Yesterday as part of the National Digital Stewardship Residency program, we held an enrichment event at my worksite, Dumbarton Oaks. The event involved a project update meeting, followed by a special lecture given by Eileen Joy- director of punctum books- and finished off with a tour of the museum and a fancy Turkish lunch.
The first part of the day was held in the Study, a private room in the ‘Main House’ (the historic home of the Blisses, original owners of the property). Here we had coffee and shared some basic information about our projects and the current challenges and updates with Eileen and a few staff from Library of Congress.
This is a dramatic recreation of yesterday’s project updates in the Study.
After the updates were given and we were all properly caffeinated, we moved to the Founders Room for Eileen’s talk: The Open Library of Babel.
While I’m still working on the recording, I’ll be sharing the audio here once finished. All in all, it was a great talk, and a pretty radical contribution to the often-traditional home for the Humanities.
As a teaser, here’s Eileen’s description of her talk, followed by her bio. Be sure to check out the links to Babel and punctum - they’re doing awesome things all the time!
Enrichment Series Lecture
March 6th, 2014
Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Founders Room
The Open Library of Babel
At a time when funding for the humanities and other forms of more speculative research is shrinking, and when higher public education is being defunded, leading to various austerity measures and calls to move everything into more virtual-digital environments (as if that solves everything), I perversely believe that the future of academic publishing — a future that is importantly connected to the cultural institution known as a library — as well as its ability to create and sustain more capaciously-imagined and radically innovative publics, rests upon its willingness to take up Jacques Derrida’s argument that the university “without condition” would be one that would safeguard the “principal right to say everything, whether it be under the heading of fiction and the experimentation of knowledge, and the right to say it publicly, to publish it.” This will entail a more robust definition and enaction of “academic freedom” than we have, perhaps, previously been able to imagine, as well as a wider diversity of modes and genres of thinking and composing, publishing platforms, archives, etc.. This will also mean understanding that the other critical term here, in addition to freedom, is responsibility. Someone, or some distributive collectives of someones, needs to take responsibility for securing this freedom for the greatest number of persons possible who want to participate in intellectual-cultural life. “Open Access” should not just mean who gets to read, but even more importantly: who gets to research? to write? to publish? and to archive? And a publisher, in my estimation, is a person, or a group, or a multiplicity, who is responsible for ensuring that “open access.” In my remarks, I hope to spark a discussion about the ways in which publishers and university libraries might be partners in imagining and enacting more capaciously open publishing platforms, archives, and publics.
Eileen A. Joy is a specialist in Old English literary studies and cultural studies, with interests in poetry and poetics, historiography, ethics, affects, embodiments, queer studies, the politics of friendship, speculative realism, object oriented ontology, and the post/human.
She is the Co-Founder and Lead Ingenitor of the BABEL Working Group (http://www.babelworkinggroup.org), the Founder and Co-Editor of “postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies” (http://www.palgrave-journals.com/pmed/index.html), Co-Founder and Editor of “O-Zone: A Journal of Object Oriented Studies” (http://ozone-journal.org), Co-Founder and Director of punctum books: spontaneous acts of scholarly combustion (http://punctumbooks.com/), and Co-Founder and Assoc. Director of punctum records (http://punctumrecords.com). She blogs at In The Middle (http://www.inthemedievalmiddle.com).
Joy holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Tennessee, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Virginia Commonweath University.