Folger Institute


Programs, 2010-2011

Managing Scholarly Information Before the Modern Age

Ann Blair
Spring Faculty Weekend Seminar

The focus of this weekend seminar will be on the materials and practices involved in reading and/or writing in the early modern period (roughly 1400-1700). Twelve-to-sixteen participants will focus on the process of intellectual work, from reading and note-taking to the composition and revision of texts, published or not. In each case participants will examine what can be garnered from the evidence, including marginal annotations in printed books, surviving manuscripts, and finished texts. Paying attention to the materials, spaces, and people involved throughout the cycle of intellectual work, participants will consider the following questions: Where did readers and authors read, take notes, or compose? What materials did they use for writing (including ink, quills, paper in various forms)? How did they organize their notes and preparatory materials? Did they work alone or rely on the help of others (friends, family members, or servants)? How did they use and cite their sources? Faculty with advanced research projects that usefully illuminate these topics are encouraged to apply; they will have the opportunity to discuss their projects within the seminar’s intellectual framework. One session will be scheduled in the Werner Gundersheimer Conservation Lab for close examination of selected cases and discussion with the professional staff.

Director: Ann Blair is Henry Charles Lea Professor of History at Harvard University where she teaches courses in the history of the book, early modern intellectual and cultural history, and French history. Her publications include The Theater of Nature: Jean Bodin and Renaissance Science (1997) and Too Much To Know: Managing Scholarly Information Before the Modern Age (forthcoming Fall 2010).

Schedule: All day Friday and Saturday, 4 and 5 February 2011

Apply: 3 December 2010 for admission and grants-in-aid.

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