Plenary Sessions

Eric GansEric Gans is Professor of French at UCLA and has written eight books on Generative Anthropology, including The Origin of Language (1981), The End of Culture (1985), Originary Thinking (1993), Signs of Paradox (1997), and The Scenic Imagination (2008). He claims that those categories deemed fundamental to humanistic inquiry must be traceable to their appearance in the “originary scene” of human culture. Gans kicked-off our conference with a plenary on Jacques Derrida’s idea of deferral and its relationship to Generative Anthropology’s conception of a human science.

The video below includes Gans's talk, a response to Gans by Evelyn Cobley, and questions from the audience.



Raymond TallisOur second plenary was by the well-known UK polymath Raymond Tallis. A Professor of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Manchester before retiring in 2006 to write full-time, Tallis shares Gans’s conviction that the humanities must reengage in fundamental anthropological reflection if they are to succeed in their basic mission. Listed by The Economist in 2009 as one of the top living polymaths in the world and nominated in 2007 as one of the fifty “Brains of Britain” by The Independent, Tallis will deliver a keynote on“Neuromania and Darwinitis and the Misrepresentation of Mankind.” Author of dozens of books of philosophy and cultural criticism, Tallis is a staunch defender of the humanities and an outspoken critic of "Neuromania" and "Darwinitis." His 2011 book, Aping Mankind, was named one of the Books of the Year by The Guardian (David Lodge), The Observer, and The Evening Standard.

The video below includes Tallis's talk, a response to Tallis by Andrew Bartlett, a conversation between Tallis and Gans, and questions from the audience.