Skip to content

Professor Laurie Shannon to Give Talk on “Redeeming Icarus: Winged Flies and Human Defect at the Rise of the Microscope.”

On Thursday, 2/25, at 3:30pm, in 1210 McClung Tower, the Literature, Criticism and Textual Studies Speakers Series Presents a talk by Professor Laurie Shannon, of Northwestern University; Professor Shannon’s talk is entitled “Redeeming Icarus: Winged Flies and Human Defect at the Rise of the Microscope.”

Laurie-Shannon To Give Talk

This lecture will consider an early modern revolution in our attention to winged insects. For a lay observer like Shakespeare, flying insects were very admirably borne on “slender gilded wings.” But when insects began to be scanned with the newfangled microscope in the seventeenth century, what new challenges did they pose? In a rising regime of visibility and mechanism, how did the tiniest of insects, the “fabrick” of their wings, and the dizzying new micro-scale they revealed affect conceptions of human “empire”?

Professor Shannon is Franklyn Bliss Snyder Professor of English Literature at Northwestern University, where she specializes in English literature and culture in the long sixteenth century. A recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, Professor Shannon is the author of The Accommodated Animal: Cosmopolity in Shakespearean Locales (Chicago, 2013) and Sovereign Amity: Figures of Friendship in Shakespearean Contexts (Chicago, 2002).  Professor Shannon’s talk follows from her most recent — and prize-winning — book’s methodological engagement with animal studies and political theory.

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.