Coming Home on the web: www.sbuenglishgradcon.com
2013 Kahana Memorial Lecture: "Turning Home: Literature, Philosophy, and the Reinvention of the Wheel"
Professor and Chair, Department of Philosophy, DePaul University, and Ph.D., Stony Brook University
In his final seminar of 2002-2003, recently published under the title The Beast and the Sovereign (volume 2), Jacques Derrida reads together two texts that, while enormously different in terms of time, language, and genre, both turn around questions of finitude, solitude, nostalgia, and, especially, the possibility or impossibility of homecoming: Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe and Martin Heidegger's seminar of 1929-30, published as The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics. Through this unexpected choice of texts, Derrida is able to interrogate, as I will show, not only the relationship between philosophy and literature but the way in which the circular figure of homecoming, the circular movement away from and then back toward a point of origin, becomes the very figure or movement of identity itself in Western philosophy and literature. I will thus argue that Derrida's reading of Heidegger and Defoe in this final seminar has profound implications for our thinking of the future of literature and philosophy and for our attempt to reread, return to, and reappropriate what we believe to be our tradition.
The Anne P. Kahana Memorial Lecture:
The annual keynote address at the Stony Brook English Graduate Conference is supported by the Anne P. Kahana Memorial Fund. Pat Kahana was an outstanding Ph.D. student in the English Department at Stony Brook whose dissertation, Illness, Health, and the Romantic Subject: An Intergeneric Study was published, and her degree awarded, after her untimely death in 1991.
A fund in Pat's memory was announced after her passing:
"The Kahana Lecture will commemorate Pat's extraordinary efforts in leading the 1990 Conference as well as the many other ways her energy, dedication, and compassion enhanced the English Department and Stony Brook communities."
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