Unless otherwise noted, all colloquia are held in:
4207 Helen C. White Hall
600 N. Park Street
Madison, WI 53706
Spring 2013 Schedule
Tuesday, February 12, 12-1 p.m.
Co-opting Theory: How Feminist Ryan Gosling Saved my Academic Life
Gender and Women's Studies
Danielle Henderson, creator of Feminist Ryan Gosling, speaks about the intersections of feminism, race, and popular culture. She will also discuss her non-traditional path to academia (a twelve-year absence, traveling, working various jobs), and how digital media helped her to combine her non-traditional interests with traditional academic projects.
Tuesday, March 19, 12-1 p.m.
Beyond Ephemerality: Kids, Comics, and History
Carol L. Tilley
The Graduate School of Library and Information Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Once, reading comics was as ubiquitous a pastime for young people as playing video games is today. In the 1940s and 50s in the United States, young people read, collected, and traded comics. They integrated comics into their play, used comics to understand the world, and found inspiration in comics that fueled lifelong avocations. More so than video game playing, comics reading crossed gender, racial, and socio-economic boundaries. Comics inspired as much adult ire as today's video games. Adults feared that by engaging with this medium, young people would grow up degraded, illiterate, and violent.
Although comics were never intended only for child audiences, this medium is often stereotyped in this way. Comics have also attracted other negative stereotypes as being cheap, commercial, and inconsequential. Certainly the economic success of comics-based superhero films and television shows during the past three decades help improve this negative image. A steadily burgeoning scholarship on comics is moving this medium from the periphery toward the center. Still, negative stereotypes, together with the lingering effects of the historical disapprobation, encourage some people to dismiss comics and their readership as ephemeral at best, and harmful at worst.
This presentation will provide an overview of young people’s historical engagement with comics, focusing on the decades of the 1940s and 50s. It will provide specific examples of how these young readers integrated comics in their lives and responded to the mediums’ critics. By giving a voice to these impassioned readers, this research extends the current debates in unexpected and fascinating ways.
2013 Annual Lecture
Tuesday, April 9, 4-5 p.m.
Amateurs and Their Discontents, 1870-2000
English and Media, Culture and Communication
New York University
Lisa Gitelman (English, NYU) is a media historian whose research concerns American print culture, techniques of inscription, and the new media of yesterday and today. She is particularly concerned with tracing the patterns according to which new media become meaningful within and against the contexts of older media. Her most recent book is entitled Always Already New: Media, History, and the Data of Culture and was published by the MIT Press in 2006. Current projects include a monograph, "Making Knowledge with Paper," and an edited collection, "'Raw Data' Is an Oxymoron." She holds a Ph.D. in English from Columbia University and is a former editor of the Thomas A. Edison Papers at Rutgers University. She has taught at the Catholic University of American and at Harvard University.
Monday, April 22, Noon-1 p.m.
Microphotography: A Pre-Digital History of Digitization
A.W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow
Department of Anthropology
This talk will explore the thoughts and activities of a few notable librarians, scientists, bureaucrats, and utopians who, from the turn of the twentieth century through World War II, viewed the book and its institutions as inadequate, and even detrimental, to the intellectual needs of modernity. I specifically attend to how these men sought resolution, through microphotographic means, to four specific problems: library growth; the inadequacy of the book and the library for twentieth-century science; the limits that print publication exercised on circulation and thus accessibility; and the perishability of modern paper. By focusing on the period before the digital computer, and by pursuing this “analog” history of mass book digitization, I seek in this talk to establish a broader historical terrain for understanding mass book digitization not just as a newer practice of photographic reproduction but also as a ongoing critique of the book.
Mary Murrell is an A. W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow (2012-14) at the UWM's Center for the Humanities and a lecturer in UWM's Department of Anthropology. She is currently turning her 2012 dissertation from the University of California, Berkeley, entitled "The Open Book: Digital Form in the Making," into a book.
Fall 2012 Schedule
December 3, 12-1 p.m.
2012 Danky Fellowship Lecture, co-sponsored by the Jail Library Group
Discipline and Publish: Radical Prison Journalism and the Making of a Penal Print Culture
PhD Candidate, Emory University
Before the rise of mass incarceration in the late 1970s, many prisoners had the freedom to write and publish newspapers. Despite operating under circumstances that were heavily censored and highly constrained, inmate-journalists discussed national and international politics, engaged each other and the public, and reflected a dynamic, oppressive, and often-controversial penal culture. The product of a collective endeavor, these documents provide a novel method for tracing the history of institutional culture from the inside out. This talk focuses on the radical feminist and black power prison newspapers held at the Wisconsin Historical Society, examining how inmates created a vibrant inter-prison news network despite geographic isolation and significant censorship. Methodologically, this talk discusses how digital tools like text mining and topic modeling can offer novel ways to discover patterns in newspapers and other large bodies of text.
October 1, 1:30-2:30 p.m.
Writing with Scissors: Nineteenth-Century African American Newspaper Clipping Scrapbooks
Ellen Gruber Garvey
Professor, Department of English, New Jersey City University
Late nineteenth century African American readers spoke back to the hostile white press with its own materials. Like many other Americans -- presidents and janitors, farmwomen and suffragists -- African Americans made scrapbooks from the newspapers they read. While black writers critiqued the white press, black scrapbook makers engaged in a sustained examination and reuse of the white press, often using it against itself. Some created massive collections of scrapbooks numbering hundreds of volumes. Their scrapbooks preserved news of black accomplishments, compared the treatments of black lynching victims with the leniency accorded whites accused of the same crimes, or saved incidents of black people fighting back. Gleaning the press, they created what one black journalist called "unwritten histories." This talk is drawn from Ellen Gruber Garvey's book, Writing with Scissors: American Scrapbooks from the Civil War to the Harlem Renaissance (Oxford University Press 2012), which reveals the interactive relationship people have had with the media since long before the Internet era.
September 25, 12-1 p.m.
Common Readers at the Cape (South Africa), c. 1650-1850
Professor Archie L. Dick
Department of Information Science, University of Pretoria
This talk examines the reading cultures of Cape Town’s slaves, free blacks, and labourers (after emancipation in 1838) as common readers. It reveals how they used literacy practices to represent themselves and their world views. Primary sources include inventories, auction lists, censuses, official records, and a slave’s notebook. A special methodological feature is the use of records of organizations and institutions that provide evidence of reading. The Dutch East India Company (DEIC or VOC), a Slave Lodge school, Muslim religious schools, missionary societies, and book and tract societies proved fruitful for finding this evidence. I conclude that Michel De Certeau’s contrast between strategies and tactics in relation to the power relations of the reading cultures of common readers are too stark, and that in fact they tend to act upon each other more strongly in practice.