Anthony Grafton named as SU’s 2003 Jeannette K. Watson Distinguished Professor in the Humanities
Anthony Grafton named as SU’s 2003 Jeannette K. Watson Distinguished Professor in the HumanitiesFebruary 12, 2003Kelly Homan Rodoskikahoman@syr.edu
Anthony Grafton, Dodge Professor of History and director of the Davis Center for Historical Studies at Princeton University, will be the 2003 Jeannette K. Watson Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Humanities at Syracuse University. He will present two public lectures and a series of multidisciplinary colloquia on campus during the Spring 2003 semester. The program is hosted by the Department of History for The College of Arts and Sciences.
His first public lecture, “Magic and Humanism in Early Modern Europe” will be held Feb. 24 at 7:30 p.m. in Maxwell Auditorium. The lecture is free and open to the public. During his February visit to campus, Grafton will also conduct a workshop on the history of political thought, “Humanism and Politics”; a colloquium on “The Public Intellectual and the American University” for the Department of History; and a colloquium on “The History of Books and the History of Scholarship” for E.S. Bird Library.
Grafton will return to Syracuse April 7 and 8 to present an additional public lecture and colloquia.
“There are two things about Tony Grafton that set him apart from most other scholars and mortal beings. One is the vast range and depth of his scholarship, which allow him to cross all the humanistic disciplines with deceptive ease,” says Joseph Levine, Distinguished Professor of History in The College of Arts and Sciences and the Maxwell School. “Perhaps it has something to do with his mastery of all the learned and modern languages, as well as the more arcane skills of reading and deciphering ancient manuscripts and artifacts. Perhaps it is the extraordinary energy with which he starts each day before most of us are up. Above all it is his deep curiosity about the springs of Western civilization which cannot be confined to any one slice of it.”
“The other thing that distinguishes his work, and may be even more unusual, is that he has managed to translate his deep knowledge into an accessible and entertaining form, so that anyone can understand and appreciate his scholarship,” Levine says. “Who else could write a brilliant and funny book about the footnote or about scholarly forgeries? Or amuse and entertain us with the visual splendor of Europe in 1492? He is a wonderful lecturer, and we are going to have a lot of fun listening and talking to him.”
Grafton is the author of more than a dozen scholarly works and numerous articles. He has published regularly in the New York Review of Books, the New Republic and the American Scholar. He was the curator of exhibitions at the New York Public Library and the Library of Congress which inspired two catalogs with interdisciplinary appeal: “New Worlds, Ancient Texts: The Power of Tradition and the Shock of Recovery” (1992) and “Rome Reborn: The Vatican Library and Renaissance Culture” (1993).
He was appointed visiting professor at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, and has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the WissenschaftesKolleg zu Berlin, as well as from institutions in Wolfenbuttel, Vienna and from the Hebrew University, the California Institute of Technology and the University of California at Berkeley. He has lectured at Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard and Columbia universities.
Grafton received undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Chicago. He is the author of “Forgers and Critics: Creativity and Duplicity in Western Scholarship” (1990) and “The Footnote: A Curious History” (1997). His most recent works include “The Worlds and Works of a Renaissance Astrologer” (1999), “Leon Batista Alberti: Master Builder of the Italian Renaissance” (2001) and “Bring Out Your Dead: The Past as Revelation” (2002).
The Jeannette K. Watson Distinguished Visiting Professorship in the Humanities was established to bring to SU those scholars and writers whose work is of great importance for the humanities. Previous holders of the professorship include Noam Chomsky, Angela Davis, Stephen Greenblatt, Toni Morrison and Martha Nussbaum, among others. The professorship was made possible by the generosity of the late Jeannette K. Watson. The opportunities provided by the professorship are consistent with initiatives in the University’s Academic Plan directed at expanding multidisciplinary discourse for students.