The Cowan Archive Seminar Series - The Cowan Center - University of Dallas

The Cowan Archive Seminar Series - The Cowan Center - University of Dallas

The Great Polyphony: Black, Hispanic, and Anglo Imaginations in the Americas

The Archive Seminars - Fall 2020

6-8 p.m., via Zoom
Free · non-credit

  • August 20
    The culture of the U.S. founders: Cooper, Jefferson, and others (in handout).
    Text for discussion: Herman Melville, “Benito Cereno”
  • September 3
    The Black American ordeal and its visionary poetics: Douglass, spirituals, poetics of autobiography.
    Text for discussion: Robert Hayden, “Middle Passage
  • September 17
    The Latin American image of the city and the mixing of peoples: Readings from Machado de Assis to Octavio Paz
  • October 1
    William Faulkner’s tragic vision: “Delta Autumn”
  • October 15
    Toni Morrison’s achievement: excerpts from Beloved

Texts to be provided to seminar attendants:

Melville, Four Great Short Novels; Douglass, Autobiography; Morrison, Beloved; others TBA

Louise Cowan believed with Berdyaev that Dostoevsky would speak for the Russian people at the Last Judgment--that “the peoples of the world, the different nations, have, as traditionally thought, a mission; they have their angels to guide, their artists and thinkers to express” their special calling in the totality of human destiny, which, she insisted, would finally “not be a sameness but diversity.”

With these ideas in mind, we dedicate this fall’s Cowan Archive Seminar to searching out the souls of the peoples of the Americas. We do this not in an attempt to find literal, practical solutions to the problems of our time but as a search for first principles, where we should begin in seeking to understand the history and imagine the destiny of the peoples and cultures of the New World and to work toward their harmonious cooperation.

These seminars explore the deep structure of the classic genres of literature, drawing on the teachings of Louise Cowan, who uncovered a unifying interconnection between them leading to a distinctively poetic vision of the human soul. We believe that the study of great poetry encourages mutual contemplation of great actions of heroism, love, and suffering and allows each of us to find our true identity through them. For Fall 2020 we dedicate these moments to the relations of Black, Hispanic and Anglo and to our rediscovery of greatness of soul as the light of different genres is shined upon each of these distinct imaginations. To attend this free, non-credit seminar, contact Dr. Bainard Cowan.