Nancy Um will deliver a lecture entitled, “Imam al-Mutawakkil’s Box: Aromatic Gifts around the Late-Seventeenth- and Early-Eighteenth-Century Indian Ocean,” in the CEMERS Lecture Series. The lecture will be held on September 12, 2018 at 3 pm in LN 1106 (IASH Conference Room).
The article returns to Kant’s student, Marcus Herz, who was the first to publish a work dedicated to the philosophical-medical problem of vertigo and disorientation. Herz’s treatise on disorientation forced a confrontation with a decidedly computer-age problem: how the operations of material systems could produce coherent, second-order, ontological unities. As Kirkwood argues, the long-overlooked answer to this question offered by Herz only became comprehensible following advances in digital computing and machine learning during the twentieth century by figures such as Marvin Minsky. It is for this reason that Kirkwood contends that Herz should be seen as illuminating posthumanistic concerns that were lurking in the very foundations of humanism.
Abstract: Optical media were instrumental in transforming the conception of facts, objectivity, and the “real.” This paper considers their role in structuring understandings of counterfactuals and states that could not be real. By returning to Ernst Mach’s photographic ballistics experiments, writing on thought experiments (a term he coined), and his dispute with Max Planck about the nature of the Weltbild, the article shows that, despite his legacy as a positivist, Mach’s epistemology of mechanical images opened a legitimate space of indeterminacy, contingency, and counterfactuality.
Associate Professor Andrew Walkling recently reported on an ongoing project involving the collation of typographical variants in a late-seventeenth-century English book. His report, published in The Collation, the research blog of the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, describes his work refurbishing and using the library’s Hinman Collator, a fascinating relic of mid-20th-century pre-digital technology. The project grew out of an issue first raised in his forthcoming book, English Dramatick Opera, 1661–1706, to be published by Routledge in 2019.
You can read his post at https://collation.folger.edu/2018/05/hinman-redux/
Lauren Cesiro served as the Digital Content Manager for “Itinera’s Displacements: A Roundtable,” published on Scalar and written by Christopher Drew Armstrong, Lily Brewer, Jennifer Donnelly, Alison Langmead, Vee McGyver, and Meredith North. This roundtable appeared in “Coordinates: Digital Mapping and Eighteenth-Century Visual, Material and Built Cultures,” a special issue of Journal18: a journal of eighteenth-century art and culture, co-edited by Carrie Anderson and Nancy Um.
Visit the project here: http://www.journal18.org/2741