Jeffrey Schnapp will be coming to speak at the Paul and Irene Hollister Seminars on Glass Wednesday, March 2, 2011, on “The Crystalline Body: Fragments of a Cultural History of Glass.”

Jeffrey Schnapp is Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures and affiliated with Comparative Literature and the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University. Previously, he held the Rosina Pierotti Chair in Italian Literature and is Professor of Comparative Literature at Stanford University, where he taught from 1993 to 2011. Professor Schnapp received his B.A. from Vassar College and Ph.D. from Stanford University. He is currently Visiting Professor in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, Harvard University, and has been Visiting Mellon Professor in Digital Humanities at the University of Southern California (2008-2009), Visiting Professor at the Università IULM, Milan, Italy (Spring 2002), and Visiting Professor of Italian and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley (Spring 2001). Dr. Schnapp has been the recipient of a number of prestigious fellowships, including the Senior Mellon Fellowship, Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal, Canada (Summer 2007), a National Endowment for the Humanities Senior Fellowship (2006), a Getty Research Institute Fellowship (Spring 2005), and a Wolfsonian/FIU Research Fellowship.

Professor Schnapp is Founder and Faculty Director of the Metalab at Harvard. His research focuses on Italian literature in the age of Dante and the emergence and institutional articulation of Fascist culture in Italy, as well as the troubadour lyric, Franco-Italian cultural relations from 1850 to 1950, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century travel and transportation literature, and Georges Sorel and French anarcho-syndicalism. Professor Schnapp is the author of many books, including The Transfiguration of History at the Center of Dante’s Paradise (1986), Staging Fascism: 18BL and the Theater of Masses for Masses (1996), and Building Fascism, Communism, Liberal Democracy: Gaetano Ciocca–Architect, Inventor, Farmer, Writer, Engineer (2004). He is also editor of The Poetry of Allusion (1991), A Primer of Italian Fascism (2000), and Speed Limits (2009).

Dr. Schnapp’s lecture is entitled “The Crystalline Body: Fragments of a Cultural History of Glass.” proposes a general methodological framing of an approach to the cultural history of materials, some remarks on the specificity of glass, and then a sequence of imaginary and practical stagings of glass with an emphasis on the glaeserne Mensch first devised for the Dresden Hygiene Museum, but later re-featured in various Worlds Fairs. This so-called “man of glass” wasn’t actually made out of glass but rather out of Cellon, an early plastic, so the very point of the talk is to suggest how powerful are cultural imaginings in shaping material practices.

Please RSVP and join us in the Lecture Hall at 38 West 86th Street, between Columbus Ave and Central Park West, at 5:45pm for a reception before the talk.