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2012-2013 CHAT Lectures

The Digital Humanities in Theory

A special series for 2012-13brings scholars engaged in paradigm-shifting scholarship to Temple University to present their work on the Digital Humanities and discuss it with interested faculty and students. Time and place varies.

Distinguished Faculty Lectures

All talks showcase new research by Temple faculty on alternate Thursdays, 12:30-1:50 pm, CHAT Lounge, 10th Floor, Gladfelter Hall


Spring 2013


Distinguished Faculty Lectures Series

Speaker portraitTherese Dolan, Art History

Facing the Music:
Manet and Wagner

Thursday, September 13
12:30–1:50 pm, CHAT Lounge

Manet was most familiar with Wagner’s short story “A Happy Evening” and his 1860 manifesto Lettre sur la musique. Both these work circulated in Paris and were discussed by numerous critics at the time Manet began his Music in the Tuileries. These writings distilled Wagner’s aesthetic principles from the Zurich essays and were written and published in French. Wagner articulated his arguments about the superiority of music over painting and literature in these essays. By situating his painting in the same setting that Wagner chose for his story — a Parisian park with people listening to an outdoor concert — Manet could confront Wagner’s ideas with his brush. (more... )


Distinguished Faculty Lectures Series

Speaker portraitSherril Dodds, Dance

‘Naughty but Nice’:
Re-Articulations of Value in
Neo-Burlesque Striptease

Thursday, September 27
12:30–1:50 pm, CHAT Lounge

Neo-burlesque striptease re-maps the striptease body in two ways. First, it offers its performers and audiences opportunities for agency, empowerment and inclusivity in the design of acts, the wide spectrum of body types celebrated, and the easy access to classes, workshops and competition events. Second, is the notion of ‘tease’, used in its dual sense: to incite erotic feeling while refusing to satisfy the desire aroused; and to make fun of or provoke someone through jest. Through critical performance strategies, performers tease, make fun of, provoke and satirise themselves, the audience, and the tradition of women undressing as erotic spectacle. (more... )


Distinguished Faculty Lectures Series

Paul Swann, FMA

Speaker portraitDigital Arts and Humanities:
Coping with Precarity
in the Creative Economy

Thursday, October 11
12:30–1:50 pm, CHAT Lounge

The rhetoric of jobs currently dominates public discourse. The arts and the humanities have to defend themselves even more than usual. A former term of critique – the culture industries – has become a justification and a reinvention of the arts and humanities as a panacea. (more... )


Distinguished Faculty Lectures Series

Speaker portraitMarcus Bingenheimer, Religion

Mount Putuo and Its Gazetteers: Landscape and Text in the Creation of a Sacred Buddhist Site in China

Thursday, October 25
12:30–1:50 pm, CHAT Lounge

Mount Putuo is one of the four sacred mountains of Chinese Buddhism. Located on an island off the coast near Ningbo, its many temples and sacred sites are described in a large number of texts, including topographic descriptions, poems, travelogues, inscriptions, and biographies. These texts are collected in "gazetteers" that have been compiled over the course of the last 600 years. The talk introduces the relationship between the site and its texts as paradigmatic for the process of textualization, which encodes meanings that are associated with locations in texts and thus encourages or impedes the development of further meanings. We will look at some of the options actors in the Chinese setting had when interacting with sacred sites. There will also be nice pictures of Mount Putuo. (more... )


Digital Humanities in Theory

Speaker portraitJeffrey Schnapp, Harvard

Teaching (design) Thinking

Tuesday, November 6
4:00–5:30 pm, CHAT Lounge

Director of metaLAB (at) Harvard and Director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society

What happens to humanistic scholarship in the print-plus or post-print era? What does it mean to envisage a world where the form that scholarly knowledge assumes is no longer a given and every work of scholarship is engaged in imagining and codifying new genres of scholarly communication? This talk will address these questions from the perspective of recent experiences and experiments at metaLAB (at) Harvard.


Digital Humanities in Theory

SpeakerTed Striphas, Indiana University

"An Infernal Culture Machine":
Intellectual Foundations of Algorithmic Culture

Wednesday, November 7
4:00–5:30 pm, CHAT Lounge

Associate Professor of Communication and Culture at Indiana University and Fellow of the University of Denver Institute for the Digital Humanities

The idea of culture has changed dramatically over the last sixty years, stretching its meaning in ways that may not yet be able to grasp fully or articulate eloquently. This talk traces that shift to culture's encounter with cybernetic theory, a body of research whose central concern is the process of communication and control in complex systems. The main focus of this talk is the prevailing sociological and anthropological literature on culture of postwar America, particularly that of the third quarter of the 20th century. The writings of Talcott Parsons and Clifford Geertz are exemplary in this regard, but an individual lesser known to the human sciences figures prominently here as well: the termite scientist Alfred. E. Emerson, whose influence on Parsons' conceptualization of culture was particularly deep and abiding. I intend to show how, within this constellation of work, we can begin to register the historical rudiments of what, in our own time, has coalesced into the phenomenon of "algorithmic culture," or the use of computational processes to sort, classify, and hierarchize people, places, objects, and ideas.


Distinguished Faculty Lectures Series

Speaker portraitJoe Schwartz, Political Science

Rampant Inequality:
The Hidden Cause of the
Great Recession

Thursday, November 8
12:30–1:50 pm, CHAT Lounge

The rampant growth of inequality over the past thirty-five years, particularly in the United States, played a major role in causing the Great Recession. The decline in the real wages of working people contributed to a global crisis of overproduction and underconsumption. To sustain their modest standard of living, working families went heavily into debt. United States transnationals, on the other hand, turned to foreign outsourcing and financial speculation. These two trends — the decline in real living standards and the dependence of the global economy on financial asset bubbles — caused the Great Recession. Long-term global economic health must be rooted in a more egalitarian distribution of income and wealth, and an economy that serves human needs rather than short-term corporate profits.


Digital Humanities in Theory

Speaker portraitAlex Galloway, NYU

The Unworkable Interface

Tuesday, November 13
4:00–5:30 pm, CHAT Lounge

Associate Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication, New York University

Interfaces are back, or perhaps they never left. The familiar Socratic conceit from the “Phaedrus” of communication as the process of writing directly on the soul of the other has, since the 1980s and ‘90s, returned to center stage in the discourse around culture and media. Windows, doors, airport gates and other thresholds are those transparent devices that achieve more the less they do: for every moment of virtuosic immersion and connectivity, for every moment of inopacity, the threshold becomes one notch more invisible, one notch more inoperable. This lecture examines the interface, what Gérard Genette called a “zone of indecision” between the inside and outside of media. What is a computer interface and how does it structure interaction, work, and play? (more... )


Digital Humanities in Theory

Workshop posterMarcus Bingenheimer, Temple
Rachael Buurma, Swarthmore College
Robert Cheetham, Azavea
Katherine Rowe, Bryn Mawr College

Digital Humanities Workshop

Tuesday, November 27
4:30–6:00 pm, CHAT Lounge (more... )


Distinguished Faculty Lectures Series

Speaker portraitTravis Glasson, History

"Honorable Deserters":
POWs and the People in America's First Civil War, 1777-83

Thursday, January 31
12:30–1:50 pm, CHAT Lounge

In 1777, several thousand troops in British service were captured by American forces at the Battle of Saratoga. This body of prisoners, known as a result of the surrender agreement signed by their commander as the Convention Army, spent the next six years in captivity in sites stretching from New England to Virginia. This lecture examines the experiences of these soldiers and their intimate and varied interactions with communities of American civilians. Building on recent work characterizing the American Revolution as a Civil War, we can better understand how the many peoples of British North America negotiated the pressures, ambiguities, and divided loyalties inherent in such a conflict. (more... )


Digital Humanities in Theory

Speaker portraitJohn Palfrey, Phillips Academy

Building a Digital Public Library
of America

Wednesday, February 6
4:00–5:30 pm, CHAT Lounge

Chair, Steering Committee of the Digital Public Library of America, and Head of School at Phillips Academy, Andover

John Palfrey chairs the steering committee of the Digital Public Library of America. In his invitational lecture, he will describe the ambitious, public-spirited effort to establish a national digital library in the United States. The DPLA brings together thousands of people from diverse backgrounds who share a vision of an enduring national resource where all Americans can access our cultural heritage resources, free to all. (more... )


Distinguished Faculty Lectures Series

Speaker portrait Peter Marshall, Psychology

Explanation, Mechanism, and Development

Thursday, February 14
12:30–1:50 pm, CHAT Lounge

In some circles, explanations of human behavior and cognition – both normal and abnormal – are increasingly couched in biological terms. This turn to biology has met resistance from those who see advances in neuroscience and genetics as encouraging reductionism of an inappropriate kind. Between the extremes, a more nuanced position requires a careful consideration of the notions of explanation and mechanism as well as a focus on developmental processes and plasticity. (more... )


Distinguished Faculty Lectures Series

Speaker portraitOwen Ware, Philosophy

Repentance, Moral Conversion, and Personal Identity

Thursday, February 28
12:30–1:50 pm, CHAT Lounge

With few exceptions, philosophers have taken a critical view of the idea that repentance involves radical self-change (North 1987; Dan-Cohen 2007; Radzik 2009; Konstan 2010). A worry many have is that it creates a paradox of imputation. If an offender can fully transform herself, becoming a different person, then punishment, resentment, and forgiveness would no longer be justified. My aim in this paper is to offer a different view. The paradox of imputation arises only if we assume self-change must amount to a change of personal identity. Recent theorists of narrative identity have made a similar assumption (Schechtman 2001; 2007), but there are good reasons to resist it. If narrative identity requires empathy with one's past actions, then one's repudiation of those actions would lead to self-alienation. I argue, however, that we can understand repentance as a form of repudiation that sustains, rather than destroys, the narrative self. Moreover, thinking of repentance in this way gets us past the paradox philosophers have found so troubling with the idea of radical self-change. (more... )


Digital Humanities in Theory

Speaker portraitKathleen Fitzpatrick, Pomona College

The Humanities in and for
the Digital Age

Thursday, March 7
4:00–5:30 pm, CHAT Lounge

Director of Scholarly Communication
at the Modern Language Association,
and Professor of Media Studies at Pomona College

Digital technologies have rapidly changed the landscape of scholarly publishing, and they've equally changed the ways that scholars themselves engage with their work. This talk explores a few of those changes as they have begun to affect the humanities, including the new roles being played by scholarly societies in today's communication environment. (more... )


Book Publishing Event

Speaker portraitBill Finan, Public Policy and International Relations, University Pennsylvania Press

Eric Schwartz, Sociology and Cognitive Science, Princeton University Press

Publishing Your First Book
in the Social and Behavioral Sciences and the Humanities

Wednesday, March 20
4:00–6:00 pm, CHAT Lounge (more... )


Distinguished Faculty Lectures Series

Speaker portraitNicole Martorano Van Cleve, Criminal Justice

The Criminal Justice System as a Welfare Handout: How Criminal Justice Professionals Adapt Welfare-Dependency Narratives to the World of Custody and Courts

Thursday, March 21
12:30–1:50 pm, CHAT Lounge

How do traditional distinctions between the deserving and undeserving poor become altered for use in the penal context? This work examines two central criminal justice “gateways” where professionals must evaluate defendants: the county jail, where sheriff’s officers determine which inmates are to be released, and the criminal courts, where professionals determine which defendants receive plea bargains rather than trials. In both contexts, overburdened professionals buttress formal guidelines and adopt a worldview that sorts defendants into easily navigable entities — those deserving of resources and those undeserving. Penal and legal codes become altered as defendants are sorted through the justice system based on how they relate to narratives and perceptions of welfare-dependency. (more... )


Distinguished Faculty Lectures Series

Speaker portraitPriya Joshi, English

Rethinking the Theory of the Novel

Thursday, April 4
12:30–1:50 pm, CHAT Lounge

Priya Joshi is Associate Professor in the Temple University English department and Founding Director of the New India Forum. Prior to joining Temple in 2005, Joshi was Associate Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, where she taught since 1995.

What theory of the novel might emerge when it is based on anti-literary forms? How might attention to the anti-literary revise the history of the novel as it is presently conceived?

This talk addresses these linked questions by examining the recent explosion of commercially successful English novels in India. Writers such as Chetan Bhagat illuminate a new purpose and presence of the twenty-first century novel that unabashedly enters that most popular of zones (the Bollywood film) where it participates and shapes dialogues about nation and citizen, modernity and social purpose in realms far removed from print, literacy, and even the novel. That in the end may be the future of the novel in the twenty-first century: inhabiting a zone in which it actively coexists with other forms and media, rather than obliterating or being obliterated by them. A literary history of such coexistence remains to be written. (more... )


2013 CHAT conference

Speaker portrait

The Future of Knowledge in the Humanities

Wednesday, April 17
1:00–6:00 pm, CHAT Lounge

In the twentieth-century American university, the collective fields of the humanities produced, transmitted, and challenged certain kinds of knowledge that set them apart from the knowledge produced in the sciences or fine arts. At the start of the twenty-first century, the humanities are under attack. Confronting severe economic pressures, universities must decide whether to renew or revise their commitment to liberal education. Invited speakers will address this core issue—some call it a"crisis." Our focus is how knowledge has been, is, and might be sponsored, produced, taught, and valued in higher education. Guiding questions include: What has been the relationship between the "humanities" and the kind of knowledge protected and produced in higher education? What is the relationship between our pedagogical and political commitments? How have we in the past connected the public purpose of higher education to the knowledge taught and produced there? And how might we pursue it in the future? Our speakers are encouraged to provide historical and practical perspectives which these and other questions demand. (more... )


Distinguished Faculty Lectures Series

Speaker portraitAdam Shellhorse, Spanish and Portuguese

Fabrications of a Violent Present: The Problem of Modernity, Poetics and Margins in Brazilian
Concrete Poetry

Thursday, April 18
12:30–1:50 pm, CHAT Lounge

No literary tendency exemplifies more powerfully the theoretical complexity and will to poetic autonomy of the historical Latin American avant-garde movements than that of the Brazilian concrete poets. The constructivist, participatory impulse that contextualizes Brazilian literary and artistic production in the years following World War II and through the 1960s is an especially fertile site to begin to reconsider the concrete poetry project. From a multidisciplinary framework that crosses the arts and encompasses the theories of Sartre, Badiou, and Rancière, I investigate how Brazilian concrete poetry, far from simply “aesthetic” and internationally minded, articulated radical fabrications of the present, the poetic, and the political. (more... )


Digital Humanities in Theory

Speaker portraitWilliam Noel, University of Pennsylvania

Free and Easy: The Appearance of Truly Useful Cultural Heritage Data

Thursday, April 25
4:00-5:30 pm, CHAT Lounge

Director of the Special Collections Center, and Founding Director of the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies, University of Pennsylvania

The most useful digital data is stable, open data. An enormously diverse group of users need to be able to find it, access it in the form in which it was captured, ingest it easily, and use it as they want. What then, does open manuscript data actually look like? Will Noel discusses a model employed for the digital manuscripts of The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. (more... )


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