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Type, Paper, Glass & Screws:Reading Surfaces & the Materialities of Communication

NOV 03, 2017 | 4:00 PM



The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue


4406: English Student Lounge


November 03, 2017: 4:00 PM




Jonathan Senchyne, University of Wisconsin-Madison & 2017-2018 Pine Tree Foundation Distinguished Visiting Fellow in the Future of the Book in a Digital Age at The Graduate Center, CUNY


The surfaces we read are meant to disappear behind the content they bear. But what, and who, is available to readers who pay attention to the material dimensions of the devices we read? Whether an eighteenth-century newspaper or a twenty-first century iPhone, the surfaces from which read are present to us, and they put our bodies in relation to others. In this talk, I read the print work of the eighteenth-century enslaved printer Primus Fowle (1700-1791) and the poetry of Foxconn laborer Xu Lizhi (1990-2014) and argue that they use non-alphabetic elements of texts like broken type or loose screws to orient readers to the many kinds of people and kinds of work that mediate texts across time, space, and archives. co-sponsored by GC Digital Initiatives