2013 Stephen M. Straker Memorial Lecture October 21

Professor Barbara Herrnstein Smith of Duke University delivers the Seventh Annual Stephen M. Straker Memorial Lecture, titled “Dis/Integration: On the New Interdisciplinarity” on October 21 from 4:00-5:30 in Buchanan A104.

2013 Stephen M. Straker Memorial Lecture
“Dis/Integration: On the New Interdisciplinarity”
Barbara Herrnstein Smith, Braxton Craven Professor Emerita of Comparative Literature and English, Duke University
October 21, 2013 at 4:00 pm
Buchanan Building, Block A, Room 104

Professor Smith (Duke University) is a leading literary theorist and critic, and also a major contributor to Science and Technology Studies, bringing together insights from literary and critical theory with those from history and philosophy of science. Among her honours are visiting appointments at the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study, the Stanford Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, the US National Humanities Center, and the Rockefeller Foundation Center at Bellagio. She is also the recipient of a lifetime achievement award from the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts.

She gave the 2006 Terry Lectures at Yale, published in 2009 as Natural Reflections: Human Cognition at the Nexus of Science and Religion. Here is an informative passage from Stanley Fish’s review of the book:

“The assumption [Smith] challenges—or, rather, says we can do without—is that underlying it all is some foundation or nodal point or central truth or master procedure that, if identified, allows us to distinguish among ways of knowing and anoint one as the lodestar of inquiry. The desire, she explains, is to sift through the claims of those perspectives and methods that vie for ‘underneath-it-all status’ (a wonderful phrase) and validate one of them so that we can proceed in the confidence that our measures, protocols, techniques and procedures are in harmony with the universe and perhaps with God.”