WEBINAR: Dante as Poet and Philosopher

Jun 16, 2020
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Jason AleksanderSan Jose State University

Arielle SaiberBowdoin College

A conversation with Professors Jason Aleksander (San Jose State University) and Arielle Saiber (Bowdoin College). Part of our Summer webinar series on "Reason and Beauty in Renaissance Christian Thought and Culture," presented in collaboration with the American Cusanus Society

Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) was a Florentine writer and poet, whose long poetic work, The Divine Comedy, has received recognition as one of the greatest artistic achievements in the West. Dante's poetic artistry stands alongside his intellectual and philosophical thought throughout his writings and in his Comedy. In this webinar, Professor Jason Aleksander (San José State U) and Professor Arielle Saiber (Bowdoin College) will discuss Dante's interlocking poetic and philosophical production.


2020 Summer Webinar Series on "Reason and Beauty in Renaissance Christian Thought and Culture"

What do reason and beauty have to do with each other? Since the modern Enlightenment and Romantic movements, it has been tempting to see reason and beauty as separate or even opposed. In the Renaissance, however, rational and artistic pursuits bloomed together and even fed each other. Renaissance culture, including fine art, poetry, architecture, astronomy, and humanistic thought, both drew upon and extended ancient and medieval Christian intellectual traditions. This webinar course will examine different aspects of renaissance Christian thought and culture to explore how pursuits of reason interwove with the love of beauty.

This event is cosponsored by Calvert House, the Collegium Institute, the Genealogies of Modernity Project, the Harvard Catholic Center, the Nova Forum for Catholic Thought, and St. Paul's Catholic Center.

Jason Aleksander is Associate Dean for Faculty Success and Research in the College of Humanities and the Arts at San José State University, where he also holds retreat rights as a tenured Professor of Philosophy. The majority of his research focuses on Dante’s Divine Comedy and various topics in the interdisciplinary intersections between medieval and Renaissance philosophy, theology, literature, and the natural sciences. He is co-editor of Nicolas of Cusa and Times of Transition (Brill, 2018). His current book project is titled Redefining Faith in the Divine Comedy: Theology, Ethics, and the Poetics of Orthopraxis.

Arielle Saiber is Professor of Romance Languages & Literatures, Bowdoin College (Ph.D., Italian Literature, Yale University). She publishes primarily on medieval and early modern Italian literature, as well as on reception theory, and science fiction. Her books include Giordano Bruno and the Geometry of Language (Routledge, 2005); Measured Words: Computation and Writing in Renaissance Italy (U of Toronto, 2017, winner of the MLA Scaglione Prize, the Newberry Library's Weiss-Brown Award, The Bridge Award, and the SLSA's Kendrick Book Prize); and the co-edited volume Images of Quattrocento Florence: Writings on Literature, History and Art (Yale, 2000). She has also edited a number of special issues of journals, such as Dante Studies (Longfellow & Dante) and Science Fiction Studies (Italian Science Fiction). The fellowships Saiber has received for her research include awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and Harvard's Villa I Tatti. She is currently working on a series of essays on Dante, as well as on a study of empathy for the nonhuman in Renaissance Italian humanist thought.