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College of Arts and Sciences

Conference showcases Cornell’s broad approach to media

By: Aarushi Machavarapu
A&S Communications
March 6, 2020

A Media Studies Conference, “Media Objects,” will take place at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art next fall, postponed from this spring. With a focus on the distinctive approaches to the study of media, the conference will host speakers from a wide variety of disciplines. 

“Media Objects” is being organized by professors involved in Cornell’s Media Studies initiative, part of  CIVIC (Critical Inquiry into Values, Imagination and Culture), the provost’s Radical Collaboration initiative focused on the humanities and the arts. 

Together with last fall’s “Siren Echoes” conference (which focused on ancient media), the spring Media Object conference showcases Cornell’s historically broad approach to media, as well as its very wide interdisciplinarity. Keynote speakers are John Durham Peters, the María Rosa Menocal Professor of English and professor of film and media studies at Yale University and Lisa Nakamura, the Gwendolyn Calvert Baker Collegiate Professor and director of the Digital Studies Institute at the University of Michigan. Cornell professors and graduate students from a wide variety of disciplines will also present their research and participate on panels.

This year’s conference is “interested in investigating the materiality of media, what could (or could not) count as a media object and what opportunities or limitations are implicit in particular disciplinary approaches to the study of media and mediation,” said Jeremy Braddock, associate professor of English and chair of Cornell’s Media Studies Working Group. The working group includes faculty from four colleges: Arts & Sciences; Computing and Information Science; Architecture, Art and Planning; and Agriculture and Life Sciences, as well as the Cornell University Library. 

A primary goal of this year’s conference is to showcase several of Cornell’s unique media collections. Kroch Library’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections will be displaying its Moog exhibition and the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art will have an exhibit on groundbreaking 19th century Chinese photographer Lai Fong. Additionally, on Friday night after the first keynote, Cornell Cinema is hosting a live projector performance by artist Luis Macias.

Conference  panels include “Materiality and Immateriality;” “Textuality, Bodies and Intimacies;” and “Limits of the Object.”

For more information on the conference, visit the Media Studies website.