The International Literary Quarterly
Contributors

Shanta Acharya
Marjorie Agosín
Donald Adamson
Diran Adebayo
Nausheen Ahmad
Toheed Ahmad
Amanda Aizpuriete
Baba Akote
Elisa Albo
Daniel Albright
Meena Alexander
Rosetta Allan
María Teresa Andruetto
Innokenty Annensky
Claudia Apablaza
Robert Appelbaum
Michael Arditti
Jenny Argante
Sandra Arnold
C.J.K. Arkell
Agnar Artúvertin
Sarah Arvio
Rosemary Ashton
Mammed Aslan
Coral Atkinson
Rose Ausländer
Shushan Avagyan
Razif Bahari
Elizabeth Baines
Jo Baker
Ismail Bala
Evgeny Baratynsky
Saule Abdrakhman-kyzy Batay
Konstantin Nikolaevich Batyushkov
William Bedford
Gillian Beer
Richard Berengarten
Charles Bernstein
Ilya Bernstein
Mashey Bernstein
Christopher Betts
Sujata Bhatt
Sven Birkerts
Linda Black
Chana Bloch
Amy Bloom
Mary Blum Devor
Michael Blumenthal
Jean Boase-Beier
Jorge Luis Borges
Alison Brackenbury
Julia Brannigan
Theo Breuer
Iain Britton
Françoise Brodsky
Amy Brown
Bernard Brown
Diane Brown
Gay Buckingham
Carmen Bugan
Stephen Burt
Zarah Butcher McGunnigle
James Byrne
Kevin Cadwallander
Howard Camner
Mary Caponegro
Marisa Cappetta
Helena Cardoso
Adrian Castro
Luis Cernuda
Firat Cewerî
Pierre Chappuis
Neil Charleton
Janet Charman
Sampurna Chattarji
Amit Chaudhuri
Mèlissa Chiasson
Ronald Christ
Alex Cigale
Sally Cline
Marcelo Cohen
Lila Cona
Eugenio Conchez
Andrew Cowan
Mary Creswell
Christine Crow
Pedro Xavier Solís Cuadra
Majella Cullinane
P. Scott Cunningham
Emma Currie
Jeni Curtis
Stephen Cushman
David Dabydeen
Susan Daitch
Rubén Dario
Jean de la Fontaine
Denys Johnson Davies
Lydia Davis
Robert Davreu
David Dawnay
Jill Dawson
Rosalía de Castro
Joanne Rocky Delaplaine
Patricia Delmar
Christine De Luca
Tumusiime Kabwende Deo
Paul Scott Derrick
Josephine Dickinson
Belinda Diepenheim
Jenny Diski
Rita Dove
Arkadii Dragomoschenko
Paulette Dubé
Denise Duhamel
Jonathan Dunne
S. B. Easwaran
Jorge Edwards
David Eggleton
Mohamed El-Bisatie
Tsvetanka Elenkova
Johanna Emeney
Osama Esber
Fiona Farrell
Ernest Farrés
Elaine Feinstein
Gigi Fenster
Micah Timona Ferris
Vasil Filipov
Maria Filippakopoulou
Ruth Fogelman
Peter France
Alexandra Fraser
Bashabi Fraser
Janis Freegard
Robin Fry
Alice Fulton
Ulrich Gabriel
Manana Gelashvili
Laurice Gilbert
Paul Giles
Zulfikar Ghose
Corey Ginsberg
Chrissie Gittins
Sarah Glazer
Michael Glover
George Gömöri
Giles Goodland
Martin Goodman
Roberta Gordenstein
Mina Gorji
Maria Grech Ganado
David Gregory
Philip Gross
Carla Guelfenbein
Daniel Gunn
Charles Hadfield
Haidar Haidar
Ruth Halkon
Tomás Harris
Geoffrey Hartman
Siobhan Harvey
Beatriz Hausner
John Haynes
Jennifer Hearn
Helen Heath
Geoffrey Heptonstall
Felisberto Hernández
W.N. Herbert
William Hershaw
Michael Hettich
Allen Hibbard
Hassan Hilmi
Rhisiart Hincks
Kerry Hines
Amanda Hopkinson
Adam Horovitz
David Howard
Sue Hubbard
Aamer Hussein
Fahmida Hussain
Alexander Hutchison
Sabine Huynh
Juan Kruz Igerabide Sarasola
Neil Langdon Inglis
Jouni Inkala
Ofonime Inyang
Kevin Ireland
Michael Ives
Philippe Jacottet
Robert Alan Jamieson
Rebecca Jany
Andrea Jeftanovic
Ana Jelnikar
Miroslav Jindra
Stephanie Johnson
Bret Anthony Johnston
Marion Jones
Tim Jones
Gabriel Josipovici
Pierre-Albert Jourdan
Sophie Judah
Tomoko Kanda
Maarja Kangro
Jana Kantorová-Báliková
Fawzi Karim
Kapka Kassabova
Susan Kelly-DeWitt
Mimi Khalvati
Daniil Kharms
Velimir Khlebnikov
Akhmad hoji Khorazmiy
David Kinloch
John Kinsella
Yudit Kiss
Tomislav Kuzmanović
Andrea Labinger
Charles Lambert
Christopher Lane
Jan Lauwereyns
Fernando Lavandeira
Graeme Lay
Ilias Layios
Hiên-Minh Lê
Mikhail Lermontov
Miriam Levine
Suzanne Jill Levine
Micaela Lewitt
Zhimin Li
Joanne Limburg
Birgit Linder
Pippa Little
Parvin Loloi
Christopher Louvet
Helen Lowe
Ana Lucic
Aonghas MacNeacail
Kona Macphee
Kate Mahony
Sara Maitland
Channah Magori
Vasyl Makhno
Marcelo Maturana Montañez
Stephanie Mayne
Ben Mazer
Harvey Molloy
Osip Mandelstam
Alberto Manguel
Olga Markelova
Laura Marney
Geraldine Maxwell
John McAuliffe
Peter McCarey
John McCullough
Richard McKane
John MacKinven
Cilla McQueen
Edie Meidav
Ernst Meister
Lina Meruane
Jesse Millner
Deborah Moggach
Mawatle J. Mojalefa
Jonathan Morley
César Moro
Helen Mort
Laura Moser
Andrew Motion
Paola Musa
Robin Myers
André Naffis-Sahely
Vivek Narayanan
Bob Natifu
María Negroni
Hernán Neira
Barbra Nightingale
Paschalis Nikolaou
James Norcliffe
Carol Novack
Annakuly Nurmammedov
Joyce Carol Oates
Sunday Enessi Ododo
Obododimma Oha
Michael O'Leary
Antonio Diaz Oliva
Wilson Orhiunu
Maris O'Rourke
Sue Orr
Wendy O'Shea-Meddour
María Claudia Otsubo
Ruth Padel
Ron Padgett
Thalia Pandiri
Judith Dell Panny
Hom Paribag
Lawrence Patchett
Ian Patterson
Georges Perros
Pascale Petit
Aleksandar Petrov
Mario Petrucci
Geoffrey Philp
Toni Piccini
Henning Pieterse
Robert Pinsky
Mark Pirie
David Plante
Nicolás Poblete
Sara Poisson
Clare Pollard
Mori Ponsowy
Wena Poon
Orest Popovych
Jem Poster
Begonya Pozo
Pauline Prior-Pitt
Eugenia Prado Bassi
Ian Probstein
Sheenagh Pugh
Kate Pullinger
Zosimo Quibilan, Jr
Vera V. Radojević
Margaret Ranger
Tessa Ransford
Shruti Rao
Irina Ratushinskaya
Tanyo Ravicz
Richard Reeve
Sue Reidy
Joan Retallack
Laura Richardson
Harry Ricketts
Ron Riddell
Cynthia Rimsky
Loreto Riveiro Alvarez
James Robertson
Peter Robertson
Gonzalo Rojas
Dilys Rose
Gabriel Rosenstock
Jack Ross
Anthony Rudolf
Basant Rungta
Joseph Ryan
Sean Rys
Jostein Sæbøe
André Naffis Sahely
Eurig Salisbury
Fiona Sampson
Polly Samson
Priya Sarukkai Chabria
Maree Scarlett
John Schad
Michael Schmidt
L.E. Scott
Maureen Seaton
Alexis Sellas
Hadaa Sendoo
Chris Serio
Resul Shabani
Bina Shah
Yasir Shah
Daniel Shapiro
Ruth Sharman
Tina Shaw
David Shields
Ana María Shua
Christine Simon
Iain Sinclair
Katri Skala
Carole Smith
Ian C. Smith
Elizabeth Smither
John Stauffer
Jim Stewart
Susan Stewart
Jesper Svenbro
Virgil Suárez
Lars-Håkan Svensson
Sridala Swami
Rebecca Swift
George Szirtes
Chee-Lay Tan
Tugrul Tanyol
José-Flore Tappy
Alejandro Tarrab
Campbell Taylor
John Taylor
Judith Taylor
Petar Tchouhov
Miguel Teruel
John Thieme
Karen Thornber
Tim Tomlinson
Angela Topping
David Trinidad
Kola Tubosun
Nick Vagnoni
Joost Vandecasteele
Jan van Mersbergen
Latika Vasil
Yassen Vassilev
Lawrence Venuti
Lidia Vianu
Dev Virahsawmy
Anthony Vivis
Richard Von Sturmer
Răzvan Voncu
Nasos Vayenas
Mauricio Wacquez
Julie Marie Wade
Alan Wall
Marina Warner
Mia Watkins
Peter Wells
Stanley Wells
Laura Watkinson
Joe Wiinikka-Lydon
Hayden Williams
Edwin Williamson
Ronald V. Wilson
Stephen Wilson
Alison Wong
Leslie Woodard
Elzbieta Wójcik-Leese
Niel Wright
Manolis Xexakis
Xu Xi
Gao Xingjian
Sonja Yelich
Tamar Yoseloff
Augustus Young
Soltobay Zaripbekov
Karen Zelas
Alan Ziegler
Ariel Zinder

 

President, Publisher & Founding Editor:
Peter Robertson
Vice-President: Glenna Luschei
Vice-President: Sari Nusseibeh
Vice-President: Elena Poniatowska
U. S. General Editor: Neil Langdon Inglis
London Editor/Senior Editor-at-Large: Geraldine Maxwell
New York Editor/Senior Editor-at-Large: Meena Alexander
Washington D.C. Editor/Senior
Editor-at-Large:
Laura Moser
Deputy Editor: Allen Hibbard
Deputy Editor: Jerónimo Mohar Volkow
Deputy Editor: Bina Shah
Advisory Consultant: Jill Dawson
General Editor: Beatriz Hausner
General Editor: Malvina Segui
Art Editor: Lara Alcantara-Lansberg
Art Editor: Calum Colvin
Deputy General Editor: Jeff Barry

Consulting Editors
Shanta Acharya
Marjorie Agosín
Daniel Albright
Meena Alexander
Maria Teresa Andruetto
Frank Ankersmit
Rosemary Ashton
Reza Aslan
Leonard Barkan
Michael Barry
Shadi Bartsch
Thomas Bartscherer
Susan Bassnett
Gillian Beer
David Bellos
Richard Berengarten
Charles Bernstein
Sujata Bhatt
Mario Biagioli
Jean Boase-Beier
Elleke Boehmer
Eavan Boland
Stephen Booth
Alain de Botton
Carmen Boullossa
Rachel Bowlby
Svetlana Boym
Peter Brooks
Marina Brownlee
Roberto Brodsky
Carmen Bugan
Jenni Calder
Stanley Cavell
Hollis Clayson
Sarah Churchwell
Marcelo Cohen
Kristina Cordero
Drucilla Cornell
Junot Díaz
André Dombrowski
Denis Donoghue
Ariel Dorfman
Rita Dove
Denise Duhamel
Klaus Ebner
Robert Elsie
Stefano Evangelista
Orlando Figes
Tibor Fischer
Shelley Fisher Fishkin
Peter France
Nancy Fraser
Maureen Freely
Michael Fried
Marjorie Garber
Anne Garréta
Marilyn Gaull
Zulfikar Ghose
Paul Giles
Lydia Goehr
Vasco Graça Moura
A. C. Grayling
Stephen Greenblatt
Lavinia Greenlaw
Lawrence Grossberg
Edith Grossman
Elizabeth Grosz
Boris Groys
David Harsent
Benjamin Harshav
Geoffrey Hartman
François Hartog
Molly Haskell
Selina Hastings
Beatriz Hausner
Valerie Henitiuk
Kathryn Hughes
Aamer Hussein
Djelal Kadir
Kapka Kassabova
John Kelly
Martin Kern
Mimi Khalvati
Joseph Koerner
Annette Kolodny
Julia Kristeva
George Landow
Chang-Rae Lee
Mabel Lee
Linda Leith
Suzanne Jill Levine
Lydia Liu
Margot Livesey
Julia Lovell
Willy Maley
Alberto Manguel
Ben Marcus
Paul Mariani
Marina Mayoral
Richard McCabe
Campbell McGrath
Jamie McKendrick
Edie Meidav
Jack Miles
Toril Moi
Susana Moore
Laura Mulvey
Azar Nafisi
Martha Nussbaum
Tim Parks
Clare Pettitt
Caryl Phillips
Robert Pinsky
Elizabeth Powers
Elizabeth Prettejohn
Martin Puchner
Kate Pullinger
Paula Rabinowitz
Rajeswari Sunder Rajan
James Richardson
François Rigolot
Geoffrey Robertson
Ritchie Robertson
Avital Ronell
Carla Sassi
Michael Scammell
Celeste Schenck
Daniel Shapiro
Sudeep Sen
Hadaa Sendoo
Miranda Seymour
Daniel Shapiro
Mimi Sheller
Elaine Showalter
Penelope Shuttle
Werner Sollors
Frances Spalding
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
Julian Stallabrass
Susan Stewart
Rebecca Stott
Mark Strand
Kathryn Sutherland
John Whittier Treat
David Treuer
David Trinidad
Marjorie Trusted
Lidia Vianu
Victor Vitanza
Marina Warner
David Wellbery
Edwin Williamson
Michael Wood
Theodore Zeldin

Assistant Editor: Sara Besserman
Assistant Editor: Ana de Biase
Assistant Editor: Conor Bracken
Assistant Editor: Eugenio Conchez
Assistant Editor: Patricia Delmar
Assistant Editor: Lucila Gallino
Assistant Editor: Sophie Lewis
Assistant Editor: Krista Oehlke
Assistant Editor: Siska Rappé
Assistant Editor: Naomi Schub
Assistant Editor: Stephanie Smith
Assistant Editor: Robert Toperter
Assistant Editor: Laurence Webb
Art Consultant: Verónica Barbatano
Art Consultant: Angie Roytgolz

 

Shadi Bartsch
Interlitq’s “The Groves of Academe” series:

Interlitq interviews Shadi Bartsch
Helen A. Regenstein Professor of Classics, The University of Chicago,

Director, Stevanovich Institute on the Formation of Knowledge,

Editor, Classical Philology,

Consulting Editor, Interlitq
 

 



Interlitq: Why do you care about the humanities?

As Paul Kalanithi observed, the sciences offer knowledge, but the humanities are how we make meaning. Where else would meaning come from? This seems so obvious to me that I won’t belabor it, but it’s hardly as if “the humanities” represent a silo somewhere where scholars analyze medieval literary texts in ecstatic solitude.

I also have a particular axe to grind (aren’t these metaphors interesting? it’s been a long time since axes were part of everyday life). Without the skills that humanistic knowledge lends us, we will remain unaware of how our past constricts our present, and how to try to move beyond this. This is a function more usually ascribed to history, but I do not have in mind the standard notion that without knowledge of the past, we will be doomed to repeat its mistakes. Instead, I am thinking of the humanities as the lens through which we can approach the self-conceptualization of any culture and understand how its assumptions and generative thought differ from our own. Looking in such a mirror, we have the wherewithal to understand ourselves in all our strangeness. A quick example: the fundamental reasonableness of the idea that humans deserve to have citizen rights is hard-baked into western culture, even if it was often observed in the breach. It is the assumption with which much of the ancient Greek philosophical tradition begins, and it is based on the understanding that man, as a rational animal, can participate in his own sociopolitical environment in ways that look to his own good. (The male pronouns here are of course deliberate). In contrast, when the Qing Dynasty collapsed in China in the early 20th century, the word for citizen (guomin) had to be literally invented; between peasant and imperial court there were no mechanisms for large-scale public involvement, and Confucian philosophy was based on hierarchy and the family unit to a degree alien to the Greeks. One can see immediately how these two differing philosophical traditions impacted the present; also, that there is no reason to take our own as “natural.” Not seeing this is a limitation on our ability to see in the first place. Another example I like is that of Thomas Kuhn, who was perfectly happy being a cold fusion PhD candidate at Harvard until he encountered Aristotle’s Physics. The jolt to his own then-teleological understanding of science produced The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

Interlitq: Many people would feel that your discipline, Classics (that is, the study of the ancient Greco-Roman world), is both esoteric and irrelevant in today’s world. Do you have an answer for them?

The answer is definitely not “it will help you with etymology” or “medical textbooks use Latin terms”! I’m always surprised to hear that people think that the texts that formed our culture are somehow irrelevant to us even as we (most of us in the west) live in that culture. The ability to read them in the original languages adds to that; as Wittgenstein remarked, the garment of language is the first thing that lets us step into someone else’s culture.

The other feature of Classics that I find underemphasized is the fact that for 2000 years, human beings have been interpreting the same texts – but differently in each era. Classics offers us a mirror to the ways and vagaries of human interpretation: what was made of Plato in 200 BCE? 100 CE? in 1400 CE? One hundred years ago? We have here a whole history of the impetus to interpret, in each case shaped by cultural and political influences. What light can this history shed on our own practices today?

I’m neither talking about a Foucauldian archeology of knowledge with epistemic breaks, nor yet a study of continuity between eras, but simply about the value of context in all investigations, starting with questioning the question and its assumptions itself.

Interlitq: What do you consider your most important methodological practice in your own work?

I appreciate the tools my discipline (Classics) has given me for approaching the past. Now I am curious about the tools I don’t have, the features I don’t see, the knowledge-formations that are not yet recognized as such, the blind spots that fetter my view. When I set out to write my fourth book, The Mirror of the Self, I was interested in the use of visual metaphors in ancient philosophy (just think of Plato’s cave, the shadows on the wall, the view of the Sun, the conflation of “seeing” with “knowing”). It took me some time to realize that “seeing” in antiquity was laden with many different assumptions than “seeing” in the Western present. Ancient theories of vision inevitably made it a tactile phenomenon, so that vision either involved the penetration of the eyes of the seeing agent by particles sent off from the object viewed, or assumed that the eyes themselves sent out physical “rays” that “groped” the object and sent information back to the eyes and mind. Understanding that I could not understand Plato’s thought until I understood that his seeing metaphors were laden with sexual undertones absent in our own metaphors of sight was a conceptual leap forward for me. Likewise in my recent book on the Roman satirist Persius, instead of taking his digestive metaphors for granted, I read ancient medical texts on digestion and found a much richer background for his poetry than I had understood at first. Morality and digestion were closely tied together in antiquity because of widespread belief in the humoral theory: your humors (and hence your mood, character, sanity) were very much affected by what you ate. The sheer mass of strange lore in this process was also fascinating and illuminating. Imagine the surprise if you told a modern doctor that an excess of certain kinds of food would be stored in your body as extra semen and located behind your eyeballs!

Interlitq: What do you hope to accomplish with the new University of Chicago institute you are leading (the Stevanovich Institute on the Formation of Knowledge)?

The mission of the Stevanovich Institute is to unite scholars from many different fields to study the processes of knowledge formation and transmission. Our considerations will range temporally from the ancient period to the present day and geographically over the entire globe, with a particular concern to uncover the ways embedded structures of knowledge have shaped the modern world. We will examine particular moments in the life of disciplines, both from the inside, relying on the expertise of specialists, but also from the outside, from which vantage unguarded assumptions and biases might be more visible.

The questions we ask include: What are the conditions under which knowledge claims emerge and derive legitimacy? In what ways do those conditions restrict or expand such claims, influencing circulation and transmission beyond their initial geographical and temporal locations? What do theologians, physicists, physicians, poets, and politicians mean by knowledge at various periods and how do they translate that knowledge into actions that affect their societies? How might the knowledge systems of indigenous peoples be compared with those of industrialized societies, as to their origins, evolution, and modes of validation? What kinds of societies have been conducive to the development of expanding knowledge systems and in what societies has little development or enlargement taken place?

This is all predicated on knowing (and finding relevant) the fact that the disciplines as they currently stand in major universities are not natural divisions of knowledge, but particular phenomena shaped by culture, history, class, and other factors. Even inter-disciplinarity is predicated on the existence of such disciplines.

All of us at the Institute feel that this sort of thinking offers a new paradigm for the sort of knowledge that comes out of universities, and that it is directly relevant to the “real world” in many ways.

Interlitq: What would you say is the biggest challenge facing academics today?

I would say it’s the question of how research happening within universities can be more transparent to—and more impactful on—the world outside. Our work is relevant in so many ways, and I’m not sure if there is any rationale for letting it be confined to the ivory tower, or in unnecessarily difficult terminology. If it seems irrelevant, then we should find ways of making it relevant. Unfortunately, sometimes trying to make your work accessible to a larger audience, or caring about its impact, is considered “dumbing down” what you do, or selling out to baser motivations. I think that one of the most important roles an academic can take on is seeking to bridge that divide between the university and the world of non-academics.

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Secret Garden
by Lara Alcantara-Lansberg


The Groves of Academe



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