DAVID NIRENBERG ”Judaism” as Political Concept: Toward a Critique of Political Theology
ALICE GOFF The Selbst Gewählter Plan: The Schildbach Wood Library in Eighteenth-Century Hessen-Kassel
AMANDA JO GOLDSTEIN Growing Old Together: Lucretian Materialism in Shelley’s “Poetry of Life”
CHRISTOPHER L. HILL Crossed Geographies: Endō and Fanon in Lyon
PAUL ROQUET A Blue Cat on the Galactic Railroad: Anime and Cosmic Subjectivity
Ted Underwood, contributor to Representations‘ recent special forum Search, continues his engagement with digital questions on his own blog, The Stone and the Shell, with
Distant Reading and the Blurry Edges of Genre.
Having just spent two years attempting to subdivide an entire digital library by genre, Underwood encountered some interesting problems. “In particular, the problem of ‘dividing a library by genre,’” he says, “has made me realize that literary studies is constituted by exclusions that are a bit larger and more arbitrary than I used to think.”
Underwood’s contribution to the Representations Search forum, Theorizing Research Practices We Forgot to Theorize Twenty Years Ago, asks what it means to say that search plays an “evidentiary role in scholarship”:
“Quantitative methods have been central to the humanities since scholars began relying on full-text search to map archives. But the intellectual implications of search technology are rendered opaque by humanists’ habit of considering algorithms as arbitrary tools. To reflect more philosophically, and creatively, on the hermeneutic options available to us, humanists may need to converse with disciplines that understand algorithms as principled epistemological theories. We need computer science, in other words, not as a source of tools but as a theoretical interlocutor.”
Full text of this article can be found at JSTOR.
“Building on actor-network theory and the history of photographic and cinematic technologies, Inge Hinterwaldner’s article is an elegant, smart, and meaningful contribution to scholarship in science and technology studies that examines the use of experimental visualization to model turbulence in air and water around 1900. The essay discusses how two physicists–Etienne-Jules Marey and Friedrich Ahlborn–contrived to make visible, to measure, and to record these phenomena.” –from the SLSA prize announcement
The Schachterle Prize is awarded annually by the SLSA in recognition of the best new essay on literature and science written in English by a nontenured scholar.
Inge Hinterwaldner’s research interests include computer-based art and architecture, image theory, model theory, and temporality in the visual arts. Her first book is entitled Das systemische Bild (The systemic image; Munich, 2010).
Quirk Historicism and the End(s) of Art History: A One-Day Symposium
Organized by Nicholas Mathew and Mary Ann Smart
Saturday, Nov. 1, UC Berkeley
Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall, Townsend Center for the Humanities, UC Berkeley
In many humanities disciplines, the past twenty years or so have witnessed a dramatic expansion in the types of objects and ideas that can be meaningfully invoked in the course of historical study. One consequence of this has been a new reveling in the allure of objets trouvés or historical micronarratives – the conversion of the obscurity, strangeness, and distance of historical debris into a form of rhetoric, which frequently acts as a substitute for more conventional forms of argument or exposition. The emergence of this tendency, which we’re calling Quirk Historicism, is thus partly a story about how historical study has been turned into a kind of aesthetic experience.
Participants include Nicholas Mathew, Mary Ann Smart, James Davies, Emily Dolan, Deirdre Loughridge, James Currie, Benjamin Piekut, Aoife Monks, Ellen Lockhart, Benjamin Walton, Thomas Laqueur, and Alan Tansman.
To find out more, visit the conference website at http://quirkhistoricism.wordpress.com.
On Friday, October 17, the UC Berkeley English department colloquia on 20th/21st-Century Literature and Poetry and Poetics present a conversation with Christopher Nealon, professor of English at Johns Hopkins University. The conversation will be based around a pre-circulated paper, “Poetry and the Price of Value.” The event will take place at UC Berkeley in Wheeler Hall 300, at 2pm.
Christopher Nealon’s essay, “Reading on the Left,” is available in Representations 108 (Fall 2009).
Representations board member Stephen Best hosts event with Vincent Brown
On Friday, October 17, The Black Room and the Institute of International Studies will co-sponsor a talk by Vincent Brown, Charles Warren Professor of History and Professor of African & African-American Studies and the Director of the History Design Studio at Harvard University.
This presentation considers three graphic histories of slavery—a web-based animation of Voyages: The Transatlantic Slave Trade Database, a cartographic narrative of the Jamaican slave revolt of 1760–61, and a web-based archive of enslaved family lineages in Jamaica and Virginia—that illustrate how the archive of slavery is more than the records bequeathed to us by the past; the archive also includes the tools we use to explore it, the vision that allows us to see its traces, and the design decisions that communicate our sense of history’s possibilities.
The event will take place at UC Berkeley in the Maude Fife Room (Wheeler Hall 315) at noon.
CURRENT ISSUE OFFERS SPECIAL FEATURE ON THE SEARCH
According to the forum’s introduction:
“This forum began with a conversation among editorial board members about what Representations might have to say in response to recent discussions about the nature and future of digital work in the humanities and social sciences. We wanted to think both about recent developments in the use of databases, search tools, and digital means of presenting and disseminating research as well as about the larger social and historical contexts behind these new applications of technology. We also considered some of the claims made about these technologies as well as the structure of the debate that has begun to rise up around them. As different search engines and online resources (Google, the Internet Archive, Google Books, Project Gutenberg, EEBO [Early English Books Online], and so on) have become more and more prominent, assessments of their value often seem to take opposed forms, with advocates for the transformative power of big data lining up on one side and those who think technology is mostly a distraction on the other. Rather than taking either side, we invited several writers to consider the historical and cultural conditions that have made this impasse possible….”
“The forum’s contributors look at several different aspects of what stands as the center of these debates for both dedicated specialists and scholars with only the most general of relations to technology: the homely search. How, in the face of new and more powerful tools, has searching for data changed? Is there a culture or cultures of search that differ from or repeat the terms of earlier moments in scholarly culture? To what degree do specific economies of searching reproduce other economic realities or fantasies? What stands logistically, aesthetically, ethically behind the act of searching for data?…”
“We hope these short essays will contribute to ongoing debates in and around digital technology in the humanities and social sciences and show how understanding the politics, the economics, and the mechanics of searching can help us better understand hidden aspects of the work we have been doing all along.” –Kent Puckett
FREDERIC KAPLAN Linguistic Capitalism and Algorithmic Mediation
TED UNDERWOOD Theorizing Research Practices We Forgot to Theorize Twenty Years Ago
LISA GITELMAN Searching and Thinking About Searching JSTOR
DANIEL ROSENBERG Stop, Words
LEAH PRICE Response
Representations’ Best, Lye, and Otter in conversation with Kenneth Warren
On Friday, September 12, UC Berkeley English department faculty and Representations board members Stephen Best, Colleen Lye, and Samuel Otter will join Kenneth Warren, Professor of English at the University of Chicago, for a roundtable on Warren’s book, What Was African American Literature? (Harvard University Press, 2011). The roundtable will take place at UC Berkeley in the Maud Fife Room, 315 Wheeler Hall, from 12-2 pm.
September 20-21, 2014
300 WheelerHall, UC Berkeley
Convened by Representations editorial board member Ian Duncan.
On or About 1814 brings together a group of scholars to mark the bicentenary of Walter Scott’s Waverley, published in July 1814, and other literary events associated with “that fated year” (Robert Louis Stevenson). Along with works published in Britain in 1814, participants explore a range of ways of thinking about historical dates and periods and what such data might mean for the study of literature. The format will feature short (15-20 minute) papers with plenty of time for discussion and a seminar-style workshop on Waverley and Jane Austen’s Persuasion.
Speakers include James Chandler (Chicago), Adriana Craciun (UC Riverside), Claire Connolly (Cork), Simon During (Queensland), Penny Fielding (Edinburgh), Rae Greiner (Indiana), Sara Hackenberg (San Francisco State), Yoon Sun Lee (Wellesley College), Ian Duncan (UC Berkeley), Deidre Shauna Lynch (Harvard), Ann Rigney (Utrecht), and Matthew Wickman (Brigham Young).
Full program and details to be announced shortly. Please address inquiries to Ian Duncan, email@example.com.
by Sarah Brouillette
Brouillette’s article, in Representations 127, establishes the importance of UNESCO’s role within the global history of the book. Its focus is the research on the book in the developing world that UNESCO sponsored in the 1960s and 1970s, and how that research supported claims that government should intervene in book and media industries in order to shift the disastrous imbalance in the global media system. It shows how these claims were undermined by the interests of the developed world and sidelined by the emerging discipline of book history.
SARAH BROUILLETTE is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at Carleton University. She is the author of Postcolonial Writers in the Global Literary Marketplace (Palgrave, 2007) and of Literature and the Creative Economy (Stanford, 2014).