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May 2014

Ann Blair (Harvard University), In the workshop of the mind: collaborative relationships in early modern Europe

May 14 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Communications 120

Today we are well aware of the collaborative nature of intellectual work: the majority of scientific papers are co-authored; in the humanities interdisciplinary initiatives and digital methods of research have all encouraged collaboration. We generally have the sense that collaborative work is a recent development, that in the past scholarship was a solitary activity. Indeed in paintings and descriptions of the early modern period scholars were typically depicted working alone, but the working papers and letters that survive tell a…

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Megan Sweeney (University of Michigan), Life Sentences: Women Prisoners Reflect on Reading

May 20 @ 4:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Communications 120

During the late 1960s, male prisoners at San Quentin circulated handwritten pages of The Communist Manifesto by way of a clothesline strung from cell to cell.  Today, by contrast, women prisoners frequently circulate devalued genres such as narratives of victimization, African American urban fiction, and Christian self-help books.  Although this contrast creates anxiety among some scholars and activists, I have learned—from conducting extensive interviews and group discussions with ninety-four women prisoners—that the contrast indicates far more about the climate for…

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