From early modern commonplace books to tweets with hashtags, from the ritual markers of aristocratic degree to state statistics on race and ethnicity, from the divisions of trivium and quadrivium to the modern system of academic disciplines, practices of classification are where the organization of knowledge meets the organization of society. Long central to humanistic and social-scientific study, questions of classification have become newly salient as the digital remediation of the print record and the digital media of the present generate enormous quantities of information, most of it already organized in value-laden categories, for scholars to sort out.
The seminar, led by Meredith McGill and Andrew Goldstone, will meet approximately once every two weeks for three hours on Wednesday afternoons over the course of the 2018-19 academic year. We will read and discuss scholarship related to classification, and members will circulate and present work-in-progress. In addition, distinguished guests will visit the seminar to discuss current projects and share insights and expertise.
Please join us for our next Classification Seminar on 11/28/18, 1:10-4:10pm, Academic Building West 6051
Danielle Allor is a PhD candidate in English at Rutgers University. She will present work from her dissertation, “Trees of Thought: Arboreal Matter and Metaphor in Late Medieval England,” which examines trees as material and figural classification systems in the work of William Langland, Geoffrey Chaucer, John Lydgate, and John Skelton.
Preetha Mani is Assistant Professor of South Asian Literatures at Rutgers University. Her piece, “Citations of Sympathy, Craftwork of Form: How the Hindi and Tamil Short Story Gained Preeminence, ” asks, what unique truth did the short story offer readers of Hindi and Tamil literature in late colonial India? Operating through emotional insight—rather than novelistic didacticism or poetic ecstasy—this paper shows how the genre unmoored portrayals of the Indian woman from existing gender norms, prompting a shift from social realism to modernism in these two major Indian literary spheres.