Center for Cultural Analysis seminar, 2011-12:  Public Knowledge

I’ll be co-directing next year’s CCA seminar on Public Knowledge with Henry Turner.  What, today, is public knowledge? What forms have shared, openly accessible bodies of knowledge taken historically, and what are the prospects for collective inquiry in the 21st century? For its 25th Anniversary year, the Center for Cultural Analysis invites projects that investigate the creation and transmission of knowledge by and for a variety of publics, semi-publics, and counter-publics. We are particularly interested in institutions such as universities, museums, and libraries that are explicitly dedicated to the transmission of knowledge across generations. But we will also take up other social practices and cultural forms that serve the public good or the public interest, such as journalism, government reports, learned societies, watchdog agencies, non-governmental organizations, and free and open source software projects. Are there problems that can only be addressed through a collaborative, collective mode of inquiry? How does knowledge become institutionalized, and how do institutions account for themselves? What are the historical precedents for the informal knowledge networks made possible by new media? Possible areas of inquiry include but are not limited to the history and prospects of the university and other learned societies; public knowledge and social media; the institutional landscape of the public sphere, including corporations and laboratories; the public domain; intellectual property and the privatization of public goods; limits to or restrictions on public knowledge.  Applications for External Fellowships are due on January 7.

Rutgers English Diversity Institute:

Are you currently working with an undergraduate who shows great promise in literary study and is considering graduate school in English but doesn’t know much about it?  REDI is designed to encourage current students and recent graduates from diverse cultural, economic, and ethnic backgrounds to consider graduate study.  Students participate in a week of intensive seminars, including a visit to the Schomburg Library and attending a play in New York city.  Students receive a $500 stipend for participating in the program.  Applications are due March 1, 2011.


I am currently on leave, finishing a book on the circulation of poetry in the antebellum U.S.  I can be found on email:  mlmcgill [at]  I can also be found frittering away my time, harvesting links on twitter @mlmcgill.