Carnegie Mellon University
April 13, 2016

Rhetoric and Literary and Cultural Studies Scholars Discuss Intellectuals

From left to right, Steven Gotzler, Paul Bové and Andreea Deciu Ritivoi lead a panel discussion on modern intellectuals.From left to right, Steven Gotzler, Paul Bové and Andreea Deciu Ritivoi lead a panel discussion on modern intellectuals.

The Literary and Cultural Studies (LCS) Colloquium Series continued on March 21 with a panel discussion on modern intellectuals. Carnegie Mellon University Department of English Head and Professor Andreea Deciu Ritivoi and Ph.D. Candidate in the LCS program Steven Gotzler participated on the panel along with University of Pittsburgh Distinguished Professor of English Paul Bové.

"The question of what it means to be an intellectual is central to us, particularly in cultural studies. And since our speakers had all written about intellectuals (of different stripes), we thought it would be particularly good to have them speak," said Jeff Williams, LCS Colloquium Series director and professor of English.

Ritivoi is the author of the 2014 book, “Intimate Strangers: Arendt, Marcuse, Solzhenitsyn, and Said in American Political Discourse” and Gotzler is writing his dissertation on the intellectual history of cultural studies. Bové authored the book, “Intellectuals in Power: A Genealogy of Critical Humanism.”

The panel, which drew a large audience of LCS graduate students and faculty, as well as PITT faculty members, offered a wide range of perspectives on intellectuals from different fields and modes of discourse from rhetoric, to literary criticism to cultural studies. They focused on intellectuals, such as Hannah Arendt, Edward Said and Rita Felski. The scholars examined the position of and possibilities of intellectuals currently, as critics, and historically as foreign "others" in postwar America. They also went over methodological and theoretical approaches in the study of intellectuals.

“As a graduate student, the chance to participate on the panel was extremely valuable in that it afforded me the opportunity to engage with much more senior colleagues as a peer,” said Gotzler.

Pavithra Tantrigoda, another Ph.D. student in the LCS program who attended the forum, said she thought the panel was informative and interesting, adding that she “learned a lot about Anglo-American intellectual culture and what it means to be an émigré intellectual."

Professors Ritivoi and Bové also talked about models for approaching and negotiating academic controversy and conflict, which Gotzler said was likely very useful for students in the audience to hear.

The LCS Colloquium Series, which is free and open to the public, continues fall 2016. View our Upcoming Events webpage around the start of the fall semester to see the exciting lineup of speakers.

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By Amanda King