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[Commlist] Paperology: A Reading and Activity Group on Knowing and Being with Paper (Call for Participation)
Wed Aug 12 20:39:18 GMT 2020
CALL FOR PARTICIPATION
Paperology: A Reading and Activity Group on Knowing and Being with Paper
The Paperology Reading and Activity Group will take place during the
2020-2021 academic year. While the most common of everyday materials,
paper has received less critical attention than it deserves. The
objective for this group is to engage with the emerging research and
growing literature on paper as material. In working towards an expansive
approach to paper, we are less invested in what is on the page than we
are in the page itself (Stamm, 2018). Instead, we want to better
understand the material histories, forms, practices, and possibilities
of paper. Paper has been of interest to artists, art historians, and
book historians, but it has been surprisingly under examined as media
and technology from the broader perspective of fields such as media and
communication studies. The recent surge of publications on paper
reflects an effort to fill this gap. This includes research on paper as
substrate (Dworkin, 2015; Calhoun, 2020); environmental stories of
papermaking through case studies of the pulp and paper mill industry
(Baxter, 2020); works interested in the phenomenologies and affective
experiences of paper (Michelon, 2016; Barnes, 2017); considerations of
artefacts and practices that accompany paper (Garvey, 2013; Robertson,
2019; Senchyne, 2020) —and much more.
The Paperology RAG will be engaging with paper as material through a
variety of literatures that consider how paper is made, how it is used,
and the practices it affords. This includes thinking through an
assortment of paper-based artefacts with texts from various disciplines.
As a way to start, we offer the following questions: What exactly is
paper? What experiences are unique to paper? In what ways is paper
valuable? Why paper now? Is paper still a relevant technology? How has
paper in its various permutations given rise to specific things,
systems, and cultures, including certain formats and genres (e.g. the
pocket book, the file, the greetings card), artefacts (e.g. the rolodex,
the paper shredder), and activities (e.g. paperwork, burning,
scrapbooking, marbling)? As we move through the readings, questions such
as these will serve as signposts to foster a space for exploration, for
engaging with novel ways of thinking paper, and for formulating new
questions around media and materiality.
We will meet monthly to discuss readings organized around themes, which
might include: history; ecology; infrastructure; bureaucracy; sorting
and storing; destroying; ephemera; value; intimacy; the senses; cutting
up; aesthetics; labour; gender; or others. The reading list for each
month will be a book-length collection of articles, chapters, or short
works. An indicative bibliography is included below, but we will confirm
the schedule, including themes and readings, in light of participants’
- We meet once a month on a Thursday from 11:00am - 1:00 pm EST, from
September 2020 to April 2021. Exact dates are: September 24, October 29,
November 19, December 17, January 21, February 18, March 18, April 22.
- We meet synchronously via Zoom; you’ll get a link to our individual
meetings via email.
- This is an informal, seminar-style reading group where we aim to
foster an open and collegial discussion. We would like to create a
sustained conversation over the year so would appreciate your ongoing
participation, but not to worry if you can’t attend all the weeks.
- We hope you’ll have a chance to read and come prepared to chat. If you
don’t get a chance to read, you’re still welcome to come listen in.
- We welcome working papers as part of our reading list if you’d like to
discuss your work-in-progress. For those who are interested in engaging
with paper through making, activities will be suggested throughout the
year, including DIY projects or site-visits for those in Montreal.
- We welcome researchers and research-creators from diverse backgrounds.
- In order to finalize the schedule please send us a bit of information
about yourself (100 words is plenty): your current affiliation, your
general area of research, and why the interest in paper. Please let us
know if there is a theme, reading, and/or activity you are particularly
interested in or would like to suggest, and if you would like to present
your own work or practice or lead an activity. Please send your
information by August 28th to Alysse Kushinski: (alyssek /at/ gmail.com)
Organized by Artefact Lab and Atelier -30- in the Department of
Communication, Université de Montréal
Juliette De Maeyer, Associate Professor
Aleksandra Kaminska, Assistant Professor
Alysse Kushinski, Postdoctoral Researcher
Ghislain Thibault, Associate Professor
More details and an indicative bibliography can be found here:
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