Bisan Lecture Series – Timothy Brennan – Wednesday September 27 at 7pm Palestine time

Dear colleagues, We are pleased to announce that the first Bisan Lecture webinar of the new academic year will take place on Wednesday, September 27 at 7pm Palestine time (6pm….

Dear colleagues,

We are pleased to announce that the first Bisan Lecture webinar of the new academic year will take place on Wednesday, September 27 at 7pm Palestine time (6pm Central European Time, 12 noon US Estern time). We will have the pleasure to welcome Prof. Timothy Brennan (University of Minnesota).

The great Palestinian-American literary critic and political activist Edward Said died on September 24, 2003. The Bisan Lecture Series is proud to commemorate this event – regarded by many as marking the end of an era in critical thought about issues of Palestinian rights – with a presentation by Timothy Brennan, Professor of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of Minnesota. Professor Brennan was a student of Said, and recently published Places of Mind, Occupied Lands: Edward Said, an Intellectual Biography. His Bisan lecture on Wednesday, September 27 at 7pm Palestine time is entitled Criticism and Corporate Myth: Edward Said and the Media

You can register for the event on Zoom here

Abstract: Said’s maneuvering within the media was the most skillful and least recognized of his accomplishments. There his literary training came most to the fore and the methods of the humanities showed their unique political powers. He took very seriously studies of corporate mind-management, media indoctrination, and the information industries, often citing the work of Herbert Schiller (“mind managers”), the Austrian economist Fritz Machlup (“information society”), Regis Debray (“mediocracy”) and the propaganda model put forth by Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman. If Covering Islam is usually considered his only sustained critique of the media, in fact he focused on digital fabulation throughout his career in essays, for example, on Walter Lippman, George Orwell, C. Wright Mills and Sean McBride, whose UNESCO report on the “new world information order” was particularly influential. His unifying idea was that U.S. intellectuals no longer commanded the public erudition, metaphysical authority, or aesthetic arbitration they enjoyed everywhere else in the world. By contrast, they had assumed the guise of anonymous technicians in the sciences or of soft news entertainers (Jon Stewart and Laura Ingram rather than Jurgen Habermas or Martha Nussbaum). He was not only a media theorist, of course, but a media celebrity; and he achieved this by creating a persona – that of the unaffiliated conscience, the defiant generalist who spoke not from faction or material interests but in pursuit of “the case.” Knowing a great deal about many unrelated things allowed him to make connections others missed, and the prejudice that the humanities, although high-minded, have no teeth played into his hands. He fashioned a new kind of authority by obliterating the credibility of “specialists.”

Biographical Sketch

Timothy Brennan’s essays on literature, cultural politics, intellectuals, and imperial culture have appeared in numerous publications, including The Nation, the Times Literary Supplement, New Left Review, Critical Inquiry, and the London Review of Books. He teaches humanities at the University of Minnesota, and is the author most recently of Places of Mind: A Life of Edward Said (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2021) and Borrowed Light, Vol I: Vico, Hegel and the Colonies (Stanford, 2014). He is currently at work on the second volume of Borrowed Light: Imperial Form.

You can register for the event on Zoom here

This lecture is sponsored by the Bisan Center for Research and Development and Scientists for Palestine

Hoping to see many of you at this webinar, we send you our best regards.

The Bisan Lecture Series Steering Committee

Next BLS webinar

Wednesday October 11, 2023, 7 pm Palestine time

Prof. Rashid Khalidi (Columbia University)

Wednesday November 8, 2023, 7 pm Palestine time

Prof. David Mumford (Brown and Harvard Universities)

Wednesday December 13, 2023, 7 pm Palestine time

Annemarie Jacir (Filmmaker)

Wednesday January 10, 2024, 7 pm Palestine time

Prof. John Hardy (University College London)

Title: From Genetics to treatment in Alzheimer’s disease

To receive BLS announcements, you can subscribe to the mailing list here.

BLS Statement of purpose

In concert with Scientists for Palestine and the Bisan Center for Research and Development, and in keeping with their joint commitment to full integration of Palestine in the global community of learning, the Bisan Lecture Series sponsors discourses on subjects of cultural, scientific, and societal importance by leading research experts and public intellectuals of varied heritage and viewpoint. The interactive webinars are free and open to the public, and recordings of each will be posted soon afterward.