Department of English

University of Toronto

Disciplines of Attention in a Secular Age

Event date: Thursday, March 01, 2018, from 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM

ProfessorCaleb Smith
Yale University
Disciplines of Attention in a Secular Age
Thursday March 1, 2018

Jackman Humanities Building, room JHB318

Co-sponsoredwith the Department of English

“The degree of attention we pay,” one ministerpreached in 1850, “depends upon our own disposition to attend. This showsus that the matter, after all, is very largely one of /discipline/.”Distraction, the wandering of the mind, is an ancient problem, but ittook 
a new form in the nineteenth century, with therise of industrial capitalism, mass media, and secularization. Distraction cameto be understood as a symptom of history—of modernity itself. In response,writers around the Atlantic world sought to repair the 
psychic damage by designing new disciplines ofsustained attentiveness. This talk examines attention as one of the spiritualexercises of a secular age, from Thoreau’s /Walden/ to somecontemporary defenses of the humanities.

Site Information:

Site Tools:

Click below for directions to the University of Toronto!

University of Toronto, St. George Campus
Map of St. George Campus
Map of Mississauga Campus
Map of Scarborough Campus