[Msa-discuss] Upcoming Symposium on Modernity and Chance

Potomac Center for the Study of Modernity pcsm at umd.edu
Tue Mar 12 15:32:14 EDT 2013

The Potomac Center for the Study of Modernity will be hosting its second symposium this spring. Registration is free and open to the public.
Friday, April 5, 2013 - 1:00 p.m.-5:30 p.m, with reception following
Lecture Hall, National Museum of African Art, Washington, DC

The Potomac Center for the Study of Modernity is pleased to announce its spring symposium, Modernity and Chance.

This symposium considers chance as a central problem in the history of modernity, occupying a complicated place in modern lives and societies. It has become a phenomenon integral to our understanding of the world--natural and social--and, in practical terms, a phenomenon to be systematized and controlled (though, say, statistics and insurance) as well as a newly omnipresent counterforce to everyday order, whether in the form of industrial accidents or national lotteries.

Chance and order, this symposium proposes, have existed as a key dialectic of modernity, playing a particularly prominent role in the imagination and self-understanding of modern cultures. What have been the social and cultural effects of modernity’s engagement with chance and disorder?  How has chance been understood and experienced differently under modernity—among different groups and in different places?  To what extent and in what ways, in turn, has modernity been shaped or even defined by chance and the meanings that have attached to it? Speakers will address in particular unofficial lotteries in Brazil, worlds of digital gaming, and practices of photography, among other topics.

Speakers: Amy Chazkel, Associate Professor of History, City University of New York; Robin Kelsey, Shirley Carter Burden Professor of Photography, Harvard University; and Thomas Malaby, Professor and Chair of Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Respondent: T. J. Jackson Lears, Board of Governors Professor of History, Rutgers University
Chair: Martin Collins, Curator of Space History, National Air and Space Museum

Read more about the symposium here:

The Potomac Center for the Study of Modernity promotes the scholarly understanding of human experience since about 1850. Based in Washington, DC and founded in 2012, The Center aims specifically to build a robust conversation across the boundaries separating scholars in history, the humanities, and the social sciences. Learn more about the Potomac Center here:

The Potomac Center funds symposia proposed by scholars in the Washington-Baltimore area! Accepted symposia will be fully supported by The Center and will be scheduled into The Center's calendar for the next academic year. Read The Center's call for symposium proposals here:

The Potomac Center also distributes a weekly listing of events in the Washington-Baltimore area related to the study of modernity. Sign up to receive the listing here (http://www.thepotomaccenter.org/subscribe_to_PCSM) or post an event for possible inclusion in the listing here (http://www.thepotomaccenter.org/submit).

Sarah Cantor
Coordinator of Communications and Events
The Potomac Center for the Study of Modernity
pcsm at umd.edu
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