Rita Felski's Inaugural Lecture


After Dean Simon Møberg Torp’s (Faculty of Humanities, SDU) Welcome Speech, Rita Felski gave her inaugural lecture:

Identification: A Defense
‘Identifying’ points toward a common experience: a felt connection with a fictional character or other aspects of an imaginary world. Literary critics, however, tend to view identification with distrust as evidence of a naive, unsophisticated, or insufficiently rigorous response. Identifying is something ‘other readers’ do. In my talk I defend the act of identification as a more multi-faceted phenomenon than it is often made out to be. This means thinking about identification as a distinctively aesthetic response and questioning any equation of identification with political or philosophical identity. The history of feminist debates about identification offers relevant context for such discussion. I go on to develop a fourpart definition of what it means to identify: as a matter of alignment, allegiance, empathy, or recognition, or any combination of these four possibilities. Seen in this light, identification turns out to be ubiquitous, and perhaps unavoidable. In the latter half of my talk, I argue that it shapes practices of academic argument as well as the responses of ordinary readers, albeit in somewhat different ways. Identification is not the antithesis of critique, but its very basis.

Concluding Remarks was held by Head of The Dept. for the Study of Culture (SDU), Anne Jensen - and afterwards a reception was held in “Panoramudsigten” at SDU.

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