Effulgence of the North

The last time I was in Los Angeles, I visited the Velaslavasay Panorama, which is located right off the 10 at the Hoover exit, which is pretty close to where I went to grad school at USC. On display was “Effulgence of the North,” a fantastic, fully-immersive, decidedly *not digital*, audio-visual experience. I look forward to returning, and not just for the panorama. They also had a petite camera obscura located in the back, as well as a garden full of carnivorous plants.

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Digital Humanities and Social Justice


The Digital Humanities and Social Justice Workshop & Lecture Series

is a year-long research initiative that speaks to a shared commitment to using digital technology responsibly and fostering a critical dialog within the College of Arts and Letters at Florida Atlantic University. Topics of discussion include the ethics of incarceration, immigration reform, gender politics and legislation, human rights, environmental action, and the historic complexities of discrimination. Unless otherwise noted, all events take place in the AMP Lab.

Animal, Vegetable, Digital

avd-image-largeAnimal, Vegetable, Digital is a project about making connections between digital technology, natural ecologies, and the arts. My book explores how works of digital art provide opportunities for experiencing human-environmental contingency, for demonstrating the human body’s coextension with the environment, for aiding in conservation practices, and for expressing the agency of natural spaces. It makes the argument that digital art, largely excluded from environmental criticism since its inception, has the potential—if not yet perfectly realized—to re-connect us to nature, remind us of our own embodied materiality, and re-affirm our kinship with other living and non-living things. It won the University of Alabama Press’ Elizabeth Agee Manuscript Prize in

Utopia

Fredric Jameson’s Archaeology of the Future: the Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions (2007) articulates the central concern of this graduate seminar: “In an age of globalization characterized by the dizzying technologies of the First World, and the social disintegration of the Third, is the concept of utopia still meaningful?” The short answer to this question is “yes.”  The longer one will require us to take an unconventional critical approach to the form.  While recent scholarship about dys/u/eu/topoi has tended to focus on the manner in which utopian literature forms a response to the political events of its time—e.g., Plato’s commentary upon the Athenian polis in the Republic, Thomas More’s response to the Reformation in Utopia, Jonathan Swift’s commentary upon the contentious political climate in post-Civil War England in Gulliver’s Travels, Ernst Bloch’s visions within the context of early Marxism and Fredric Jameson’s in the context of advanced capitalism—in this graduate seminar we will consider of equal importance the expression of place. The words “utopia” and “dystopia,” after all, are directly traceable to the Greek term topos, or “place”—a skewed place in the case of the dystopia, and a non-existent (but good) one in the case of the utopia. Our particular emphasis will be upon the remarkable fact that utopian works create places and spaces within fictional worlds that help open up new frontiers in our own. By examining the adjacency between fictive and real-world spaces and places, we shall be able to assess the continued relevance of this important literary form.

 

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