James Q. Davies, Associate Professor of Music Scholarship at UC Berkeley, will present a talk at UC Berkeley entitled “Romantic Anatomies of Performance.” Part of the Berkeley Book Chats series sponsored by the Townsend Center for the Humanities, the event will take place on Wednesday, October 14, from noon to 1pm in the Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall.
Davies’s essay, “On Being Moved/Against Objectivity,” is forthcoming in Representations 132. Part of a special forum on “Quirk Historicism,” the essay identifies the ‘‘soft modernist’’ provenance of recent scholarship through an account of musical rocks named and mythologized in the nineteenth century.
The Center for Public Scholarship at The New School for Social Research presents The Problematic Future of Higher Education, a discussion on the ways in which higher education is changing with the demand for outcome-based education, the shift to MOOCs, and the challenging financial landscape students and universities face. The panel discussants include David Bromwich (Sterling Professor of English, Yale University), Andrew Delbanco (Alexander Hamilton Professor of American Studies, Columbia University), Richard Kahlenberg (Senior Fellow, Century Foundation), and Marina Warner (Professor of English and Creative Writing, Birkbeck, University of London). The discussion will be moderated by Kenneth Prewitt (Carnegie Professor of Public Affairs, School of International and Public Affair, Columbia University).
The free event will take place on October 13, from 6:15–8:15 pm, at The New School, 55 West 13th Street, New York, NY, in the Theresa Lang Community and Student Center, 2nd Floor.
A related discussion can be found in the Representations special issue, “The Humanities and the Crisis of The Public University” (116, Fall 2011).
Representations-Townsend Center Collaborative Grant Competition
Starting in the 2015–2016 academic year, Representations will be collaborating with the Townsend Center for the Humanities to present an annual event—a lecture, colloquium, or symposium—to be held on the UC Berkeley campus.
The event will bring together a small number of people from UC Berkeley and beyond, around a focused theme. It is the hope of the sponsors that the events will lead to a special section in, or a special issue of, Representations and/or result in a volume in the Townsend Center’s Berkeley Forum in the Humanities book series.
Up to $5,000 is offered per proposal. Accepted proposals for Spring 2016 will be announced by November 20.
Call for Proposals
- Who may apply: All UCB faculty
- What to submit: A detailed proposal of up to 750 words, including names of proposed participants and a rough budget
- How to submit: Proposals may be sent via email to Representations: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Deadline: October 15
Stephen Greenblatt, Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University and a member of the founding board of Representations, will present a lecture entitled “In the Cave: The Humanities and the Human Condition.” The lecture will take place at 5:00pm on Thursday, September 3 in 315 Wheeler Hall (Maude Fife Room).
One of the oddest features of the Humanities is their almost complete lack of progress. With technology, science, and medicine, we expect and indeed demand the latest, most advanced version; with the Humanities the latest is not necessarily the best, and the aging of work–that is, distance from the immediate circumstances of our lives–simply does not matter. How is that possible? In this lecture, Greenblatt will talk about the paintings in the cave de Chauvet, from 30,000 years ago, and then turn to Gilgamesh, Genesis, and the Iliad. What do these artifacts, among the earliest that survive, have to tell us about the ways that the Humanities make us human?
Ramie Targoff, Professor of English and Director of the Mandel Center for the Humanities at Brandeis University, will present a talk at UC Berkeley entitled “Untying Love’s Knots: Transforming Eros in the Sonnets of Vittoria Colonna.“ The event will take place on Thursday, September 3 at 5:00pm in 300 Wheeler Hall.
Targoff’s article, “The Performance of Prayer: Sincerity and Theatricality in Early Modern England,” is available in Representations 60 (Fall 1997). More recently, she also published “Mortal Love: Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and the Practice of Joint Burial” in Representations 120 (Fall 2012).
Congratulations to Cannon Schmitt, Professor of English at the University of Toronto, who has received the Donald Gray Prize for best essay published in the field of Victorian Studies. The essay, “Technical Maturity in Robert Louis Stevenson,” appeared in “Denotatively, Technically, Literally,” a special issue of Representations 125 (Winter 2014).
Technical language in novels, rare in itself, is still more rarely interpreted. Focusing on Robert Louis Stevenson’s bildungsromans, in this essay Cannon Schmitt argues that a technical maritime lexicon marks their protagonists’ accession to maturity. But that lexicon and the love for the world it attests to and demands also forces a redefinition of what it means to be mature, offering an open, adventurous, never-to-be completed Bildung that refuses the stasis of marriage or a settled profession.
“Progress of the Bell Rock Works,” engraving by William Miller, Figure ix, An Account of the Bell Rock Lighthouse by Robert Stevenson (Edinburgh and London, 1824)
The Donald Gray Prize is awarded annually by the North American Victorian Studies Association (NAVSA). The prize has previously been awarded to other Representations articles, including Sue Zemka’s “The Death of Nancy ‘Sikes’” (2010), Sarah Winter’s “Darwin’s Saussure: Biosemiotics and Race in Expression” (2009), Andrew Miller’s “Lives Unled in Victorian Fiction” (2007), and Herbert Tucker’s “Rossetti’s Goblin Marketing: Sweet to Tongue and Sound to Eye” (2003).
Congratulations to Representations editorial board member Beate Fricke. Fricke and Finbarr Barry Flood (NYU) have been awarded an ACLS Collaborative Research Fellowship for their research project, Object Histories—Flotsam as Early Globalism.
Fricke (associate professor in the History of Art Department at UC Berkeley) and Flood (William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of the Humanities at New York University) have received a 2016-2017 ACLS Collaborative Research Fellowship. The program provides support to small teams of two or more scholars to collaborate on a single, substantive project.
In Object Histories—Flotsam as Early Globalism, Fricke and Flood draw from case studies in the medieval European and Islamic worlds to tackle methodological and theoretical issues of writing histories of flotsam, when the only source one has is a unique surviving artifact, image, or monument divorced from other documentation of its contexts. The authors describe the project as follows:
“The past decade has witnessed the proliferation of histories written on and from objects. This reflects a number of significant developments in the humanities, from increased attention to circulation, gifting, and the early history of commodities, to a renewed concern with materiality and the potential agency of material things. Historians of medieval art often face the challenge of writing histories for which unique artifacts, images, or monuments are the only available archives. In these cases, the object functions as its own archive, the absence of related written sources compelling the researcher to pursue compensatory lines of historical inquiry. But how does one choose where to start, which lines to trace, and which to ignore or neglect? The collaboration between Finbarr Flood and Beate Fricke considers such questions in relation to the writing of connected histories focused on medieval flotsam—artifacts or images that appear as unique survivals. It explores the pre-modern reception of such objects, their capacity to stimulate new artistic trends, and the methodological problems inherent in treating artifacts as archives to facilitate the writing of medieval histories in the present.”
For more information about Object Histories, visit the ACLS project site.
Alexei Yurchak’s essay “Bodies of Lenin: The Hidden Science of Communist Sovereignty” (Representations 129) has been making the news recently, in Scientific American, Salon.com, the Daily Mail, and UC Berkeley’s NewsCenter.
It’s weird and it’s revealing; read it here.
Congratulations to Representations editorial board member Andrew F. Jones.
Jones, professor and Louis B. Agassiz Chair in Chinese in the East Asian Languages and Cultures Department at UC Berkeley, has been awarded a 2015 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship. Jones was selected as one of 175 scholars, scientists, and artists across the United States and Canada who have shown “prior achievement and exceptional promise” in their work.
At Berkeley, Jones teaches modern Chinese literature and media culture. His Like a Knife: Ideology and Genre in Contemporary Chinese Popular Music (Cornell East Asia Series, 1992) was the first book-length study of the emergence of Chinese rock music in the years before and after the Tiananmen movement of 1989. Yellow Music: Media Culture and Colonial Modernity in the Chinese Jazz Age (Duke University Press, 2001) explored the cultural history of modern Chinese music, tracing its emergence from out of the complex musical and media topography of colonial Shanghai in the 1920s and 1930s. With the support of the Guggenheim foundation, he will complete a book entitled Circuit Listening: Chinese Popular Music in the Transistor Era, which will listen to the sonic history of the long global 1960s from the perspective of a place that is usually dismissed as marginal to the musical revolutions of those years. The book will attempt to write China back into the narrative of how we hear the explosion of new popular musics for which these years are famous; and by the same token, reinsert the “global” into our sometimes hermetic sense of Chinese cultural history in those years.