Lydia Brown

Postdoctoral Fellow

I can trace the start of my own intellectual life to the space of the small seminar classroom. It was here where the sparks of private curiosity turned electric, given a life and a seriousness I never thought possible. The questions my professors asked formed a new language with which I could talk with the world around me: can music feel? Does sound speak? What does the novel want? Today, my research endeavors similarly open questions: How does language think about the future? Is the novel an optimist? Can aesthetic form change who you are, or give you what you really want? The humanities courses I teach give students—and myself—a lexicon to talk about phenomena that aren’t as readily apparent: the sometimes-invisible threads that bind us to one another, to systems of power, to history, to alternate ways of imagining. Students in my classroom will feel empowered to ask bold questions with considered care, recognizing my seminar space as one of both fierce experimentation and communal support. I see the Engagements as just that: a means of putting into words the hard-to-articulate parts of living and thinking, and a method of more fully inhabiting the world as a result.