Dear Colleagues and Students,
On Friday, May 13, Sharif Youssef, Visiting Assistant Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought at Amherst College will present the following talk:
Refugees and the Rise of the Novel
The refugee is a literary invention. How is it that Anglo-American literature conceptualized the refugee first and with greater complexity than law did? Sharif Youssef turns to eighteenth-century texts such as Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year and J. Hector St. John de Crèvecœur’s Letters from an American Farmer to trace how the concept of the refugee emerges together with the idea of the liberal nation-state. The figure of the refugee initiates a crisis for the state, requiring ethically complex decision-making and revealing the limits of political governance.
Sharif Youssef is Visiting Assistant Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought at Amherst College. His book project, The Actuarial Form, is about the emergence of the categories of risk and information in the use of mass casualty statistics in eighteenth-century works of literature and political economy. He recently edited a special issue of Modern Language Quarterly that draws on his research about risk, entitled Inevitability, and is currently editing an interdisciplinary anthology, entitled The Hostile Takeover: Human Rights after Corporate Personhood.
The talk will take place in the G Building, G160 at 13:00-14:00. Sandwiches and refreshments will be available.