In Abject Performances Leticia Alvarado draws out the irreverent, disruptive aesthetic strategies used by Latino artists and cultural producers who shun standards of respectability that are typically used to conjure concrete minority identities. In place of works imbued with pride, redemption, or celebration, artists such as Ana Mendieta, Nao Bustamante, and the Chicano art collective known as Asco employ negative affects—shame, disgust, and unbelonging—to capture experiences that lie at the edge of the mainstream, inspirational Latino-centered social justice struggles. Drawing from a diverse expressive archive that ranges from performance art to performative testimonies of personal faith-based subjection, Alvarado illuminates modes of community formation and social critique defined by a refusal of identitarian coherence that nonetheless coalesce into Latino affiliation and possibility.
Advertising as Culture
Edited by Chris Wharton Intellect Books, 2012 Library of Congress HF5821.A299 2013 | Dewey Decimal 306.3
Penned by contributors from a range of disciplines, including art history, sociology, and media and cultural studies, the essays that constitute Advertising as Culture offer an informed and critical overview of approaches to the study of advertising. These in-depth contributions explore such topics as the conceptual relationship between advertising and culture; the development of advertising through the industrial period; the nature of advertising production and reception; the relationship of advertising to a range of cultural fields such as art, fashion, and music; and developments in digital media practice.
Ben-Hur (1959), Jaws (1975), Avatar (2009), Wonder Woman (2017): the blockbuster movie has held a dominant position in American popular culture for decades. In American Blockbuster Charles R. Acland charts the origins, impact, and dynamics of this most visible, entertaining, and disparaged cultural form. Acland narrates how blockbusters emerged from Hollywood's turn to a hit-driven focus during the industry's business crisis in the 1950s. Movies became bigger, louder, and more spectacular. They also became prototypes for ideas and commodities associated with the future of technology and culture, accelerating the prominence of technological innovation in modern American life. Acland shows that blockbusters continue to be more than just movies; they are industrial strategies and complex cultural machines designed to normalize the ideologies of our technological age.
What can Roger Rabbit tell us about the Second Gulf War? What can a woman married to the Berlin Wall tell us about posthumanism and inter-subjectivity? What can DJ Shadow tell us about the end of history? What can our local bus route tell us about the fortification of the West? What can Reality TV tell us about the crisis of contemporary community? And what can unauthorized pictures of Osama Bin Laden tell us about new methods of popular propaganda? These are only some of the thought-provoking questions raised in Avoiding the Subject, which highlights the feedback-loops between philosophy, technology, and politics in today's mediascape.
Does living in a globally networked society mean that we are moving toward a single, homogenous world culture? Or, are we headed for clashes between center and periphery, imperial and subaltern, Western and non-Western, First and Third World? The interdisciplinary essays in Beyond Globalization present us with another possibility—that new media will lead to new kinds of “worldmaking.”
This provocative volume brings together the best new work of scholars within such diverse fields as history, sociology, anthropology, film, media studies, and art. Whether examining the inauguration of a virtual community on the website Second Life or investigating the appropriation of biotechnology for transgenic art, this collection highlights how mediated practices have become integral to global culture; how social practices have emerged out of computer-related industries; how contemporary apocalyptic narratives reflect the anxieties of a U.S. culture facing global challenges; and how design, play, and technology help us understand the histories and ideals
behind the digital architectures that mediate our everyday actions.
What might the cinema tell us about how and why the prospect of cloning disturbs our most profound ideas about gender, sexuality, difference, and the body? In The Cinematic Life of the Gene, the pioneering feminist film theorist Jackie Stacey argues that as a cultural technology of imitation, cinema is uniquely situated to help us theorize “the genetic imaginary,” the constellation of fantasies that genetic engineering provokes. Since the mid-1990s there has been remarkable innovation in genetic engineering and a proliferation of films structured by anxieties about the changing meanings of biological and cultural reproduction. Bringing analyses of several of these films into dialogue with contemporary cultural theory, Stacey demonstrates how the cinema animates the tropes and enacts the fears at the heart of our genetic imaginary. She engages with film theory; queer theories of desire, embodiment, and kinship; psychoanalytic theories of subject formation; and debates about the reproducibility of the image and the shift from analog to digital technologies.
Stacey examines the body-horror movies Alien: Resurrection and Species in light of Jean Baudrillard’s apocalyptic proclamations about cloning and “the hell of the same,” and she considers the art-house thrillers Gattaca and Code 46 in relation to ideas about imitation, including feminist theories of masquerade, postcolonial conceptualizations of mimicry, and queer notions of impersonation. Turning to Teknolust and Genetic Admiration, independent films by feminist directors, she extends Walter Benjamin’s theory of aura to draw an analogy between the replication of biological information and the reproducibility of the art object. Stacey suggests new ways to think about those who are not what they appear to be, the problem of determining identity in a world of artificiality, and the loss of singularity amid unchecked replication.
Oprah Winfrey, Donald Trump, Roseanne Barr, Martha Stewart, and Britney Spears typify class-passers—those who claim different socioeconomic classes as their own—asserts Gwendolyn Audrey Foster in Class-Passing: Social Mobility in Film and Popular Culture. According to new rules of social standing in American popular culture, class is no longer defined by wealth, birth, or education. Instead, today’s notion of class reflects a socially constructed and regulated series of performed acts and gestures rooted in the cult of celebrity.
In examining the quest for class mobility, Foster deftly traces class-passing through the landscape of popular films, reality television shows, advertisements, the Internet, and video games. She deconstructs the politics of celebrity, fashion, and conspicuous consumerism and analyzes class-passing as it relates to the American Dream, gender, and marriage.
Class-Passing draws on dozens of examples from popular culture, from old movie classics and contemporary films to print ads and cyberspace, to illustrate how flagrant displays of wealth that were once unacceptable under the old rules of behavior are now flaunted by class-passing celebrities. From the construction worker in Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire? to the privileged socialites Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie of The Simple Life, Foster explores the fantasy of contact between the classes. She also refers to television class-passers from The Apprentice, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, and Survivor and notable class-passing achievers Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and P. Diddy.
Class-Passing is a notable examination of the historical, social, and ideological shifts in expressions of class. The first serious book of its kind, Class-Passing is fresh, innovative, and invaluable for students and scholars of film, television, and popular culture.
It is hard to discuss the current film industry without acknowledging the impact of comic book adaptations, especially considering the blockbuster success of recent superhero movies. Yet transmedial adaptations are part of an evolution that can be traced to the turn of the last century, when comic strips such as “Little Nemo in Slumberland” and “Felix the Cat” were animated for the silver screen. Representing diverse academic fields, including technoculture, film studies, theater, feminist studies, popular culture, and queer studies, Comics and Pop Culture presents more than a dozen perspectives on this rich history and the effects of such adaptations.
Examining current debates and the questions raised by comics adaptations, including those around authorship, style, and textual fidelity, the contributors consider the topic from an array of approaches that take into account representations of sexuality, gender, and race as well as concepts of world-building and cultural appropriation in comics from Modesty Blaise to Black Panther. The result is a fascinating re-imagination of the texts that continue to push the boundaries of panel, frame, and popular culture.
Horrified, saddened, and angered: That was the American people’s reaction to the 9/11 attacks, Hurricane Katrina, the Virginia Tech shootings, and the 2008 financial crisis. In Consuming Catastrophe, Timothy Recuber presents a unique and provocative look at how these four very different disasters took a similar path through public consciousness. He explores the myriad ways we engage with and negotiate our feelings about disasters and tragedies—from omnipresent media broadcasts to relief fund efforts and promises to “Never Forget.”
Recuber explains how a specific and “real” kind of emotional connection to the victims becomes a crucial element in the creation, use, and consumption of mass mediation of disasters. He links this to the concept of “empathetic hedonism,” or the desire to understand or feel the suffering of others.
The ineffability of disasters makes them a spectacular and emotional force in contemporary American culture. Consuming Catastrophe provides a lively analysis of the themes and meanings of tragedy and the emotions it engenders in the representation, mediation and consumption of disasters.
Ten innovative interviews explore how producers of documentary media—filmmakers, journalists, and artists—located in societies considered marginal to the high-tech global centers respond to local and international audiences in creating their works.
We meet a South African playwright who is shaping a distinctive form of activist journalism; a New Guinean producer who manages several media careers; Polish and German filmmakers developing critical documentaries on compromised new orders; a Columbian artist who provides powerful representations of endemic violence in her society; and writers from Martinique and Argentina with varied careers in the arts, media, and politics who provide tragicomic accounts of the marginal situations of their societies.
Cynical, hopeful, ambivalent all at once, these cultural producers in perilous states share a keen awareness of the marginality of their societies in the broader context of global change, and associate integrity in the reporting of local events with a critical politics of representation.
Three decades of societal and cultural alignment of new media have yielded a host of innovations, trials, and problems, accompanied by versatile popular and academic discourse. New Media Studies crystallized internationally into an established academic discipline, and this begs the question: where do we stand now? Which new questions are emerging now that new media are being taken for granted, and which riddles are still unsolved? Is contemporary digital culture indeed all about 'you', the participating user, or do we still not really understand the digital machinery and how this constitutes us as 'you'? The contributors to the present book, all employed in teaching and researching new media and digital culture, assembled their 'digital material' into an anthology, covering issues ranging from desktop metaphors to Web 2.0 ecosystems, from touch screens to blogging and e-learning, from role-playing games and cybergothic music to wireless dreams. Together the contributions provide a showcase of current research in the field, from what may be called a 'digital-materialist' perspective.
Media do not simply portray places that already exist; they actually produce them. In exploring how world populations experience "place" through media technologies, the essays included here examine how media construct the meanings of home, community, work, nation, and citizenship.
Tracing how media reconfigure the boundaries between public and private-and global and local-to create "electronic elsewheres," the essays investigate such spaces and identities as the avatars that women are creating on Web sites, analyze the role of satellite television in transforming Algerian neighborhoods, inquire into the roles of radio and television in Israel and India, and take a skeptical look at the purported novelty of the "new media home."
Contributors: Asu Aksoy, Istanbul Bilgi U; Charlotte Brunsdon, U of Warwick; Ratiba Hadj-Moussa, York U (Toronto); Tamar Liebes-Plesner, Hebrew U; David Morley, Goldsmiths, U of London; Lisa Nakamura, U of Illinois; Arvind Rajagopal, New York U; Kevin Robins, Goldsmiths, U of London; Jeffrey Sconce, Northwestern U; Marita Sturken, New York U; and Shunya Yoshimi, U of Tokyo.
Empire Burlesque traces the emergence of the contemporary global context within which American critical identity is formed. Daniel T. O’Hara argues that globalization has had a markedly negative impact on American cultural criticism, circumscribing both its material and imaginative potential, reducing much of it to absurdity. By highlighting the spectacle of its own self-parody, O’Hara aims to shock U.S. cultural criticism back into a sense of ethical responsibility.
Empire Burlesque presents several interrelated analyses through readings of a range of writers and cultural figures including Henry James, Freud, Said, De Man, Derrida, and Cordwainer Smith (an academic, spy, and classic 1950s and 1960s science fiction writer). It describes the debilitating effects of globalization on the university in general and the field of literary studies in particular, it critiques literary studies’ embrace of globalization theory in the name of a blind and vacant modernization, and it meditates on the ways critical reading and writing can facilitate an imaginative alternative to institutionalized practices of modernization. Drawing on Lacanian psychoanalytical theory, it diagnoses contemporary American Studies as typically driven by the mindless abjection and transference of professional identities.
A provocative commentary on contemporary cultural criticism, Empire Burlesque will inform debates on the American university across the humanities, particularly among those in literary criticism, cultural studies, and American studies.
Have you ever been a fan of a show that was canceled abruptly or that killed off a beloved character unexpectedly? Or perhaps it was rebooted after a long absence and now you’re worried it won’t be as good as the original? Anyone who has ever followed entertainment closely knows firsthand that such transitions can be jarring.
Indeed, for truly loyal fans, the loss can feel very real—even throwing their own identity into question. Examining how fans respond to and cope with transitions, endings, or resurrections in everything from band breakups (R.E.M.) to show cancellations (Hannibal) to closing down popular amusement park rides, this collection brings together an eclectic mix of scholars to analyze the various ways fans respond to change. Essays explore practices such as fan discussion and creating alternative fan fictions, as well as cases where fans abandon their objects of interest completely and move on to new ones. Shedding light on how fans react, both individually and as a community, the contributors also trace the commonalities and differences present in fandoms across a range of media, and they pay close attention to the ways fandom operates across paratexts and transmedia forms including films, comics, and television.
This fascinating approach promises to make an important contribution to the fields of fan, media, and cultural studies, and should appeal widely to students, scholars, and anyone else with a genuine interest in understanding why these transitions can have such a deep impact on fans’ lives.
Contributors: Stuart Bell, Anya Benson, Lucy Bennett, Paul Booth, Joseph Brennan, Kristina Busse, Melissa A. Click, Ruth Deller, Evelyn Deshane, Nichola Dobson, Simone Driessen, Emily Garside, Holly Willson Holladay, Bethan Jones, Nicolle Lamerichs, Kathleen Williams, Rebecca Williams
Exploring the Roots of Digital and Media Literacy through Personal Narrative provides a wide-ranging look at the origins, concepts, theories, and practices of the field. This unique, exciting collection of essays by a range of distinguished scholars and practitioners offers insights into the scholars and thinkers who fertilized the minds of those who helped shape the theory and practice of digital and media literacy education.
Each chapter describes an individual whom the author considers to be a type of “grandparent.” By weaving together two sets of personal stories—that of the contributing author and that of the key ideas and life history of the historical figure under their scrutiny—major concepts of digital media and learning emerge.
A Geology of Media
Jussi Parikka University of Minnesota Press, 2015 Library of Congress P90.P3355 2015 | Dewey Decimal 302.23
Media history is millions, even billions, of years old. That is the premise of this pioneering and provocative book, which argues that to adequately understand contemporary media culture we must set out from material realities that precede media themselves—Earth’s history, geological formations, minerals, and energy. And to do so, writes Jussi Parikka, is to confront the profound environmental and social implications of this ubiquitous, but hardly ephemeral, realm of modern-day life.
Exploring the resource depletion and material resourcing required for us to use our devices to live networked lives, Parikka grounds his analysis in Siegfried Zielinski’s widely discussed notion of deep time—but takes it back millennia. Not only are rare earth minerals and many other materials needed to make our digital media machines work, he observes, but used and obsolete media technologies return to the earth as residue of digital culture, contributing to growing layers of toxic waste for future archaeologists to ponder. He shows that these materials must be considered alongside the often dangerous and exploitative labor processes that refine them into the devices underlying our seemingly virtual or immaterial practices.
A Geology of Media demonstrates that the environment does not just surround our media cultural world—it runs through it, enables it, and hosts it in an era of unprecedented climate change. While looking backward to Earth’s distant past, it also looks forward to a more expansive media theory—and, implicitly, media activism—to come.
Letter from the Editor Ying Zhu Hong Kong and Social Movements
Hong Kong Unraveled: Social Media and the 2019 Protest Movement
Unleashing the Sounds of Silence: Hong Kong’s Story in Troubled Times
Tragedy of Errors at Warp Speed
Imagining a City-Based Democracy: Review of The Appearing Demos: Hong Kong During and After the Umbrella Movement by Laikwan Pang, University of Michigan Press, 2020
Building and Documenting National and Transnational Cinema
China and the Film Festival
Nationalism from Below: State Failures, Nollywood, and Nigerian Pidgin Jonathan Haynes Collective Memory and the Rhetorical Power of the Historical Fiction Film
From Nations to Worlds: Chris Marker’s Si j’avais quatre dromadaires
American Factory and the Difficulties of Documenting Neoliberalism
R.I.P. Soft Power: China’s Story Meets the Reset Button: Review of Soft Power with Chinese Characteristics: China’s Campaign for Hearts and Minds edited by Kingsley Edney, Stanley Rosen, and Ying Zhu, Routledge, 2019
Robert A. Kapp
The Narrative of Virus
Review: On Epidemics, Epidemiology, and Global Storytelling
In Haunted Media Jeffrey Sconce examines American culture’s persistent association of new electronic media—from the invention of the telegraph to the introduction of television and computers—with paranormal or spiritual phenomena. By offering a historical analysis of the relation between communication technologies, discourses of modernity, and metaphysical preoccupations, Sconce demonstrates how accounts of “electronic presence” have gradually changed over the decades from a fascination with the boundaries of space and time to a more generalized anxiety over the seeming sovereignty of technology. Sconce focuses on five important cultural moments in the history of telecommunication from the mid-nineteenth century to the present: the advent of telegraphy; the arrival of wireless communication; radio’s transformation into network broadcasting; the introduction of television; and contemporary debates over computers, cyberspace, and virtual reality. In the process of examining the trajectory of these technological innovations, he discusses topics such as the rise of spiritualism as a utopian response to the electronic powers presented by telegraphy and how radio, in the twentieth century, came to be regarded as a way of connecting to a more atomized vision of the afterlife. Sconce also considers how an early preoccupation with extraterrestrial radio communications tranformed during the network era into more unsettling fantasies of mediated annihilation, culminating with Orson Welles’s legendary broadcast of War of the Worlds. Likewise, in his exploration of the early years of television, Sconce describes how programs such as The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits continued to feed the fantastical and increasingly paranoid public imagination of electronic media. Finally, Sconce discusses the rise of postmodern media criticism as yet another occult fiction of electronic presence, a mythology that continues to dominate contemporary debates over television, cyberspace, virtual reality, and the Internet. As an engaging cultural history of telecommunications, Haunted Media will interest a wide range of readers including students and scholars of media, history, American studies, cultural studies, and literary and social theory.
In Hegemonic Mimicry, Kyung Hyun Kim considers the recent global success of Korean popular culture—the Korean wave of pop music, cinema, and television, which is also known as hallyu—from a transnational and transcultural perspective. Using the concept of mimicry to think through hallyu's adaptation of American sensibilities and genres, he shows how the commercialization of Korean popular culture has upended the familiar dynamic of major-to-minor cultural influence, enabling hallyu to become a dominant global cultural phenomenon. At the same time, its worldwide popularity has rendered its Koreanness opaque. Kim argues that Korean cultural subjectivity over the past two decades is one steeped in ethnic rather than national identity. Explaining how South Korea leaped over the linguistic and cultural walls surrounding a supposedly “minor” culture to achieve global ascendance, Kim positions K-pop, Korean cinema and television serials, and even electronics as transformative acts of reappropriation that have created a hegemonic global ethnic identity.
In Hypertext and the Female Imaginary, Jaishree K. Odin reveals how media that use hypertextual strategies of narrative fragmentation provocatively engage questions of gender or cultural difference. Odin addresses hypertext on two levels: as an artistic technique in electronic or film narratives and as a metaphor for describing the complexity of postmodernism in which different cultures, discourses, and media are in continual interaction with one another.
Investigating the work of Trinh T. Minh-ha, Judy Malloy, Shelley Jackson, Stephanie Strickland, and M. D. Coverly, Odin demonstrates how these writers apply hypertextual strategies to subversively convey difference. Through her readings of various transformative hypertext narratives by women writers/artists, she pursues the question of what constitutes empowering descriptions of the world in a technology-mediated culture where the dominant discourse is turning everything into the same.
Using feminist as well as postcolonial perspectives, she explores the embodied state of the human as reflected in critically aware contemporary narratives and examines how these works consider what it means to be human in the twenty-first century.
Based on a series of case studies of globally distributed media and their reception in different parts of the world, Imagining the Global reflects on what contemporary global culture can teach us about transnational cultural dynamics in the 21st century. A focused multisited cultural analysis that reflects on the symbiotic relationship between the local, the national, and the global, it also explores how individuals’ consumption of global media shapes their imagination of both faraway places and their own local lives. Chosen for their continuing influence, historical relationships, and different geopolitical positions, the case sites of France, Japan, and the United States provide opportunities to move beyond common dichotomies between East and West, or United States and “the rest.” From a theoretical point of view, Imagining the Global endeavors to answer the question of how one locale can help us understand another locale. Drawing from a wealth of primary sources—several years of fieldwork; extensive participant observation; more than 80 formal interviews with some 160 media consumers (and occasionally producers) in France, Japan, and the United States; and analyses of media in different languages—author Fabienne Darling-Wolf considers how global culture intersects with other significant identity factors, including gender, race, class, and geography. Imagining the Global investigates who gets to participate in and who gets excluded from global media representation, as well as how and why the distinction matters.
In Indirect Subjects, Matthew H. Brown analyzes the content of the prolific Nigerian film industry's mostly direct-to-video movies alongside local practices of production and circulation to show how screen media play spatial roles in global power relations. Scrutinizing the deep structural and aesthetic relationship between Nollywood, as the industry is known, and Nigerian state television, Brown tracks how several Nollywood films, in ways similar to both state television programs and colonial cinema productions, invite local spectators to experience liberal capitalism not only as a form of exploitation but as a set of expectations about the future. This mode of address, which Brown refers to as “periliberalism,” sustains global power imbalances by locating viewers within liberalism but distancing them from its processes and benefits. Locating the wellspring of this hypocrisy in the British Empire's practice of indirect rule, Brown contends that culture industries like Nollywood can sustain capitalism by isolating ordinary African people, whose labor and consumption fuel it, from its exclusive privileges.
Much recent writing on print culture has focused on the social and political implications of the transition from "elite" to "mass" culture in the 1800s. The essays in this volume add significantly to our understanding of the role of the nineteenth-century French press in producing the commodities, consumers, and ideological frameworks that are the hallmarks of this shift. The book also offers an opportunity for useful comparisons with recent scholarship on the rise on the popular press in the United States, Great Britain, and Germany.
The essays address a wide range of topics, from the emergence of commercial daily newspapers during the July Monarchy to the photographic representation of women in the Paris Commune. Together they demonstrate that the French mass press was far more heterogeneous than previously supposed, tapping into an expanding readership composed of a variety of publics—from affluent bourgeois to disaffected workers to disenfranchised women. It was also relentlessly innovative, using caricature, argot, advertisements, and other attention-grabbing techniques that blurred the lines separating art, politics, and the news.
In Manufacturing Celebrity Vanessa Díaz traces the complex power dynamics of the reporting and paparazzi work that fuel contemporary Hollywood and American celebrity culture. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork, her experience reporting for People magazine, and dozens of interviews with photographers, journalists, publicists, magazine editors, and celebrities, Díaz examines the racialized and gendered labor involved in manufacturing and selling relatable celebrity personas. Celebrity reporters, most of whom are white women, are expected to leverage their sexuality to generate coverage, which makes them vulnerable to sexual exploitation and assault. Meanwhile, the predominantly male Latino paparazzi can face life-threatening situations and endure vilification that echoes anti-immigrant rhetoric. In pointing out the precarity of those who hustle to make a living by generating the bulk of celebrity media, Díaz highlights the profound inequities of the systems that provide consumers with 24/7 coverage of their favorite stars.
As United States television programs, movies, music, and other cultural products make their way around the globe, a vigorous debate over "cultural imperialism" is growing in many countries. This book brings together experts in economics, sociology, anthropology, the humanities, and communications to explore what effects the North American Free Trade Agreement will have on the flow of cultural products among Mexico, the United States, and Canada.
After an overview of free trade and the cultural industries, the book covers the following topics: dominance and resistance, cultural trade and identity in relation to Mexico and to French Canada, and intellectual property rights. Based on present trends, the contributors predict that there will be a steadily increasing flow of cultural products from the United States to its neighbors.
This book grew out of a 1994 conference that brought together leaders of the cultural industries, policy makers, and scholars. It represents state-of-the-art thinking about the global influence of U.S. cultural industries.
Media and Values investigates the moral performance of the media. Based on an exhaustive number of focus groups, surveys, and interviews with senior media staffers in the United Kingdom and Europe, this book charts the changing status of the media as a moral voice. The authors argue that television has lost the authority to espouse a single vision of the proper way to live, and instead reflects the norms of a variety of social groups. This groundbreaking volume addresses the lack of moral certainty reflected both in television programs and their audiences.
“There are great riches here: from the interviews with senior media executives . . . to the discussion of popular television culture's celebration of celebrity.”—John Lloyd, Prospect
“This profoundly original and learned book creatively illuminates citizens’ moral reasoning about the media, culture, and government. A tour de force of nuanced interdisciplinary scholarship, Media & Values offers wide-ranging insights into the responsibilities of the communication industry, the justifications and consequences of telecoms regulation—and the nature of the good society itself.”—Robert M. Entman, J. B. and M. C. Shapiro Professor of Media & Public Affairs, George Washington University
“This is a very important book—a ‘must read.’ The intellectual scope is astonishing: the problem it addresses is quite crucial—namely the moral incoherence of the contemporary world and the way that this shows up in empirical research into individual attitudes/opinions/tastes/judgements. It is clearly a cumulative critical reassessment of the implications of research going back to the sixties. It’s original, powerful, thoughtful and spot-on as a diagnosis of the times and the very real issues we confront today. A major piece of work.”—Paddy Scannell, Department of Communication Studies, University of Michigan
Media Culture in Transnational Asia: Convergences and Divergences examines contemporary media use within Asia, where over half of the world’s population resides. The book addresses media use and practices by looking at the transnational exchanges of ideas, narratives, images, techniques, and values and how they influence media consumption and production throughout Asia, including Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, South Korea, Singapore, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iran and many others. The book’s contributors are especially interested in investigating media and their intersections with narrative, medium, technologies, and culture through the lenses that are particularly Asian by turning to Asian sociopolitical and cultural milieus as the meaningful interpretive framework to understand media. This timely and cutting-edge research is essential reading for those interested in transnational and global media studies.
Outside of music, the importance of sound and listening have been greatly overlooked in Latin American history. Visual media has dominated cultural studies, affording an incomplete record of the modern era. This edited volume presents an original analysis of the role of sound in Latin American and Caribbean societies, from the late nineteenth century to the present. The contributors examine the importance of sound in the purveyance of power, gender roles, race, community, religion, and populism. They also demonstrate how sound is essential to the formation of citizenship and nationalism.
Sonic media, and radio in particular, have become primary tools for contesting political issues. In that vein, the contributors view the control of radio transmission and those who manipulate its content for political gain. Conversely, they show how, in neoliberal climates, radio programs have exposed corruption and provided a voice for activism.
The essays address sonic production in a variety of media: radio; Internet; digital recordings; phonographs; speeches; carnival performances; fireworks festivals, and the reinterpretation of sound in literature. They examine the bodily experience of sound, and its importance to memory coding and identity formation.
This volume looks to sonic media as an essential vehicle for transmitting ideologies, imagined communities, and culture. As the contributors discern, modern technology has made sound ubiquitous, and its study is therefore crucial to understanding the flow of information and influence in Latin America and globally.
From fan-generated content on TikTok to music videos, the contemporary media landscape is becoming ever more vast, spectacular, and intense. In The Media Swirl Carol Vernallis examines short-form audiovisual media—Beyoncé’s Lemonade, brief sequences from Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby, TikTok challenges, YouTube mashups, commercials, and many other examples—to offer ways of understanding digital media. She analyzes music videos by Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Janelle Monáe, Kendrick Lamar, Anderson .Paak, and others to outline how sound and image enhance each other and shape a viewer’s mood. Responding to today’s political-media landscape through discussions of Fox News and Presidential inaugurations, Vernallis shows how a media literacy that exceeds newscasts and campaign advertising is central to engaging with the democratic commons. Forays into industry studies, neuroscience, and ethics also inform her readings. By creating our own content and knowing what corporations, the wealthy, and the government do through media, Vernallis contends, we can create a more just world.
The Media Welfare State: Nordic Media in the Digital Era comprehensively addresses the central dynamics of the digitalization of the media industry in the Nordic countries—Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland—and the ways media organizations there are transforming to address the new digital environment. Taking a comparative approach, the authors provide an overview of media institutions, content, use, and policy throughout the region, focusing on the impact of information and communication technology/internet and digitalization on the Nordic media sector. Illustrating the shifting media landscape the authors draw on a wide range of cases, including developments in the press, television, the public service media institutions, and telecommunication.
Since the 1990s, the knowledge, culture, and entertainment industries have found themselves experimenting, not altogether voluntarily, with communicating complex information across multiple media platforms. Against a backdrop of competing national priorities, changing technologies, globalization, and academic capitalism, these industries have sought to reach increasingly differentiated local audiences, even as distributed production practices have made the lack of authorial control increasingly obvious. As Katie King describes in Networked Reenactments, science-styled television—such as the Secrets of Lost Empires series shown on the PBS program Nova—demonstrates how new technical and collaborative skills are honed by television producers, curators, hobbyists, fans, and even scholars. Examining how transmedia storytelling is produced across platforms such as television and the web, she analyzes what this all means for the humanities. What sort of knowledge projects take up these skills, attending to grain of detail, evoking affective intensities, and zooming in and out, representing multiple scales, as well as many different perspectives? And what might this mean for feminist transdisciplinary work, or something sometimes called the posthumanities?
Unlocking a vital understanding of how literary studies and media studies overlap and are bound together
A synthetic history of new media reception in modern and contemporary Japan, The New Real positions mimesis at the heart of the media concept. Considering both mimicry and representation as the core functions of mediation and remediation, Jonathan E. Abel offers a new model for media studies while explaining the deep and ongoing imbrication of Japan in the history of new media.
From stereoscopy in the late nineteenth century to emoji at the dawn of the twenty-first, Abel presents a pioneering history of new media reception in Japan across the analog and digital divide. He argues that there are two realities created by new media: one marketed to us through advertising that proclaims better, faster, and higher-resolution connections to the real; and the other experienced by users whose daily lives and behaviors are subtly transformed by the presence and penetration of the content carried through new media. Intervening in contemporary conversations about virtuality, copyright, copycat violence, and social media, each chapter unfolds with a focus on a single medium or technology, including 3D photographs, the phonograph, television, videogames, and emoji.
By highlighting the tendency of the mediated to copy the world and the world to copy the mediated, The New Real provides a new path for analysis of media, culture, and their function in the world.
Contemporary China is seen as a place of widespread commodification and consumerism, while the preceeding Maoist Cultural Revolution is typically understood as a time when goods were scarce and the state criticized what little consumption was possible. Indeed, with the exception of the likeness and words of Mao Zedong, both the media and material culture of the Cultural Revolution are often characterized as a void out of which the postsocialist world of commodity consumption miraculously sprang fully formed. In Newborn Socialist Things, Laurence Coderre explores the material culture of the Cultural Revolution to show how it paved the way for commodification in contemporary China. Examining objects ranging from retail counters and porcelain statuettes to textbooks and vanity mirrors, she shows how the project of building socialism in China has always been intimately bound up with consumption. By focusing on these objects—or “newborn socialist things”—along with the Cultural Revolution’s media environment, discourses of materiality, and political economy, Coderre reconfigures understandings of the origins of present-day China.
Winner of the Barclay Book Prize, German Studies Association Winner of the Gomory Prize in Business History, American Historical Association and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Winner of the Fraenkel Prize, Wiener Library for the Study of Holocaust and Genocide Honorable Mention, European Studies Book Award, Council for European Studies
To control information is to control the world. This innovative history reveals how, across two devastating wars, Germany attempted to build a powerful communication empire—and how the Nazis manipulated the news to rise to dominance in Europe and further their global agenda.
Information warfare may seem like a new feature of our contemporary digital world. But it was just as crucial a century ago, when the great powers competed to control and expand their empires. In News from Germany, Heidi Tworek uncovers how Germans fought to regulate information at home and used the innovation of wireless technology to magnify their power abroad.
Tworek reveals how for nearly fifty years, across three different political regimes, Germany tried to control world communications—and nearly succeeded. From the turn of the twentieth century, German political and business elites worried that their British and French rivals dominated global news networks. Many Germans even blamed foreign media for Germany’s defeat in World War I. The key to the British and French advantage was their news agencies—companies whose power over the content and distribution of news was arguably greater than that wielded by Google or Facebook today. Communications networks became a crucial battleground for interwar domestic democracy and international influence everywhere from Latin America to East Asia. Imperial leaders, and their Weimar and Nazi successors, nurtured wireless technology to make news from Germany a major source of information across the globe. The Nazi mastery of global propaganda by the 1930s was built on decades of Germany’s obsession with the news.
News from Germany is not a story about Germany alone. It reveals how news became a form of international power and how communications changed the course of history.
The Open Invitation explores the relationship between prefigurative politics and activist video. Schiwy analyzes activist videos from the 2006 uprising in Oaxaca, the Zapatista’s Other Campaign, as well as collaborative and community video from the Yucatán. Schiwy argues that transnational activist videos and community videos in indigenous languages reveal collaborations and that their political impact cannot be grasped through the concept of the public sphere. Instead, she places these videos in dialogue with recent efforts to understand the political with communality, a mode of governance articulated in indigenous struggles for autonomy, and with cinematic politics of affect.
From computer games to figurines and maid cafes, men called “otaku” develop intense fan relationships with “cute girl” characters from manga, anime, and related media and material in contemporary Japan. While much of the Japanese public considers the forms of character love associated with “otaku” to be weird and perverse, the Japanese government has endeavored to incorporate “otaku” culture into its branding of “Cool Japan.” In Otaku and the Struggle for Imagination in Japan, Patrick W. Galbraith explores the conflicting meanings of “otaku” culture and its significance to Japanese popular culture, masculinity, and the nation. Tracing the history of “otaku” and “cute girl” characters from their origins in the 1970s to his recent fieldwork in Akihabara, Tokyo (“the Holy Land of Otaku”), Galbraith contends that the discourse surrounding “otaku” reveals tensions around contested notions of gender, sexuality, and ways of imagining the nation that extend far beyond Japan. At the same time, in their relationships with characters and one another, “otaku” are imagining and creating alternative social worlds.
When reporters asked about the Bush administration’s timing in making their case for the Iraq war, then Chief of Staff Andrew Card responded that “from an marketing point of view, you don’t introduce new products in August.” While surprising only in its candor, this statement signified the extent to which consumer culture has pervaded every aspect of life. For those troubled by the long reach of the marketplace, resistance can seem futile. However, a new generation of progressive activists has begun to combat the media supremacy of multinational corporations by using the very tools and techniques employed by their adversaries.
In OurSpace, Christine Harold examines the deployment and limitations of “culture jamming” by activists. These techniques defy repressive corporate culture through parodies, hoaxes, and pranks. Among the examples of sabotage she analyzes are the magazine Adbusters’ spoofs of familiar ads and the Yes Men’s impersonations of company spokespersons.
While these strategies are appealing, Harold argues that they are severely limited in their ability to challenge capitalism. Indeed, many of these tactics have already been appropriated by corporate marketers to create an aura of authenticity and to sell even more products. For Harold, it is a different type of opposition that offers a genuine alternative to corporate consumerism. Exploring the revolutionary Creative Commons movement, copyleft, and open source technology, she advocates a more inclusive approach to intellectual property that invites innovation and wider participation in the creative process.
From switching the digital voice boxes of Barbie dolls and G.I. Joe action figures to inserting the silhouetted image of Abu Ghraib’s iconic hooded and wired victim into Apple’s iPod ads, high-profile instances of anticorporate activism over the past decade have challenged, but not toppled, corporate media domination. OurSpace makes the case for a provocative new approach by co-opting the logic of capitalism itself.
Christine Harold is assistant professor of speech communication at the University of Georgia.
In the last three decades, the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos has commanded the close scrutiny of scholars. These studies have focused on the political repression, human rights abuses, debt-driven growth model, and crony capitalism that defined Marcos’ so-called Democratic Revolution in the Philippines. But the relationship between the media and the regime’s public culture remains underexplored.
In Passionate Revolutions, Talitha Espiritu evaluates the role of political emotions in the rise and fall of the Marcos government. Focusing on the sentimental narratives and melodramatic cultural politics of the press and the cinema from 1965 to 1986, she examines how aesthetics and messaging based on heightened feeling helped secure the dictator’s control while also galvanizing the popular struggles that culminated in “people power” and government overthrow in 1986.
In analyzing news articles, feature films, cultural policy documents, and propaganda films as national allegories imbued with revolutionary power, Espiritu expands the critical discussion of dictatorships in general and Marcos’s in particular by placing Filipino popular media and the regime’s public culture in dialogue. Espiritu’s interdisciplinary approach in this illuminating case study of how melodrama and sentimentality shape political action breaks new ground in media studies, affect studies, and Southeast Asian studies.
Fans are everywhere: from Fifty Shades of Grey to Veronica Mars, from Comic-Con to sitcom, from niche to Geek Chic, fans are becoming the most visible and important audience of the twenty-first century. For years the media industries ignored fans and fan activities, but now they’re paying attention and a lot of money to develop a whole new wave of products intended to harness the power of fandom. What impact do such corporate media efforts have on fan practice and fan identities? And are the media industries actually responding to fans as fans want them to?
In Playing Fans, Paul Booth argues that the more attention entertainment businesses pay to fans, the more mainstream fans have become popularized. But such mainstreaming ignores important creative fan work and tries to channel fandom into activities lucrative for the companies. Offering a new approach to the longstanding debate about the balance between manipulation and subversion in popular culture, the author argues that we can understand the current moment best through the concepts of pastiche and parody. This sophisticated alternative to conceiving of fans as either dupes of the media industry or rebels against it takes the discussion of “transformative” and “affirmative” fandom in a productive new direction.
With nuanced analyses of the Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff, the representations of fans in TV shows like Community and films like Fanboys, SuperWhoLock fans’ use of gifs, and the similarities in discussions of slash fandom and pornographic parody films, this book reveals how fans borrow media techniques and media industries mimic fan activities. Just as the entertainment industry needs fans to succeed, so too do fans need—and desire—the media, and they represent their love through gif fics, crowdfunding, and digital cosplay. Everyone who wants to understand how consumers are making themselves at home in the brave new world being built by the contemporary media should read this book.
Daniel Lerner's 1958 book The Passing of Traditional Society was central in shaping Cold War–era ideas about the use of mass media and culture to promote social and economic progress in postcolonial nations. Based on a study of the effectiveness of propaganda in the Middle East, Lerner’s book claimed that exposure to American media messages could motivate “traditional” people in the postcolonial nations to become “modern” by cultivating empathy for American ideas, goods, and ways of life.
The Production of Modernization examines Lerner’s writings to construct the intellectual trajectory of his thinking about mass media and modernization up to and beyond the publication of his famous book. Shah has written not just an intellectual biography of Lerner but also a history of the discipline he shaped.
Race and Cultural Practice in Popular Culture is an innovative work that freshly approaches the concept of race as a social factor made concrete in popular forms, such as film, television, and music. The essays collectively push past the reaffirmation of static conceptions of identity, authenticity, or conventional interpretations of stereotypes and bridge the intertextual gap between theories of community enactment and cultural representation. The book also draws together and melds otherwise isolated academic theories and methodologies in order to focus on race as an ideological reality and a process that continues to impact lives despite allegations that we live in a post-racial America. The collection is separated into three parts: Visualizing Race (Representational Media), Sounding Race (Soundscape), and Racialization in Place (Theory), each of which considers visual, audio, and geographic sites of racial representations respectively.
Richard Cavell Amsterdam University Press, 2017 Library of Congress P92.5.M3C38 2016 | Dewey Decimal 100
While current scholarly interest has assured McLuhan's foundational status as media theorist, it has by no means exhausted the import of his writings, which take on additional layers in the current digital moment. This collection of essays argues that it was McLuhan's confrontation of the bios that was the distinguishing feature of his media theory and the source of its most consistent problematic. Holding that media were extensions of the human, McLuhan also posited that the human was a product of technology. Remediating McLuhan ranges over media theory, art history, bio-technology and deep history in addressing this problematic, and discusses McLuhan in the context of Flusser and Turing, Carl Woese and Daniel Lord Smail.
Charles R. Acland University of Minnesota Press, 2006 Library of Congress P96.T42R47 2007 | Dewey Decimal 302.23
In a society that breathlessly awaits “the new” in every medium, what happens to last year’s new? Ample critical energy has gone into the study of new media, genres, and communities. But what becomes of discarded media? In what manner do the products of technological change reappear as environmental problems, as “the new” in another part of the world, as collectibles, as memories, and as art?
Residual Media grapples with these questions and more in a wide-ranging and eclectic collection of essays. Beginning with how cultural change bumps along unevenly, dragging the familiar into novel contexts, the contributors examine how leftover artifacts can be rediscovered occupying space in storage sheds, traveling the globe, converting to alternative uses, and accumulating in landfills. By exploring reconfigured, renewed, recycled, neglected, abandoned, and trashed media, the essays here combine theoretical challenges to media history with ideas, technology, and uses that have been left behind.
From player pianos to vinyl records, and from the typewriter to the telephone, Residual Media is an innovative approach to the aging of culture and reveals that, ultimately, new cultural phenomena rely on encounters with the old.
Contributors: Jennifer Adams, DePauw U; Jody Berland, York U; Sue Currell, U of Sussex; Maria DiCenzo, Wilfrid Laurier U; Kate Egan, U of Wales; Lisa Gitelman, Catholic U; Alison Griffiths, CUNY; James Hamilton, U of Georgia; James Hay, U of Illinois—Champaign-Urbana; Michelle Henning, U of the West of England; Lisa Parks, UC Santa Barbara; Hillegonda C. Rietveld, South Bank U; Leila Ryan, McMaster U; John Davis, Alfred U; Collette Snowden, U of South Australia; Jonathan Sterne, McGill U; JoAnne Stober, National Archives, Canada; Will Straw, McGill U; Haidee Wasson, Concordia U.
Charles R. Acland is Professor and holds the Concordia University Research Chair in communications studies at Concordia University, Montreal.
A Rhetoric of Style
Barry Brummett Southern Illinois University Press, 2008 Library of Congress P99.4.S62B78 2008 | Dewey Decimal 302.2
Exploring style in a global culture
In A Rhetoric of Style, Barry Brummett illustrates how style is increasingly a global system of communication as people around the world understand what it means to dress a certain way, to dance a certain way, to decorate a certain way, to speak a certain way. He locates style at the heart of popular culture and asserts that it is the basis for social life and politics in the twenty-first century.
Brummett sees style as a system of signification grounded largely in image, aesthetics, and extrarational modes of thinking. He discusses three important aspects of this system—its social and commercial structuring, its political consequences, and its role as the chief rhetorical system of the modern world. He argues that aesthetics and style are merging into a major engine of the global economy and that style is becoming a way to construct individual identity, as well as social and political structures of alliance and opposition. It is through style that we stereotype or make assumptions about others’ political identities, their sexuality, their culture, and their economic standing.
To facilitate theoretical and critical analysis, Brummett develops a systematic rhetoric of style and then demonstrates its use through an in-depth exploration of gun culture in the United States. Armed with an understanding of how this rhetoric of style works methodologically, students and scholars alike will have the tools to do their own analyses. Written in clear and engaging prose, A Rhetoric of Style presents a novel discussion of the workings of style and sheds new light on a venerable and sometimes misunderstood rhetorical concept by illustrating how style is the key to constructing a rhetoric for the twenty-first century.
In Jamaican dancehalls competition for the video camera's light is stiff, so much so that dancers sometimes bleach their skin to enhance their visibility. In the Bahamas, tuxedoed students roll into prom in tricked-out sedans, staging grand red-carpet entrances that are designed to ensure they are seen being photographed. Throughout the United States and Jamaica friends pose in front of hand-painted backgrounds of Tupac, flashy cars, or brand-name products popularized in hip-hop culture in countless makeshift roadside photography studios. And visual artists such as Kehinde Wiley remix the aesthetic of Western artists with hip-hop culture in their portraiture. In Shine, Krista Thompson examines these and other photographic practices in the Caribbean and United States, arguing that performing for the camera is more important than the final image itself. For the members of these African diasporic communities, seeking out the camera's light—whether from a cell phone, Polaroid, or video camera—provides a means with which to represent themselves in the public sphere. The resulting images, Thompson argues, become their own forms of memory, modernity, value, and social status that allow for cultural formation within and between African diasporic communities.
Shooting the Family, a collection of essays on the contemporary media landscape, explores ever-changing representations of family life on a global scale. The contributors argue that new recording technologies allows families an unusual kind of freedom—until now unknown—to define and respond to their own lives and memories. Recently released videos made by young émigrés as they discover new homelands and resolve conflicts with their parents, for example, reverberate alongside the dark portrayals of family life in the formal filmmaking of Ang Lee. This book will be a boon to scholars of film theory and media studies, as well as to anyone interested in the construction of the family in a postmodern world.
Mainstream media and film theory are based on the ways that media technologies operate in Europe and the United States. In this groundbreaking work, Brian Larkin provides a history and ethnography of media in Nigeria, asking what media theory looks like when Nigeria rather than a European nation or the United States is taken as the starting point. Concentrating on the Muslim city of Kano in the north of Nigeria, Larkin charts how the material qualities of technologies and the cultural ambitions they represent feed into the everyday experiences of urban Nigeria.
Media technologies were introduced to Nigeria by colonial regimes as part of an attempt to shape political subjects and create modern, urban Africans. Larkin considers the introduction of media along with electric plants and railroads as part of the wider infrastructural project of colonial and postcolonial urbanism. Focusing on radio networks, mobile cinema units, and the building of cinema theaters, he argues that what media come to be in Kano is the outcome of technology’s encounter with the social formations of northern Nigeria and with norms shaped by colonialism, postcolonial nationalism, and Islam. Larkin examines how media technologies produce the modes of leisure and cultural forms of urban Africa by analyzing the circulation of Hindi films to Muslim Nigeria, the leisure practices of Hausa cinemagoers in Kano, and the dynamic emergence of Nigerian video films. His analysis highlights the diverse, unexpected media forms and practices that thrive in urban Africa. Signal and Noise brings anthropology and media together in an original analysis of media’s place in urban life.
In the final decades of the Manchu Qing dynasty in China, technologies such as the phonograph, telephone, telegraph, and photography were both new and foreign. In The Stone and the Wireless Shaoling Ma analyzes diplomatic diaries, early science fiction, feminist poetry, photography, telegrams, and other archival texts, and shows how writers, intellectuals, reformers, and revolutionaries theorized what media does despite lacking a vocabulary to do so. Media defines the dynamics between technologies and their social or cultural forms, between devices or communicative processes and their representations in texts and images. More than simply reexamining late Qing China's political upheavals and modernizing energies through the lens of media, Ma shows that a new culture of mediation was helping to shape the very distinctions between politics, gender dynamics, economics, and science and technology. Ma contends that mediation lies not only at the heart of Chinese media history but of media history writ large.
Delusions of electronic persecution have been a preeminent symptom of psychosis for over two hundred years. In The Technical Delusion Jeffrey Sconce traces the history and continuing proliferation of this phenomenon from its origins in Enlightenment anatomy to our era of global interconnectivity. While psychiatrists have typically dismissed such delusions of electronic control as arbitrary or as mere reflections of modern life, Sconce demonstrates a more complex and interdependent history of electronics, power, and insanity. Drawing on a wide array of psychological case studies, literature, court cases, and popular media, Sconce analyzes the material and social processes that have shaped historical delusions of electronic contamination, implantation, telepathy, surveillance, and immersion. From the age of telegraphy to contemporary digitality, the media emerged within such delusions to become the privileged site for imagining the merger of electronic and political power, serving as a paranoid conduit between the body and the body politic. Looking to the future, Sconce argues that this symptom will become increasingly difficult to isolate, especially as remote and often secretive powers work to further integrate bodies, electronics, and information.
YouTube hosts one billion visitors monthly and sees more than 400 hours of video uploaded every minute. In her award winning book, Thanks for Watching, Patricia G. Lange offers an anthropological perspective on this heavily mediated social environment by analyzing videos and the emotions that motivate sharing them. She demonstrates how core concepts from anthropology—participant-observation, reciprocity, and community—apply to sociality on YouTube. Lange's book reconceptualizes and updates these concepts for video-sharing cultures.
Lange draws on 152 interviews with YouTube participants at gatherings throughout the United States, content analyses of more than 300 videos, observations of interactions on and off the site, and participant-observation. She documents how the introduction of monetization options impacted perceived opportunities for open sharing and creative exploration of personal and social messages. Lange’s book provides new insight into patterns of digital migration, YouTube’s influence on off-site interactions, and the emotional impact of losing control over images. The book also debunks traditional myths about online interaction, such as the supposed online/offline binary, the notion that anonymity always degrades public discourse, and the popular characterization of online participants as over-sharing narcissists.
YouTubers' experiences illustrate fascinating hybrid forms of contemporary sociality that are neither purely mediated nor sufficient when conducted only in person. Combining intensive ethnography, analysis of video artifacts, and Lange’s personal vlogging experiences, the book explores how YouTubers are creating a posthuman collective characterized by interaction, support, and controversy. In analyzing the tensions between YouTubers' idealistic goals of sociality and the site's need for monetization, Thanks for Watching makes crucial contributions to cultural anthropology, digital ethnography, science and technology studies, new media studies, communication, interaction design, and posthumanism.
For its perceptive analysis of video blogging for self-expression and sociality, Thanks for Watching received the Franklyn S. Haiman Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Freedom of Expression (2020), from the National Communication Association.
In Unsettling India, Purnima Mankekar offers a new understanding of the affective and temporal dimensions of how India and “Indianness,” as objects of knowledge production and mediation, circulate through transnational public cultures. Based on over a decade of ethnographic fieldwork in New Delhi and the San Francisco Bay Area, Mankekar tracks the sense of unsettlement experienced by her informants in both places, disrupting binary conceptions of homeland and diaspora, and the national and transnational. She examines Bollywood films, Hindi TV shows, advertisements, and such commodities as Indian groceries as interconnected nodes in the circulation of transnational public cultures that continually reconfigure affective connections to India and what it means to be Indian, both within the country and outside. Drawing on media and cultural studies, feminist anthropology, and Asian/Asian American studies, this book deploys unsettlement as an analytic to trace modes of belonging and not-belonging.
In Visions of Beirut Hatim El-Hibri explores how the creation and circulation of images have shaped the urban spaces and cultural imaginaries of Beirut. Drawing on fieldwork and texts ranging from maps, urban plans, and aerial photographs to live television and drone-camera footage, El-Hibri traces how the technologies and media infrastructure that visualize the city are used to consolidate or destabilize regimes of power. Throughout the twentieth century, colonial, economic, and military mapping projects helped produce and govern Beirut's spaces. In the 1990s, the imagery of its post-civil war downtown reconstruction cast Beirut as a site of financial investment in ways that obscured its ongoing crises. During and following the 2006 Israel/Hizbullah war, Hizbullah's use of live television broadcasts of fighting and protests along with its construction of a war memorial museum at a former secret military bunker demonstrate the tension between visualizing space and the practices of concealment. Outlining how Beirut's urban space and public life intertwine with images and infrastructure, El-Hibri interrogates how media embody and exacerbate the region's political fault lines.
Speaking about Chinese writing entails thinking about how writing speaks through various media. In the guises of the written character and its imprints, traces, or ruins, writing is more than textuality. The goal of this volume is to consider the relationship of writing to materiality in China's literary history and to ponder the physical aspects of the production and circulation of writing. To speak of the thing-ness of writing is to understand it as a thing in constant motion, transported from one place or time to another, one genre or medium to another, one person or public to another.
Thinking about writing as the material product of a culture shifts the emphasis from the author as the creator and ultimate arbiter of a text's meaning to the editors, publishers, collectors, and readers through whose hands a text is reshaped, disseminated, and given new meanings. By yoking writing and materiality, the contributors to this volume aim to bypass the tendency to oppose form and content, words and things, documents and artifacts, to rethink key issues in the interpretation of Chinese literary and visual culture.
Writing Technology in Meiji Japan boldly rethinks the origins of modern Japanese language, literature, and visual culture from the perspective of media history. Drawing upon methodological insights by Friedrich Kittler and extensive archival research, Seth Jacobowitz investigates a range of epistemic transformations in the Meiji era (1868–1912), from the rise of communication networks such as telegraph and post to debates over national language and script reform. He documents the changing discursive practices and conceptual constellations that reshaped the verbal, visual, and literary regimes from the Tokugawa era. These changes culminate in the discovery of a new vernacular literary style from the shorthand transcriptions of theatrical storytelling (rakugo) that was subsequently championed by major writers such as Masaoka Shiki and Natsume Sōseki as the basis for a new mode of transparently objective, “transcriptive” realism. The birth of modern Japanese literature is thus located not only in shorthand alone, but within the emergent, multimedia channels that were arriving from the West. This book represents the first systematic study of the ways in which media and inscriptive technologies available in Japan at its threshold of modernization in the late nineteenth to early twentieth century shaped and brought into being modern Japanese literature.
The alarm and anxiety unleashed by the Great Recession found fascinating expression across popular culture. Harried survivors negotiated societal collapse in The Walking Dead. Middle-class whites crossed the literal and metaphorical Mexican border on Breaking Bad or coped with a lack of freedom among the marginalized on Orange Is the New Black. Camilla Fojas uses representations of people of color, the incarcerated, and trans/queers--vulnerable populations all--to work through the contradictions created by the economic crisis and its freefalling aftermath. Television, film, advertising, and media coverage of the crisis created a distinct kind of story about capitalism and the violence that supports it. Fojas shows how these pop culture moments reshaped social dynamics and people's economic sensibilities and connects the ways pop culture reflected economic devastation. She also examines how these artifacts illuminated parts of society usually kept off-screen or on the margins even as they defaulted to stories of white protagonists.