December 15, 2005

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LEWISBURG, Pa. — Julia Kristeva, philosopher and feminist, will give the talk, "Is there a Feminine Genius?" Monday, Feb. 13, at 8 p.m. in the Forum of the Elaine Langone Center at Bucknell University. The talk, which is free to the public, is part of the continuing Humanities Institute lecture series at Bucknell.

Bucknell President Brian C. Mitchell described Kristeva's upcoming visit as an "opportunity for our faculty, students, and staff to hear the perspectives of a renowned intellectual who will surely open our minds to a different way of thinking. I am most honored to have her join the auspicious group of Bucknell Award of Merit recipients."

According to Michael Payne, professor of English at Bucknell, "Julia Kristeva is one of the most prolific and most respected of living European intellectuals. The author of more than 25 books, she has the ability to open and to transform any topic she takes up.

"Kristeva is a feminist in ways that are perhaps unique to French feminists: She is determined to write for an audience of men as well as women; and she is careful not to promote one group of women at the expense of others. She is also a brilliant teacher who takes care to make even her most difficult ideas intelligible," Payne said.

Kristeva was awarded the chair in linguistics at the University of Paris VII, a position she still holds, in 1974. She also has taught at Columbia, Toronto and The New School.

Her books include works of philosophy, linguistics, psychoanalysis, feminism, literary criticism and fiction; the subjects of her books range from semiotics, Chinese women, the nature of the novel, nationalism, horror, terror and the history of love to Proust, Colette and Melanie Klein.

In her talk, Kristeva will discuss the ancient idea that genius is a form of self-transcendence rather than a particular intellectual or artistic gift; it is thus a human potential that is available to everyone.

In being awarded the 2004 Holberg Prize, sometimes referred to as the Norwegian Nobel, the Holberg Memorial Fund said, "With her interdisciplinary approach and her in-depth studies of fundamental properties of human communication and interaction, Julia Kristeva not only transcends the traditional boundaries between academic disciplines, she also demonstrates how advanced theoretical research can play a decisive role in public social and cultural debate in general."

Kristeva also will receive the Bucknell Award of Merit, given in recognition to individuals whose exceptional contributions to their professions and communities exemplify the highest standards and aspirations of Bucknell.

Inaugurated in 1968, the award has been given to former vice president Hubert Humphrey, Sir Frank Kermode of Cambridge University, Helen Vendler of Harvard, former senator Julian Bond and Stanley Cavell of Harvard.

Kristeva will meet with students and faculty during her visit, which is sponsored by the Humanities Institute and the department of foreign language programs.

This year's Humanities Institute topic, "Translations: The Movement of Meanings," will examine how a study of translation is a study of language. For more information, see


Story posted: Dec. 15, 2005


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