Mak to participate in selective “Charisma of the Book” workshop at NYU-Abu Dhabi

Bonnie Mak
Bonnie Mak, Associate Professor

Associate Professor Bonnie Mak will travel to the United Arab Emirates in March to take part in a workshop at New York University’s Abu Dhabi Institute. “Charisma of the Book: Global Perspectives for the 21st Century,” will be held March 12-14.

Mak will be among twenty-five invited scholars and book artists from around the world who will gather together to engage in conversations on “the history and future of the book, exploring comparative and interdisciplinary interpretations and applications of the concept of charisma.” The group will address questions such as, “How might the concept of charisma illuminate the materialization—and marginalization—of the book's cultural status and social power in the digital age? What does a transcultural history of the physical artifact of the book reveal about the social interfaces and media platforms of its possible futures?”

During the event, Mak will speak on the aura that has long attracted people to physical books and the allure of information in digital formats.

Abstract: One of the enduring attractions of books is their ability to stand witness to their own presence through time and space. A history of social interaction is marked on the pages of a book; a folded corner, a stain from a careless reader’s cup of coffee, and a thoughtful comment in the margin accrue and transmit something of where the book has been, with whom, and under what circumstances. Characterized by Walter Benjamin as the particular historical testimony that adheres to a unique body, the auratic quality of a singular object must now be reconciled with digital entities that can be simultaneously embodied in a range of material configurations. Rather than summoning a Benjaminian aura that is attached to a specific materiality, then, the performance of the digital entices the reader in a different way: with an aura of ‘information’. This paper shall explore the allure of information, and consider its broader implications for scholarship and meaning-making more generally.

At Illinois, Mak is jointly appointed in GSLIS and the Program in Medieval Studies. She teaches courses in the history and future of the book and offers doctoral seminars on authenticity, reading practices, and knowledge infrastructures. Her first book, How the Page Matters (2011), examines the interface of the page as it is developed across time, geographies, and technologies. Current projects include Confessions of a 21st-Century Memsahib, an examination of the manufacture of data and digital resources, and Designing an Argument: A Collaboration in Scholarly Publication, which tests the boundaries of scholarly publication by articulating a humanistic argument in the language of scientific diagrams. She is 2015-2016 senior fellow at the Center for Humanities and Information at The Pennsylvania State University and a 2013 GSLIS Centennial Scholar.

Updated on
Backto the news archive

Related News

He research group presents at NeurIPS

Members of Associate Professor Jingrui He's research group, the iSAIL Lab, will present their research at the 36th Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS 2022), which will be held from November 29-December 1 in New Orleans, Louisiana, and also virtually. NeurIPS is one of the most prestigious and competitive international conferences in machine learning and computational neuroscience.  

Jingrui He

Schiller authors new book on the development of U.S. telecommunications

Professor Emeritus Dan Schiller has authored a new book on the progression of telecommunications systems in the United States. In Crossed Wires: The Conflicted History of U.S. Telecommunications from the Post Office to the Internet, which will be released by Oxford University Press in February 2023, Schiller draws on archival documents to argue that it was not technology but political economy that drove the evolution of the telecommunications industry.

Dan Schiller

HTRC Team to contribute to “BLACK DH” Digital Humanities project

J. Stephen Downie, iSchool professor and co-director of the HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC), and Glen Layne-Worthey, associate director for HTRC Research Support Services, along with partners in the University of Illinois Library, have been awarded $17,456 from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Office of Digital Humanities. The team will contribute to the University of Kansas project, "Building Literacy and Curating (Critical Cultural) Knowledge in Digital Humanities (BLACK DH)."

Wang research group to present at CSCW 2022 and ASONAM 2022

Members of Associate Professor Dong Wang's research group, the Social Sensing and Intelligence Lab, will present their research at the 25th ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW 2022) and the 2022 IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Network Analysis and Mining (ASONAM 2022). 

Dong Wang

Blake to join IAspire Leadership Academy

Catherine Blake, professor in the School of Information Sciences and Health Innovation Professor in the Carle College of Medicine, has been named a fellow in the fourth cohort of the IAspire Leadership Academy, a leadership program aimed at helping STEM faculty from underrepresented backgrounds ascend to leadership roles at colleges and universities. The academy is part of the Aspire Alliance's Institutional Change Initiative, led by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the University of Georgia.

Catherine Blake