Bureaucracy and the Organization of Knowledge (RBS-Mellon Symposium)

Date: 2 April 2015 – 3 April 2015
Time: Times vary
Location: University of North Texas
Presented by: The Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in Critical Bibliography at Rare Book School, the University of North Texas English Department, History Department, College of Arts and Sciences, and Honors College

Bureaucracy is everywhere, but it becomes palpable and real for most people when they meet with it in a material, physical form: your birth certificate, a course catalog, the diploma you receive at graduation, the bylaws of a department or professional association, IRS Form 1040, the line at the DMV. This symposium gathers scholars working in the fields of history, library science, digital humanities, material text studies, literature, rhetoric, and the history of science to explore the materiality of bureaucracy.

The symposium will feature talks and object-oriented workshops by scholars whose work examines the material practices, written forms, and objects of bureaucracy. The symposium seeks to comprehend the materiality of bureaucratic knowledge in Europe and the Atlantic world from 1450 to the present. Talks will examine the practical outcomes of new bureaucratic structures, from the emergence of domestic insurance schemes in the late 17th century, to the commercialization of 18th-century natural history, to 21st century digital bureaucracy. Speakers include James Delbourgo (Associate Professor, History of Science, Rutgers University), Mark Tebeau (Associate Professor, Public History, ASU), Eric Wertheimer (Professor of English and Associate Vice Provost, Arizona State University), and Martin Halbert (Dean of Libraries, UNT). Object-oriented workshops will be led by Ron Brooks (Associate Professor and Director of First Year Composition, Oklahoma State University), Casey Boyle (Assistant Professor, Rhetoric, UT Austin), Tim Cassedy (Assistant Professor, English, SMU), and Kelly Wisecup (Assistant Professor, English, UNT).

See the event website for full schedule and details.

The symposium is designed to complement an exhibit in UNT’s Special Collections Reading Room, “Bureaucracy: A Love Story.” The exhibit was guest curated by Professors Gabriel Cervantes, Dahlia Porter, Ryan Skinnell, and Kelly Wisecup, and it incorporates work by students in Dr. Porter’s Fall 2014 graduate seminar, English 5730: Methods of Historical Research, and Dr. Skinnell’s Fall 2014 upper-level undergraduate seminar, English 4230: Institutional Rhetorics. You can visit the physical exhibit on the 4th floor of Willis library, Room 447, until 8 May 2015. The digital exhibit can be viewed here: https://exhibits.library.unt.edu/bureaucracy-love-story.

This symposium is co-organized by Gabriel Cervantes, Kevin Curran, Dahlia Porter, Ryan Skinnell, and Kelly Wisecup. Funding is provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship of Scholars in Critical Bibliography at Rare Book School, as well as the University of North Texas’s English Department, History Department, College of Arts and Sciences, and Honors College.

Bureaucracy-posteremail