3-11-2010 Dan Selcer

Center for Interpretive and Qualitative Research (CIQR -- "seeker")*

Date:  March 11 (Thurs.), 2010, 4:30-6:00PM, 324 Fisher Hall, Duquesne University.

Presenters: Dr. Dan Selcer, Dept. of Philosophy, Duquesne University and Theresa Smith, Harvard University Library

Bios:  Theresa Smith is a Paper Conservator for Special Collections in the Harvard University Library.  She is a member of the editorial board of Restaurator and has published in Technè: La science au service de l'histoire de l'art et des civilisations and the American Institute for Conservation’s Book and Paper Group Annual.
Daniel Selcer is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Duquesne University, where he teaches the history of early modern thought.  He has published in Representations, Continental Philosophy Review, and other journals and is the author of Philosophy and the Book: Early Modern Figures of Material Inscription (Continuum Books, 2010).

Title:  "Manuscript, Photograph, Facsimile: Copernicus' Revolutions"

Abstract: A manuscript facsimile is supposed to be identical to the original it reproduces.  It is nevertheless an object in its own right, possessing the peculiar property of rendering accessible to scholarly scrutiny the ground for the production of a printed book.  What are we to make of a case where multiple facsimiles of the same manuscript differ among themselves?  Between 1944 and 1974 no less than nine facsimiles of the manuscript of Copernicus’ De revolutionibus were published. In 1974, designer Charles Eames also took a series of stunning photographs of the manuscript.  The facsimiles and photos reveal an apparent contradiction: there both is and is not a hole in the manuscript page at the center of Copernicus’ emblematic diagram of the heliocentric universe. The stakes of the seemingly trivial empirical question of whether such a hole is real, this paper argues, involve an interrogation of the material nature of texts, the physicality of scientific inquiry, and the relationship between original and reproduction.

All interested faculty, graduate students, and other parties are invited.  Refreshments will be served.  Parking will be provided for those who need it; simply park in Forbes Garage, using the garage entrance on Forbes Ave. and ask host for a parking sticker.

For inquiries concerning CIQR, please contact the Center Coordinator, Fred Evans, Dept. of Philosophy, evansf@duq.edu, 396-6507, or access the CIQR website, www.ciqr.duq.edu .

*The Center has been officially approved by the Dean of the College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts, The Graduate Council of the College, and the Council of Deans for the University.  It is based in the College but open to members of all the schools of the University.  It includes interpretive and qualitative research in both the humanities and the social and behavioral sciences (including the practice of the latter in Nursing, Education, Occupational Therapy and other professional schools).