In this talk, Geoffrey Harpham identified as one of the main sources of authority in a scholarly argument an implicit–or, in some cases, explicit–conversion narrative. This narrative, in which the scholar confronts evidence that compels him or her to a conclusion very different from the expected one, is at the core of scholarship as such, and illuminates both the intimacy and the complexity of the relations between the practice of scholarship and the concept of freedom. His primary example was the work of Bernard Lategan, a scholar who became a key figure in the history of apartheid in South Africa.
Geoffrey Harpham is Senior Fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University, Durham. Currently he is a guest at the IWM.
Comments by Ewa Atanassow (Józef TischnerVisiting Fellow, IWM)