I had the privilege of attending historian Jo Guldi‘s workshop on Paper Machines, a Zotero plug-in that can ‘read’ through scores of online archived texts (as long as they are OCR PDFs), and pull out key trends in word usage and geographical positions from the aggregated data. The plug-in is extremely useful for scholars engaged in looking at a long historical period or those who have to deal with the fecund messiness of contemporary archives.
“How many of the conceptual fads that have excited aspiring young radical intellectuals in recent decades (from Agamben to Žižek) have ended up having any actual political purchase whatsoever? Isn’t the lack of historical consciousness and clear, patient analysis an endemic feature today of activist culture, just as a certain anti-intellectualism was the phenomenon against which Hall and his colleagues had to struggle on the left in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s? Under such circumstances, Cultural Studies as conceived by Hall – a sort of multifaceted political sociology, deploying a wide range of theoretical tools in order to analyse shifting dynamics of power and their historical specificities – is needed today more than ever.”
The rest of the obituaries here.