North Carolina Harper Lecture: An Unsentimental Education

Featuring Deborah Nelson

We hear a lot these days about how important empathy is, whether in national politics, the workplace, at school, between friends, or among strangers. But what if we are wrong? What if empathy isn’t what we need, but unsentimentality? Deborah Nelson’s talk describes the ethics and aesthetics of unsentimentality as it is practiced by some of the 20th century’s most notable women artists and intellectuals: Diane Arbus, Hannah Arendt, Joan Didion, Mary McCarthy, Susan Sontag, and Simone Weil. We will consider what it would mean to have an ethics without empathy even in the face of extreme suffering.
harper_headshot_north-carolina-04-18-2019Featured Speaker: Deborah Nelson
Deborah Nelson is the Helen B. and Frank L. Sulzberger Professor of English and chair of the Department of English. Her book Tough Enough: Arbus, Arendt, Didion, McCarthy, Sontag, Weil (University of Chicago Press, 2017) won MLA’s James Russell Lowell Prize for Best Book of 2017. She is also the author of Pursuing Privacy in Cold War America (Columbia University Press, 2002) and articles published in PMLA, American Literary History, Contemporary Literature, Feminist Studies, and in several edited collections. Nelson led a Mellon-funded Sawyer Seminar called @1948 and edited, with Leela Gandhi, a special issue of Critical Inquiry devoted to the topic. She is a founding member of the research collective Post45.

Lecture Details

$10/Maroon Loyalty Society member or recent graduate (College alumni of the past 10 years and graduate alumni of the past five years)
Free for current academic year graduates and current students
Two complimentary registrations for members of the Chicago, Harper, Phoenix, and Medical and Biological Sciences Alumni Association philanthropic societies
Event Details:
6:30 p.m. Registration and networking
7:00 p.m. Presentation and discussion
8:00 p.m. Reception

Self-parking is available for $22.
Contact alumniassociation@uchicago.edu or 773.702.2150.


Thursday, 04/18/19 at 6:30pm - Thursday at 8:30pm | iCal


The Franklin Hotel
311 West Franklin Street
Chapel Hill, NC 27516 USA

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