For several contemporary novelists, secularism and globalization collide in a way that recasts sociopolitical debates as questions of aesthetic value. By configuring religious practices as models for aesthetic perception, transnational writers such as Salman Rushdie, Mohsin Hamid, and Nadine Gordimer transform contemporary anxieties about religious violence by highlighting art’s vulnerability to the violence of markets and states. Ray Horton, a graduate student in the Department of English, examines how many of today’s most prominent global fictions thus encourage readers to ask how the projects of secularism and globalism are intertwined, and they do so by reaffirming the capacity for art to forge new modes of attention.
Pre-lecture reception begins at 4:15 pm in Clark Hall Room 206.
About the Speaker:
Ray Horton is a third year PhD candidate in the department of English. His interests include American literature, contemporary fiction, religion and literature, and aesthetics. His dissertation, “Religion as Device in American Literature,” focuses on the persistence of religion as a formal device over the past century, one that vivifies an aesthetics of quotidian experience and secular finitude in writers ranging from Mark Twain to Marilynne Robinson. He led the research working group “Religion and Secularism across the Humanities,” sponsored by the Baker-Nord Center, and he serves as president of the Graduate Council of the Arts and Sciences.