MC: Paul Fleming: Anecdotal Theory
Jul 08, 2015
from 02:00 PM to 06:00 PM
|Where||Phil I, Building B, R. 29|
|Contact Name||Jens Kugele|
|Contact Phone||(+49) 0641 99 30053|
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This seminar examines the role of the anecdote in and as theory, i.e., as a mode of non-conceptual thinking located at the nexus of literature and experience. As the narration of singular events often based on hearsay, anecdotes both stake a claim to the real, the historical and immediately raise the question of evidence. And if the pejorative sense of ‘anecdotal evidence’ prevails, they fail in making their case. Anecdotes seem to offer the worst ground to build an argument on. Even if true, as a discrete event an anecdote raises the question of whether it is the exception or the norm, whether it speaks only for itself (and thus is devoid of all authority) or whether it assumes exemplary force, and what such exemplarity might mean. As evidence, an anecdote might work only if it turns out to be more than itself, more than a mere anecdote, i.e., if it is exemplary, but not in the sense of illustrating or elaborating what was already said, rather as a paradigm: a singular instance that both constitutes and belongs to the group it represents.
Possible authors include:
Aristotle, Montaigne, Kleist, Freud, Blumenberg, Benjamin, Bloch, Geertz, Greenblatt, Fineman, Agamben
Please note: Readings in original language, discussion in English and/or German.