The members of the Closeness Project are interested in exploring the idea of "closeness" as a field of inquiry in the humanities.
Our goal is to develop the concept of closeness as a field of inquiry in the humanities. With no a priori definition of the concept in hand, we’re collecting as many accounts and versions of closeness as we can and looking for patterns. This can mean interpersonal proximity, spiritual connectedness, a close connection to nature and other animals, and of course closeness to art and literature.
In the Silicon Valley (where we live and work), notions of closeness often involve virtuality and robust forms of digital mediation. But how might technology help us to preserve, nurture, and even better define what it is that we mean when we speak of the experience of proximity when we read, write, love, dance, pray, play music, mourn, sing, and share stories? Through a series of events at Stanford, a collection of micro-stories, an online library of texts central to the study of this concept for humanists, and an assortment of blog entries on our process, we hope to start a new conversation about closeness in the humanities.
Our current team is Vincent Barletta (faculty chair), Patty Hamilton, Jaih Hunter-Hill, and Friederike Knuepling. We exist thanks to a generous grant from the Research Unit of Stanford's Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages.