“Embodied Research in a Digital Age”
Seminar Leaders: Colette Colligan and Michelle Levy, Department of English, Simon Fraser University
This seminar focuses on how the “massive changes that digital technology is bringing to our cultural archives” (McGann) are impacting our embodied and emplaced practices of research. With the accelerated migration of cultural and historical materials into digital forms comes a transformation of our research practices and environments, including our physical relationships to the objects of our study. Interactive electronic editions create new reader interfaces and networks; online archives and exhibits increase access to newly curated and remediated special collections; fieldwork incorporates mobile and social media apps that overturn the spatialised difference between home and field; and these spaces of scholarly research are also potential performative sites of research-creation, bridged by the expressive and analytical capacities of multimedia digital technology. This seminar invites papers that will reflect critically on the ways digital technologies have impacted research practices and environments for scholars of the Victorian period across the disciplines. We also welcome papers that investigate new and innovative models of embodied, collaborative, multimodal, and multi-situated research practices and environments for the study of Victorian culture in the digital age.
“On Body Memories: Technology, Transposability and the Limits of Interiority”
Seminar Leader: Christopher Keep, Department of English, Western University
In Israel Zangwill’s “The Memory Clearing House” (1892), an inventor muses on the idea of setting up a centralized exchange for memories, a place whereby people can buy and sell recollections, from best man speeches and undergraduate exam preparation, to reminiscences of lost loved ones. “Psychical science, he argues, “has made such great strides in this age that with a little ingenuity it should surely not be impossible to transfer the memory . . . from my brain to theirs.” This seminar will take Zangwill’s pataphysical speculations as its guide to consider the ways in which the increasing transposability of memory effected by the new technologies of registration and receipt in the nineteenth century altered our conceptions of the body and its limits. What does it mean to our understanding of what resides properly inside and outside the body when one’s most intimate memories can appear elsewhere, no longer private possessions flashing upon the mind’s eye, but sounds emanating from the mouths of phonographs, or images staring back at us from the pages of photograph album, or flickering on a reflective screen? How does Victorian literary and visual culture use the mobility of memory, its capacity to appear in multiple locations at any one time, as an occasion to interrogate the distinctions between interiority and exteriority, private and public, and past and present? This seminar invites papers that consider any aspect of the relations between technology, memory, and the body in the literature and culture of the Victorian period.
Please send a 300-word proposal and 1-page CV (both as MSWord documents) by October 14, 2014 to Christopher Keep at email@example.com.
For a PDF of the seminar cfps, click the following link: Seminar Descriptions