Histories of Reading/Reading Processes Friday, October 16, 2009, at Columbia

Histories of Reading/Reading Processes
Friday, October 16, 2009

A one-day conference sponsored by the Eighteenth-Century Group in the
Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University,
with support from the Department, the Graduate School of Arts and
Sciences, the Rare Books and Manuscripts Library and a Mellon Foundation
grant on the future of the disciplines.

Co-organizers: Jenny Davidson (jmd204[at]columbia.edu), Nicole Horejsi
(njh2115[at]columbia.edu), Adela Ramos (amr2105[at]columbia.edu), Alice
Boone (ab787[at]columbia.edu) and Marina Graham (mkg2113[at]columbia.edu).

The first and second panels will be held in Hamilton 603; the talk at
the end of the day will be held in Butler Library 523, with a reception
to follow in the adjacent room (522).

Please come to some or all of the events, and feel free to forward the
invitation to others who might be interested.

Panel I: 10:30-12:15 (Hamilton 603)
Histories of the discipline

Chair/moderator: Marina Graham

A moderated discussion of short selections from Adam Smith and Hugh
Blair on rhetoric and belles lettres, along with brief excerpts by
Thomas Miller (The Formation of College English), Gauri Viswanathan
(Masks of Conquest) and Maureen McLane (Romanticism and the Human
Sciences). Readings will be available via a wiki (we will also make a
few hard copies, available in 602) – details to follow.

Lunch: 12:15 – 2

Panel II: 2-3:30 (Hamilton 603)
Digital experiments

Chair/moderator: Alice Boone

Each panelist will bring something from a digital database – a text, a
list of hits, an example of interface – and narrate or explicate some
possibility opened by technological change for research and reading.
Several eighteenth-century collections are widely used: ECCO, EEBO, the
Sabin Americana collection, the American Periodical Series, Shakespeare
editions from Chadwyck-Healey and elsewhere, smaller projects to
digitize the Spectator and other periodicals. Aside from convenience in
retrieval and dissemination, how does our use of these media transform
our processes of investigation as well as our objects of study? What can
we do with these databases, and how do we free our imaginations to
perceive the new capabilities they offer? How do we take advantage of
the things they let us do that are not traditionally a strength of
English studies (for instance, computing large quantities of data) to
enrich the disciplinary practices whose possession we already take for

Mary Kate Hurley on blogging and literary studies
Ashley Brinkman on the boons and banes of searching EEBO
Ivan Lupíc on the classical page in the digital age

Keynote Lecture: 4-5:15, Room 523, Butler Library
“Shakespeare’s Hard Drive: Our Born-Digital Literary Heritage”
Professor Matthew Kirschenbaum (University of Maryland)

Description: “A writer working today will not and cannot be studied in
the future in the same way as writers of the past because the basic
material evidence of their authorial activity—manuscripts and drafts,
working notes, correspondence, journals—is, like all textual
production, increasingly migrating to the electronic realm. This talk,
which should be of interest to anyone with a stake in future literary
studies, will discuss these issues and challenges, with examples of
major writers whose computers, hard drives, diskettes, and cell phones
are already being archived alongside the rest of their ‘papers.’”

Matthew G. Kirschenbaum is Associate Professor in the Department of
English at the University of Maryland, Associate Director of the
Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH, an applied
thinktank for the digital humanities), and Director of Digital Cultures
and Creativity, a new “living/learning” program in the Honors College.
He is also an affiliated faculty member with the Human-Computer
Interaction Lab at Maryland, and a Vice President of the Electronic
Literature Organization. His first book, Mechanisms: New Media and the
Forensic Imagination, was published by the MIT Press in 2008 and won the
2009 Richard J. Finneran Award from the Society for Textual Scholarship
(STS) and the 2009 George A. and Jean S. DeLong Prize from the Society
for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing (SHARP).
Kirschenbaum speaks and writes often on topics in the digital humanities
and new media; his work has received coverage in Wired, Boing Boing,
Slashdot, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. See
http://www.mkirschenbaum.net for more.

Reception: 5:15-6:30, Room 522, Butler Library


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