Close Up

University of Technology Sydney

Friday 23 October 2015 2.30 – 5.00 pm

A Pop-up Workshop


Copy archive Tate


‘Distant reading’ as ‘close reading’; Or, how to escape hermetic hermeneutics in approaching digital archives

KATHERINE BODE (Centre for Digital Humanities Research, ANU)

Digital technologies are transforming our relationship to the archive. Current responses in literary studies – gathered under the banner of ‘distant reading’ – focus on the analytical potential of this situation, with little attention to the systems and structures producing these digital archives. In this form, ‘distant reading’ does not reject but perpetuates key assumptions and rhetoric of ‘close reading,’ and the New Criticism movement it arose from. Rather than debating methods, humanities scholars should articulate a new framework for our relationship to digital archives, with an apparatus and mode of publication that brings longstanding insights regarding the complexities and constraints of archives into the digital age.

Memory and Oblivion: The Photographic Work of Anne Ferran and Rosângela Rennó

SUSAN BEST (Queensland College of Art, Griffith University)

This paper examines the tensions between archives and public memory on the one hand, and forgetting and questions of representability on the other. I focus on two artists: Brazilian photographer Rosângela Rennó and Australian photographer Anne Ferran.  In particular, I examine two series by Rennó, Vulgo (1998-99) and Corpo da Alma (1990-2003), and two series by Ferran, 1-38 (2003) and Lost to Worlds (2008).  All of these works deal with forgotten or invisible histories that the artists attempt to salvage from oblivion.  Both artists thus bring to light national histories that Ulrich Baer has recently described as the ones “no one ever wanted to know about.”

Mass Observation as Sociology’s Archive

 LISA ADKINS (Sociology, University of Newcastle)

Like many social science and humanities disciplines, sociology is at present renewing and reworking its commitment to the empirical. This renewal includes calls for sociologists to work not only with an empirical of the senses but also of sensation and unexperience and not just with an empirical of what is, but also of the yet to come, that is, an empirical of events which have not yet or may not ever arrive. In this paper I ask what such expanded notions of the empirical might mean for the practice of historical sociology. I address this question via my current research on unemployment and time which draws in part on Mass Observation’s holdings of day survey data from the late 1930s. 

Places are limited. If you would like to attend please email: ​

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Archive Futures in association with the AUSTRALIAN CENTRE FOR PUBLIC HISTORY​

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