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Visiting Fellows 2015-16

Anatoly Detwyler

I recently completed my dissertation, "The Aesthetics of Information in Modern Chinese Literary Culture, 1919-1949," at Columbia University's East Asian Languages and Cultures Department.  My research focuses on the historical and creative interconnections between the modern global communications revolution of the 19th and 20th centuries, on the one hand, and the rise of modern literature and art during China's dynamic "New Culture" period, on the other.  I argue that in a variety of foreign and nativized forms, the entity of information provided China's writers critical leverage for engaging with the changing epistemology of the modern subject.  Through a variety of formal experimentation and topical engagement with information, writers innovated important new modes of writing and reading, in the process aligning Chinese literature with a nascent information age.  As a Fellow at the CHI, I will expand my dissertation into a book manuscript.  I will concurrently pursue several ongoing "digital humanities" projects that use the quantitative analysis of textual corpora to rethink the history of literary form and the sociology of production in modern China.

Laura Helton

Laura Helton is a historian of American and African American literature and memory from the nineteenth century to the present.  Her research interests include social histories of the archive, gender and knowledge production, collections and collecting practices, print cultures of the long civil rights movement, and the making of historical narratives.  She holds a PhD in history from New York University and was most recently a fellow at the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African and African American Studies at the University of Virginia.  She is currently working on a book manuscript,Collecting and Collectivity: Black Archival Publics, 1900-1950, which examines the emergence of African American archives to understand how historical recuperation shaped forms of racial imagination in the early twentieth century. She is co-editor of a forthcoming issue of Social Text, “The Question of Recovery: Slavery, Freedom, and the Archive.” Her recent public humanities work includes a partnership between NYU and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture that seeks to increase access to “hidden” collections.  She will join the Department of English at the University of Delaware as an assistant professor of print and material culture studies in 2017.

Bonnie Mak

Bonnie Mak is an associate professor at the University of Illinois, jointly appointed in the Graduate School for Library and Information Science and the Program in Medieval Studies. At the Center for Humanities and Information, she will develop her book-length project, Confessions of a 21st-Century Memsahib, a critique of the digital materials with which scholarship is increasingly conducted. She will also continue her collaboration with graphic designers and librarians on a project, Designing an Argument: A Collaboration in Scholarly Publication, that tests the boundaries of scholarly publication by articulating a complex humanistic argument in the language of scientific diagrams. Mak’s research interests include manuscript, print, and digital cultures; the cultural production and circulation of knowledge; manuscript studies; book history; medieval and early modern collecting; and the history of archives and libraries. Her first book, How the Page Matters (2011), examines the interface of the page as it is developed across time, geographies, and technologies. She has been the recipient of grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Newberry Consortium for Renaissance Studies, and the Huntington Library.

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