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Colloquia

Each year CHI organizes a number of informal colloquia or reading groups, bringing together interested faculty, fellows, and graduate students around topics of interest. Colloquia usually meet 6-7 times a semester, with reading arranged in advance. To join a colloquium please contact its organizer.

Colloquia for 2016-17

“What is Information?” (Fall semester, Eric Hayot)

This colloquium offers a basic introduction to major themes in and around the concept of information. Readings and topics include theories of information, information aesthetics, the history of statistics, the digital humanities, the invention of writing, and more. List of readings.

“Distant Readings” (Spring semester, Anatoly Detwyler)

This group will explore landmark works either of or about "distant reading" (scaled analysis of data to interpret large textual systems) in order to study both the historical emergence of reading at a distance, and the variety of fields in which it operates, from stylometry and digital humanities, to mosaic theory and government declassification.  What are the fantasies, anxieties, successes, and failures of these acts of distant reading?  Does reading through the lens of information still constitute an act of reading, and to what extent is it actually the "intimate other" of close reading?  Our list of authors will range from older figures such as Thomas Mendenhall, Louis Milic, and Ferdnand Braudel, to more contemporary scholars like Moretti, Peter Galison, and David Pozen.   

“Collecting & Collections” (Spring semester, Laura Helton)

What are the logics of collecting as a practice of information, as literary form, as material culture, as knowledge production, as power, compulsion, or pleasure?  How do the acts of assembly, storage, and classification operate in and across collections, whether analog or digital, ephemeral or enduring, scientific or idiosyncratic?  We will finalize the reading list as a group to accommodate varied interests, but selections might include excerpts from Jeremy Braddock’s Collecting as Modernist Practice, William Davies Kings’Collections of Nothing, Susan Stewart’s On Longing, William Maxwell’s F. B. Eyes, Robb Dunn’sEvery Little Thing, Lawrence Weschler’s Cabinet of Curiosity, Ann Fabian’s The Skull Collectors, or short articles like Peter Galison’s “Removing Knowledge,” Lorraine Daston’s “The Sciences of the Archive,” and Walter Benjamin’s “Unpacking My Library.”