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Fanny Price is a good person, a paragonhumble, grateful, dutiful, self-sacrificing, and restrained. Shes very much like two other reticent, long-suffering Austen heroines, Elinor Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility and Anne Elliott in Persuasion, except that in Mansfield Park Austen takes an uncharacteristically sharp turn into the theological underpinnings of early nineteenth-century English morality. Without Austen actually mentioning it (there are no prayers, sermons, church-goings, or appeals to God), the question of holiness suffuses the book. It does this obliquely via the ordination theme. In a letter to her sister, Austen wrote, it [Mansfield Park] shall be a complete change of subjectOrdination, that is to say, taking holy orders, becoming an Anglican priest (though, of course, it is not the heroine but her love interest who is ordained). Holiness may perhaps not be the correct word, since Austen keeps a tight rein on her otherworldly intimations. Her strategy is apophatic; she is more intent on describing the here and now and, through Fanny, critiquing its ethical superficiality than talking about faith, grace, and other divine interventions. With typical Austenian irony, she leaves it to her villain, Henry Crawford, to recognize Fannys figurative divinity:

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Proposal Number: 220
Date: 2016-01-06
Paper Title: Postmodernity, Ideology and Rationality in the Communist Manifesto
Core Text:
Communist Manifesto
Abstract:
To what ends would we put the study of Marxist classics such as the Communist Manifesto? If Marxism represents a culmination of Enlightenment social thought, the study of Marxism is relevant to the question of the exhaustion of enlightenment ideals, particularly the question of rationality in social thought. With this in mind I turn to the question of the rationality of Marxism itself and the case for it presented in the Communist Manifesto, particularly in the light of theory of ideology and its apparent relativism.


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In contrast to both Fanny and Edmund, Henry Crawford is a theatrical enthusiast from the get-go, using every rehearsal to flirt outrageously with Maria Bertram. Acting is his habit of being. He acts for entertainment, for applause, for effect, and to persuade, not out of principle. Austen repeatedly demonstrates Henrys inability to be genuine by knowing slips that are her specialty. While visiting Fanny in Portsmouth, Henry makes a show of taking responsibility for his estate and tenants (which, till then, he has mostly ignored).


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Proposal Number: 133
Date: 2015-12-31
Paper Title: Ancient Excursions and Core Texts: The Challenge of Material Culture in the Document-Based Course
Core Text:
Thucydides
Abstract:
Reading the witness of the ancients in their own words, even in translation, is enough to revive the naked corpse of ancient history from its erstwhile survey textbook tomb. But clothing the reanimated subject with the illustration offered by art from the ancient world not only visually stimulates the teaching and learning of the subject; it also engages the broader field of social and cultural history, while challenging the viewer to negotiate the spaces (artistic, traditional, and political, to name but a few) between artefacts, reader, and viewer. We limit discussion in this presentation to an exploration of Thucydides's words on tyrannicide in Books 1 and 6, and its representation on the so-called Elgin Throne (4th c. Athenian marble), currently on view at the Getty Villa in Pacific Palisades.