Institutt for sosialantropologi

Bergen Lectures in Critical Social and Political Inquiry: Elaine Scarry

Elaine Scarry from Harvard University will be the first to present in the new series "Bergen Lectures in Critical Social and Political Inquiry" on 27 September 2011.


Bergen Lectures in Critical Social and Political Inquiry

U N I V E R S I T Y   O F   B E R G E N

Department of Social Anthropology



Elaine Scarry

"Beauty and the Pact of Aliveness"


Elaine Scarry is Walter M. Cabot Professor of Aesthetics and the General Theory of Value in the department of English at Harvard University. She was educated at Chatham College and at the University of Connecticut, where she received her Ph.D. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has been a fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and a senior fellow at the Getty Research Institute. She is also the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship. Her many writings include The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World (1985), On Beauty and Being Just (1999), Dreaming by the Book (1999), and a series of articles on war and the social contract. The lecture argues that beauty is a call to social justice. It draws on artists and philosophers from Plato to the present to show three different ways in which beauty presses us to repair the injuries of the world. Of central concern is the possibility of vast injury currently posed by nuclear weapons, a form of weaponry that nullifies the one thing that might act as a brake on war making: democratic citizenship.


The lecture is introduced by Rector Sigmund Grønmo and Professor Bruce Kapferer. A reception follows after the lecture.


Date: Tuesday, September 27th , 15:15 – 16:15 


Venue: Sydneshaugen Skole, Auditorium  A


The Bergen Lectures in Critical Social and Political Inquiry are organized by the Department of Social Anthropology on behalf of the Faculty of Social Sciences. Distinguished scholars in the Social Sciences and Humanities are invited to Bergen to present a lecture on a topic of their own choice, aimed at a general audience at the university. About two lectures are held per year. For information on the lecture series, please contact Wenche Iversen (Wenche.Iversen@sosantr.uib.no).