Thursday, September 3, 2009

Give Natalia an assignment

As I mentioned in class on Wednesday, I'll need to write a paper for a seminar at the Modernist Studies Association conference on November 6 -- a shorter paper than the kinds I usually write. I thought it would be a good opportunity for you to see me in the process of writing, while you're all in the process of writing yourselves.

There are a few similarities between my paper and the ones you'll be writing. It's about the same length as your analytical papers will be. It's also on a closely related topic. And as for you, this paper isn't the only thing going on in my life; it's just one of many projects.

It's also different in a few ways. It'll be aimed at specialists in the field, for one thing, although I'll try to keep it clear and accessible. It also won't necessarily focus on a single text, but rather take a wider and more theoretical view, as the prompt below suggests.

You'll no doubt be comforted to see, though, that everyone writes awful first drafts.

Think about how much or how little of my writing process you'll want to see:

-rough draft
-some stage between the rough draft and the revision

Think also about when you think they ought to be due.

The details about the seminar are below.

Modernism, Science, Science Studies

Participants write brief “position papers” (5-7 pages) that are read and circulated prior to the conference.

While critical work on modernism and science has begun to engage with science studies, much of this work continues to understand itself as a process of translation between various modernist idioms, on one hand, and the languages of science on the other. This seminar will explore the implications of engaging more fully with the more complex forms of “translation” or “articulation” theorized by Bruno Latour and other science studies scholars. What is gained or lost by grounding the study of modernism and science more fully in the methods of science studies? To what extent are science studies models based on laboratory practice useful for the study of literary and cultural production? To what extent can or should modernist science and cultural production be assessed from the perspective of later developments (e.g. the designation of some scientific models as obsolete, shifts in the status of particular sciences such as physics or biology, or the intersection of systems theory with postmodern poetics)—and how might science studies inform such assessments? How might a fuller engagement with science studies help us think about how our critical work participates in broader discussions about science and culture (such as popular manifestations of the “science wars,” or critical responses to science studies by practicing scientists)?

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