FALL 2016 :: CULTURES OF SURVEILLANCE

For the Fall 2016 semester, Modernities Working Group is honored to present a lecture and discussion by narrative theorist, literary critic, film scholar, and media studies icon Garrett Stewart (U of Iowa):

MWG-Surveillancinema Poster

“Surveillancinema: Critique or Capitulation?” 

(An Illustrated Presentation)

Garrett Stewart

James O. Freedman Professor of Letters, University of Iowa

Monday, October 24, 2016 / 12:30 PM / Lunch served 

Lannan Center (New North 408) / Georgetown University

RSVP to brian.hochman@georgetown.edu or nathan.hensley@georgetown.edu

Professor Stewart is the author of, among other works, Framed Time: Toward a Postfilmic CinemaNovel Violence: A Narratography of Victorian FictionBookwork: Medium to Object to Concept to ArtClosed Circuits: Screening Narrative Surveillance, and, most recently, The Deed of Reading: Literature Writing Language Philosophy.

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SPRING 2016 : MODERN TIME

For Spring 2016 we’re delighted to continue our yearlong reanimation of the problem of modern time. This term we welcome distinguished scholars who will discuss three aspects of time in modernity: doing time (incarceration), keeping time (measurement), and changing time (in popular music). Events are in New North Building, Georgetown University. All are welcome. Schedule is below.

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1) Tuesday, February 2 | 4:30 PM | New North 204

Caleb Smith (Professor of English & American Studies, Yale University)
Doing Time: The Life and Adventures of a Haunted Convict

UPDATE: Prof. Smith’s visit has unfortunately been cancelled due to a family emergency. 

2) Thursday, March 17 | 12:30 PM | Lannan Center: New North 408 

Carlene Stephens (Curator, Division of Work and Industry, National Museum of American History)
Keeping Time: Reinventing the Wristwatch

3) Thursday, April 21 | 4:30 PM | Lannan Center: New North 408

Jack Hamilton (Assistant Professor of Media Studies & American Studies, University of Virginia, and pop critic at Slate)
Changing Time: Sam Cooke, Bob Dylan, and the Birth of Sixties Music

 

Please email brian.hochman@georgetown.edu or nathan.hensley@georgetown.edu with questions and to RSVP. 

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2015-2016: Modern Time

We are pleased to announce that for the 2015-2016 academic year, the Modernities Working Group will explore the problem of temporality in modernity, broadly construed. Under the heading “Modern Time,” we will together examine questions of periodization, measurement, duration, scale, and endurance from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.

ModernitiesFall2015ImageEver since Baudelaire’s “Painter of Modern Life” essay described the modern experience of time as “ephemeral, fugitive, contingent,” we have known that the reorganization of temporality was one of the prime accomplishments of modernization.

This term’s meetings both frame this canonical problem and extend it in new directions.

Wednesday, September 30, 12:30 pm: Reading Group Meeting. “Ephemeral, Fugitive, Contingent: Time and the Modern, Again.” Readings:

Stephen Kern, from The Culture of Time and Space

Jimena Canales, from A Tenth of a Second: A History

Lee Edelman et al., “Theorizing Queer Temporalities: A Roundtable Discussion”

Dipesh Chakrabarty: “The Climate of History: Four Theses.” 

Wednesday, October 28th, 12:30 pm, Lannan Center (New North 408): Lauren M.E. Goodlad, Kathryn Paul Professorial Scholar of English and former Director, Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. “Victorian Studies and the Longue Durée.”

Professor Goodlad’s discussion will take the form of a 20 minute talk, followed by an open discussion of the methodological coda to her recent book, The Victorian Geopolitical Aesthetic. This short chapter confronts questions of periodization and readerly method in the context of what she posits as our long Victorian contemporaneityGoodlad, VGA Coda

Thursday, December 3, 2015, 12:30 pm, Lannan Center (New North 408): Carlene E. Stevens, Curator, Divison of Works and Industry, National Museum of American History. “Reinventing the Wristwatch”

(All events will be held on Georgetown’s main campus; details forthcoming.)

CyanotypeLibraryofCongressIMAGE: Julius Friedrich Sachse, “The Evolution of the Cereus.” Cyanotype. c. 1888. “Series of 15 cyanotypes taken between May 28th and June 1st, throughout the day and night, to monitor the progress of several blossoms of a cereus plant.” Library of Congress. (http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/98518100/)
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Spring 2015: Ruin

We’re pleased to announce that the MWG will continue its investigation into the topic of “Ruin” with three meetings in the Spring 2015 term. Please note that our March meeting happens in conjunction with the 2015 Lannan Symposium, “In Nature’s Wake: The Art and Politics of Environmental Crisis“; we hope many MWG group members will be able to attend that two day event, March 24-25th, 2015. Further information on our three MWG meetings is forthcoming, but for now, please save the dates:
Wednesday, Feb. 25 / 12:30 PM     
Lannan Center: New North 408, Georgetown University
“Now No More”
Jacques Khalip, Department of English, Brown University

Wednesday, March 25 / 10:30 am
Copley Formal Lounge
“How to Think in the Anthropocene”
A Roundtable Discussion at the 2015 Lannan Symposium, co-presented by the Modernities Working Group, featuring:
Jennifer James, English & Africana Studies, George Washington University
Naveeda Khan, Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University
Dana Luciano, English, Georgetown University
Karen Pinkus, Italian and Comparative Literature, Cornell University

Wednesday, April 22 / 4:30 pm
Special Collections Room, 5th Floor Lauinger Library, Georgetown University
On “Urban Renewal”
Suleiman Osman, American Studies, George Washington University
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2014-2015: Ruin

The theme for the Modernities Working Group in 2014-2015 is Ruin.  “Ruin” describes a historical process as well as its material results. In what forms do the catastrophes of the modern –slavery, war, environmental degradation– survive in the present?  How has past disaster been imagined, preserved, and contested?  What is the future of ruin?

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We are pleased to announce the following events for Fall 2014:

Tuesday, September 23rd //  Reading Group Meeting

“Ruins of Modernity”

12:30 pm / Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice / New North 408

For this initial meeting of the term we will discuss the following short texts and excerpts.  Participants in the discussion are encouraged but not required to have completed the reading.

 

Thursday, October 23rd //  Guest: Werner Sollors, Harvard University, English and African & African American Studies

“After Dachau: Life in Ruins”

5:00 pm / New South Screening Room

Werner Sollors is Henry B. and Anne M. Cabot Professor of English Literature and Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. His most recent book is The Temptation of Despair: Tales of the 1940s (2014). In 2012 he prepared an expanded centennial edition of Mary Antin’s The Promised Land and a Norton Critical Edition of Charles W. Chesnutt’s The Marrow of Tradition. With Julia Faisst and Alan Rosen he coedited David Boder’s collection of interviews from 1946, Die Toten habe ich nicht befragt (2011). Coeditor with Greil Marcus of A New Literary History of America (2009), and with Glenda R. Carpio of African American Literary Studies: New Texts, New Approaches, New Challenges (2011), his major publications include Beyond Ethnicity: Consent and Descent in American Literature and Culture (1986), Neither Black nor White yet Both: Thematic Explorations of Interracial Literature (1997), and Ethnic Modernism  (2008). He has written essays on ethnicity, pluralism, migration, multiculturalism, and numerous individual authors, among them Olaudah Equiano, Mark Twain, W. E. B. Du Bois, Charles Chesnutt, Mary Antin, Jean Toomer, Zora Neale Hurston, Henry Roth, Richard Wright, Ed Bullins, Adrienne Kennedy, Amiri Baraka, and Charles Johnson. Among his edited books are The Invention of Ethnicity (1989), The Return of Thematic Criticism (1993), Theories of Ethnicity (1996), The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano (2000), Interracialism (2000), The Multilingual Anthology of American Literature (2000, with Marc Shell), Charles W. Chesnutt’s Novels, Stories, and Essays (2002), An Anthology of Interracial Literature (2004), Frank. J. Webb, Fiction, Essays & Poetry (2005), and Alexandre Dumas’s Georges (2007). His John Harvard Library edition of Mark Twain’s Pudd’nhead Wilson is forthcoming. Recently he contributed to DaedalusThe Chronicle of Higher Education, Amerikastudien, Comparative American StudiesThe Journal of Ethnic and Racial Studies, and the volumes The Harvard Sampler and The Turn Around Religion. He is the recipient of Fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship and from the National Endowment for the Humanities. He was awarded the Constance Rourke award for the best essay in American Quarterly and the Everett Mendelsohn Excellence in Mentoring Award at Harvard UniversityA corresponding member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and of the Bayerische Amerika-Akademie, he was elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2001 and of the Academia Europaea in 2012.

Thursday, November 20th //  Guest: Mike Osborne, Georgetown University, Department of Art & Art History

“Photography, Landscape, History”

12:30 pm / Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice / New North 408

Combining a documentary style with sometimes cinematic qualities, Mike Osborne’s photographs address the reality and fantasy of specific, sometimes charged places. Exploring subjects such as architecture, public space, landscape, and technology, his work reflects his interest in the perpetual flux of the contemporary world, which can be observed in projects such as Enter the Dragon (2006-2008) in Beijing, Shanghai, and Taipei; Underground (2009-10) in Stuttgart, Germany; and Floating Island (2012) in the Great Basin Desert town of Wendover, Utah. His photograph appears on the Modernities Group poster and website this term.

OsborneAtlanticCity1

Mike Osborne, from Monopoly (2014)

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Paper Knowledge :: Lisa Gitelman :: April 11, 2014

Friday, April 11 // Guest: Lisa Gitelman, NYU

“Paper Knowledge”

  1 PM / Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice / New North 408

Lisa Gitelman is Professor of English and Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University.  She is the author of several books, including Scripts, Grooves, and Writing Machines: Representing Technology in the Age of Edison (Stanford University Press, 2000), New Media, 1740-1915 (MIT Press, 2004; co-edited with Geoffrey B. Pingree), Always Already New: Media, History, and the Data of Culture (MIT Press, 2006), and “Raw Data” Is an Oxymoron (MIT Press, 2013).  As a guest of the Modernities Working Group, she will discuss a pre-circulated chapter from her new book, Paper Knowledge: Toward a Media History of Documents (Duke University Press, 2014).

Here are some recent reviews of Paper Knowledge:

http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2014/03/12/review-lisa-gitelman-paper-knowledge-toward-media-history-documents

http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/books/paper-knowledge-toward-a-media-history-of-documents-by-lisa-gitelman/2011525.article

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SPRING 2014 :: ARCHIVES

In the spring term we continue our engagement with the theme, “Archives.”  There will be three meetings; please contact bh296@georgetown.edu for more information.

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Thursday, February 27 //  Guest: Matthew Kirschenbaum, University of Maryland

“Track Changes: The Literary History of Word Processing”

4:30 pm / Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice / New North 408

Matthew G. Kirschenbaum is Associate Professor of English at the University of Maryland, College Park and  Associate Director of the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities.  His first book, Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination (MIT Press, 2008), won multiple awards, including the 16th annual Prize for a First Book from the Modern Language Association.  His current book project is entitled Track Changes: A Literary History of Word Processing (Harvard University Press, forthcoming).

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Friday, April 11 // Guest: Lisa Gitelman, NYU

“Paper Knowledge”

  12:30 PM / Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice / New North 408

Lisa Gitelman is Professor of English and Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University.  She is the author of several books, including Scripts, Grooves, and Writing Machines: Representing Technology in the Age of Edison (Stanford University Press, 2000), New Media, 1740-1915 (MIT Press, 2004; co-edited with Geoffrey B. Pingree), Always Already New: Media, History, and the Data of Culture (MIT Press, 2006), and “Raw Data” Is an Oxymoron (MIT Press, 2013).  As a guest of the Modernities Working Group, she will discuss a pre-circulated chapter from her new book, Paper Knowledge: Toward a Media History of Documents (Duke University Press, 2014).

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2013-2014: Archives

The theme of the Modernities Working Group in 2013-2014 is Archives. Archives can be contemporary or historical, secret or public, official or insurgent, analog or digital.  What defines an archive?  By what material and conceptual means is an archive bounded, and what is the status of materials that fall beyond those boundaries? What relationships does an archive imply between past and present, social power and its opposite —  and what is our own relationship, as individual critics, scholars, and historians, to the  primary materials with which we engage?

To download a copy of the MWG poster for the fall term, please click here: 357761_poster2.

Please contact Brian Hochman (bh296@georgetown.edu) or Nathan Hensley (nh283@georgetown.edu) to be added to the distribution list.  All are welcome!

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Fall 2013 / Schedule 

Wednesday, September 18

“What is an Archive?” / Reading Group Meeting

12:30 pm / Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice / New North 408

In this first meeting of the term we will introduce ourselves and talk briefly about our own projects in relation to a set of  short readings on “the problem of the archive.” Readings are:

Walter Benjamin, “The Collector [Convolute H],” from The Arcades Project: benjamin_the collector

Jorge Luis Borges, “The Library of Babel”: borges_the library of babel

Thomas Osborne, “The Ordinariness of the Archive”: osborne_ordinariness of the archive

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Wednesday, October 16 //  Guest: Mark Mazzetti, New York Times

“Declassified: On Secrecy and Openness in Reporting”

12:30 pm / Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice / New North 408

Mark Mazzetti is a Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign correspondent for the New York Times and author of The Way of the Knife: The CIA, A Secret Army, and A War at the Ends of the Earth.  This meeting will take the form of a Q&A and open discussion on the topic of  secret archives, sources, and journalistic transparency.  Short readings will be posted to the blog in advance; for a copy of Mazzetti’s book please email nh283@georgetown.edu.

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Wednesday, November 13 // Guest: Joshua Shannon, U. Maryland, College Park

“Art and Fact, 1968 and After”

  Time to be announced / Lannan Center for Poetics and Social Practice / New North 408

 Joshua Shannon is Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Maryland, College Park and founder and director of the Potomac Center for the Study of Modernity.  This meeting will take the form of a work-in-progress workshop on a chapter of Professor Shannon’s current book manuscript, The Recording Machine: Art and Fact, 1968 (under contract, Yale University Press), which asks “why so many artists in the Cold-War West around 1968 seemed to reject art’s traditional aims of essentialist truth-telling in favor of mere presentation of unsynthesized information.”  Shannon’s first book, The Disappearance of Objects: New York Art and the Rise of the Postmodern City (Yale, 2009), was a finalist for the book prize of the Phillips Collection’s Center for the Study of Modern Art and won a General Research Board Award from the University of Maryland and a Wyeth Foundation Publication Grant from the College Art Association.  The relevant chapter draft from The Recording Machine will be emailed to group members in advance of the meeting.

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Machine Seeing and the Ruins of the Future :: Trevor Paglen :: April 2

//Tuesday, April 2, 2013, 12 – 1:30 PM//

 Trevor Paglen, photographer and conceptual artist.

“Machine Seeing and the Ruins of the Future: A Conversation.”

English Department Conference Room, 311 New North

The final meeting of the Modernities Working Group for the 2012/2013 school year will take the form of an open conversation with Trevor Paglen, critical visual artist and conceptual photographer.  Paglen will share some new and recent work and then open the table for discussions of surveillance and the possibility for a critical aesthetics.  Note that this is a lunchtime session and sandwiches, etc., will be served.

Event poster here.  A recent New Yorker profile of Paglen and his work is available here; a web archive of  his work is available here.  Lunch will be served; all are welcome.

Below: Untitled (Reaper Drone); Untitled (Reaper Drone), both C-Prints, 48 x 60,  2010.

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Recent Meeting // Wednesday, February 27, 2013, 5 pm // John McGowan (UNC)

 

//Wednesday, February 27, 2013, 5 pm//

John McGowan (Georgetown ’74), Ruel W. Tyson, Jr. Distinguished Professor of the Humanities and Director, Institute for the Arts and Humanities, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

“Liberal Democracy as Secular Comedy”

The Lannan Center, 408 New North

The chapter to be discussed is available here, in two parts, McGowan Comedy Part 1 / MacGowan Comedy Part 2.  You need not have read the chapter to attend the discussion.  Refreshments will be provided.

 

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