My project, “Making Conversation,” traces key moments in the discursive history of the concept and medium of the conversation both backwards to the Enlightenment, and forward to our present moment and imminent future, in particular the media shift from reading to listening (epitomized by the cultural currency of the podcast), and the advent of artificial intelligence technology specifically designed as a virtual conversational partner. The idealization of the conversation as a conduit of mutual understanding between interlocutors is counterbalanced, as my analysis of philosophical and literary texts as well as more recent digital source material shows, by the fact that this conceptualization always depends on particular forms of staging.