New Speaker! Keller replaces Labio for 4/19

“The controller of the fortunate and miserable Lapis seekers, or searchers for the Philosopher’s Stone” from the Great Mirror of Folly, RBC x 332.6 G 899


Catherine Labio has had to cancel her talk this Wednesday. Vera Keller, Associate Professor of History in the Clark Honors College, UO, will instead be speaking. A reception will follow. Keller’s talk will be:

The Graphic Nature of Projects

Modernity is unthinkable without projects. We all pursue projects, large and small, in our intellectual research as well as in our daily lives, which are in turn shaped by projects on the local, national, and global levels. We might be surprised to learn, however, that the term project in its modern sense as a plan for the future (rather than literally something thrown out or forward, from the Latin, “pro + icere”) is only a few centuries old. The modern projects originated in sixteenth-century graphic practices, as an architectural, engineering or military sketch adumbrating a future building, rampart, or battle arrangement. Only slowly, across the course of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, did the term come to mean a way to envision and shape the future. The 1720 Great Mirror of Folly (Grote Tafereel der Dwaasheid), which explored the first major stock market crash in a riot of innovative political cartoons, played a role in spreading the notion of a project and re-shaping graphic views of the less-than-savory figure of the “projector.”