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Humanities and Social Sciences Colloquium - Erica Fretwell


Skin and Scripts

Dr. Erica Fretwell
American Literature
University at Albany (SUNY)

Skin and Scripts
When May 22, 2017
from 11:15 AM to 12:45 PM
Where FRIAS, Albertstr. 19, Seminar Room
Contact Name
Contact Phone +49 (0)761 203-97362
Attendees universitätsöffentlich / open to university members
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"Skin and Scripts" uncovers an overlooked era in American literature and culture: 1829 - 1932, a period framed by the contentious history of tactile scripts known as the "War of the Dots." This techno-lexical war began in 1829 when Louis Braille published his tactile code system and ended in 1932, when the U.S. adopted Standard English Braille as the uniform method of reproducing print material. In the rush to celebrate the innovations that the typewriter brought to standard print and publishing, we forget its original use of embossing technology - whereby text projects from, rather than is pressed into, the writing surface - and that its first users were blind. Focusing on the centrality of the "War of the Dots" to the century's dynamic media ecology thus amplifies the indeterminate, mutually defining textual traditions, practices, and technologies that comprise and expand the literary canon.