News

The 90-Second Newbery Film Festival

“Trade and plum-cake forever, huzza!” So said John Newbery, the 18th-century publisher who first established children’s literature as a stand-alone segment of the literary marketplace. His name is attached to the world’s first children’s book prize, a distinguished honor and lucrative sales boost established in 1922 by the American Library Association. For the past six years, his name has also been attached to a more raucous celebration of creativity: the 90-Second Newbery Film Festival. Created and run by children’s author James Kennedy, this annual make-your-own-video contest invites young readers to condense any Newbery winner down to a 90-second film. Kids then get a chance to see their movies at gala screenings held all over the US, cohosted by Kennedy and local children’s writers.

Public Books section editor and Literature at MIT professor Marah Gubar, who studies youth culture, recently attended one of these joyously anarchic screenings. She didn’t win any books during the surprise giveaway that sent audience members scrambling under seats in search of golden tickets. But she did get to see Kennedy and his Boston-based cohost M. T. Anderson—author of Feed, The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing …, and other award-winning young adult books—perform a witty musical number penned by Kennedy and focused on the history of the Newbery Medal. And she also got to speak to Kennedy afterward about the pros and cons of handing out prizes, what it means to be creative, intergenerational collaboration, and brains in jars.

View the full interview here

Wyn Kelley awarded National Endowment for the Humanities Grant

Wyn Kelley, Senior Lecturer of Literature and founding member of the Melville Society Cultural Project, has been awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities grant to be a lead faculty member for “Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick and the World of Whaling in the Digital Age,” a summer institute for School Teachers that will take place at the New Bedford Whaling Museum in Massachusetts from June 17-30, 2018.

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Rare Book School Receives Grant to Support Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography

Rare Book School has been awarded a $1 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the Andrew W. Mellon Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography. Building on the success of the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in Critical Bibliography, this new scholarly organization will identify and investigate matters of new, compelling cross-disciplinary interest in the areas of bibliography and book history. The Society will especially direct its energies toward addressing the interpretation of original textual artifacts in concert with emerging techniques and technologies for the analysis and transmission of texts. Click here to learn more.

Current RBS-Mellon Fellows will be invited to join the Society as Senior Fellows, who will be responsible for the governance of the Society, for the planning of the annual meeting and additional Society-sponsored programming, and for the recruitment and selection of new members. Each year, ten Junior Fellows will be selected to join the Society through an open application process: they will receive funding to attend an orientation as part of the Society’s annual meeting, to take two Rare Book School courses, and to host a public symposium at their home institution. Junior Fellows will also be invited to attend a bibliographical field school. After two years of membership in the Society, Junior Fellows in good standing will become Senior Fellows.

Early-career scholars and researchers from all fields are eligible to apply for membership in the Society of Fellows. Applications are especially encouraged from individuals from underrepresented backgrounds, individuals from under-resourced institutions, and individuals working on topics currently underrepresented in the fields of book history and bibliography.

Applications will be available in early September and due on 1 November. To receive notification when applications have opened, please join the RBS mailing list.

Click here for more information about the Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography

 

Associate Professor of Literature at MIT Stephanie Frampton was recently elected the first president of Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography.

Thinking Feeling: An Affect Symposium

oin us for all or part of a one day symposium inviting leading affect theorists from a variety of fields to comment on the problems of affect and the future of the humanities as institutions question power, creativity and social relations. How can an awareness of affect illuminate an understanding of the visual arts or transform our understandings of aesthetics? This program is held in conjunction with the upcoming exhibition An Inventory of Shimmers: Objects of Intimacy in Contemporary Art at the MIT List Visual Arts Center.

This event is free and open to the general public but advance registration is required. Lunch will be provided. Click here to register.

We’re pleased to present this program in partnership with ArtWeek Boston.

PROGRAM SCHEDULE

9:30 am
Check-in

10:00 AM
Introductions

Henriette Huldisch, Curator, MIT List Visual Arts Center
Eugenie Brinkema
, Associate Professor of Literature at MIT

10:30 AM
What Is Intolerable? Integrated Art and the Research University
Karen Redrobe

This talk will consider the recent proliferation of arts initiatives in Research I universities as well as the terms upon which art is newly appealing in the context of the militarization and the corporatization of higher education. It will reflect on how universities motivate and incentivize artists and faculty members to go along with problematic and prescribed modes of intellectual and creative engagement, sometimes against their better natures, as well as what responses are possible/desirable from artists and faculty members working within this landscape.

Moderated by Sandy Alexandre, Associate Professor of Literature at MIT

Karen Redrobe is the Elliot and Roslyn Jaffe Professor of Cinema and Modern Media and Chair of the Department of the History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania. She is author of Vanishing Women: Magic, Film and Feminism and Crash: Cinema and the Politics of Speed and Stasis; co-editor of Still Moving: Between Cinema and Photography and On Writing With Photography; and editor of Animating Film Theory. She is currently working on a new book entitled Animation and the Art of War, and a co-edited collection with Jeffrey Scheible on the topic of depth.

11:45 AM
Lunch
Wiesner Bldg, lower atrium level

12:45 PM
Regret and Remake
Brian Price

This talk will be concerned with the relation between regret and creativity, especially as regret gives us a way of understanding how geniality is more important to the creation and experience of works of art than is the more familiar idea of genius. Central to this discussion will be the case literary adaptations on film and film remakes.

Moderated by Eugenie Brinkema, Associate Professor of Literature at MIT

Brian Price is Associate Professor of Visual Studies at the University of Toronto. He is the author of A Theory of Regret, forthcoming from Duke University Press, and Neither God Nor Master: Robert Bresson & Radical Politics (University of Minnesota Press, 2011). Price is also co-editor of two anthologies, On Michael Haneke (Wayne State University Press, 2010) and Color, the Film Reader (Routledge, 2006), and is a founding co-editor of World Picture.

2:30 PM
Worldly Compositions
Kathleen Stewart

This session will be an experiment in creative non-fiction ethnography done by making the conceptual contingent on writing. The piece leans into precisions of living partially palpable in a sidelong look or a consistency of rhythm or tone not to drag them back to the land of the little judges but to push the restart button in the game of trying to keep up with what’s going on now in some swell in realism, some bowled over place, or a little crazed pragmatic thought-cell. This practice hones in on its objects in an effort to capture something already throwing together in a composition.

Kathleen Stewart is a Professor in the department of Anthropology at University of Texas at Austin. Stewart writes and teaches on affect, the ordinary, the senses, and modes of ethnographic engagement based on curiosity and attachment. Her first book, A Space on the Side of the Road: Cultural Poetics in an `Other’ America (Princeton University Press, 1996) portrays a dense and textured layering of sense and form laid down in social use. Ordinary Affects (Duke University Press, 2007) maps the force, or affects, of encounters, desires, bodily states, dream worlds, and modes of attention and distraction in the composition and suffering of present moments lived as immanent events. Her current project, Worlding, tries to approach ways of collective living through or sensing out. An attunement that is also a worlding.  These works are experiments that write from the intensities in things, asking what potential modes of knowing, relating or attending to things are already being enacted and imagined in ordinary ways of living.

4:00 PM
Wine Reception