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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

On the Hazards of Being a Stranger to Oneself

29th May 2007, 17:30 to 18:30, Kenworthy Hall, St Mary's College

This is an IAS public lecture that is free and open to all

This public lecture traces out the socio-political consequences of self-ignorance and self-deception. These consequences were clearly recognized more than 2000 years ago by early Greek philosophers, in part along the lines of 'a conceit of wisdom'. The consequences were more recently spelled out in striking ways by Carl Jung in his psychoanalytic analyses of 'mass-minded man' who, through self-ignorance and self-deception, wreaks havoc and cruelty on others. The lecture also points up the challenge of attaining self-knowledge and possible paths to its attainment.

Professor Sheets-Johnstone is an interdisciplinary scholar affiliated with the Department of Philosophy at the University of Oregon. She has taught periodically in the Department for eight years and has held a Courtesy Professor appointment there for the past ten years. She has lectured widely in Europe, most notably at the University of Aarhus, at Ghent University, and at the University of Copenhagen at the Center for Subjectivity Research, the Department of Sport, and the Niels Bohr Institute. She received her B.A. in French and Comparative Literature from the University of California at Berkeley, and her M.A. in Dance and her Ph.D. in Dance and Philosophy from the University of Wisconsin. She was a professor of dance, choreographer/performer, and dance scholar for a number of years prior to her professorship in philosophy.

Professor Sheets-Johnstone's first book was The Phenomenology of Dance (University of Wisconsin Press, 1966). Her forthcoming book is The Corporeal Turn: An Interdisciplinary Reader. Three "roots" books--The Roots of Thinking (Temple University Press, 1990), The Roots of Power: Animate Form and Gendered Bodies (Chicago: Open Court, 1994), and The Roots of Morality (presently under review)--occupy a space between these publications, as does The Primacy of Movement (Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing,1999) and Illuminating Dance: Philosophical Explorations (Bucknell University Press, 1985). The Roots of Power was nominated by Ashley Montagu for an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award.

Her present interest, and the work which will occupy her during her tenure at Durham University, centres on xenophobia, a topic that is an outgrowth of a strong thematic in The Roots of Morality.

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