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

New project to improve health of patients with kidney failure

There are approximately 600,000 individuals in the U.S. who are undergoing hemodialysis (HD) therapy for kidney failure. In hemodialysis, a machine filters wastes, salts, and fluid from the blood when an individual's kidneys are no longer healthy enough to do this work adequately. While lifestyle changes such as getting more exercise and making better nutritional choices would benefit HD patients, they are not popular with patients—leading to poor health outcomes. A new project, led by Assistant Professor Jessie Chin, aims to boost HD patients' commitment to exercise through a long-term motivational interviewing conversational agent (LotMintBot).

Jessie Chin

iSchool researchers present at CHI 2022

iSchool faculty and students will present their research at the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2022), which is structured as a hybrid-onsite conference from May 2-5 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The annual conference brings together researchers and practitioners who have the overarching goal of making the world a better place with interactive digital technologies.

Wang research group to present at The ACM Web Conference 2022

Members of Associate Professor Dong Wang's research group, the Social Sensing Lab, will present their research at The ACM Web Conference 2022. The conference, which will be held virtually April 25-29, is the premier venue to present and discuss progress in research, development, standards, and applications of topics related to the Web.

Dong Wang

New approach improves systematic reviews of scientific literature

Risk assessments are conducted to determine if a chemical found in the environment is harmful to public health; for example, answering questions such as "does chemical 'x' promote cancer?" Conducting an impartial analysis of chemicals is thus critical to ensure that public policies reflect the best available scientific evidence. Unfortunately, the process of retrieving, extracting, and analyzing findings reported in scientific literature is time consuming and can delay when policies are updated to reflect new evidence.

Catherine Blake

Hoiem recognized for outstanding humanities research

Assistant Professor Elizabeth Hoiem has received the Humanities Research Institute (HRI) Prize for Best Faculty Research for her paper, "The Progress of Sugar: Consumption as Complicity in Children’s Books about Slavery and Manufacturing, 1790-2015." The award recognizes outstanding humanities research by a faculty member at the University of Illinois.

Elizabeth Hoiem