Ústav pro českou literaturu AV ČR Institute of Czech literature of the CAS
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Thinking literature as a medium

The Institute of Czech Literature of the Czech Academy of Sciences, in cooperation with the Bloomsbury Press and New York University, is organizing a talk on forthcoming English edition of the book The Emerging Contours of the Medium (co-published by Bloomsbury Press and the Institute of Czech Literature of the CAS) with authors and international guests on 15 June at 4:00 p.m.

Members of the author team Richard Müller and Josef Šebek will talk about the book with international scholars of the history of media and literature, Lisa Gitelman and Leif Weatherby from New York University (Media, Culture, and Communication, Comparative Literature). Discussion will be also attended by other international scholars in the fields of media history, comparative literature, history of science, and philosophy of technics (Mercedes Bunz, Clifford Siskin, Alexander Galloway, Beatrice Fazi, et al.). The event takes place as part of a workshop on artificial intelligence held in Prague (NYU Prague). 

Venue: lower hall of the ICL of the Czech Academy of Sciences (Na Florenci 3).

The book was prepared by a team of researchers from the ICL, Charles University Faculty of Arts, and Institute of Philosophy of the Czech Academy of Sciences, including Tomáš Chudý, Josef Vojvodík, and Martin Ritter. It is an adaptation of the Czech monograph Za obrysy média. Literatura a medialita (2020), translated by Peter Gaffney and Nicholas Orsillo.

Why is the concept of literature as a medium problematic? What hinders the development of this perspective? In trying to grasp the mediality of literature, what compels us to go further than the transposition of books to digital and new media? What is implied by the concept of literature as a medium? To what extent does it impinge on the very viability of literary studies as a discipline? We will also discuss issues related to the transposition of the book and its topic into another linguistic and cultural context.

Drawing in part on a genealogy of the ‘medium’ concept, eight authors elucidate various aspects of the long process that has led to an awareness by literature and literary studies of their own medial nature, while examining the successive definitions of the ‘medium’ from the perspective of several disciplines and fields. These include semiotics, intermedial studies, history and theory of technics, media philosophy and theory, cultural criticism, and systems theory. The authors systematically create a starting point for positioning the study of literature and media on a common basis.

The event will take place as part of a foreign workshop on large language models (AI) and cultural research, which will take place in Prague 14–16 June, and which will be attended by members of the Digital Theory Lab from New York University, as well as researchers in related fields from Stanford University, Stony Brook University, King’s College London, and University of Sussex. A number of Czech scholars (FAMU, Czech Institute of Informatics, Robotics and Cybernetics) will also be in attendance. (For more detailed information, and to join, write to muller@ucl.cas.cz.)

pozvánka na diskusi Thinking literature as a medium