Nitrocellulose: A Material History of the Humanities
Jonathan Haid’s project examines the material nitrocellulose in the history of the nineteenth- and twentieth-century humanities, with special attention to the relationship between media technologies and the raw materials of which they were made.
The project asks about the structures of extraction, appropriation, transportation, and processing of the raw materials—cotton, saltpeter, camphor, and more—of nitrocellulose and related media. It focuses on two media technologies that were enabled by nitrocellulose: the photographic collodion process and cinematography. What were the environmental, economic, and industrial contexts of this transformation of raw materials into knowledge media? And as resources of knowledge, how did these complex networks impact upon the epistemes of the humanities?
Examining archaeological photography produced by the German Archaeological Institute and the use of celluloid film stock by the Institute for Cultural Research in Berlin, Jonathan’s project explores working practices and knowledge techniques within the humanities.
Jonathan studied cultural studies at Leipzig University, and earned his MA in cultural history and theory from Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. His PhD project is supported by a scholarship from the Hans Böckler Foundation.
Find Jonathan's profile on the Website of the International Max Planck Research School – "Knowledge and its Resources" (IMPRS-KIR).