Sept. 25

Dr. Colin Jager (English, Rutgers) will present “The Romantic Critique of Life: Wordsworth, Byron, Taylor.” This talk discusses how “life” has increasingly become a topic of intense interest in the humanities. In partial reaction to an earlier emphasis on how power and discourse determined life, scholars as various as Hardt and Negri (“biopolitics,”), Jane Bennett (“vital materialism”) and Judith Butler (“precarious life”) have begun to explore the powers of production outside or beyond their determinations. This talk seeks to reframe this conversation by shifting the ground a bit and asking: what is more than life? Dr. Jager frames this question in terms of Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age and its controversial argument that what Taylor calls the “affirmation of ordinary life” that characterizes the secular remains haunted by what it can no longer account for: the call of the more-than-human (often but not always articulated in “religious” terms) that Taylor calls “fullness.”

Jager flier F2015