What does the “gift economy” mean for writers, and why does it seem to involve more giving than receiving? The pressure to make one's work open and free is felt everywhere: budding journalists are asked to appear on the web sites of major magazines for free; driven to promote our work, we strive to furnish audiences with quality streams of social-media content; and even established authors find themselves writing in exchange for "exposure." In this talk, Mathew Battles, Associate Director of metaLAB at Harvard, will show the many turnings the gift has taken in writing's history, and how writers today can find new ways to understand and make use of “giving” in literary life.
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About Matthew Battles received his MA in fiction from Boston University's Creative Writing Program in 1996. Since then, he has written for such venues as The American Scholar, The Atlantic, The Boston Globe, Harper’s Magazine, and The New York TImes; his books include the short-story collection The Sovereignties of Invention and Library: an Unquiet History. His forthcoming volume, a material and cultural history of writing entitled Palimpsest, will appear in Spring 2015. A fellow at the Berkman Center and Society, he serves as associate director of metaLAB at Harvard, a research group dedicated to exploring and expanding the frontiers of networked culture in the arts and humanities.
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