New Literary History Conference

Recomposing the Humanities with Bruno Latour

September 18, 2015

Nau Hall Auditorium | University of virginia

New Literary History gratefully acknowledges the support of the Clay Foundation, the Institute of the Humanities and Global Cultures, and the Center for Global Inquiry and Innovation in making this conference possible.

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Friday, September 18

9:25 Rita Felski, opening remarks


11:00 coffee


12:50 Lunch


  • Rita Felski, “Doing the Humanities”
  • Nigel Thrift, “The University of Life”

4:00 Coffee


  • Bruno Latour, “A Shot at Defining Scientific Humanities”

Speakers Bios

Dipesh Chakrabarty is Lawrence A. Kimpton Distinguished Service Professor of History, South Asian Languages and Civilizations, and the College, University of Chicago, where he is also affiliated Faculty of English and Resource Faculty of Cinema and Media Studies and Comparative Literature. Chakrabarty was named the recipient of the 2014 Toynbee Prize in recognition of his contributions to global history. He is the author of Rethinking Working-Class History: Bengal 1890-1940; Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference; Habitations of Modernity: Essays in the Wake of Subaltern Studies; and the forthcoming The Calling of History: Sir Jadunath Sarkar and His Empire of Truth, c. 1900–1950.

Bruno Latour is a professor of Sciences Po in Paris and has published extensively in the domain of science studies and more generally on the anthropology of modernism. He is the author of We Have Never Been Modern; Iconoclash; Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy; Making Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy; Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-Network-Theory; On the Modern Cult of the Factish Gods, and An Inquiry into Modes of Existence.

Stephen Muecke is Professor of Ethnography at the University of New South Wales, Australia, and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and a Faculty member, Global Center for Advanced Studies, Switzerland. He has written extensively on indigenous Australia, especially in the Kimberley, and on the Indian Ocean. He is the author of Ancient and Modern: Time, Culture, and Indigenous Philosophy; and Joe in the Andamans and Other Fictocritical Stories and coeditor of Rogue Flows: Trans-asian Cultural Traffic.

Barbara Herrnstein Smith is Braxton Craven Professor Emerita of Comparative Literature and English at Duke University. Smith’s research is concerned with literary theory, poetry and poetics, ideas of value and judgment, and intellectual controversies over science and knowledge. She is the author of Contingencies of Value: Alternative Perspectives for Critical Theory; Belief and Resistance: Dynamics of Contemporary Intellectual Controversy; and Scandalous Knowledge: Science, Truth and the Human; andNatural Reflections: Human Cognition at the Nexus of Science and Religion.

Nigel Thrift is Vice-Chancellor of the University of Warwick. He joined Warwick from the University of Oxford where he was made Head of the Division of Life and Environmental Sciences in 2003 before becoming Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research in 2005. Described as one of the world’s leading human geographers and social scientists, his books include Spatial Formations, Knowing Capitalism, and Non-Representational Theory.

Michael Witmore is the Director of the Folger Shakespeare Library. Previously, he was Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin. His books include Culture of Accidents: Unexpected Knowledges in Early Modern England; Pretty Creatures: Children and Fiction in the English Renaissance; Shakespearean Metaphysics; and Landscapes of the Passing Strange: Reflections from Shakespeare (with Rosamond Purcell).