1 (of 5). Shocks v. Non-Shocks
At Notes From Ironbound, Werner Herzog’s Bear posits that there are two categories among employed academics, “shocks” and “non-shocks.” WHB then discusses the implications of their experience (i.e. “the experential divide”) in the profession. What do you think? Does this divide exist, as described by WHB? How would you modify the story? What does this mean for intellectual historians?
2. Reading “The Great Books” Of Philosophy
Check out James Garvey’s discussion and survey, at Talking Philosophy, of philosophers (and intellectual historians, if he only knew it) on which of “the great books” of philosophy they have actually been read cover-to-cover. For my part, I’ve read six. Although that seems low in relation to the list, my results match up well with a great many of those surveyed. How many have you read? And does the full reading of these works actually matter, for either philosophers or intellectual historians? Is there a philosophy canon? Should there be one?
The “___X___ in America” meme has the potential to be endless and tiring, but I think this paper on “Husserl’s Phenomenology in America,” by Richard Lanigan, will be of interest to USIH readers. I’ve never seen a tracing of Husserl’s influence on twentieth-century philosophy and intellectual life in the United States, and Lanigan’s piece will perhaps start that line of literature. Which American philosopher or intellectual was most influenced by Husserl? Or are there any?
4. Hobsbawm Obits
In case you missed them, here are three that merit your reflection. And don’t forget Andrew Hartman’s reflections on Hobsbawm’s influence on him (especially Genovese’s review of Hobsbawm’s Age of Extremes. Since that book introduced me to Hobsbawm, here’s a passage on it from the Jacobin Obit:
Hobsbawm’s final addition to his [“Age of…”] series, The Age of Extremes (1994), on the “short twentieth century,” was written in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union. As Perry Anderson noted, the bourgeoisie as such nearly altogether fell out of the picture in this volume. Instead, the big theme was that of Communism, by chastening bourgeois hegemony, saving Western states from the excesses of divisive capitalism. This, the defeat of Nazism, and the Soviet Union’s ultimate rationality in helping to keep the Cold War mostly cold, was for Hobsbawm the historic justification for Communism. As a positive alternative to capitalism, however, it had proven to be a dead end. Notoriously, however, he told an interviewer that had Stalinism proven to be the fount of a new, higher civilization, its body-count would have been justified.
5. Ratner-Rosenhagen at the Chicago Humanities Festival
Next week I plan to post my review of American Nietzsche. As a preview, or lead-in, you should know that Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen will be presenting on her book at the Chicadgo Humanities Festival on Saturday, November 10. Details here. Let me know (timothy.n.lacy-at-gmail.com) if you’re thinking about going as I’m working on trying to attend.