Fall 2009

  • Set up Web site for discussion of presentations and sharing of drafts (TBD)  

  • Begin organizing papers for a mini-series in the Working Papers of the Center (TBD) 

  • Third series of readings and presentations, "Comparative Publics: Future Publics?" September through November, 2009 (TBD)

Our final series moves from "what" to "how"—in what ways do the technologies, genres, and institutions that mediate publics in our own age? We seek to illuminate a question long bereft of understanding: how do different communicative forms entail different publics, and vice versa? What are the political consequences and prospects?

Visiting lecturer TBD, November.

Spring 2010

  • Symposium featuring work by colloquium participants and visiting scholars, March

  • Drafts of papers to be submitted at least 1 month in advance (with airline ticket dependent on receipt of paper). Smith house booked well in advance for guests

  • Publicity and discussion on Web site

Summer and Fall 2010

  • Complete editing of conference volume by October, use publisher with quick turnaround

Spring 2011

  • Volume published on Web site and in affordable paperback by May


Fall 2008

  • First series of readings and presentations, "Comparative Publics: Ancient Publics," October through December, 2008

This series introduces the idea of the public, a political community brought into being through the circulation of texts. Readings from Warner, Anderson, and Habermas suggest publics cut across borders—but are they the uniquely modern property of the West? Invited experts will investigate ancient analogues, beginning as the old tribal ideology of “the people” as a speaking agent enters and transforms urban space and text in the Levant.

Spring 2009

  • Keynote lecture by Michael Warner (Yale)

  • Second series of readings and presentations, "Comparative Publics: Modern Publics," February through April

Building on our cross-cultural idea of a public as a people mediated through texts, we deepen the discussion by bringing it up to date. We investigate the horizon of modernity to see what, if anything, unique started to happen globally around the 18th century and conclude with analyses of contemporary publics in such diverse particular physical and social locations as East Timorese rebels and modern Evangelical prophets. 

  • Lecture and seminar by Robin Shoaps (Univerisity of Chicago), April 2, 2009