Wednesday, September 27, 2023

4:00-6:00 PM

Robert Hayden Room

3222 Angell Hall


Please join the English Department for the 2023 Annual Lora Hutchins Heberle Lecture with distinguished lecturer Prof. Caleb Smith, Department of English, Yale University.

“I’m not saying, I’m just saying”: Notes on Disavowal

What kind of gesture is a disavowal? In ancient religious and legal rituals, it is a public way for speakers to renounce bad allegiances. In psychoanalytic theory, it is the secret ruse by which we hide unwelcome knowledge from ourselves. And now, in the critical humanities, the political and private types of disavowal interfuse; when we critics accuse someone of disavowal, we identify both a transgression against others and a failure of self-reckoning. This talk explores the ideas about power, knowledge, and the subject that are entailed in such critical indictments, where disavowal means something like the opposite of confession.