Fall 2022

Pay Attention! 

What does it mean to pay attention? To notice, bear witness, remain vigilant? How do we compose our embodied minds into states of attention? By watching, listening, expecting, awaiting, and/or following? What attracts, arrests, or fixes our attention?  Where do attentiveness, absorption, and focused immersion leave off and boredom, distraction, noise, hyper-saturation and overwhelm begin? Paying attention to attention reveals systems of valuation: what and whom do we choose to notice? How is our attention commoditized and marketed through contemporary screen- and browsing-time? What can be learned by tracking the historical forms through which attention has been theorized and practiced, and the technologies, cultural forms, and modes of production that have shaped it in the past and present? What forms of discipline does the compulsion to attend entail, and how is our capacity to recognize filtered and trained? How do new algorithmic techniques capture and monetize our attention? This theme invites scholarship on attention and attentiveness across the disciplines. Projects might include work on the political economy and commodification of attention; the attentive sensorium and our capacity to engage through various senses; cultural, critical and aesthetic forms of arresting attention; technologies and techniques of focus and honing attention; wanted and unwanted, undesired, or menacing attention; attention as a strategy of surveillance, governance, and policing; and attending as a form of tending to others.

 

Lectures 

All lectures begin at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted.  Locations vary by date.

09/19/2022

Attention by Design: Course Corrections for Wandering Minds

NATASHA SCHÜLL • New York University • via Zoom

09/26/2022

State Violence and the Arts of Attention in Contemporary Black Women's Writing

 ERICA EDWARDS • Yale University • Daniel Family Commons

10/03/2022

On Not Knowing and Paying Attention: How to Live in a Possible World

TIM INGOLD • University of Aberdeen • via Zoom

10/10/2022

Girly Words: Notes on Minds, Bodies, and Language in the Enlightenment

COURTNEY WEISS SMITH • Wesleyan University • Daniel Family Commons

10/17/2022 

Creating Attention: Poetry, Form, and the Observing Self, 1680-1750

MARTIN BAEUMEL • Wesleyan University • Daniel Family Commons

 

10/31/2022

"A Combination of Beauty and Bombast": The Spectacle of Capitalism at the World's Fairs

ROBERTO SABA • Wesleyan University • Daniel Family Commons

11/07/2022

Is Tristram Shandy "Merely Interesting"?

JESS KEISER • Tufts University • Russell House

11/14/2022

Ecologies of Attention

ELISE SPRINGER •  Wesleyan University • Daniel Family Commons

11/28/2022

Theorizing the Black Charismatic: Aesthetics, Hermeneutics, and the Politics of Affect

GARRY BERTHOLF • Wesleyan University • Daniel Family Commons

12/05/2022

Viral Justice & the Art of Bearing Witness

RUHA BENJAMIN • Princeton University • via Zoom