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MSA 18: Modernist Cultures of Information

Although "€œinformation" seems to be a very contemporary term, quantitative approaches that identify, process, and visualize phenomena as data did not emerge fully formed at the dawn of the twenty-first century. Rapid technological and social change in the early twentieth century called for new ways of representing the world, many of which were quantitative in nature, and many of which were (or could be) seen as revolutionary in ways that we associate with the avant-garde. What theories of data circulated in modernism? How was art or knowledge treated as information during the modernist period?

Topics might include, but are not limited to,

1. Data collection or data-based argumentation in academic fields in the early twentieth century (e.g., sociology, psychology)

2. Early twentieth century contributions to information theory (including early figures in computing, such as Alan Turing)

3. New visual modes of presenting data (tables, graphs, photographs)

4. Innovations in information presentation or processing during World War I

5. Cultural histories of new technologies or machines for saving data

6. Changes in or modernist theories of typography, book design, or periodical layouts

7. Data collection by governments, businesses, or organization (census-taking, book-keeping, map-making)

8. Poetics of data in modernist texts, films, or visual art

Preference will be given to papers that emphasize data cultures (rather than a reading of a single literary text) in order to construct an interdisciplinary understanding of modernist information. Please submit 250-300 word abstracts by March 30, 2016, to shawnaross@tamu.edu.


Conference Location: Pasadena, CA, USA
Conference Starts: November 17, 2016
Conference Ends: November 20, 2016

CFP Submission Deadline: March 30, 2016

For more information, contact: Shawna Ross

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