WEBINAR Best Wishes: A Psychophilology of Supplications

20 May 2020, 15:00 - 16:30

Online event

An event organised by Cambridge Digital Humanities.
 

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride, goes the old proverb. 'Best Wishes' focusses on the magico-symbolic action, both vernacular and psychopolitical, of wishing, and what it might tell us about the kinds of magical thinking (and magical passions) at work in mass-mediated relations.
 

Speaker: Steven Connor

Professor of English at the University of Cambridge and Director of Cambridge’s Centre for Research in Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH). 
We are delighted to welcome Steve as the first speaker in the Cambridge Digital Humanities CDH Open series of virtual talks, discussions, presentations, readings and debates.
Format: The event includes a presentation by Steve on his forthcoming work on the wish, the petition and the supplication and an open discussion. Chair Caroline Bassett, CDH. 

Listen to a short audio introduction to the paper and read his full paper

Abstract: 
‘Asking, or asking for almost anything, directions, help, love, money, even for the time, is asking for trouble, so we must take a great deal of trouble with the way we ask in order to head it off. Because asking is largely an intraspecific action, it always takes place within a landscape of relative advantage and disadvantage, and asymmetrical relations of power, which the act of asking has the capacity to confirm or disturb. ‘I only asked’, we may protest when a request goes wrong; but one rarely if ever ‘only asks’. To ask is to request some object or service, but it is always also by the same token to seek permission for one’s request, or secure it by enquiring into the acceptability of making it. Asking is therefore always attended by moral, emotional and political tension. Asking is difficult because of our awareness that being asked imposes, as we say, a demand; that any ask is potentially a big ask.’


If you are interested in attending, please email Karen Herbane so she can share a Zoom link with you in due course. Please ensure you state which event you would like to attend.