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Seton Hall University

Spring 2024 Humanities Colloquium Hosts D. Graham Burnett

A man with a beard smiling in front of a cityscape

Graham Burnett is the founding director of the Institute for Sustained Attention

On Thursday, February 8, 2024, from 1-2 p.m., in the Beck Rooms, the spring Humanities Colloquium will feature D. Graham Burnett, Henry Charles Lea Professor of History and the History of Science at Princeton University. Burnett will offer an interactive presentation on "Attention and the Infinite Mirror."

Burnett's talk will focus on such questions as: What is "attention"? How has the understanding of human attention changed over time? And, in what ways have shifting technologies and changing concepts of personhood affected our attentional capacities -- and the role assigned to attention and distraction in key cultural arenas? Burnett will discuss his research into laboratory investigations of attention since 1880. Attendees will reflect on the contemporary challenges raised by the intense "commodification" of human attention in the last decades and be asked to consider in what ways we can resist this industrial-scale "fracking" of human beings.

D. Graham Burnett is the founding director of the Institute for Sustained Attention, a non-profit organization dedicated to research and activism that centers on human attentional capacities. He is an original member of the "Friends of Attention" coalition and one of the co-creators of the "Strother School of Radical Attention" in Brooklyn, NY. Burnett co-edited Scenes of Attention: Essays on Mind, Time, and the Senses with Paris-based philosopher Justin E. H. Smith (Columbia University Press, 2023) and Twelve Theses on Attention with Stevie Knauss (Princeton University Press, 2022). In 2018, Burnett co-curated "Practices of Attention" for the 32nd São Paulo Biennial and is associated with the artist collective ESTAR(SER), co-curating "THE THIRD, MEANING" at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle, Washington, exploring attentional practices in aesthetics history (2022-2023).

The Humanities Colloquium series began in fall 2022 with a talk by Roosevelt Montás, Senior Lecturer in American Studies and English at Columbia University, former Director of the Center for the Core Curriculum at Columbia College, and the newly appointed Dean of Humanities at Columbia. His talk was on Rescuing Socrates: How the Great Books Changed My Life and Why They Matter for a New Generation. The fall 2023 Humanities Colloquium speaker was Zena Hitz, a philosopher and Tutor at St. John's College in Annapolis, as well as the founder and president of the Catherine Project. Hitz spoke on themes from her recent monograph, Lost in Thought.

The Humanities Colloquium is sponsored by the Center of Faculty Development, the Center for Catholic Studies, and the College of Arts and Sciences.