The Society for Critical Exchange

Con/texts of Invention:
WA working conference

April 20-22, 2006
Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland, Ohio


Original Call for Papers

With support from the Department of English and the Center for Law, Technology, and the Arts at Case Western Reserve University School of Law; the History of Science Department at Harvard University; the Washington College of Law at American University; and the Morris Fishbein Center for the History of Science and Medicine at the University of Chicago

This conference interrogates the social and cultural construction of invention - the diverse ways in which invention has been conceptualized in the arts and sciences in the broadest sense, including literature, the fine arts, entertainment, the physical and life sciences, law, economics, medicine, engineering, agriculture, education, communications, computation, finance, and business. Emphasis will be on the institutional cultures, rhetorics, and histories of invention across these fields. In this way the Society seeks to extend and deepen the inquiry of its long-standing project on "Intellectual Property and the Construction of Authorship" (see The conference will include lectures and panel discussions; to facilitate discussion, papers selected for panels will circulate in advance of the conference.

Topics may include (but are not limited to):

the author as inventor the inventor as author imitation and originality psychologies of creativity pathologies such as writer's (or inventor's) block genius hack(ing)s tradition and the individual talent, including the anxiety of influence forgery crimes such as plagiarism and piracy the inventor as hero invention vs. discovery simultaneous discovery joint/collective invention useful and useless knowledge the idea /expression distinction invention vs. innovation material and social inputs to invention invention policy narratives of invention depictions of invention, including patent drawings invisible invention invention in rhetorical theory genre and invention invention and memory invention in popular and children's literature pedagogies of invention invention and self-help, including creativity workshops and invention promotion services cross-cultural perspectives on invention invention and power imperialism and invention universities and invention rhetorics of entrepreneurship representations of collaboration corporate authorship/invention economies of invention legal incentives and disincentives private and public domains discourses of intellectual commons, including free software and open source collage and sampling geographies of invention ethnography of invention gender and invention




Conference Organizers:

Mario Biagioli, History of Science, Harvard University
Peter Jaszi, Law, American University
Adrian Johns, History of Science, University of Chicago
Martha Woodmansee, English and Law, Case Western Reserve University


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