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.