2014 Summer Seminar in the History of the Book

Books in the Larger World of Objects

Sunday, June 15 through Friday, June 20, 2014

Seminar Leaders: David Brewer and Lynn Festa
Guest Faculty: Jennifer Roberts

Syllabus

Sunday, June 15

4 – 7ish welcome, introductions, and a tour of the library, followed by drinks and dinner
(meet in the lobby of Antiquarian Hall, at 185 Salisbury Street)

 

Monday, June 16

9 – 10:30 am The State of Things (Goddard Daniels House)
Readings:
  • Daniel Miller, pp. 1-20 of the Introduction to Materiality, ed. Daniel Miller (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2005). PDF
  • Bjornar Olsen, “Material Culture After Text: Re-Membering Things,” Norwegian Archaeological Review 36:2 (2003): 87-104. PDF
  • Frank Trentmann, “Materiality in the Future of History: Things, Practices, Politics,” Journal of British Studies 48:2 (2009): 283-307. PDF

Recommended Further Reading:

  • Diana Coole and Samantha Frost, “Introducing the New Materialism,” in Diana Coole and Samantha Frost, eds, New Materialisms: Ontology, Agency, and Politics (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010). PDF
10:30 am break
10:45 - 12:15 pm Books and Their Uses
Readings:
  • Ruth Benedict, “Animism,” Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, Vol. 2 (1930), 65-67.PDF
  • David Cressy, “Books as Totems in Seventeenth-Century England and New England,” The Journal of Library History (1974-1987) 21:1 (1986): 92-106. PDF
  • Leah Price, “Reader’s Block,” in How to Do Things with Books in Victorian Britain, 19-41. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012. PDF
  • Pamela H. Smith, “In the Workshop of History: Making, Writing, and Meaning,” Shaping Objects: Art, Materials, Making, and Meanings in the Early Modern World, an article series of West 86th: A Journal of Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture, 19 (2012): 4-31. PDF
12:15 pm lunch
1:30 – 3:00 pm library orientation (Antiquarian Hall)
3:00 – 4:45 pm an archival workshop in which we explore an array of intriguing artifacts that might work well as touchstones for the week (Council Room)
[N.B. you’re welcome to select other items from the collection; this session is just to give you a sense of the sorts of things that might be promising for these purposes]
5:00 – 5:30 pm end of day check-in (GDH)

 

Tuesday, June 17

9 – 10:30 am Agency and Value, Take One (GDH)
Readings:
  • Alfred Gell, pp. 12-45, 96-104, and 121-33 from Art and Agency: An Anthropological Theory (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998). PDF
  • Peter Stallybrass, “Marx’s Coat,” in Border Fetishisms: Material Objects in Unstable Spaces, ed. P. Speyer (London: Routledge, 1998), 183-207. PDF

Recommended Further Reading:

  • John Frow, "Gift and Commodity," in Time and Commodity Culture: Essays in Cultural Theory and Postmodernity, 102-217. Oxford: Clarendon Press 1997. PDF
10:30 am break
10:45 – 12:15 pm Agency and Value, Take Two
Readings:
  • Teresa Barnett, “The Battlefield’s Remains,” Chapter 4 in Sacred Relics: Pieces of the Past in Nineteenth-Century America (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013). PDF
  • Richard Taws, pp. 43-54 and 66-69 from “Between States: Passports, Certificates, and Citizens,” Chapter 2 in The Politics of the Provisional: Art and Ephemera in Revolutionary France (State College, PA: Penn State University Press, 2013). PDF
  • Laurier Turgeon, “The Tale of the Kettle: Odyssey of an Intercultural Object,” Ethnohistory 44:1 (Winter 1997): 1-29. PDF
12:15 pm lunch
1:30 – 3:00 pm time for research and consultation
3:00 – 4:45 pm an archival workshop in which we’ll test out, challenge, and refine our ideas to date (Council Room)
5:00 – 5:30 pm end of day check-in (GDH)
7:00 pm Jon Senchyne, Assistant Professor in the School of Library and Information Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison, will present "Vibrant Material Textuality: New Materialism, Book History, and the Archive in Paper" (GDH)

 

Wednesday, June 18
Guest faculty: Jennifer Roberts, Department of the History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University

9 – 10:30 am Objects in Time (GDH)
Readings
  • Jonathan Gil Harris, “Palimpsested Time: Toward a Theory of Untimely Matter,” in Untimely Matter in the Time of Shakespeare (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009), 1-25. PDF
  • Tim Ingold, “Toward an Ecology of Materials,” Annual Review of Anthropology 41 (2012): 427-42. PDF
  • Christopher Pinney, “Things Happen: Or, From Which Moment Does That Object Come?” in Materiality, ed. Daniel Miller (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2005). PDF
10:30 am break
10:45 – 12:30 pm Objects in Space
Readings
  • Bruno Latour, "Drawing Things Together," in Representation in Scientific Practice, ed. Michael Lynch and Steve Woolgar, 19-68. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1990. PDF
  • Jennifer Roberts, “Audubon’s Burden: Materiality and Transmission in the Birds of America,” Chapter 2 in Transporting Visions: The Movement of Images in Early America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2014). (in two PDFs) PDF PDF
12:30 pm lunch
1:30 – 3:00 pm time for research and consultation
3:00 – 4:45 pm an archival workshop in which we’ll test out, challenge, and refine our ideas to date (Council Room)
5:00 – 5:30 pm end of day check-in (GDH)

N.B. the reading room is open until 8 pm this evening for additional research time, if desired

 

Thursday, June 19

9 – 10:30 am Complications, Take One (GDH)
Readings:
  • Jane Bennett, “The Agency of Assemblages and the North American Blackout,” Public Culture 17:3 (Fall 2005): 445-46. PDF
  • Ben Kafka, “The Demon of Writing,” in The Demon of Writing: Powers and Failures of Paperwork, 51-76. New York: Zone Books, 2012. PDF
  • Michel Serres, pp. 224-30 from “Theory of the Quasi-Object,” in The Parasite, trans. Lawrence R. Schehr (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982). PDF
10:30 am break
10:45 – 12:45 pm Complications, Take Two
Readings:
  • Glenn Adamson, “Playing Dumb,” Art History 36:3 (June 2013): 670-76. PDF
  • Page DuBois, “Dildos,” Chapter 3 in Slaves and Other Objects (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003). PDF
  • Tim Ingold, “Materials Against Materiality,” Archaeological Dialogues 14:1 (June 2007): 1-16. PDF
  • Christopher Tilley, “Materiality in Materials,” Archaeological Dialogues 14:1 (June 2007): 16-20. PDF
12:30 am lunch
1:30 – 3:00 pm time for research and consultation
3:00 – 4:45 pm an archival workshop in which we’ll test out, challenge, and refine our ideas to date (Council Room)
5:00 – 5:30 pm end of day check-in (GDH)
6:00 pm Cookout at the Goddard-Daniels House (weather permitting)

 

Friday, June 20

9 – 10:30 am short presentations on our touchstones (Council Room)
10:30 am break
10:45 – 12:15 pm closing thoughts and synthesis (Council Room)
12:15 pm lunch [available to go, if need be]

 

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