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Durham University

School of Modern Languages & Cultures

Events in Modern Languages & Cultures

Literature/History/Theory Research Group: Research Seminar to be given by Dr Paul Harrison, Lecturer in Dept of Geography at Durham University: 'The Broken Thread: On Being Still'

24th October 2013, 17:00, A56, Elvet Riverside I

Abstract: The broken thread. On being still.

What happens when the thread breaks and we are left without purpose or direction? What remains when action and engagement withdraw? This paper considers being and beings without purpose and sense, and the questions that such beings pose to our understanding of politics and the political. Two beings in particular, two experiments in stillness; Kafka’s bachelors’, as described in his Diaries, and György Köves, the narrator of Imre Kertész’s novel Fatelessness. In different ways both these figures embody a certain remaining aside, a certain inertia or passivity in the face of events. But what can these beings be said to demonstrate? Nothing, unless the whole of their being is the very essence or chance of demonstration. 

Bio:Paul is a lecturer in Human Geography in the Department of Geography, Durham University. He has recently published work on vulnerability, trauma and testimony, memory and memorialization. He is currently thinking about you, or, the geography of the second person singular. His work on stillness is the latest in a series of papers which are attempting to outline (what he somewhat hesitantly calls) a negative phenomenology.

Contact thomas.wynn@durham.ac.uk for more information about this event.