (Princeton, Slavic, October 16-17, 2015)

Philosophy and Literature:
In Search of Lost Synergy
An Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference
Keynote Speaker:

Mikhail Epstein, Emory University and Durham University
October 16-17, 2015 | Open to the public
Program Details and Times
Perhaps more than any other national literature, Russian literature has served as a surrogate and medium for philosophical inquiry. In the Russian context, literature, art and politics have all served as a kind of laboratory for experimenting with some of the most important philosophical frameworks of the 19th and 20th centuries. As the keynote speaker, Mikhail Epstein, has noted, “perhaps no other nation in the world has so totally surrendered its social, cultural, and economic life to the demands of philosophical concepts.”

“Philosophy and Literature: In Search of Lost Synergy” investigates the contours and consequences of a historical position that marks itself as an intersection of the literary and philosophical. The questions that arise from the specific character of the Russian cultural legacy are at once peculiar to Russia, and universal: is the artistic imagination detrimental to systematic thought, or is it a necessary correlative? Is the literary inherently philosophical? Is there a sort of lyricism embedded within the philosophical, and are there philosophies that inhere in the poetic?

Drawing on the expertise of scholars in literary studies and philosophy, this interdisciplinary, two-day graduate student conference aims to re-examine questions and topics central to both, including:

· At what point and in what context can a literary text be considered “philosophical”?

· What are the overlaps and divergences between literary and philosophical “truth”?

· To what extent does literary criticism conform to—or depart from—the concerns of philosophy?

· How has the interrelationship between literature and philosophy evolved in the Russian context?

· What does the future hold for the relationship between Russian philosophy and literature, both institutionally and intellectually?

· Is Russian culture (as philosophy departments in non-Russian universities are fond of claiming, and as some Russian thinkers themselves insist) inimical to the very concept of a systematic discipline of philosophy, at least as it has been known in the West since Plato?

Please contact
Victoria Juharyan with any questions.


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