Speaker canceled due to illness.
Peter Baehr, Chair Professor of Social Theory from Lingnan University, Hong Kong, will present this lecture. Baehr is the author of The Unmasking Style in Social Theory, and Hannah Arendt, Totalitarianism, and the Social Sciences.
This talk examines a destructive, though common, form of social criticism, termed "unmasking." Unmasking is not the same as scientific refutation or principled disagreement. When people unmask they claim to rip off a disguise, revealing the true beneath the feigned or imaginary. Two kinds of unmasking are prominent in western societies. The first, aimed at persons or groups, claims to expose enmity and hypocrisy. The second, aimed at ideas, claims to expose illusions and ideologies.
The talk describes the techniques of unmasking practiced by intellectuals and revolutionary social movements. It contrasts the peculiarities of unmasking in vernacular and academic contexts. And it discusses the contribution of social and political theory to unmasking. Baeh suggests that unmasking is a style of thought harmful both to political argument and to sociological theory that should and can be avoided.
Presented by the Department of Political Science with cosponsorship by the Kellogg Institute, the College of Arts and Letters, the Keough School of Global Affairs, the Nanovic Institute for European Studies, and the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies.