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CJS Noon Lecture ~ "Figurality and the Development of Modern Consciousness"

Thursday, December 1, 2011
5:00 AM
Room 1636, School of Social Work Building, 1080 South University, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1106

Charles Shiro Inouye (Professor, Japanese Literature; Co-Director, International Literary and Visual Studies, Tufts University)

Definitions of modernity range from positive (better than before) to negative (genocidal). Given this lack of clarity, we often confuse modernism and modernity. We also feel ambivalent about the supposed end of modernity and the onset of postmodernity. The speaker will present a new theory of the modern based on an analysis of the semiotic field. Three trends - phonocentrism, realism, and symbolic framing (or perspectivalism) - share in a suppression of the grapheme (the visual, physical aspect of any sign). Why was dislike of graphemic expression, or figurality, required for the development of modern consciousness?