Harvard University professor and award-winning author, Elaine Scarry, will share insight into how society thinks and talks about beauty and social justice at an event hosted by the Humanities Institute. The talk will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 28 at 7 p.m. in ACES, AVAYA amphitheater, room 2.302.
In her book, “On Beauty and Being Just,” (Princeton University Press, 2001) Scarry not only defends beauty from the political arguments against it but also argues that beauty does indeed press us toward a greater concern for justice. Taking inspiration from writers and thinkers as diverse as Homer, Plato, Marcel Proust, Simone Weil, and Iris Murdoch as well as her own experiences, Scarry offers up an elegant, passionate manifesto for the revival of beauty in our intellectual work as well as our homes, museums and classrooms.
Scarry teaches in the Department of English at Harvard University, where she is the Walter M. Cabot Professor of Aesthetics and General Theory of Value. She has received many accolades, including the Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism and honors from the American Academy of Science, National Humanities Center, Guggenheim Foundation and the Berlin Institute for Advanced Studies. Her essays have been included in Best American Essays three times, in 1995, 2003 and 2007. In 2005, Foreign Policy and Prospect named her as one of the world’s 100 leading intellectuals.
She has published seven books, two edited volumes, and numerous essays. Her first book, “The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World,” highlights the impossibility of expressing pain through words. This important book went beyond an analysis of classic literary texts to examine philosophy, medical case studies, personal injury trial transcripts, and documents of torture compiled from Amnesty International. Fore more about her work, visit this website.
The event is sponsored by the Viola S. Hoffman and George W. Hoffman Lectureship in the Colleges of Liberal Arts and Fine Arts.