Close Reading in a Broken World
Feb 12, 2024
05:00 PM - 06:00 PM
251 West Iowa Avenue, Iowa City, IA 52242
This talk is about close reading, an enduring method of literary studies that involves the act of slow and sustained attention to a written text. In a world of swiftly diminishing attention spans, massive influxes of new information, the circulation of distracting news, divisive news, and fake news, and all manner of impinging crisis every day, what is the point of dwelling in time or wasting time on the minute details of a small piece of text? Scholars of narrative medicine and the health humanities have argued that close reading can produce better doctors—and better citizens of the world more broadly by fostering better attention to detail, better listening, and better acceptance of ambiguity and multiple perspectives as well as a pathway to goals of inclusivity and social justice. Briefly overviewing this body of scholarship, this talk will focus on one experience of close reading as an act of praise in and for a broken world.
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