Friday, 1:45–3:00 p.m., 6B, ACC
Uselessness: Games, Corpuscles, Nowheres, Futility, Old Maids, and the Eighteenth Century Itself
Program arranged by the forum LLC Late-18th-Century English. Presiding: Jayne Elizabeth Lewis, Univ. of California, Irvine
Speakers: Sarah Tindal Kareem, Univ. of California, Los Angeles; Paul W. Keen, Carleton Univ.; Susan S. Lanser, Brandeis Univ.; Vivasvan Soni, Northwestern Univ.; Helen Thompson, Northwestern Univ.; Amit Yahav, Univ. of Minnesota, Twin Cities
The Dialectic of Enlightenment enshrined instrumentality as a defining feature of eighteenth-century signifying practice. Panelists target aspects of eighteenth-century culture that counter this value. We ask how cultural actors understood “uselessness” and how that understanding might have supported or undermined contemporary regimes of knowledge and social significance.