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

Barbosa and Wang receive Facebook grant to design privacy controls for ad targeting

iSchool PhD student Natã Barbosa and his advisor Associate Professor Yang Wang have received a $65,053 grant from Facebook for their project, "In-Situ Privacy Controls of Profiling and Ad-Targeting." The goal of the project is to design a privacy control framework that makes profiling and ad-targeting more transparent to ordinary Internet users.

Yang Wang

Diesner joins Science Advances editorial board

Associate Professor and PhD Program Director Jana Diesner is a new associate editor on the editorial board of Science Advances, the open access multidisciplinary journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The journal supports the AAAS mission by extending the capacity of Science magazine to identify and promote significant advances in science and engineering across a wide range of areas. Science Advances editors not only have stellar reputations in their disciplines but also have acknowledged breadth in recognizing and promoting interdisciplinary collaborations. Diesner brings to this role her expertise in computational social science, human-centered data science, network analysis, natural language processing, machine learning, and responsible computing.

Assistant Professor Jana Diesner

La Barre recognized for diversity work

Associate Professor Kathryn La Barre received an Honorable Mention in the category of Outstanding Faculty/Staff at the 8th annual Diversity and Social Justice Education Awards. The awards recognize undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, staff, and student organizations "that have sought to address marginalization, oppression, and/or privilege in their communities." La Barre serves as chair of the iSchool's Diversity Committee.

Kathryn La Barre

#unsettle: The Periphery is Everywhere

Note from interviewee Anita Say Chan: In the weeks since this interview, we’re all encountering a world that is by no means an unforeseen event or disaster attributable to the novel biology of the virus alone, but indeed, a symptom of an already-ailing system decades (or more) in the making. The breathtaking loss and destruction we now see didn't just happen far away, in some abstract "elsewhere," and it didn't happen overnight because of a virus. It advanced gradually, over time, with every mundane decision to ignore precarity either locally or globally, or to exacerbate vulnerability by disinvesting from civic infrastructures and public capacities (and normalizing such divestments), thus feeding what Nancy Fraser has called the "crisis of care" (h/t Lisa Nakamura) that devalues care work–even as the essential nature of nursing, among other disciplines, is made all the more apparent. We are, and have been, in need of a global reset; not as some version of salvation that someone else brings, but as a new terms of being that allows us to recognize the differential agencies we do lend, and have lent, to our own local and worldly contexts, and that we might now work in relationaly if new forms of worldly connection are to emerge.

Anita Say Chan

Bonn and alumni receive LPC Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Library Publishing

Associate Professor and MS/LIS Program Director Maria Bonn and three iSchool alumni have received the 2020 Library Publishing Coalition (LPC) Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Library Publishing, which recognizes significant and timely contributions to library publishing theory and practice. Bonn’s coauthors include Katrina Fenlon (MS '09, PhD '17), assistant professor in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park; Megan Senseney (MS '08), head of the Office of Digital Innovation and Stewardship at the University of Arizona Libraries; and Janet Swatscheno (MS '14), instructor and digital publishing librarian, University Library, at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Maria Bonn