Rupture and Flow: The Circulation of Technoscientific Facts and Objects

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Sawyer Seminar on the Comparative Study of Cultures
Indiana University, Bloomington

Graduate Fellows

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Eric Harvey

Eric Harvey's dissertation-in-progress is an ethnographic examination of the ways digital technologies have occasioned new forms of music circulation and commodity relationships. Since recorded music has existed in a commodity form, a variety of circulation strategies--discursive, legal, and technological--have been put in service of delivering profits to rights holders. Yet peer-to-peer, mp3s, and the writeable web have upended many of these taken-for-granted assumptions, and Harvey seeks to understand the emergent circuits of people and technologies that have evolved as a result. Through his research, he is investigating how labels are shifting perspectives on the management of new artist campaigns, how software developers and entrepreneurs are creating and circulating technologies that predict new ways of music engagement and how listeners are using these technologies to negotiate a seemingly endless supply of music and connect with others, and how music retailers are resisting the digital turn by invoking ideologies of nostalgia, physicality, and localism.

Harvey is a PhD candidate in Indiana University's department of Communication and Culture. Recently, he contributed a chapter to the edited volume Managing Media Work (Sage).

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Elizabeth Angeline Nelson

Elizabeth Angeline Nelson's dissertation-in-progress is a cultural history of madness and the human sciences in turn-of-the-twentieth-century France. To make sense of their patients, psychiatrists often turned to the historical study of mystical and occult phenomena, as experiences like hearing voices, feeling persecuted by invisible beings, and believing oneself to have special powers were some of the symptoms of psychosis as it was coming to be defined. For this reason, psychiatrists' forays into libraries and archives were doubled by those of contemporary occultists, whose search for esoteric knowledge led them to consult historical works on necromancy, sorcery, prophecy, and related topics. Positioning psychiatry and occultism as twin sciences humaines, Nelson explores how they were constituted by complex relations among scientists, their communicative apparatus (treatises, journals), human subjects, and enduring things of the past. Treating these networks as case studies, Nelson attempts to re-imagine modernity and pre-modernity as simultaneous, coexistent, and interwoven. This is most strikingly seen in the archaic madnesses suffered by many occultists, as well as in the uncanny similarities psychiatrists found between their patients and the witches, magicians, and oracles of ages supposedly past.

Nelson is a PhD candidate in the department of history at Indiana University and winner of the 2009 Mikal Lynn Sousa Award for Excellence in Graduate Scholarship.