Hayden White and the Ethics of Truth
Friday, February 1
Baker Hall 255B (Swank Room)
A Lecture by Robert Doran, University of Rochester
This lecture will address Hayden White’s pioneering work on the role of narrative in historical writing, specifically the ways in which narrative implies and engenders certain ethical and political attitudes that are often seen as extraneous or even antithetical to the scientific or academic study of history, with its emphasis on “facts” and “truth.” This lecture will contend that, despite White’s famous assertion that “all stories are fictions,” White nevertheless elaborates a notion of “narrative truth,” even if such a concept is not explicitly found in his writings.
Robert Doran is Professor of French and Comparative Literature at the University of Rochester and is the author of two recent monographs: The Theory of the Sublime from Longinus to Kant (Cambridge UP, 2015, Spanish translation forthcoming in 2019) and The Ethics of Theory: Philosophy, History, Literature (Bloomsbury, 2016). He is the editor of five volumes, including a volume of essays on Hayden White, Philosophy of History After Hayden White (Bloomsbury 2013) and a volume of essays by Hayden White: The Fiction of Narrative: Essays on History, Literature, and Theory, 1957-2007 (Johns Hopkins UP 2010). He is currently editing a second volume of White’s essays, provisionally entitled: The Ethics of Narrative: Essays on History, Literature, and Theory, 2000-2017.