Category Archives: announcements

New York Comics and Picture-story Symposium: Feb. 16, Paula McDowell

February 16 -Paula McDowell, Making and Breaking the Category of Ephemera: The Eighteenth Century as Test Case

7-9 PM

Room M 101 (Bark room), 66 Fifth Ave., lobby level

“Ephemera” is not a thing but a classification. The category of “ephemera,” like the category of “Literature,” is not transparent, timeless, or universal, but a classification, existing in history, that has done and continues to do powerful rhetorical, practical, ideological, and disciplinary work. This talk begins by suggesting how collectors, librarians and archivists, literary scholars and others have defined “ephemera” since the 1960s. It then steps back in time to the eighteenth-century in Britain, arguing that the categories of “ephemera” and “Literature” were reciprocally constructed as part of an attempt to control the spread of print. For satirists such as Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift, “ephemera” was not so much a logical or practical category as a smear word that could be applied to just about anything (from weighty folios to broadsides and newspapers). But today, new digital resources are powerfully destabilizing centuries-old categorical distinctions such as “ephemeral” vs. “enduring” works. Understanding eighteenth-century authors’ classification schemes and labors can help us to think through the challenges and opportunities we face as we construct and deconstruct “ephemerality” in the digital age. Caption for image: “Dunciad Variorum (1729), title page vignette” Paula McDowell is Associate Professor of English at New York University, where she teaches eighteenth-century British literature and media and the History of the Book. She is the author of The Women of Grub Street: Press, Politics and Gender in the London Literary Marketplace, 1678-1730 (Oxford, 1998), Elinor James: Printed Writings (Ashgate, 2005), and articles on models of the Enlightenment, the epistemology of ephemera, the eighteenth-century novel, and many other topics. Her latest book, The Invention of the Oral: Print Commerce and Fugitive Voices in Eighteenth-Century Britain(Chicago, 2016), examines the oral/literate binary as a heuristic — a tool for understanding that itself has a history — and argues that the concept of “oral culture” was in fact a back formation of the explosion of print commerce. Continuing this interest in the dynamic relationship between media forms, she is currently working on a study of the multi-media satirist and political commentator John “Orator” Henley and the origins of public debating societies in Britain.

New York Comics and Picture-story Symposium: Feb. 9, Archie Rand

Feb. 9, 2016 – Archie Rand on The 613

7-9 PM

Room M 101 (Bark room), 66 Fifth Ave., lobby level

Rand discusses his five-year long project, The 613 — the visual transformation of every one of the 613 mitzvahs into a painting. Archie Rand, born 1949, is an artist from Brooklyn, New York. Rand’s work as a painter and muralist is displayed around the world, including in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris, and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. There have been over 100 solo exhibitions of his work. He has published collaborative work with poets Robert Creeley, John Ashbery, Clark Coolidge, David Plante John Yau, David Lehman and Jim Cummins. He was awarded, among numerous honors, the Achievement Medal For Contributions to the Visual Arts by the National Foundation for Jewish Culture and he received the Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. Formerly the Chair of the Department of Visual Arts at Columbia University he is currently the Presidential Professor of Art at Brooklyn College, CUNY. His home and studio are located in Brooklyn.