GRADUATE STUDENT CONFERENCE
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Conference website: http://measurementconference.wordpress.com
GRADUATE STUDENT CONFERENCE
INSTITUTE FOR COMPARATIVE LITERATURE AND SOCIETY, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY
APRIL 19, 2013
Keynote Speaker: Professor Steven Shapin, Harvard University
The idea of measurement is inevitably invoked as we talk about almost anything: time, politics, objects, space, economics, race, class, mind, identity, culture, society, body, arts, nature and so on. The disciplinary fields in which ideas of measurement play an especially important role are contested and imbued with political and epistemic struggle Once measurements are in place they are treated as inevitable and resist new forms of ordering, even as measurements are always being established and transformed with the historical unfolding of human events. How do individuals, knowing that our measures are only those of fallible human perception, understand the seeming objectivity of measurements? What are the standards by which we measure the physical, social, moral, and creative worlds, and how do they change? How do the units and tools of measurement impact our understanding and evaluation of spaces, subjectivities, objects, times, and ideas? How do methods of measurement shape the social, political and intellectual spheres in which they are employed? How can we challenge them?
This conference seeks to bring together graduate students from a variety of fields and disciplines in order to comparatively explore the idea of measurement, in all forms of political, linguistic, social and cultural expression. We seek to illuminate the concept of measurement through exploring the manifold ways in which it has been employed. We invite all papers that consider ideas of measurements, tools of measurements, politics of measurement, cultural and linguistic specificity of measurements, and self-consciousness in the construction and use of measurements. Both interrogations of the concept of measurement and examinations of particular instances in which measurements have been inventively employed are welcome.
This conference will involve two types of panels: traditional 15-minute presentations, and 5-10 minute presentations of questions to be discussed in an open discussion format. Submissions should specify whether they are intended to be “short” or “long” format presentations.
Possible topics for 15 minute presentations include but are not limited to:
- Linguistic incommensurability in translation
- Ideas of certainty and uncertainty
- Philosophy of scientific measurement
- Political constructions of and through measurement
- Assessments of beauty and of moral worth
- Measurement of success and failure
- The impact of units and apparatus of measurement on the understanding and evaluation of spaces, objects, times, and ideas
- The influence of new methods of measurement on political and intellectual spheres
- How measurements are constructed as “objective”
5-10 minute presentations should consider one of two topics. They should be presented in the form of an introduction to, and posing of, a question for discussion:
- The subject of the measurement of success within the academy. How do we evaluate our own and students´ work, achievements, and learning?
- The idea of measurement within judgments and comparisons between cultures and civilizations. How do measurement tools impact our discussions of comparative cultures? How are specific measurements invoked in evaluating and comparing world cultures?
Proposals of approximately 250 words should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by February 28, 2013