Monday, June 3, 2019
With financial support from the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences’ International Keynote Speakers Support Fund
"Ethics Before Comparison" considers the project of comparison as first of all an ethical one. Before we begin to draw comparisons between cultures, languages, and literatures, it is critical to first recognize the assumptions that undergird the very act of comparison. For example, when setting forth to compare novels from Japan and France, what do we understand the novel form to be? What counts as a narrative? Most importantly, what might the consequences of denying a national culture a "form" such as a novel? What kinds of moral and ethical judgments might we be tempted to make about that "lack"? At base is an attempt to realize the potentials and weaknesses of such an idea as a "global citizen." As such, the talk extends far beyond the classroom to connect with people of all ages and occupations.
- David Palumbo-Liu, Professor, Stanford University