The meaning of the meaningless: A history of graphology

Benjamin Kafka
Date and Time: 
Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 4:15pm

History Corner (Building 200), Room 307


First elaborated in Bologna in the early seventeenth century, graphology is the study of personality through handwriting. Its practitioners scrutinize the most minuscule deviations in letter forms, word spacing, punctuation, and other marks on the page for clues into an author’s character and motivation. “The meaning of the meaningless,” the graphologist Werner Wolff proudly called his object of study in 1940s, comparing it to Freud's theory of parapraxis. In this workshop I will consider how graphology might provide us with insight into larger problems in the history and theory of interpretation in the human sciences.


Ben Kafka is an Associate Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication; History (New York University)

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