Home CSIS/UCHRI Event: "Authorship Between Literature and Science"

CSIS/UCHRI Event: "Authorship Between Literature and Science"

A workshop of the "The Material Cultures of Knowledge" Multi-campus Research Group, sponsored by UCHRI (materialcultures.ucr.edu)
When Apr 15, 2014
from 03:00 PM to 06:00 PM
Where CSIS/STS Room, SSH 1246
Contact Name
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Authorship Between Literature and Science

Please join the Center for Science and Innovation Studies for this cosponsored event:

*Please RSVP if you plan to attend: http://tinyurl.com/AuthorshipDavis2014

Speakers will include:

Adriana Craciun (English, UC Riverside), "AUTHORS AND ADVENTURERS: CULTURES OF EXPLORATION AND INSTITUTIONAL AUTHORSHIP"

What can the study of material texts and of authorship practices teach us about the history of exploration? And vice versa, how can the distinctive institutions and material forms of exploration culture reveal new features of authorship's histories? This talk considers the world of Arctic exploration and Arctic sciences in the Enlightenment era not as series of discoveries, publications, and voyages, but rather as part of a culture of letters located in the chartered corporation of the Hudson's Bay Company.  Less well known than its sister corporations like the East India Company and the South Sea Company, the HBC was a secretive fur trade company that enjoyed a monopoly on northern exploration for over a century, until another institution, the British Admiralty, took over in the early 19th century. The HBC's exploration culture was a scribal, fragile, tightly regulated, single-sex corporate manuscript culture conducted along extremely long-distance networks, one that actively discouraged individual authorship and ownership of writings, polite conversation, public scrutiny, and print. In contrast, our histories of scientific exploration in the Enligtenment era often depend on a lineage of published expedition narratives authored by voyage commanders, and conversant with the metropolitan circles of polite sciences. But when we consider the material and institutional specifics of the wide-ranging inscriptions produced in Arctic exploration culture-- from printed books, letters, logs, shipboard print and manuscript, to tattoos, graffiti, and site-specific markers-- a new inscriptive landscape emerges, far outside the frontiers of the book and of authors.

Mario Biagioli (STS, Law, & History, UC Davis), "WHEN MACHINES WERE TEXTS: AUTHORS V. INVENTORS IN EARLY COPYRIGHT DEBATES"

The idea-expression distinction provides the crucial demarcation between the subject of patent law and that of copyright: “In no case does copyright protection […] extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery.” Apparently settled in Baker v. Selden (1879), the distinction has been subsequently challenged by technological developments, like software. As Samuelson put it, software is “a machine whose medium of construction happens to be text.”  Early modern patents and printing privileges involving paper instruments show that the separation between texts and invention was far from stable in the 16th and 17th century. That distinction was eventually theorized only during the 18th century English debates over the nature and justification of copyright, but only through divergent, even contradictory, arguments. A close analysis of those debates shows not only how difficult it was to construct a distinction between the innovations of literary authors and inventors, but also the conceptual fault lines underneath those differentiations – lines that continue to be reactivated by the products of recent increasingly immaterial and textual technologies like software and diagnostic methods.

Ian Duncan (English, UC Berkeley), "AFTER NATURAL MAN: CONJECTURE, HISTORY, SCIENCE, FICTION"

No sooner did philosophers seek to rewrite the “science of man,” David Hume’s title for the general project of Enlightenment, as a historicist inquiry – a natural history of man – than the new science was bedeviled by arguments over its reliance on conjecture.  My paper looks at the charges and counter-charges, opposing scientific knowledge to mere fiction, that pervaded the natural history of man: from Rousseau’s positing of natural man as a radical fiction in his Discourse on the Origins of Inequality, through the debate between Kant and Herder in the mid-1780s, to the attempts at a fully naturalized, scientifically disciplined history of man by Lamarck and Darwin.

With Comments From:

STANLEY ROBINSON (Author), Commentary
DAVID SIMPSON (English, UCD), Commentary
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