2019 Seed Grants
- Jeffrey Benjamin (Graduate Student; Department of Anthropology)
- Most researchers will admit that a significant proportion of their discoveries, ideas, and achievements are the direct or indirect result of a series of chance events and encounters that occur outside of any describable formal structure.
- This group will explore the concepts of 'serendipity' and 'epiphany' (in its colloquial, secular sense) in scientific research and discourse
- A first step will be a "mini-conference" for researchers to present and discuss ideas and stories.
- The goal is not to instrumentalize or exploit the concepts of serendipity and epiphany, but rather to protect them and the conditions that allow them to flourish.
Yuan Yi (Graduate Student; Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures)
- The project attempts to investigate the meaning of craft in postindustrial society, where manufacturing, the long-time opponent to craft, no longer constitutes a major economic sector.
- A one-day interdisciplinary conference to be held at Columbia in December 2019 will bring together practitioners, activists, and scholars whose work centers around craft, technology, and the economy.
- The first two sessions will raise critical questions about the relationship between craft and machine, the utility of “old” technologies, and the sustainability of craft in today’s American market.
- The other sessions will consider the cases of Asian countries for a comparative perspective, with an emphasis on the intangible cultural heritage system, the question of cultural diversity, and ethical consumer behaviors as a driving force in the craft industry.