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Martin Jay to Speak on “Intentionality and Irony”

September 17th, 2012

Humanities News

Martin Jay

Martin Jay, the Sidney Hellman Ehrman Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley, will be speaking on “Intentionality and Irony: The Missed Encounter of Quentin Skinner and Hayden White” this  Thursday, September 20, at 2 p.m. in the International Lounge of Usdan. A reception for Professor Jay will follow the event at 4 p.m.

By comparing the methodologies of the eminent intellectual historians Quentin Skinner and Hayden White, this paper hopes to find ways to compensate for weaknesses in each taken by itself. Distinguishing between two major alternative versions of the ironic employment of the past—dramatic and paradoxical—it argues that the former depends on accepting Skinner’s emphasis on recovering the intentions of actors in the past, but not his dismissal of later rational reconstructions which go beyond those intentions. It also claims that White’s anxious search for an antidote to irony is based on a problematic conflation of the two versions.

Professor Jay’s talk is sponsored by the History of Ideas Program, the Department of History, the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, who is contributing their Martin Weiner Fund, and the Mandel Center for the Humanities.

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