Prominent literary theorist and legal scholar Stanley Fish (above), the Davidson-Kahn Distinguished University Professor of Humanities and Law at Florida International University, will deliver the School of Law’s 101st Sibley Lecture on March 8 at 4:30 p.m. in the Hatton Lovejoy Courtroom. The lecture is open to the public.
Fish is best known for his work regarding interpretative communities, in which he explores how the interpretation of a text by a reader depends on the reader’s acceptance of a common set of foundational assumptions or texts. The title of his Sibley Lecture is “There is No Textualist Position: Why a Text Can Only Mean What Its Author Intends.”
Fish is the author of a dozen books and hundreds of articles in the areas of literature and law, many of which have been published in the country’s most prominent legal journals. He is considered one of the leading scholars on English poet John Milton and often writes about politics at universities, having taken positions justifying campus speech codes and criticizing political statements by university or faculty bodies on matters outside their professional areas of expertise. He is also a regular contributor to publications such as the Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times and has appeared on many national television shows.
After earning his bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and his master’s and doctorate degrees from Yale University, Fish taught English at the University of California at Berkeley and Johns Hopkins University before becoming an English and law professor at Duke University, where he served from 1986 to 1998. Additionally, from 1993 to 1998, he was the executive director of the Duke University Press. From 1999 to 2004, he served as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Fish taught English for one year at Illinois before assuming his current position at Florida International University.
Established in 1964 by the Charles Loridans Foundation of Atlanta, the Sibley Lecture Series honors the late John A. Sibley, a 1911 graduate of UGA’s law school. The series hosts renowned legal academicians known throughout the country for their exceptional scholarship.