Whitney Humanities Center to Host Cultural Studies Conference

The Whitney Humanities Center at Yale will host a conference titled “The Broken Middle: Cultural Studies and the Liberal Imagination,” Sept. 25-26, in the Center’s Auditorium, 53 Wall St.

In the early 1950s, Lionel Trilling claimed that in the United States, “liberalism is not only the dominant, but even the sole intellectual tradition.” He implied a close connection between cultivating a pluralistic “liberal imagination” through the teaching of the humanities and the goal of maintaining a politically mature democratic citizenry. More recently, however, this vision of liberal culture has faced strong challenges from conservatives, who see culture as a heritage of stable values, and from advocates of cultural studies, who believe liberal culture represses minority cultures and their legitimate demands for recognition.

This conference will consider the degree to which these different positions offer irreconcilable visions of culture and the humanities and identify points of dialogue between them.

Participants include Yale faculty members Jean-Christophe Agnew, David Apter, David Bromwich, Robert W. Gordon, Annabel Patterson, Alan Trachtenberg, and Ruth Yeazell, as well as Nancy Armstrong (Brown), Michael Awkward (University of Pennsylvania), Seyla Benhabib (Harvard), Patrick Brantlinger (Indiana University), Elizabeth Fox-Genovese (Emory), John Frow (University of Queensland), T. Jackson Lears (Rutgers) and Marjorie Perloff (Stanford).

For more information, contact: Tyrus Miller, Dept. of Comparative Literature, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520-8299 or by e-mail at tyrus.miller@yale.edu.

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Gila Reinstein: gila.reinstein@yale.edu, 203-432-1325