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SEIS Academic Forum Series

Forum on American Studies (No.724)

Topic: The Mind in Motion: Hopper’s Women through Sartre’s Existential Freedom


Speaker: Prof. Wang Zhenping

Discussant: Prof. Wang Hongxin

Chair: Prof. Fu Meirong

Time: 3:00 - 5:00 pm, 23 May (Thursday)

Place: Room 111, SEIS Building

Language: English

About the Lecture:

Jean-Paul Sartre was a twentieth century French existentialist philosopher whose theory of existential freedom is regarded as a positive thought that provides human beings infinite possibilities to hope and to create. His philosophy to search for inner freedom of an individual is delivered to the US mainly through his three lecture visits to New York and other major cities and the translation by Barnes of his Being and Nothingness.

Edward Hopper is one of the finest painters of the twentieth-century America. He is a native New Yorker and an artist who is searching for himself through his painting. Hopper’s women figures are usually seated, standing, leaning forward toward the window, and all are looking deep out the window and deep into the sunlight. These women are in their introspection and solitude. These figures are usually posited alone, but they are not depicted as lonely. Being in outward solitude, they are allowed to enjoy the inward freedom to desire, to imagine, and to act. The dreaming, imagining, expecting are indications of women’s desires, which display their interior possibility or individual agency. This lecture is an attempt to apply Sartre’s philosophy to see that these women’s individual agency determines their own identity, indicating the mind in motion.

All interested parties are welcome!

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