On or About 1814

On or About 1814: A Symposium on Literature in History

September 20-21, 2014
300 WheelerHall, UC Berkeley

Convened by Representations editorial board member Ian Duncan.

on-or-about-1814-5On 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, iduncan@berkeley.edu.

Seeing/Knowing Conference at UC Berkeley in September

2014 Conference on Neuroesthetics

Seeing Knowing: Vision, Knowledge, Cognition, and Aesthetics

Speakers include Deborah Aschheim, Harold Cohen, James Elkins, Line Cecilie Engh, Cristina Grasseni, Derek Hodgson, Ellen Lupton, Alan MacEachren, Aaron Marcus, Marcos Nadal, Aude Oliva, William Seely, Colin Ware, Peter Wells, and Johanna Drucker (convener).

What is the connection between vision and knowledge? Do historical and cultural experiences become embodied in visual cognition? How do designers of digital and networked platforms draw on aesthetic as well as analytical tools to create engaging graphic environments?

This conference, scheduled for September 6th and 7th at UC Berkeley, brings together scholars, artists, and cognitive scientists working at the intersection of perception, cognition, representation, and design. At its core is a conviction that the field of “visual epistemology” is poised for a long-overdue systematic articulation.

Topics include the history of vision and its role in early human social organization, the modeling of artificial vision as a set of principles for composition, the investigation of brain patterns and responses to aesthetic activity, and the function of graphic structures in design for cross-cultural communication. Speakers include artists and researchers from graphic design, information visualization, art history, paleo-anthropology, artificial intelligence, geography, and visual studies.


Sponsored by the Minerva Foundation



Philosopher Catherine Malabou at Berkeley

Una’s Lecture
Photo of Catherine Malabou.

Monday, April 14, 2014 | 6:00 pm
Banatao Auditorium, Sutardja Dai Hall, UC Berkeley

French Philosopher Catherine Malabou teaches at the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy at Kingston University in London. She is the author of The Future of Hegel (2005), What Should We Do with Our Brain? (2008), Plasticity at the Eve of Writing (2009) and Self and Emotional Life: Philosophy, Psychoanalysis, and Neuroscience (2013)Her work has created the foundation for a wide range of current research focusing on the intersections between neuro- and biological science and the humanities. Her Una’s lecture, “Odysseus’ Changed Soul,” will offer a contemporary reading of Plato’s myth of Er (Republic, Book 10).

Professor Malabou’s short essay “The King’s Two (Biopolitical) Bodies” will appear in Representations 127, available in July 2014. In residence at Berkeley through the month of April, she will be a featured speaker in the interdisciplinary conference  “Animation/Reanimation” April 18, 2014 and participate (along with Representations editorial board member David Bates) in a two-day workshop April 11-12, entitled “Plasticity and Pathology: The History and Theory of Neural Subjects.”

The Secret History of Diegesis

“The Secret History of Diegesis”: A Talk by Elaine Freedgood

picture of “The Secret History of Diegesis“: A Talk by Elaine Freedgood

ELAINE FREEDGOOD is Professor of English at New York University. Her books include Victorian Writing About Risk: Imagining a Safe England in a Dangerous World (2000) and The Ideas in Things: Fugitive Meaning in the Victorian Novel (2006). Both “The Secret History of Diegesis” and “Ghostly Reference,” just published in the Representations special issue Denotatively, Technically, Literally, are part of her current project,  Worlds Enough: Fictionality and Reference in the Novel.

Symposium: The Literary and Its Outsides

Denotatively, Technically, Literally
The Literary and Its Outsides
Tuesday, April 1, 5–7:00 pm
Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall
Townsend Center for the Humanities
UC Berkeley


Margaret Cohen (Stanford University)
Ian Duncan (UC Berkeley)
Elaine Freedgood (New York University)
Cannon Schmitt (University of Toronto)


Stephen Best (UC Berkeley)
Kent Puckett (UC Berkeley)
Four contributors to the current special issue of Representations (No. 125, Winter 2014), co-edited by Elaine Freedgood and Cannon Schmitt, will offer reflections on language–denotative, technical, literal–conventionally excluded from critical reading and, thus, from “literature.” Discussants include Stephen Best (editorial board, Representations, co-editor of the special issue “Surface Reading,” No. 108, 2009) and Kent Puckett (co-chair, editorial board, Representations).

Co-sponsored by:

The Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities, UCB
The Nineteenth Century and Beyond Working Group, UCB
The Florence Green Bixby Chair in English, UCB

Pan-Optics Symposium at UC Berkeley March 6


Pan-Optics: Perspectives on Visual Privacy & Surveillance

March 6, 2014; Banatao Auditorium, Sutardja Dai Hall, 10:30-4:30

Advances in drone aircraft, networked cameras, and recent disclosures about the NSA’s international and domestic surveillance activities have stimulated public protests, outrage from activists, and new policy discussions among elected leaders. This symposium will highlight emerging perspectives on visual privacy and consider the state of the art from a variety of disciplines and professions, including technology, journalism, filmmaking and the arts.

Among the many presenters and panelists are Rebecca MacKinnon, Senior Research Fellow at the New American Foundation; Trevor Paglen, artist and social scientist; Ken Golberg, Faculty Director of the CITRIS Data & Democracy Initiative; and Kriss Ravetto, Director of the Mellon Research Initiative in Digital Cultures at UC Davis and author of the “Shadowed by Images: Rafael Lozano-Hemmer and the Art of Surveillance” (Representations 111, Summer 2010).

For further information and to register, visit bit.ly/pan-optices2014.

THE NEW AGE OF AUTOMATION: algorithms, data, individuations

Today in Paris!

David Bates, author of Cartesian Robotics, will be speaking in the session “L’Automatisation contra l’Autonomisation”  at  LE NOUVEL ÂGE DE L’AUTOMATISATION: Algorithmes, Données, Individuations at the Pompidou Centre in Paris. Bates’s contribution is one of several talks by international scholars, who will be discussing automation as it affects the the human relation to work, time, and space in the evolution of the digital environment.



Colleen Lye on “Office Stories”

The UC Berkeley Consortium on the Novel presents The Immigrant Novel in America Wednesday, November 13, at 4 pm in 315 Wheeler Hall (The Maude Fife Room) at the University of California, Berkeley. Presentations include “The Void and the Missing: Memory’s Trace in Monique Truong’s Bitter in the Mouth” by Karl Britto (UC Berkeley French and Comparative Literature), “The Future as Form: Imagining the Abolition of Social Categories in Ana Castillo’s Sapogonia” by Marcial Gonzalez (UC Berkeley English), and “Office Stories” by Colleen Lye (UC Berkeley English and Representations editorial board). Katherine Snyder (UC Berkeley English), respondent.


Washington, 1923. “Stamp Division, Post Office.” National Photo Company Collection glass negative, Library of Congress.