Today: Nancy Um to speak in the CEMERS Lecture Series, Wed, Sept 12

Bottle, Glass with enamel and gilding, 1725-1750, Gujarat, Height :13.2 cm, Base: 6.2 x 6.2 cm, LACMA, M.88.129.203. Image in the public domain.

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).

Lecture Abstract: In this talk, I will explore the significance of a corpus of square-based, mold-blown, and gilded glass vessels that were made in India in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and have been cast under the wider rubric of “Mughal glass.” By connecting these decorated flasks to similar containers made of porcelain in Japan, we may understand the key role that they played as gifts, filled with aromatic oils, packaged in custom-made boxes, and delivered to recipients around the Indian Ocean. Rather than isolated items of decorative interest, these highly mobile, much-dispersed, and valuable gifts of glass and porcelain comprised parts of assemblages that were deployed strategically across the extended commercial networks of the Dutch overseas empire.
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Jeffrey Kirkwood in Posthumanism in the Age of Humanism (Bloomsbury)

Posthumanism in the Age of Humanism (Bloomsbury)

“Vertiginous Systems of the Soul”

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.

Nancy Um to speak in the CEMERS Lecture Series, Wed, Sept 12

Bottle, Glass with enamel and gilding, 1725-1750, Gujarat, Height :13.2 cm, Base: 6.2 x 6.2 cm, LACMA, M.88.129.203. Image in the public domain.

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).
Lecture Abstract: In this talk, I will explore the significance of a corpus of square-based, mold-blown, and gilded glass vessels that were made in India in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and have been cast under the wider rubric of “Mughal glass.” By connecting these decorated flasks to similar containers made of porcelain in Japan, we may understand the key role that they played as gifts, filled with aromatic oils, packaged in custom-made boxes, and delivered to recipients around the Indian Ocean. Rather than isolated items of decorative interest, these highly mobile, much-dispersed, and valuable gifts of glass and porcelain comprised parts of assemblages that were deployed strategically across the extended commercial networks of the Dutch overseas empire.

Jeffrey Kirkwood in the ZMK (Zeitschrift für Medien- und Kulturforschung)

“The Technological Fact of Counterfactuals

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.

Tom McDonough speaks at “1968: Aesthetics and Anti-aesthetics” conference at NYU-Berlin

Associate Professor Tom McDonough contributed a paper on “Cinema at a Standstill or, why didn’t Guy Debord film during May ’68” at the “1968: Aesthetic and Anti-aesthetics” conference hosted by NYU-Berlin May 25-26.
His talk examined the profound visual discretion exercised by Guy Debord and the Situationist International more generally during the crisis of May and June 1968, asking why Debord refused to produce any filmic documentation of the events, even as many others on the Left willingly did so. A careful reading of the text-based posters produced by the group at that time, however, opens the possibility for seeing their activity as a form of imageless cinema.

Andrew Walkling Revives Manual Collation at the Folger Shakespeare Library

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/

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Roundtable published on Scalar with Lauren Cesiro as Digital Content Manager

 

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Screenshot from Itinera, modified by Nancy Um on Adobe Illustrator.

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