New Delhi :- The Department of English, Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI), organized the thirty-fourth lecture of the Sparc supported Distinguished Lecture Series, "Belonging, Emplacement, Home: Critique and the Task of Retrieval" by Prof. Jeff Malpas, Emeritus Distinguished Professor at the University of Tasmania, and Honorary Professor at La Trobe University and the University of Queensland, on Friday, 28th July, 2023, 7:30-8:30 PM IST on Zoom. The talk was organized as part of the ongoing Sparc supported Distinguished Lecture Series and promises to be one in a line of successively pertinent lectures.
The talk was conducted by, Ms. Zahra Rizvi, Ms. Suman Bhagchandani, and Ms. Aparna Pathak Ph.D. scholars, Department of English, JMI, and was enthusiastically attended by a large crowd of scholars, students, and faculty from all over the world and across various time-zones.
Prof. Simi Malhotra, H.o.D., Department of English, JMI, Indian PI, delivered the welcome address, greeting the invited speaker, faculty, scholars, and students. She spoke about the discussion as a part of the ongoing lecture series by the Department of English, JMI which aims to facilitate academic and research collaboration between higher education institutes in India and abroad. She, then, introduced the esteemed speaker, Prof. Jeff Malpas, who was greeted by a round of applause.
Prof Malpas talk was divided into three sections, the first part of which explained three varieties of available criticism around home: deterministic, exclusionary, and nostalgic. Prof. Malpas differentiated space and place in relation to boundedness, where the former is characterized by unboundedness and infinity, whereas the latter has bounds. In this connection, he elaborated on how the idea of boundedness allows things to appear in our ‘cognitive’ horizon. Prof. Malpas emphasizes on retrieving the idea of home and belonging from conventional ways of understanding, and with this, he moved to the second part of the talk, where he elaborated on the centrality of place. Here he teased out ways in which self has been understood in Western philosophy and argues that the self is inevitably implicated in our action. He furthermore modified the 4e cognitive model (embodied, embedded, enactive, and extended) by adding a 5th ‘e’, which he called emplacement. He drew upon Martin Heidegger’s idea of dwelling to argue that existence is emplacement and belonging. He then moved to elaborate on the hermeneutic insight: boundedness/finitude allows the possibility of knowledge. In the third part of the talk, Prof. Malpas sought to retrieve the idea of critique itself. He maintained that critique is neither about textual practice nor an esoteric exercise. The point of critique is to generate a genuine attempt at engaging the world. Here he took recourse to Hans-Georg Gadamer's idea of critique, which builds upon self-critique and dialogue. Furthermore, he took issue with privileging space over place and argued that the spatialized mode of understanding, which is quantitative in nature, perhaps needs to be overcome. In conclusion, Prof. Malpas said that to be in the world is to belong to a place, and the way the self is open to others, a place in its boundedness is open to other places.
Prof. Malpas then engaged in Q & A session where participants questions were dealt with utmost patience and rigor.
This was followed by an engaging, in-depth Q/A session coordinated by Md. Faizan Moquim, Ph.D. Scholar, Department of English, JMI. The event was brought to an end with a Vote of Thanks by Ms. Aparna Pathak.
To ensure a wide range of viewership and participation, the event was also live streamed on YouTube, and was attended by over a hundred participants.
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