PRESENT (on leave SPRING 2013)
PAST (FALL 2012)
Fragments of a Material History of Literaturewith Matthew Battles (metaLAB [at] Harvard) RLL/Comp Lit 220 :: Mon 3-5 pm
The seminar provides a series of occasions for critical reflection on and expressive response to the complex interplay between cultural constructs and the media within which they are formalized. It is intended as a stimulus to research into the material foundations of institutions of literary study and to sustained reflection on the blind side of contemporary theorizations concerning textuality, writing, and media. It engages such topics as:
- the history of literacy and its relation to other modes of expression: oral, graphic, audio, televisual, and networked
- the transition from scroll to codex, manuscript to printed book, machine-produced to electronic document
- shifting systems for organizing, associating, and managing textual material, such as page numbers, indices and tables, paragraphs and punctuation, and annotation and cross-reference
- the affordances and effects of storage: the library as a site that manages and problematizes the material nature of writing; the archive as memory and treasury
- the materially-coded status of literature relative to other forms of written communication
- the shifting line between private and public forms of discourse
- media permutations of such concepts as authorship, voice, style, and literary quality
- the socially-embedded nature of literary artifacts, from keepsake to vade mecum to commodity
- theoretical, bibliographic, and literary schematizations of literary materiality
- the artifactual nature of literary objects as sites of archaeology, history, and connoisseurship
- the ways in which books learn: how the material transformations of a given text through time express continuity and change
The seminar’s core hands-on exercises are integrated into metaLAB’s Teaching with Things project.
Digital Power, Digital Interpretation, Digital Makingwith Peter Galison (History of Science), Martha Minow (Harvard Law School) and Jonathan Zittrain (SEAS, Harvard Law School) History of Science 297 :: Mon 1-3 pm
Harvard is beginning a new initiative to explore intersections between digital power, digital making and digital interpretation. This is a working seminar designed to examine questions within those domains through a cluster of projects designed to merge theoretical and critical inquiry with making. For example: What is the health of the Internet and how could we construct ways to measure it? To what degree ought our online and offline lives to converge or to diverge? What is the nature of public space in the age of ubiquitous communications networks and the world wide web? How are notions of political participation, privacy, and social norms being reshaped by the digital revolution? How should we reimagine institutions such as libraries, archives, schools and universities for the digital age? How can digital filmmaking connect with new forms of interactive design and exhibition? How are cultural, cognitive and communicative models being altered by digital media?
Library Test Kitchenwith Jeff Goldenson (Library Innovation Lab) and Ann Whiteside (Loeb Design Library) Graduate School of Design 09125 (advanced seminar) :: Tu 10 am – 1 pm
Bridging the analog and the digital worlds, the offline and the online, libraries and learning spaces represent one of the most exciting opportunities for design and redesign on the contemporary scene. Library Test Kitchen is a fast prototyping lab for the modeling smart spaces: spaces of learning, thinking, serious play, contemplation of and interaction with knowledge. It provides students the unique opportunity to develop and fully realize their design ideas on a 1:1 scale within the setting of one of the world’s greatest research library systems –the Harvard Libraries– and Harvard University as a whole. The Harvard Library system is in the midst of unprecedented transformation. As part of the process, the system’s own Innovation Lab has financed the Library Test Kitchen for a second year. Not just as an engine of local change, but also as a driver of innovation on a national and international stage. The course assumes the form of a studio devoted to critical and speculative thinking, hands-on problem solving, fabrication and making. In addition to the Harvard libraries, the course’s network of clients and collaborators includes major public library systems nationwide.
BIBLIOTHECA: The Library Past/Present/Futurewith John Palfrey (Harvard Law School) Graduate School of Design 3498
This seminar combines exploration of the history of the library as an institution of knowledge storage, retrieval and production with a design studio concerned with a series real-world problem sets involving library spaces on the Harvard campus as well as the future shape and functions of library spaces. Topics include: libraries in the cultural imagination, library infrastructures from registers to card catalogues to digital catalogues, the history of shelving systems and lecterns, library architectures from the Library of Alexandria to the Digital Public Library of America.
The Cosmos of the ComedyRLL Italian/Comp Lit 131
This lecture course provides an in-depth introduction to Dante Alighieri’s 14th century masterpiece, the Comedy, as a point of entry to the history of Western poetics, philosophy, natural science and cosmology. The course combines attention to Dante’s dialogue with classical antiquity in these and other fields with an exercise in multimedia translation and adaptation aimed at prompting critical reflection on the ways in which present cultural practices are built upon the past.
Digital Humanities 2.0: a metaLAB (at) Harvard seminarRLL/Comp Lit 219
A seminar and workshop for the development of semester-long projects, the course provides an introduction to new scholarly models in the arts and humanities via readings, case studies and conversations with expert practitioners.
Boccaccio and/on Authority (Latin to Vernacular, Vernacular to Latin)RLL Italian/Comp Lit 155
This course provides an in-depth survey of Giovanni Boccaccio’s experiments in a range of genres from epic to elegy, narrative to allegory, geography to mythography. It emphasizes the question of the relation between vernacular and Latin models of authorship and Boccaccio’s engagement with both ancient and contemporary sources.
BIBLIOTHECA II: The Library Test Kitchenwith Jeff Goldenson (Library Innovation Lab)
What form should the Harvard Library of the 21st century assume? Should it simply vanish into virtual desktops and merge into a timeless and placeless universal database? Should it alter its identity and become a workshop, a laboratory, an innovation incubator where emerging and future forms interact and dialogue with the relics of the past? Or should it simply merge with the university itself as a place of knowledge production and reproduction?