SLSA 2010

SLSA 2010 Program

October 28 - 31, 2010

Final Version: Oct 18, 2010

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Materials are available: Go to first item


Book Panel - Thurs 4pm - 5:30pm

Book Panel (A) Circle West
Book Panel - Rob Mitchell
Chair:
Phillip Thurtle

Rob Mitchell. Bioart and the Vitality of Media. University of Washington Press, 2010.


Thomas Lamarre
.
Respondent


Adam Zaretsky
.
Respondent

Book Panel (B) Circle East
Book Panel - Wendy Chun
Chair:
Timothy Lenoir

Wendy Hui Kyong Chun. Programmed Visions: Software, DNA, Race. MIT, forthcoming Spring 2011.


Katherine Behar
.
Respondent


Patricia Ticineto Clough
.
Respondent

Book Panel (C) Circle Center
Book Panel - Hannah Landecker
Chair:
Susan Squier

Hannah Landecker. Culturing Life: How Cells Became Technologies. Harvard University Press, 2008.


Melissa Littlefield
.
Respondent


Anne Pollock
.
Respondent

Book Panel (D) Monument
Book Panel - Joan Richardson
Chair:
James J. Bono

Joan Richardson. A Natural History of Pragmatism: The Fact of Feeling from Jonathan Edwards to Gertrude Stein. Cambridge University Press, 2007.


Steven Meyer
.
Respondent


Laura Dassow Walls
.
Respondent


Welcome Reception (Meridian West) Thurs 5:30pm - 6:30pm


Plenary I - Thurs 6:30pm - 8pm

Plenary I (A) Meridian Centre
When Time is Out of Joint
Karen Barad;
Vicki Kirby
Karen Barad is Professor of Feminist Studies and History of Consciousness and Philosophy at University of California, Santa Cruz. Vicki Kirby is Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at University of New South Wales.


Session 1 - Fri 8:30am - 10am

Session 1 (A) Ohio (AV)
The Vicious Cycle: Memory, Loss, and Return
Chair:
Kim Lacey
This panel focuses on the possibilities of articulating memory and time studies through the lens of “loss and return.” We emphasize “loss and return” because our panelists interrogate memory as a structure that holds onto moments that individuals oftentimes believe are lost, but instead the memory-structure folds those moments into the neuronal pathways that the brain constructs in order to build, strengthen, and maintain memory. For us, the unconscious is a pivotal base in the memory-structure because it holds onto those “forgotten” memories, merely awaiting our return to what we believe was lost. As a means to resuscitating what is stored in the unconscious, our panelists seek to validate and complicate the relationships between anamnesis (recollection), mimesis (imitation), and hypomnesis (mechanical devices substituted for truth). These terms are important for rethinking memory and the unconscious because they each exhibit the fact that forgetting does not signify an “end of life” per se, but the possibility for memory’s resurrection and resurfacing through various external systems and networks. These external systems and networks tend to bend the limits of time, unshackling chronology from the constrictions of linearity. At the same, however, such unshackling of time promotes decentralized emergence, produces new knowledge, and aligns memory with the political. Our panel looks at the “ends of life” of memory not as a finale, but as way to return to unconscious memory as a means for new memories to be created through such external systems and networks.



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Kim Lacey
.
In attempting to forget unpleasant events, individuals will oftentimes try to “put and end” to such moments by thrusting memories so deeply into their unconscious they cannot easily be recalled. The unconscious, for Jacques Derrida and Sigmund Freud especially, highlights the combination of absence and presence—even though we suspect a suppressed memory has been “deleted,” certain reminders can instantly trigger our memories and “reactivate” the event. When this involuntary reactivation occurs, memory is reacting against our willingness to keep it below the surface; and since the unconscious stores memories, albeit ones the individual does not “remember,” Freud asserts that the unconscious is timeless—the memory does not disappear over time, but can emerge at anytime in the unconscious because of chance encounters. For Derrida and Freud, unconscious memory is a creative, memory-making apparatus, not a memory-keeping one. As a result, the unconscious does not simply record and replay memories; instead the unconscious makes new memories by forging new paths from which memories can surface, almost arbitrarily. In other words, we always have a copy of our memories, but they might not be visible or readable. Thus, digital projects, like The Wayback Machine, tend mimic the process of biological unconscious resurfacing by inviting visitors to stir up old memories and giving forgotten and deleted websites a reconstituted presence.


Lars Soderlund
.
This paper considers how systems theories of emergence and complexity can be used to illuminate the creative apparatus of the unconscious. Emergent and complex systems exhibit decentralized, non-linear causality that shows great promise for understanding the creative unconscious's catalysis of memory, and yet the unconscious has a way of avoiding and problematizing such theories. Furthermore, this presentation will explore this tension and consider its larger implications for memory and emergence/complexity.


Mark Brantner
.
By examining what the unconscious erases, speaker X continues the discussion of the unconscious production of new memories. That is, in the production of memory the very act of production is erased in order to allow the produced memory to be experienced as a recollection of a past event. Introduced in the Meno, Plato's theory of education--anamnesis or recollection--demonstrates the way that knowledge erases its inscription on the learner in order to be experienced as the recollection of pre-given knowledge. Speaker X will elucidate Plato's theory of recollection as education and then point to current corroborative advances in neuroscience--the work of Nobel-prize-winning nueroscientist Eric Kandel.


Jared Grogan
.
This presentation continues this line of thought by exploring the relationships between anamnesis and hypomnesis as taken up by Jacques Derrida and by Bernard Stiegler. Stiegler’s contrasting of anamnesis and hypomnesis becomes a political question (rooted in sophistic logic contrary to Plato’s “loss and return of memory and knowledge”) and emphasizes a political economic dimension of memory experienced in our daily lives as a dynamic engagement with what surrounds us, one we tend too often experience as a feeling of powerlessness. Stiegler asks instead for composing a politics of memory, and more precisely, for the constitution of sustainable hypomnesic milieux. This presentation explores this milieu in the activism of third and fourth wave environmentalists who promote mainstream strategies that have turned to what Baudrillard might have called "fatal strategies"-- succumbing in a sense to the power of objects, while pushing the values of in a system to the "extreme" in the hopes of reversal or collapse. This has challenged the idea that the 'irony' involved is less that of an object's domination over the subject, a kind of surrender, than it is a "fatal contradiction" where aggressive marketing draws not only on empirical research, but ideas guided by a long history of ecological thought that might support consumer relationships with "multiple contingent natures." Thus what Baudrillard called "fatal strategies" are supported by "fatal contradictions" --past ideas about human encounters with nature that are adapted into the symbolic exchanges supporting the goals of sustainability.

Session 1 (B) Panorama B (AV)
The Ends of Life and the End of History: Vitalism and the biopolitics of animation
Chair:
Scott Richmond
Giorgio Agamben has suggested that after the end of history, what remains is bare life, life evacuated of historical contingency, particularity, or specificity. He further claims that contemporary biopolitics has become the management of this bare life. Not coincidentally, a recent strain of (neo)vitalist political thinking, indebted to Henri Bergson, Gilbert Simondon, and Gilles Deleuze, has placed a great deal of emphasis on affect as a property of living beings, over against (or beneath and to the side of) the historically situated subject. That is, affect forms the stuff of a contemporary of biopolitics. This panel seeks to investigate these contemporary articulations of affect and biopolitics in relation to the category of animation, construed beyond genre as the indistinction of technics and life in the moving image. At the same time that film scholars (Doane, Rodowick) have noted the photochemical cinema’s privileged relation to history through discussions of indexicality, other scholars (Manovich, Stiegler) have argued for the centrality of animation in theorizing the ontology of contemporary moving images. What, then, of animation’s relation to history—or to the post-historical and the biopolitical? This panel asserts the importance of animation as a key concept for articulating the relation of life, technics and affect in the contemporary moving image beyond cinema. Further, it argues for the significance of animation as a modality for revising our understanding of the post-historical and the biopolitical.



Scott Richmond
.
The Specification of Life: Affectivity and animation in the moving image
What does it mean to perceive that something is alive? In this paper, I propose that we ought to put this question to James Gibson, Gilbert Simondon, and Giorgio Agamben, in turn. Discussing Nam June Paik’s 1963 video installation, Exposition of Musik / Electronic Television, I will sharpen this question by asking why, how, and what it means that we sometimes treat moving images as though they are somehow living. Gibson’s ecological psychology will help answer how moving images can specify something quasi-living, as well as how we can distinguish (moving) images from environmental features (read: objects), in part because images are somehow complete; we cannot discover their other side. Simondon’s doctrine of individuation holds that living organisms are characterized by affectivity, their ongoing capacity to become otherwise by being affected by their environments in indeterminate ways. Moving images thus specify not only something quasi-living, but also a paradoxically thwarted affectivity, a weirdly complete incompleteness, a determined indeterminacy. Paik’s interactive installation, including video screens in unusual positions, solicits our bodies—and our creaturely care—in remarkable, and remarkably confounding, ways. The technological specification of quasi-life, and our embodied relation to it, will be the occasion to argue for the inclusion of technics within the field of biopolitics as articulated by Agamben, and not only those obviously biopolitical technologies (e.g. Eugene Thacker’s Biomedia). Rather, we must include technics as quasi-living entities in a political regime characterized by the management of life.


Scott Fergueson
.
9/11 Rebound: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and the technics of biopolitical animation
This paper will examine the technology of animation in Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2005) to rethink biopolitical relationality after 9/11. Foer’s multimedia novel depicts the fictionalized drama of Oskar Schell: a precocious nine-year-old who, in the wake of his father’s death in the collapse of the World Trade Center, seeks out unfamiliar persons and things to make sense of his loss. Through his search, Oskar’s concerns turn increasingly expansive, encompassing not only the fate of his immediate family, but also the safety of myriad other beings caught in the sway of contemporary biopolitics—which arbitrarily fosters some lives at the expense of others. Since 9/11, dominant modes of biopower have subtended the “war on terror,” channeling feelings of insecurity into instrumentalized projects of containment, detainment, and retaliation. Foer’s novel, however, animates the material, signifying, and affective bases of biopower as political enigmas and invites us to enter into their mediating potential as life-shaping anew. Specifically, I focus on the conclusion of Foer’s text, which asks readers to physically animate images of an anonymous silhouette falling from the Twin Towers in reverse—in effect, turning the novel’s final pages into a motion picture. Drawing on Eric Santner’s notion of “biopolitical animation,” I ask how this rebinding of 9/11 imagery at once throws its animators into the affective perturbances that drive contemporary biopower and summons critical re-attunements to and through its signifying media.


James Hodge
.
Precarious Intuition: Animation and time in John Cayley’s “overboard”
This paper argues that theorizing animation is an essential task for articulating temporality and history in contemporary information aesthetics. By way of such a claim, I propose John Cayley’s 2004 kinetic poem “overboard,” as one answer to Judith Butler’s question as to “what media” might best articulate a sense of precarious life, especially in an era where life has increasingly become linked with concepts of information. Presented in the verso-recto format of a book, the poem relates the story of a sailor washed overboard on the Atlantic Ocean. The poem’s letters change individually over time so that, in Cayley’s words, they alternate through states of surfacing, floating, sinking, or drowning. The challenge of the piece consists of intuiting the algorithms that produce the literal transformations of the text. Reading such an animated text, then, takes on a certain urgency whereby the aesthetic articulation of a media historical transition from book to code gains force as the temporalizing recovery and continual historical reconstitution of a life (the sailor) as a precarious “written” record. Understood as the movement of a material image whose materiality lies always in excess of its status as representation but just short of life itself, animation constitutes a scene of aesthetic encounter between the human and the machinic. Its excess should not be conceived merely as a kind of constitutive affective remainder but also as an affinity between human and machine cognition, figured in “overboard” as a kind of precarious intuition.

Session 1 (C) Panorama A (AV)
Climate and Disease (1400-1850)
Chair:
Lucinda Cole



Gillen Wood
.
Climate, Epidemic, and Empire: The Case of the Indian Cholera
This paper examines the epidemiological and political contexts of the first outbreak of epidemic cholera, in Bengal in 1817, and its relevance to recent scientific literature on climate change and disease dynamics. 



Robert Markley
.
Disease, Climatic Variability, and Siege Warfare: Constantinople, Malta, Bombay
This paper examines the ways in which military strategists in the late medieval and early modern periods exploited their knowledge of rainy seasons, wind and tide patterns, and disease vectors as instruments of attrition in three significant sieges: Constantinople (1453), Malta (1565), and Bombay (1689). Even as military technologies (including cannon and gun manufacturing techniques, and mining and counter-mining) developed rapidly during the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries, siege warfare relied as much on knowledge of local conditions (that put defenders at an advantage) as it did on bombardment [...]


Lucinda Cole
.
Ratcatchers in the Little Ice Age
Drawing upon depictions of rat invasions, ratcatchers, and early modern rattraps, I shall explore ratcatching as a profession, focusing in particular on developing associations between climate change and technologies of vermin extermination or control. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, both rats and mice were associated with the wet, humid conditions that were thought to give rise to the plague, but by the eighteenth century—and especially during periods of climactically-produced crop failure--they were increasingly represented as direct competitors with humans for food. Under these conditions, the ratcatcher lost his status as a near-mystical, abjected figure and instead began to embody the goals and practices of modern husbandry. Vermin, in turn, were removed from their associations with an unpredictable Nature and recast as enemies of scientific progress.

Session 1 (D) Meridian West (AV)
Data and Cognition I
Chair:
N. Katherine Hayles
;
Matt Jockers
;
Timothy Lenoir
;
Patrick Herron
Contemporary theories of distributed cognition, new data-mining techniques, machine learning algorithms, and unprecedented computational power and pervasiveness have raised new questions about the relations of human and machine cognition. How does literary and textual analysis change with the scale goes from dozens of books to hundreds and thousands? What does it mean to say that machines can “read”? How is human reading changing with the huge masses of data now easily accessible? How do contemporary text mining, mapping and visualization change the expression and analysis of our cultural imaginaries? How does the idea of genetic data (stored internally in the body and externally in genomic computational databases) interact with traditional ideas about human destiny and fate? As data exceed the human capacity to narrate them, how does their expression in graphs and diagrams affect modes of expression and interpretation? How do visual representations of time in chronophotography affect sensory modalities and the distribution of cognition between humans and machines? These and other issues are addressed in two panels featuring six presentations by scholars from three universities (Duke, University of North Carolina, and Stanford University), including Matt Jockers, N. Katherine Hayles, Timothy Lenoir, Patrick Herron and Josh Smicker, Robert Mitchell, Allen Riddell, and Mark Hansen, who collaborate and work together to launch a new kind of digital humanities, one that makes extensive use of computation and explores its implications for cultural, literary, and historical analysis.


Session 1 (E) Circle Centre (AV)
Two Cultures: Code and Text
Chair:
Howard Pollack-Milgate




Thierry Bardini
.
Life with no Ends : Junkware & the Eternal Return of the Human Commodity
Is life with no ends a life of junk, a junk life? In this contribution I propose to expose the main argument of my forthcoming book (Junkware, University of Minnesota Press), and uncover the essential junkiness of our contemporary culture and biology. I unravel the presence of junk at the interface between science-fictions and fictions of science, arguing that molecular biology and popular culture since the early 1960s belong to the same culture—cyber-culture—which is essentially a culture of junk. Junkware incorporates a wide variety of works, including the writings of P.K. Dick and William H. Burroughs, interviews with scientists as well as “crackpots,” and work in genetics, cybernetics, and physics to support my contention that junk DNA represents a blind spot in our understanding of life, and that junk pervades, indeed mediates, culture and society, exemplifying the postmodern, posthuman epoch. At the same time, Junkware examines the cultural history that led to the encoding and decoding of life itself and the contemporary turning of these codes into a commodity. I argue that humans are now entering into the era of genetic capitalism, which creates new modes of subjectivation and enslavement: Homo nexus, the transition to the posthuman as the archetypical disaffected subject of our time. But I also contend that, beyond good and evil, the essential “junkiness” of this new subject is both the symptom and the potential cure.


Paul Youngman
.
Nanonationalism or Nationalnanoism: The Case of Antonia Fehrenbach’s Der Lotus Effekt (2008) vs. Michael Crichton’s Prey (2002)
German nanoscientist Antonia Fehrenbach’s first novel, Der Lotus Effekt (2008), is a self-proclaimed “science novel” that describes a laboratory accident that, but for the heroic efforts of the protagonist, almost becomes a world-wide disaster. Notable about this novel is the fact that Fehrenbach self-consciously writes “against” Michael Crichton and Prey (2002). In doing so, she sets up several interesting dichotomies – science vs. science fiction, U.S. nanoscience and nanotechnology (NST) vs. their German or European counterparts, transhumanism vs. humanism, etc. My talk will analyze Fehrenbach’s dichotomies in light of the 2002 report “Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance: Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Information Technology, and Cognitive Science (NBIC)” commissioned by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the “Converging Technologies: Shaping the Future of European Societies (CTEKS)” sponsored by the European Union – its 2004 response to the U.S. NBIC report. In the course of my discussion, I will address several questions central to any analysis of NST. First, are science novels, as opposed to works of science fiction, an effective bridge between C.P. Snow’s scientific and literary cultures as Fehrenbach’s editors maintain? Second, is there a distinct U.S nanodiscourse that differs from the European discourse? Finally, what is the role of transhumanism in the development of nanodiscourse and, by extension, NST?


Howard Pollack-Milgate
.
The Human after Neuroscience: The German Debate
In her Manifesto for Literary Studies (2003), Marjorie Garber called for humanists to take up again the question of human nature; to re-assert (partial) ownership and insight. This paper analyzes the public debate in Germany about cognitive neuroscience and its implications for our human self-image, in which, I argue, Garber's call was implicitly heeded, and a new partnership between the sciences and the humanities proclaimed. The German situation shares many features with that of the the US, cutting-edge scientific research (in the English language), a proliferation of popular science writers (including a whole journal, dedicated to the question), but is different in other respects, not least of which a different history of the role of science in politics and strong romantic and hermeneutic traditions. The former has forced the "science of the mind" to come to terms with its self-referential paradoxes; the latter has insisted that the search for the scientific explanation of meaning must be accompanied by an investigation of the meaning of scientific explanation. Though there are many voices in the German dialogue, they intersect in their awareness of and fascination with the current triumphs of neuroscience, their savvy skepticism about promises that are made about its eventual accomplishments, and their insistence that a humanist voice must interpret these results if they are to be applied to such fundamental questions as the nature of our existence through time, the irreducible inexplicability of self-consciousness, and a more general philosophy of the place of the human within and around the natural.

Session 1 (F) Library
Environmental Studies: Weather, Wilderness, Waste
Chair:
Kevin Trumpeter




Michael Verderame
.
A Conspiracy of Nations: Meteorology and Globalization in the Romantic Period
The developing science of meteorology made a crucial, if largely neglected, contribution to Romantic-period discourses about globalization. In the 1780s, as the first synoptic networks of weather-reporting stations appeared, Richard Kirwan argued that meteorology was a science peculiarly suited to an emerging spirit of liberalism and international comity. Because it was dependent upon the gathering of data from around the world, Kirwan held that meteorology necessitated a “conspiracy of nations,” and that the new science offered a blueprint for an era of improved international relations. For Romantic-era writers, the search for knowledge about the weather often served as a signfier for enlightened social and political attitudes. In Percy Shelley’s “Sonnet to a Balloon Laden with Knowledge,” the instruments of the new science are portrayed as weapons against superstition, intolerance, war, and social oppression. By the early Victorian period, claims for meteorology’s cultural value became easily assimilated into liberal imperialist discourse. I read Kirwan and Shelley in conjunction with John Ruskin’s “Remarks on the Present State of Meteorological Science” (1839), which uses a rhetoric of imperial mastery and panoptic surveillance to justify investment in meteorological data-gathering networks. I conclude that discourses about meteorology in the period played an important role in developing different conceptions of globalization, and that this shift from egalitarian to imperialist rhetorical modes reflects a transformation in British ideas about the nature and purpose of “globalization.”


Barri Gold
.
Austen’s Ecology: Problems of Closure in Mansfield Park
Mansfield Park is a text obsessed with the scarcity of usable resources. Always wrestling with the problems of closure, it proves plagued by contradictory impulses, holding in tension the desire to close systems with the need to keep them open. As Mansfield Park explores the interplay of energetic systems, or "circles," the family circle serves as a figure for and interacts with such energetic systems as society, nation, and globe—all apparently conservative systems, threatened by scarcity, whose closure can be maintained only at the cost of decay. As closure proves as much impossible as it must be undesirable, Mansfield Park experiments with where to delineate the boundaries of the system and how to control the necessary, sustaining flow of energy across these boundaries. Which brings me to ecology. In her introduction to The Ecocriticism Reader, Cheryll Glotfelty distinguishes thinking about the environment from thinking about ecology as just such a problem in where and how to delineate the boundaries of natural energetic systems. Within Mansfield Park this connection becomes evident in a rather strange use of the word “wilderness.” For in Mansfield Park the “wilderness” figures not simply as an outside that must be both mined and monitored lest it threatens the boundaries of the system we are trying to close, but rather as a site of negotiation between our desire for closure and our fear of its consequences, our need to open the system if it is to exist at all.


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Kevin Trumpeter
.
To Wit: Survival, Sustainability, and Refuse in 20th Century Comic Narratives
Drawing on the theory of the "nonmodern" developed by Latour as well as Joseph Meeker's seminal work in "literary ecology," this presentation will examine the literary treatment of garbage in several examples of comic novels written in the twentieth century, focusing particularly on Suttree by Cormac McCarthy. The purpose of this study is to draw attention to literary models that allow us to re-imagine human relationships with the nonhuman objects "refused" from the realm of human concern and to thereby develop more sustainable relationships with the (sub)urban environments we inhabit. This study begins with the premise that garbage, rightly conceived, does not really exist but is rather the discursive prerogative of an economic order that thrives on principles of disposability. As recent work in sociology indicates, garbage as it is tacitly conceived today is a relatively new concept in human history, a product of a distinctly modern acceleration of industrial mass production underwritten by post-WWII innovations in engineering and advertising known as "planned obsolescence." As a means of opening to scrutiny this ecologically-problematic modern orthodoxy toward waste--and of becoming "nonmodern" by recognizing the essential connectedness of nature (resources/waste) and culture (manufactured goods)--I look to narratives, like McCarthy's, that dramatize the exploits of characters whose comic strategies for survival in garbage-strewn environments consist in poaching the necessities of life from the ubiquitous waste material that the modern perspective frequently renders invisible or, at least, beneath any considerations of value.

Session 1 (G) Illinois
Evolution and Emergence I
Chair:
Carol Colatrella
Noting "the complexity of natural selection" as an example of emergent behavior, Porter Abbott defines emergence as "the coming into being of objects or patterns that are not the result of a centralized authority or plan or guiding hand or pacemaker or any other kind of control . . . but instead are the result of innumerable local interactions" (Poetics Today 29.2: 228). These two panel sessions will consider how various literary and scientific texts from the Anglo-American tradition engage with Charles Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection and contemporary theories of emergent behavior.



Carol Colatrella
.
"Evolution and emergence in Charles Dickens' Little Dorrit and Smith's White Teeth"
Charles Dickens's Little Dorrit and Zadie Smith's White Teeth embed discussions of heredity and evolution within sprawling family sagas emphasizing randomness of events, fluctuating causes and effects, and lack of moral certitude. Little Dorrit (1855-57) criticizes nineteenth-century criminal justice, government bureaucracy, and financial institutions as arbitrary and unresponsive to human needs. William Dorrit and Arthur Clennam are imprisoned despite their financial means, and Amy Dorrit is rebuked for her sentimental attitudes. Yet villains such as Rigaud, who blackmails the wealthy Mrs. Clennam, and the greedy financier Mr. Merdle are beyond the reach of the law. Like Dickens, Smith explores how social status, money, and family relationships are transient and how diverse characters perceive events and actions according to different moral frameworks. Set in 20th-century London suburbs, White Teeth (2000) identifies how members of the Jones, Iqbal, and Chalfen families struggle to communicate across different religions and philosophies. "Nice guy" Archibald Jones makes decisions based on flipping a coin, while his best friend Samad Iqbal verbally endorses Muslim traditions while indulging in alcohol and adultery. His wife Alsana also makes material and moral choices that blend aspects of English and Bangladeshi cultures. Archie's wife Clara runs away from her mother Hortense, an ardent Jehovah's Witness, who converts Clara's first boyfriend Ryan Topps. The Jones and Iqbal children also mix and match their guiding principles: Irie, Archie's and Clara's daughter, lives with her grandmother Hortense and works for Marcus Chalfen, genetic researcher who invents FutureMouse, while the Iqbal twins Magid and Millat respectively support Chalfen's research and KEVIN, the Islamic fundamentalist group objecting to Chalfen's innovations.


Eleanor Courtemanche
.
“Flat Characters and the Origins of Emergence: Mill, Lewes, and Dickens”
This paper will discuss the origins of the idea of “emergence” in the Victorian era, specifically in George Henry Lewes’s Problems of Life and Mind (1874-79), as well as John Stuart Mill’s System of Logic (1843). A phenomenon in which order supposedly can be seen to arise spontaneously from a chaotic system, “emergence” is currently of popular interest in the idea of crowd-sourced computer applications, though it has roots in Darwinian biology as well as laissez-faire economics. As H. Porter Abbot describes it, “It took shape in the nineteenth century as an effort to formulate those situations in which the whole appeared to be greater than the sum of its parts, or, in another common formulation, to have a complexity of form not predictable from antecedent conditions” (228). According to Abbot, there is really no way to reconcile humans’ desires for coherent narrative and the chaotic organizations of many natural systems. However, in this paper I will suggest that emergent behavior can be represented in the behavior of what E.M. Forster called “flat characters.” Generally considered to be weak spots in realist representation, flat characters act in one-dimensional, predictable or grotesque patterns as opposed to so-called “round” characters who are depicted in more psychological depth. Like ants who construct elaborate societies based on simple commands (in one of the most popular metaphors of emergent behavior), these characters act in very simple ways yet give rise to complex societies. I will be analyzing the relation between flat characters, whose behavior can be described mostly in aggregate terms, and novelists of urban life like Dickens. Dickens’s work oscillates between representing characters as urban types (as in The Pickwick Papers) and angry polemics against aggregation (as in Hard Times). [...]


Erika Rundle
.
“Evolving Plots: Darwinism and Dramatic Theory”
Darwinian literary criticism has flourished during the past few decades, but the adventurous scholars who contribute to this field almost always focus on the novel. While several mid-century critics tackled the problems evolutionary theory posed to dramatic structure, the almost total absence of contemporary writing on dramatic literature in this area is puzzling. Playwrights ancient and modern are regularly subjected to Freudian and Marxian readings, but the idea that dramatic criticism might be emboldened by a Darwinian worldview may still strike some as surprising. What is necessary, therefore, is not only a thorough rereading of the dramatic canon post-Darwin, but the description of dramatic structures proper to the radically revisionist worldview offered by evolutionary theory. If natural history is grounded in the biological exigencies of procreation and death rather than the metaphysical precepts of fate, prophecy, or oracle, what changes might be in store for character, plot, and spectacle? How might an extended evolutionary scale affect theatrical time and space? Where do the interdependent ecologies of the natural world find their theatrical analogues? How might attention to the discourse of species rework our views of race, class, and gender in modern drama? Most important, perhaps, are the methodological discoveries waiting to be made. What new reading practices might be activated, what analytical vistas opened, and what perspectives revealed? What intersections might we find among dramatic criticism, performance theory, and evolutionary theory? In short, what new genres do Darwinian performers and spectators demand?


Morning Tea - Fri 10am - 10:30am


Session 2 - Fri 10:30am - noon

Session 2 (A) Ohio (AV)
Life Politics and Antebellum America
Chair:
Sari Altschuler
;
Karen Weingarten
In recent years “life politics” has received a great deal of attention from scholars. Ever since Michel Foucault’s searing critique of disciplinary medical institutions and the uses to which somatic information was put in nineteenth-century France, scholars have been interested in the formative and often problematic role medical theory and policy plays in the sociopolitical management of communities. As citizen bodies both metonymically stand in for political ones and literally construct the nation, they are widely recognized as key contested sites of national control. This panel limns the contours of emergent life politics in mid nineteenth-century America. Arguing the nation’s first century was particularly important for the formation of an American life politics, these papers look primarily at the intersection of antebellum medical knowledge and cultural production to offer insight into U.S. life politics during a particularly tumultuous era. As America grappled with the violence of slavery, war, and epidemics, citizen bodies were constantly under attack. The nation, too, had good reason to be concerned about its structural integrity as states and constituents routinely questioned the extent of their rights and obligations to the whole. From physiology to abortion, this panel interrogates the political reaches of widely deployed somatic ideologies in the antebellum period. From medical philosophy to cultural logic, this panel pushes insistently beyond the individual body toward broader social considerations. These papers offer a variety of perspectives on antebellum life politics and together adumbrate the very real stakes of corporeal ideology in the years before civil war.



Sari Altschuler
.
Dissecting America: Life Politics in the Age of Jackson
In 1810, famed physician and founding father Benjamin Rush complained bitterly to John Adams about Nathaniel Chapman, Rush’s once-prized pupil: “[He] owe me many, very many obligations […but] has publicly renounced my medical principles, and said all I have ever written ‘is fit only to rot upon a dung-hill.’” After years of dutiful apprenticeship, Chapman shocked his mentor by rejecting his medical vision completely. The reasons were not only personal and professional but also firmly ideological. Rush claimed all health – corporeal and political – depended on well-balanced circulation. Chapman staunchly opposed this view and became a solidist, arguing ‘sympathy’ between the organs produced health. This squabble began what would be a notable shift in American medicine in the years to come as Chapman would go on to take over Rush’s professorial chair and become the American Philosophical Society’s eighth president (1846) and the American Medical Association’s first (1847). This paper examines the ideological and political roots of the shift from Rush to Chapman, especially in its relationship to social and political changes in the Jacksonian Era. Solidism, I contend, was better fitted to the antebellum Union, anxious about the strength of the sinews and sympathies between its parts. And, as Chapman’s concerns about the country grew so did his obsession with corpses and dissection, attesting further fears about the potential dissolution of citizen bodies and the young nation. Finally, I will explore the ramifications of these theories for Chapman’s patients: the Jacksonian body politic.


Justine Murison
.
Frogs, Dogs, and Mobs: Reflex and Democracy in Edgar Allan Poe’s Satires
This paper argues that Poe’s political satires of the late 1840s depend upon the physiology of the reflex arc. The discovery of the reflex in the 1830s forced Anglo-Americans to confront for the first time that their bodies and minds may not be attuned naturally to political sympathy or economic self-possession. The reflex instead posited a seeming paradox: sensation without consciousness. Moreover, vivisection, the experimental route for discovering the reflex, potentially equates “unconscious sensation” in humans with that of animals like frogs. Edgar Allan Poe borrows this experimental mode and insight about the reflex for his satires of late Jacksonian politics. Through interpretations of Poe’s political satires, this paper suggests that Poe invokes reflexive physiology to critique Young America and the Democratic Party. Attentive to the political paradoxes of new theories of the nervous system, Poe sees a comic opportunity in their promotions of self-government as “natural.” Populated as they are with animals, monstrous figures, and galvanized mummies, Poe’s satirizes visions of progress, whether scientific or political. By targeting “progress,” Poe dwells on the paradox of the reflex, that it could be an opportunity either to reinforce hierarchy or undermine it. The reflex, in other words, exemplifies Poe’s politics as well as contours his humor: both resist ideological closure even as they tantalize physicians and writers to assert it.


Karen Weingarten
.
Abortion and the Politics of Life in Nineteenth-Century America
This paper will examine the rhetoric of life and pregnancy in nineteenth-century American literature, popular culture, and periodicals as linked to abortion politics and race. One of paper’s overarching claims is that outlawing abortion in the nineteenth century was linked to eugenic anxiety about racial reproduction. In turn, cultural productions, including literature, reproduced and disseminated this anxiety by associating abortion with “dysgenic” women. While there are a few references to abortion as a procedure that terminates a pregnancy in nineteenth-century novels, more often “abortion” is used to describe an adult human being that is seen as monstrous and thus, in the logic of the text, should never have been born. In perhaps the most famous example of this usage, Herman Melville writes in Moby Dick: “The Albino is as well made as other men—has no substantive deformity—and yet this mere aspect of all-pervading whiteness makes him more strangely hideous than the ugliest abortion.” Abortion therefore figures as either a practice resorted to by “fallen” women, who have been seduced, often by a man who is racialized in the text, or as a monstrous and dysgenic form of life that is a result of ill-intentioned reproduction. My paper will explore the connection between these two nineteenth-century representations of abortion to consider how they reproduced a scientific discourse about abortion, pregnancy, and human life. Ultimately, my paper aims to revise the genealogy of abortion and its implications in life politics.

Session 2 (B) Panorama B (AV)
Technology’s Detritus: Cybernetic Systems, Trash Cinema and Art as Debris
Chair:
Dawn Dietrich
This panel will look at the deliberate attention artists and scholars are giving to junk culture and its technological precursors. Artist Robert Smithson writes, “I am convinced that the future is lost somewhere in the dumps of the non-historical past; it is in yesterday’s newspapers, in the jejeune advertisements of science-fiction movies, in the false mirror of our rejected dreams.” Gathering evidence from social hygiene films, Disney’s propaganda films before and during WWII, and Robert Smithson’s installation pieces, which frame junkyard spaces, we hope to theorize artistic engagement with technological detritus through an analysis of cybernetics, entropy, and chaos as a way to understanding larger dynamical systems involved in metamorphosis and transformation.



Dawn Dietrich
.
School Daze: The Migration of Exploitation Film Techniques from the Grindhouse to the Public Schools, 1945-1970
Scholarly interest in ephemeral or orphan films has flourished in the last decade with the abundance of 16 mm. non-Hollywood (or independent) films that have been archived and catalogued through the effort of film archivists, preservationists, curators, technical experts, and library information professionals. Termed “orphan,” in part, because they are not protected by commercial preservation efforts, these films, which include home movies; newsreels; corporate training films; educational documentaries; industrial films; and science, travel, and religious films, had fallen by the wayside before preservationists, archivists, and scholars petitioned the government for funding, grants, and non-profit status to provide for their collection and preservation. With the formation of the National Film Preservation Foundation (1997), the Orphan Film Symposia (beginning in 1999), and the work of film scholars and archivists, such as Dan Streible, Eric Schaeffer, Annette Melville, and Rick Prelinger, the field has already produced a body of research that attempts to connect alternative or non-dominant films to larger cultural and historical movements and events as well as trajectories within film history, criticism, and theory. Though some critical work has been done on 16mm corporate-produced educational films for school children, appearing in the United States from 1945-1970 (most notably, Ken Smith’s Mental Hygiene: Classroom Films 1945-1970), most of the scholarship has connected social guidance films to training and military films from WWII. I would like to look at the, perhaps less obvious influence, of classic exploitation films (1919-1959) upon mental hygiene or social guidance films, made most prevalently during the period between 1945-1970 in the United States.


Barbara L. Miller
.
From Entropy and Chaos to Metamorphosis and Transformation
In the sixties, artist Robert Smithson wrote: “I am convinced that the future is lost somewhere in the dumps of the non-historical past; it is in yesterday's newspapers, in the jejeune advertisements of science-fiction movies, in the false mirror of our rejected dreams.” The artist, he argued, is “fettered by order” and must break out of such cultural servitude or intellectual snares — or, as he further adds, sadism. For Smithson, artistic engagement was about entropy, the state in which all matter breaks down and returns to an undifferentiated state. Provocatively, he ponders: “When the fissures between mind and matter multiply into an infinity of gaps, the studio begins to crumble and fall like The House of Usher, so that mind and matter get endlessly confounded.” This paper reconsiders Smithson’s non-sites; installation pieces in which the artist transported random matter — rocks and earth — into the studio and placed the debris in specifically constructed crates. It reconsiders his Spiral Jetty as a move toward chaos that trespasses into algorithmic techniques. As Aranda and Lasch describe it, the spiral “is an obsessive shape: it spreads out endlessly while it curls toward a center that it never finds.” Indeed, a rethinking of artists’ use of debris in and outside the gallery, from Smithson’s earthworks to the Starn Twins’ bamboo installation on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum, is long overdue. What appears as cast off junk and decaying detritus is a form of metamorphosis and transformation.

Session 2 (C) Panorama A (AV)
Early Modern Technology: Gender and Scientific Gaze
Chair:
Valeria Cammarata




Isabelle Clairhout
.
Who’s your daddy? Authorial self-assertion in William Harvey and Jane Sharp.
This paper discusses how the concepts of reproduction and procreation intersect when the midwife Jane Sharp and the physiologist William Harvey reproduce their authorial selves textually in their respective scientific studies of biological reproduction. Although Sharp and Harvey worked in the field of reproductive anatomy, they are situated at different echelons of scientific hierarchy, ranging from everyday practice to experimentation by university-educated men. In his embryological work Exercitationes de Generatione Animalium (1651) Harvey inscribes himself in the patriarchal tradition by aligning his embryological finding of the “independence of the foetus from the mother” with patriarchal views on authority and power. This biological stance extrapolates to his opinion on authorship as depending solely on “paternal” lineage through textual reproduction. Sharp on the other hand subverts this tradition in her manual THe Midwives Book (1671). Like Harvey she uses rhetoric as a mediator between biology and ideology. However, Sharp refuses to represent female anatomy in terms of masculinity (Caroline Bicks explains how she even dares to redefine the male body in terms of the female) and translates this emancipation of the female body into her view of female authorship: women can also give birth to textual offspring. Their respective situations result in the different ways Harvey and Sharp conceive of the textual reproduction of the author, and, similarly, in their different views of reproduction of the parent. They demonstrate how Early Modern medical professionals regarded the gender-related generative principles that inform the creation of both texts and living beings.


Geralyn Strecker
.
The Architecture of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Scientific Gaze in “Rappaccini’s Daughter”
As a professor who spends half my time in English and half in Architecture and Landscape Architecture, I bring a hyperawareness of spatial design to my study of literature. One of the richest texts for this convergence is Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Rappaccini’s Daughter" (1844). The story is set in Padua, Italy, whose university constructed the first botanical garden (1545) and the first anatomy theater (1594). Galileo also taught there from 1564-1642. Beyond the university, Padua features impressive cathedrals and multi-story homes built around courtyards. I contend that Hawthorne’s choice of Padua as the setting for “Rappaccini’s Daughter” evokes these architectural elements as means to direct his characters’ scientific gaze. While Galileo’s telescope (1609) enabled people to reach out into the skies, others were using new lens technology to peer down into specimens through microscopes. Like Rappaccini’s garden, the botanical garden gathers and organizes plants in a square classical design, focused on a specimen in the center. This categorized and controlled space distances the doctor from his most valuable specimen: Beatrice. And just as the anatomy theater allows multiple ascending circular rows of students to look down into the dissected subject, the interior windows of Rappaccini’s villa provide Giovanni theater-like views into the doctor’s garden. But this gaze also separates the young student from his subject: the beautiful Beatrice. Thus distanced, Rappaccini and Giovanni study Beatrice with little genuine human connection, and their scientific gazes ultimately lead to abuses and the collapse of Rappaccini’s experiment. My presentation will use PowerPoint to show photographs of these structures to illustrate my discussion of Hawthorne’s scientific gaze.


Valeria Cammarata
.
WONDER, SCIENCE AND FEMININE GAZE
In 1665, Robert Hooke wrote “Micrographia or Some Physiological Descriptions of Minute Bodies Made by Magnifying Glasses” with the intent of increasing knowledge of the limits of the senses, memory and reason, by the use of the new invention following the telescope, the microscope. He wanted to spread the images of “new worlds”, those of “minute bodies”, out of the scientific laboratories and societies to a larger public. In few years these new images gained the European imagination, and articulated the fear and the strange sensations generated by the possibility of seeing worlds unknown, before. Now these worlds belong to the same dimension of human living and seeing. In the cultural climate that would produce a new discipline, natural philosophy, the Second Sex seems to have been able to take advantage of small spaces left by a cultural structure in crisis. Among the amateurs, travelers, the "journalists" who lived and spread this revolution, especially in England, three women seem to have contributed not accessory to modern European culture. They are the poet and natural philosopher Margaret Cavendish, the traveler Aphra Ben, and Eliza Haywood, the sole curator of Female Spectator between 1744 and 1746. This paper will focus on a female contribution to the rewriting of history through “the scientific vision of women”, in the age in which the same oppressive patriarchal model faltered, because of new findings under the microscope and the telescope, and women curiosity was allowed to access the same tools that would build the modern science.

Session 2 (D) Meridian West (AV)
Data and Cognition II
Chair:
N. Katherine Hayles
;
Joshua Smicker
;
Rob Mitchell
;
Allen Riddell
;
Mark Hansen
Contemporary theories of distributed cognition, new data-mining techniques, machine learning algorithms, and unprecedented computational power and pervasiveness have raised new questions about the relations of human and machine cognition. How does literary and textual analysis change with the scale goes from dozens of books to hundreds and thousands? What does it mean to say that machines can “read”? How is human reading changing with the huge masses of data now easily accessible? How do contemporary text mining, mapping and visualization change the expression and analysis of our cultural imaginaries? How does the idea of genetic data (stored internally in the body and externally in genomic computational databases) interact with traditional ideas about human destiny and fate? As data exceed the human capacity to narrate them, how does their expression in graphs and diagrams affect modes of expression and interpretation? How do visual representations of time in chronophotography affect sensory modalities and the distribution of cognition between humans and machines? These and other issues are addressed in two panels featuring six presentations by scholars from three universities (Duke, University of North Carolina, and Stanford University), including Matt Jockers, N. Katherine Hayles, Timothy Lenoir, Patrick Herron and Josh Smicker, Robert Mitchell, Allen Riddell, and Mark Hansen, who collaborate and work together to launch a new kind of digital humanities, one that makes extensive use of computation and explores its implications for cultural, literary, and historical analysis.


Session 2 (E) Circle Center (AV)
Medical Humanities: Quarantine, Poison, Disease
Chair:
Kelly Bezio




Kevin LaGrandeur
.
Food Poisoning and Death in Shakespeare's Circle
“Herring is a treacherous food,” wrote John Ward in his seventeenth-century diary. This emphatic statement is no surprise, considering the Stratford vicar’s journal appears to be the source of the idea that the bard’s death was precipitated by a night of downing pickled herring and drinking with his friends Michael Drayton and Ben Johnson. The greater mystery, though, is that there is a spate of deaths in the small group of Shakespeare’s fellow playwrights around 1600 attributed to the same cause. According to their contemporaries, at least two other of Shakespeare’s compatriots, Robert Greene and Thomas Nashe, met their demise in connection with this particular kind of preserved food. Greene, like Shakespeare, died after a painful illness (whose symptoms are gruesomely detailed by his fellow writers) attributed by his deathbed attendants to “a surfeit of pickled herring and Rhenish wine” at a local pub. And Nashe is depicted in a play eulogizing him as shortening his days “by keeping company with pickle[d] herrings.” What, though, is the actual nature of this food's “treacherousness”? Were the fish an actual source of food poisoning? Or did their association with drunken revelry cause them to become popular metaphors for other common dangers of the rowdy life of Elizabethan playwrights? (In the case of Nashe, for instance, consider that “pickled herrings” is an early slang term for “buffoons.”) AV request: I will bring my own projector, but will need a screen.


Alex Tonnetti
.
Could medical advances make us immortal? The claims of European civilisation during colonialism in Amitav Ghosh’s satire The Calcutta Chromosome.
The novel is concerned with a particular chapter in the history of medicine when, during the Raj at the turn of the 19th century, the British physician Ronald Ross discovered the causes of malaria and claimed to have defeated its deadly power. About a century later, Amitav Ghosh casts a different light on that experience, unmasking the utopian pretentions of European scientists to have brought civilisation to the savages. The experience of tropical medicine at the end of the 19th century becomes a rich vein of material for Ghosh’s satire. His parody of that medical thought develops into a SciFi where science merges with spirituality paving the way to the discovery of immortality. The claim of the British clinician to have defeated death paradoxically becomes reality when the discovery falls into the hands of his Indian laboratory assistants. Yet the tone is gloomy, and as readers we wonder if there is any salvation once all of the body’s material limitations have been overcome. Among the issues the novel raises I will be addressing the questions: How have Western notions of death and disease collided with the culture of 'foreign lands', and what could result of that cultural clash? David Arnold, 1993. Colonising the body: State Medicine and Epidemic Disease in Nineteenth-Century India. University of California Press. Michel Adas, 1989. Machine as measurement of men. Science, technology and ideologies of western dominance. Cornell University Press. Jan Prakash, 1999. Another reason. Science and the imagination of modern India. Princeton University Press.


Kelly Bezio
.
Mediterranean Quarantine: Epidemics and Nationalism on the High Seas in the Writings of Henry T. Tuckerman
Traveling abroad during the 1837 cholera outbreak in Sicily, Henry T. Tuckerman was inspired to write his first collection of travel sketches and essays Rambles and Reveries (1841), including chronicles of his experiences in quarantine. Almost violently opposed to quarantine laws because of his adherence to miasmatic theories of disease transmission, Tuckerman’s experience in quarantine was both galling and inspiring. While Tuckerman derided and dismissed Sicilian quarantine as “rigid and absurd,” he also used it to construct a theory of nationalist identity. In his essays “Cholera in Sicily” and “Love in a Lazzaret,” I argue Tuckerman uses travel, its consequent transnational mingling of fellow travelers, and the space of quarantine to delineate the individual boundaries and experiences of a national identity infused with transnational allegiances and attitudes. Thus, quarantine becomes a kind of “travel in travail” given its similarities to travel—it often brings together individuals of various cultural and ethnic backgrounds—and its tendency to enforce a temporary state identity—people in quarantine are required to occupy a shared cultural space (albeit temporarily) that has its own rules of governance. This parenthesis in the midst of travel—during which an individual’s nationally-guaranteed rights are suspended—provides Tuckerman with the opportunity to imagine modes of self-fashioning that fuse allegiance to a particular nation-state with bonds of kinship across typical national boundaries. His account’s emphasizes the formation of new “families,” and as such he suggests a conceptualization of quarantine rules as an agency whose power could potentially supersede and sublimate national identity into a transnational citizenry.

Session 2 (F) Library
Affect Criticism
Chair:
Kjetil Rodje
;
Sean McAlister
;
Ada Smailbegovic
This panel will explore the questions and pragmatic challenges raised by the recent turn towards affect in academic fields such as literary and cultural studies. While much theoretical attention has been directed towards affect, the practical and methodological implications of the affect turn are often less clear. What is affect and how can it be analyzed? How can questions of affect be made relevant and practicable in literary criticism, film analysis, and other studies of cultural expressions? Are particular theoretical currents in the affect turn more or less amenable to the analysis of particular cultural mediums? Over the last decade or two, affect has increasingly become a topic of concern to scholars across the humanities and social sciences. As Eve K. Sedgwick and Brian Massumi have pointed out, affect is often what left out by linguistic, semiotic, and/or discursive approaches to cultural phenomena, expressions, and practices; or, alternatively, affect is studied as itself a social and cultural construction, open to be analyzed through familiar textual and/or deconstructive strategies. This panel approaches affect as a material residual that defies being easily captured in predefined analytic paradigms or giving itself up to specific meanings. This raises fundamental analytic and critical challenges, across academic fields. Various theoretical approaches to affect, with different ontological and epistemological implications, each pose challenges for any attempt to capture affect in analytical and methodological terms. This panel will explore such approaches to affect, and their potentials and implications for concrete analysis and criticism of cultural practices and artifacts.



Sean McAlister
.
Shame and Circulation in Herman Melville’s Pierre; or, the Ambiguities
“Shame is both an interruption and a further impediment to communication, which is itself communicated” (137), writes the psychologist and affect theorist Silvan Tomkins. The paradoxical communication of a reduction in communication, the downcast eyes and blush that conspire to increase the visibility of the face, foregrounds the textuality of the shame response. This paper reads shame as a textual strategy or a logic of affect communication in Herman Melville’s novel Pierre; or, the Ambiguities (1852), and tests, more broadly, the critical implications of Tomkins’s affect scheme to the ways we understand nineteenth-century sentimental and sensational fictions. Pierre has long been a source of consternation for critics looking to position Melville in relation to the popular and sentimental print cultures of the mid-nineteenth-century. For Modernist critics, Melville’s novel evinces a heroic contempt for sentimentalism, but this view has been contested by those who would place the affective excesses of Pierre firmly within a Victorian sentimental idiom. Neither perspective, however, is entirely sensitive to the mechanics of shame that are fundamentally implicated in the composition, revisionings, and (failed) mass circulation of Pierre. Unlike the contemptuous renunciation of nineteenth-century culture and society that many scholars still project onto Melville’s writing, the partial renunciation of interest or enjoyment that characterizes the shame response seems a more accurate articulation of Melville’s relation to cultures of sentiment. I argue that Pierre can be read, closely and on a textual level, as a technology of the mediation of shame, communicating the shame of a partial failure to participate in a literary culture that privileged (sentimental) communication and (democratic) communion.


Kjetil Rodje
.
Affect in images: from motion to emotion
This paper will explore methodological challenges raised by the recent turn towards affect in studies of film and visual culture. Due theoretical attention has been put towards affect in recent years; however, a less explored question is which challenges such a focus on affect pose when undertaking a concrete study of the operation of visual images. This question becomes especially pertinent when, as in theories of affect following the philosophical approach of Gilles Deleuze, affect is seen as a relational intensity, operating in ways which cannot be captured or determined by a predefined body or subject. This autonomy of affect means that it cannot be fully explained by established approaches such as semiotics or discourse analysis; rather, affect is what escapes such signifying structures. The question that then occurs is how to make sense of what resists interpretation; how to put into words what resists readymade concepts and linguistic structures. Putting forward a specific “affect methodology” will most likely be counterproductive, as the exploration of how affect operates productively cannot easily be applied univocally across media and specific objects of study. Furthermore, when understood as singular intensities, affect resists generalizations and universalizing approaches. Still, as this paper will argue, affect is not a domain of philosophical concerns only, beyond the reach of empirical study. Rather, an emphasis on affect when studying visual expressions entails an even closer focus on the concrete processes through which visual images operate and connect with their viewers.


Ada Smailbegovic
.
Soft Architectures: Material Instantiations of Affect in Contemporary Poetics
“To experience change, we submit ourselves to the affective potential of the surface. [...] When we stumble against limits we blush. Color, like a hormone, acts across, embarrasses, seduces.” writes a Canadian poet Lisa Robertson in Occasional Work and Seven Walks from the Office for Soft Architecture. This paper is invested in theorizing affect in contemporary poetics as a phenomenon that hinges on the properties of coetaneous boundaries or surfaces. Such surfaces act as affect-inducing mechanisms by generating inflection points or impediments to flow, and through their properties constraining the transductive movement of affect from one material to another. In positing affect as a phenomenon that moves transductively between bounded, materially instantiated systems, this approach to affect criticism draws on the principles of systems theory. Within such a model, for instance, surface ornamentation or elaboration may act as an affect amplification mechanism by increasing the surface area available for excitation, while the “lively variability” of surfaces or the proliferation of their textural qualities may be correlated with the differentiation of affects. The descriptive practices employed in the writing of Language and post-Language poets, such as Robertson, and more formally their emphasis on the sentence as the primary unit of composition, can be read as such ornamentations or elaborations of surface. From this vantage point “words [become] fleshy ducts” which can “juice up or pinken the clean lines of the possible,” suggesting that turning to affect as way of theorizing the poetics of Language and post-Language writing may open up possibilities not available in critical practices that move within the disembodied loop of language as a representational or self-referential phenomenon.

Session 2 (G) Illinois
Evolution and Emergence II
Chair:
Carol Colatrella
Noting "the complexity of natural selection" as an example of emergent behavior, Porter Abbott defines emergence as "the coming into being of objects or patterns that are not the result of a centralized authority or plan or guiding hand or pacemaker or any other kind of control . . . but instead are the result of innumerable local interactions" (Poetics Today 29.2: 228). These two panel sessions will consider how various literary and scientific texts from the Anglo-American tradition engage with Charles Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection and contemporary theories of emergent behavior.



Jackie Cason
.
"The Spirit of Synecdoche: Order and Chaos Contend in the Essays of Loren Eiseley"
Man is himself, like the universe he inhabits ... a tale of desolations.... But out of such desolation emerges the awesome freedom to choose--to choose beyond the narrowly circumscribed circle that delimits the animal being. In that widening ring of human choice, chaos and order renew their symbolic struggle--they contend for the destiny of the world. -"The Star Thrower" Complexity theory recognizes the potential cataclysmic impact that small variations can have on a macrocosmic scale. Yet order persists, even in the midst of chaotic turbulence. Eiseley, natural history writer and anthropologist, intuitively recognized the perpetual reiteration of order and chaos in the drama of evolution. Even as biological and social systems dissipate, individuals and societies organize themselves into greater complexity. Using Paul Ricouer’s theories of poetics and narrative, my paper will demonstrate how Eiseley’s tropes operate at both a syntactic and narrative level. Eiseley prefigures the natural world of human experience through the figure of synecdoche, which informs Eiseley's writing both thematically and structurally. Because Eiseley's narratives dramatize the experience of solitary individuals on an expansive evolutionary scale, he intuitively recognizes the macroscopic relevance of minor players. Ultimately, the symbolic struggle for the destiny of the planet contends within the heart of the microcosm. The concealed essay enables Eiseley to explore nonlinear relationships among several events in time by juxtaposing analogical memories and embedding them within sequential and causally related events. His essay, "The Last Neanderthal," with imagery of blue plums and smoke, serves as an emblematic representation of the interplay between organization and entropy and the capacity for human memory to store, transmit, and preserve energy as complex wholes in spite of individual mortality and inevitable dissolution. Moreover, “The Last Neanderthal” offers a hermeneutic code or set of instructions for understanding emergent narrative structures in Eiseley’s other essays and [...]


Rebekah Sheldon
.
"Affective Aesthetics in Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club (1996)"
Recent scholarship on affect theory has begun to move toward a reconciliation of the tension between the three primary denotations of affect (as emotion, as sensation and as impingement) in the interest of elaborating a new interpretive protocol (Flatley 2008; Stewart 2007; Thrailkill 2007). The new synthesis favors a representationalist approach to literary texts along the lines mapped by Sianne Ngai in Ugly Feelings (2005). In doing so, however, it accords little room for the processual and emergent properties of reading at stake in the notion of affect-as-impingement and as explored, to cite one exemplary example, by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari in Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature (1986). This presentation contributes to the effort to forge an affective reading practice by offering an affective-processual reading of Chuck Palahniuk’s novel Fight Club (1996). My goal in this paper is twofold. Primarily, I would like to use the reading to demonstrate some of the ways that a non-representationalist affective reading practice differs from one that relies on representation, with what effects on our conclusions about fiction and on our theories of affect and what politics attend those results. Secondarily, the presentation will open some new ways of thinking about Palahniuk’s project that I hope will cut through the well-rehearsed discussion of his feelings about class, masculinity, consumerism and the postmodern condition.


Michaela Giesenkirchen Sawyer
.
"Emergent Narratives in Stephen Jay Gould’s The Structure of Evolutionary Theory"
As I will illustrate with a few examples from the works of Emerson, William James, and Gertrude Stein, the interpretation of evolutionary processes as emergent narrative is deeply rooted in American process philosophy. The paper will argue that Stephen Jay Gould’s grand opus The Structure of Evolutionary Theory continues this tradition by presenting, both in argument and literary form, the nature of evolution, as well as the structure of evolutionary theory, as emergent narrative. The premise of Gould’s evolutionarytheory is that nothing expressed in natural formations can be fully grasped other than by the intrinsic, synergetic qualities of natural processes themselves, which he interprets as punctuated rhythms on a macro-evolutionary scale. Gould presents his arguments like a master story-teller, with great heteroglossic complexity; in a carefully crafted palimpsest of Darwin’s work, he unfolds his epic “long argument” in concentric circles, ever-expanding abstracts, punctuated and illustrated with autobiography as well as cultural and intellectual history. The implication is that, seen in the context of foundational cosmological principles,which are emergent from cosmological process, our histories can be told as natural histories,and our narratives can structurally be made to converge with the narratives of the natural world.



Lunch - Fri noon


Session 3 - Fri 2pm - 3:30pm

Session 3 (A) Ohio (AV)
Animating Biophilosophy Panel 1: Dynamics
Chair:
Phillip Thurtle
;
Adam Nocek
These two panels explores the linkages between, life, knowledge, animation, and vitality. In it we intend to focus on animation in order to re-conceptualization life beyond the metaphysical distinction of vitalism and mechanism and beyond the chemical distinction of the organic and the inorganic. We use the concept of "animation" as a broad problematic for thinking about vitality, as well as a privileged technology for exploring the emergent dynamics of movement and change. The first panel investigates the relationships between, animation, vitality, and life. The second panel sets out to look at the types of vitality in relationship to knowledge. Both panels affirm the importance of “life” as a concept of enquiry and the need to experiment with philosophy as a time based medium.



Deborah Levitt
.
Animation and the Medium of Life: Mediology, A-Ontolgy, Ethics
This paper will look at how cinematic animation can help us re-think conceptions of life and ethics. If the explosion of computational media at the turn of the twenty-first century worked to make “code” look like the final determinant in thinking life, we are seeing a different conception emerging today, one related mediologically to the powerful cultural and aesthetic ascendance of forms of cinematic and CG animation: The animatic body is made from scratch, coming into being with the line or pixel. There is no death in animation, only erasure or metamorphosis. The animatic apparatus thus shifts the already unstable forms of spectrality conjured by the cinema, with its preservation of the ghostly image, its life after death. The philosopheme life/death—as a strict boundary or even as undecidable, aporetic oscillation—is displaced altogether: This is not merely a “crisis of ontology.” Rather, with animation we move into the domain of a kind of a-ontology. In this paper, I look at a scene from the 2004 anime feature, Innocence: Ghost in the Shell 2, which reflects on how this a-ontological dimension may open onto an ethics not governed by questions of the entity, of the who or what—not an onto-ethology or an ontological ethics—but rather onto an ethics derived in relation to the question: how?


Adam Zaretsky
.
Humane Sacrifice, An Oxymoron? - Death Issues in Vivoarts Practice and Life Studies Theory
How do we read bioethics through living examples of art admixture? When life ends in cultural display, what kinds of aesthetics validify the label ‘humane’ in the final use of beings? If all of life science is read as a particular type of artistic performance, what can we learn from the Vivoarts hybridization of: Ecology and EcoArt, Ethology and Animals in Art,Developmental Embryology and Mutagenic Bioart, Gastronomy and Edible Art, Physiology and Body Art? After a decade of Vivoarts classes and public hands-on wet labs, we review the end of life relations which as experimental pedagogy may or may not have redefined where and how cultural actors interface with the nature-culture interface: Food, Environment, The Laboratory, Our Bodies and all other Organisms. Life Studies in Theory and Vivoarts in practice encourages people to redefine and experimentally express their relationships with the varied aspects of everyday living systems through conglomeration of live art traditions: ecological arts, culinary creations, bioartistic devices, ethological art and bodyart. Can we decipher ethical use limits of non-humans as new media for aesthetic expressions? Who can grant worth to an art which may mean tortured life span and mercy death for the organisms curated into 1) ecological art anomalies, 2) culinary art extravagances, 3) biological artforms, 4) subjective beings in need of art as enrichment and 5) involuntary, body-modification, performance art. Transgenic production and the lived existence of those mutated by cultural imperatives, (including the experimental pornography of reprogenetics et. Al.,) are the direct results of deviant excesses fulminating naturally at the active interface between ethics and aesthetics. This reading of all intentional genetic modification as art advocates for the formation of BEAK (Bioart Ethical Advisory Kommission) to determine the limits of animal and other non-human care and use in biological experimentation as artistic endeavor.


Adam Nocek
.
The Life of Animation, or Re-Inventing the Science of Life
This paper offers a biophilosophical meditation on certain kinds of animated images inspired by and often used for biological research when these images are themselves thought to be animated, that is, “alive.” Using the work of Astrid Lindenmayer (on L-Systems), Alvy Ray Smith and Przemyslaw Prusinkiewicz (on the graphical interpretations of L-Systems) in conjunction with the recent disputes in (post-)continental philosophy over the self-organizing potential of every object as intersecting points of departure, this paper intervenes in debates over the “usefulness” of bio-animations for studying life. Moving beyond reductive approaches to the “usefulness” of these animations in terms of their degree of representational accuracy, I suggest that looking to the kinds of animations generated from L-Systems, for example (from developing plants to bio-architecture) is useful for overcoming such epistemological dead ends. Following Christopher Kelty and Hannah Landecker, my contention is that despite being originally conceived as a formal grammar for modeling living systems, L-Systems are themselves thought to be alive, that is, possess their own kind of being unfolding in time (cf. Kelty and Landecker 2004), making any graphical additions (e.g., turning symbols into graphs and then into visual animations of cells) irreducible to mere representations of an original. Far from taking us away from the study of life and vitality, then, animation generated from L-Systems, from artificial organisms to architectural structures (cf. Michael Hensel 2006), can be seen as their own novel and vital systems; they do not represent life, rather they make, in the language of A.N. Whitehead, their own novel contribution to the unfolding of life


Thomas Lamarre
.
“Technics of Life: Animation and Animal Characters”
The study of animation has tended to speak of an "illusion of life," wherein power of animation lies in its capacity to bring the inanimate to life. This paradigm constrains animation to a representation theory that begins with a fundamental distinction between reality (real life) and representation (illusion of life). But animation is not a matter of representation. It does not represent the force of the mechanical succession of images. It affords an actual experience of a technical force channeled into specific entities. In this paper, I propose to explore how a combination of technical factors (potential for deformation, expectations for verisimilitude in motion, and fixity of the camera) led to an emphasis on character animation, and especially animal characters, during the formative years of animation. The goal is trace how a technical force came to be experienced as an animal force, as vitality, or as life itself, in order to speak to some of the theoretical and political implications of the ascendency of animation today

Session 3 (B) Panorama B (AV)
Scientific and Occult Influences on Modern Conceptions of Space
Chair:
Eugenia Victoria Ellis
This panel brings together three papers addressing the influence of science and occultism on modern conceptions of space. As discussed by Linda Henderson, most notably in the recent republication of The Fourth Dimension and Non-Euclidean Geometry in Modern Art, the early 20th century architect Claude Bragdon was responsible for making the idea of higher dimensional space widely known and his work directly influenced a number of modern artists in both Europe and the United States. To date, little consideration has been given to the impact of the fourth dimension on the paradigm shift from regarding architecture as form to identifying architecture with space and, in particular, to Bragdon’s influence on modern conceptions of space through his works on architectural theory, most notably The Beautiful Necessity: Seven Essays on Theosophy and Architecture (1910) and The Frozen Fountain (1932). In The Beautiful Necessity Bragdon provides fundamental principles for the creation of architectural works, which he correlates with Theosophy, a late-19th century socio-religious philosophy believed to be divine knowledge conjoining science with religion. This panel demonstrates how the simultaneity of 19th century origins of research into geometry, nature and formal architectural relationships with philosophical inquiry into space, time and omniscience influenced modern conceptions of space. To this effect, Bragdon’s theory and influence will be situated in context with Denman Ross’s pedagogy Pure Design and Jay Hambidge’s “dynamic symmetry.” Finally, The Frozen Fountain will be used to show how Bragdon extended his theories of a spatial fourth dimension to influence New Stagecraft.



Eugenia Victoria Ellis
.
"The Beautiful Necessity": Geometry, Theosophy and 19th Century Origins of Claude Bragdon’s Higher Space Theory
While architecture today is often referred to as “space,” it was unusual for Claude Bragdon to consider architecture as “space” in contrast to its tangible manifestation as building “form,” such as in The Beautiful Necessity when he states, “architecture… impresses itself upon the beholder all at once, and in space alone all things would exist simultaneously.” The Beautiful Necessity provides fundamental principles for the creation of architectural works, which Bragdon correlates with Theosophy, a late-19th century socio-religious philosophy believed to be divine knowledge conjoining science with religion and part of a contemporary polemic that equated religion (belief based on faith) with science (knowledge based on empirical data of physical phenomena). Theosophy’s introduction of Eastern metaphysics to Western culture revealed possibilities of an inner self with respect to an outer being and opened the way to conceive of interiority, or inner space. Theosophy, coupled with new concepts of space and time and Bragdon’s many books on architectural and “higher space” theory, ultimately affected architectural production and inaugurated the notion of interior space in architecture. Through studies into the geometrical relationships inherent in nature by scientists such as Adolf Zeising and Ernst Mössel and their use to model the built world using the golden section, together with contemporaneous studies into higher dimensional geometries and new concepts of space and time, this paper demonstrates how the simultaneity of 19th century origins of research into geometry, nature and formal architectural relationships with philosophical inquiry into space, time and omniscience influenced modern conceptions of space.


Marie Frank
.
Claude Bragdon, Pure Design and Dynamic Symmetry
In 1901 Bragdon presented “Mysticism and Architecture” to the Architectural League of America at their annual convention. This paper illustrates how Bragdon’s architectural theory was part of a consensus of thought regarding modern design principles by placing Bragdon in context with Denman Ross’s architectural pedagogy and Pure Design, a teaching method based on first principles and the universality of geometry, and Jay Hambidge’s “dynamic symmetry,” a proportional system based on commensurable areas rather than bounding lines. In contrast to Ross’s formal design attributes, Hambidge’s focus was on the spatial relations of a composition. Both of these theoreticians are indicative of the design paradigm shift in dimension from an emphasis on building form to higher spatial aspects of a design.


» Skewed Stagecraft: Claude Bragdon's Isometric Theatrics
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Marcia Feuerstein
.
Skewed Stagecraft: Claude Bragdon’s Isometric Theatrics
Bragdon brought the fourth dimension into his architecture through “projective ornament,” his recipe for decoration he built upon the attributes of four-dimensional geometry, and into performance through “festivals of song and light,” his color music community events he orchestrated using four-dimensional light forms. His book, The Frozen Fountain, reveals his architectural theories especially manifest in the isometry of his stage set designs. These isometric perspective drawings show an omniscient vision via views that impress the whole “upon the beholder all at once.” Bragdon’s higher spatial theories were uniquely manifested in the art of New Stagecraft where he designed and had constructed transformative isometric perspective sets, skewed set designs providing alternative scenes, which this paper explains offered the audience a view to the corner and created a dynamic four-dimensional spatial configuration that vacillated between audience and stage, dissolving the distinction between audience and actor. He developed unique theatrical sets, stepped into New Stagecraft, and joined the ranks of other American designers, such as Bel Geddes, Robert Edmond Jones, and Lee Simonson. Bragdon, who tapped into his theoretical/architectural theosophic beliefs to design stage sets, created a truly new stagecraft—one that shared the ideas of Craig and Appia, yet was distinctly his own—an oscillating four-dimensional world of the stage as “space.”

Session 3 (C) Panorama A (AV)
Animal Ethics and Representation I: Empathy, Shared Suffering, and Defamiliarization
Chair:
Michaela Giesenkirchen Sawyer
This stream is devoted to the ethical implications of representing animals in literary, philosophical, or visual texts, including visual exhibits. Overarching concerns are the need to redefine the relationship between human and non-human animals; anthropocentrism versus animal empowerment; ideational or physical violations versus empathy and appreciation; and the role of the creative arts in stimulating awareness and political activism in favor of animal rights. This first session will focus on how three modern or contemporary figures—Henri Rousseau, Ernest Hemingway, and J. M. Coetzee—have challenged or modified traditional ways of depicting and ethically relating to animals, to suggest new ways in which to realize our humanity.



Fae Brauer
.
Les Colonies Animales: Animal Ethics, French Solidarism, and Le ‘douanier’ Rousseau’s Primates
In Les Colonies Animales et la formation des organisms published in 1881, Edmond Perrier argued that animals evolved less through ‘natural selection’ than through laws of association and cooperation. In his research documenting the growth and complexity of hydra, coral, and other coelenterata, he showed that not only had they developed physiological divisions of labor, but also ‘linear colonies’ in which “solidarité” and “la vie sociale” prevailed. That these animal colonies could, according to Perrier, “enable us to foresee the future of our societies, to regulate their organization” and “to cure the profound plagues of the present time” was recognized by Solidarists. While Élisée Rèclus maintained that “socialist solidarity” entailed “embracing all animals” and granting them equal status in mutualist society, Pietr Kropotkin envisaged associations of human and animal units as the key to evolutionary progress. This was represented by the artist ‘Le douanier’ Rousseau. While Rousseau had begun to paint ‘wild beasts’ in 1890 to capture the French translation of Charles Darwin’s ‘survival of the fittest’ concept of evolution as ‘la lutte pour la vie,’ ten years later his representation of animals was dramatically reconceptualized. Rousseau begins to portray animals as caring and collaborative, rather than savage and rapacious, his simians appearing to embody the empathy, cooperation, and solidarity at the heart of Perrier’s endosymbiotic Neo-Lamarckian theory of evolution. Hence, as this paper will reveal, it was the ‘tame primates’ painted by Le ‘douanier’ Rousseau in Paris from 1900 onward that provided the most poignant response to Perrier’s treatise and Solidarist theory, and the most penetrating illumination of animal ethics.


Lauren Dixon
.
Failures of Empathy: Animal Rights Advocacy and the Work of J.M. Coetzee
Particularly in his texts The Lives of Animals (1999) and Elizabeth Costello (2003), South African writer J.M. Coetzee explores the precarious position humans hold in concert with animals. This presentation will take up some of the philosophical concerns expressed in in these texts. Coetzee’s work grapples with how humans attempt to think themselves into the positions of other creatures as a way to service story-telling. Both books engage the reader in a complex terrain of struggles with empathy, not only in problems of animal relations, but also of race and sexuality. Human contempt toward nonhuman as well as other human animals illustrates the problems in championing empathy as a way to connect with other beings. In each text, the main character struggles with a particularly problematic aspect of animal relations; in The Lives of Animals, the subject turns to vegetarianism, and in Elizabeth Costello, to modern slaughterhouses. In what ways do these characters fail at experiencing empathy for other creatures? In what ways do they succeed? The ways Coetzee employs empathy lead us back to concepts like Donna J. Haraway's "situated knowledges" and the awareness that contact with other beings—while not visible to the eye—pushes us towards a new kind of connection with nonhuman animals, where one does not rely upon visual images and privileged human senses.


Daniel Aureliano Newman
.
Writing Animals Right: Flaubertian Aesthetics and Narrative Ethics in Hemingway’s Green Hills of Africa
Can writers be fair to the animals they represent? Our kinship with animals demands we engage them ethically, but communicative barriers prevent us from speaking of them as we might of other humans. Literary style provides one means of addressing this quandary. Hemingway, I argue, develops stylistic and narrative strategies that allow him to represent animals ethically without resorting to anthropomorphism or presuming to access their consciousnesses. These techniques are indebted to Flaubert’s aesthetic, particularly his insistence on le mot juste (the exact word, but also the fair word) and on impersonality. Flaubert’s precision and detachment greatly influenced Hemingway, and permit profound insights into the narrative ethics of his hunting memoir Green Hills of Africa. Hemingway’s animal depictions are realistic, yet defamiliarizing. On one hand, animals are afforded the dignity of being represented with precision. With lovingly precise detail and imagistic portraits of movement and anatomy, Hemingway shows them as they really behave. On the other hand, his descriptive metaphors are deeply estranging, guaranteeing the animals incommensurable value and freedom from anthropomorphic appropriation. Animals also exert strange pressures on narration, revealing the author’s ethical distance from his narrator’s often persuasive glorifications of hunting. The animal depictions in Green Hills of Africa help reveal the extent to which Hemingway’s aesthetics involve ethical concerns. Indeed, discussing animals he often also discusses literary production, authorial obligation, and readerly responsibility. Addressing how to represent animals in writing, then, becomes a way to get at another, larger question that concerned Modernist writers: how to write.

Session 3 (D) Meridian West (AV)
TV and Forensic Science
Chair:
Allison de Fren



David Kirby
.
Dead Men do Tell Tales: Forensic Science and Modern Storytelling in Television Production
Forensics in fictional television provides an ideal subject for exploring medical science's role in modern storytelling. First, forensic science has grown in importance for law enforcement in the US and the UK. Forensics represents a practical application of both clinical medicine and medical science, involves professional cultures outside the medical community including law enforcement, and has controversial aspects such as behavioural profiling. Forensic television dramas are an increasingly popular genre and there is growing evidence that these shows impact the public's medical literacy and influence jury behaviour. It is always important to keep in mind that the content of media texts is determined entirely by choices made during production. The stories in these texts are the sum total of production decisions and we need to acknowledge the agency of those who made these decisions. Studying forensic science's role in media production will help us understand how entertainment producers balance the certainty of forensic science alongside the uncertainty that is required for narrative progression. The goals of this paper, then, are to analyze how television producers make decisions regarding forensic science; to understand how entertainment professionals interact with medical experts and utilize medical expertise; and to track how depictions of forensic science in television have developed over time. This paper will based on interviews with the creators, producers and script writers of Lie to Me, Bones, CSI, Waking the Dead, Silent Witness and Diagnosis Murder.


Kerstin Bergman
.
Fictional death and scientific truth. The truth-value of science in contemporary crime fiction.
One of the taglines of the television crime drama CSI is that “evidence never lies”. Another common expression is that “anything can be proved with science”. These paradoxical statements express the conflicted attitude towards science characterizing contemporary western culture. Although dealing primarily with matters of life and death, crime fiction is often considered chiefly an entertainment genre. The growing use and popularity of science in crime fiction has, however, increased status of crime fiction as popular science. Science in fiction often has a legitimizing function, just as it has outside fiction. When used in fiction, however, there are many other aspects than truthfulness that dictates how science is portrayed. The major decisive principle in fiction is always that the narrative is consistent and believable to the audience, making any correspondence with an external reality, scientific as other, secondary. The aim of this paper is to shed light on how authors and producers of crime fiction for television and film handles this balance while using science in order to make their fiction seem true. And what is it that makes us perceive science, even fictional science, as true? This will be discussed using contemporary examples from forensic crime fiction – literature (Reichs), television (CSI, NCIS), and film (Emmett’s Mark, Like Minds, Quantum of Solace) – where science is used in the investigations of what happens at the end of life.


Allison de Fren
.
Bringing Out the Dead: The Autoptic Encounter in "Anatomy for Beginners"
Autopsy—“seeing for oneself” the interior specificities of the post-mortem body—has, over the last several centuries been a hidden affair, conducted with the utmost discretion and clinical detachment by medical experts in dialogue with one another. However, both the secrecy and sobriety of the act of dissection has been challenged in the last decade by the corporeal displays of the controversial anatomist Dr. Gunther von Hagens, best known for a traveling exhibition of dissected cadavers called Body Worlds. In 2002, von Hagens violated the British Anatomy Act of 1984 by performing the first public autopsy in the UK in 170 years in a London theatre. His performance then led to the development of a series of made-for-television documentaries. My paper focuses on the four-part series Anatomy for Beginners. I argue that, like Bodyworlds, the series uses the acquisition of anatomical knowledge as a pretext for an emotional and visceral encounter between the living and the dead—what documentary scholar Bill Nichols calls “vivication”—whose goals are more metaphysical than educational. I will examine the way in which this encounter is inscribed within the formal qualities of the studio setting, whose visual coding references explicitly the anatomy theatre and art of the Renaissance, thus situating von Hagen’s work within a tradition of looking that predates medical objectivity. Finally, I will explore the relevance of this autoptic “tradition of looking” for contemporary debates about the relationship between seeing and knowledge in relation to representations of the "end of life."

Session 3 (E) Circle Centre (AV)
Bodies, Biomedicine and Science
Chair:
Kristina Gupta



Joseph Schneider
.
Stretching Life: The Art of Yoga Asana
Drawing on Brian Massumi’s and Elizabeth Grosz’s readings of the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze and his work with Felix Guattari, and on recent work by French and Cultural Studies scholar Carrie Noland on how to theorize gesture, this essay proposes not Michel Foucault’s suggestion that we consider the self as a work of art but rather that the bodily practice of hatha yoga asana or the doing of yoga poses can open up an artistic project that takes the dynamism of life as experienced in bodily movement itself as a spacetime of a freedom, ethics, and politics that, while embodied, is not personal and, as such, can help us to think toward creative lines of flight to actual futures and peoples to come. Moving away, with appreciation, from the primary attention poststructural criticism has given to the productivity of discourse as writing the body (or as, in short, seeing culture as that which makes materiality, matter, nature “important”), the argument rehearses the philosophical provocation found in Massumi’s and Grosz’s treatments of Deleuze and Guattari’s ontology of becoming. It next turns toward the visualization of bodily affect as elaborated in recent work by Patricia Clough and as seen in the video art of Bill Viola’s The Passions; and finally it steps into the bodily practice of yoga asana as an instance of artful doing that can open awareness to a dynamic non-semiotic experience of living on which, in Grosz’s words, “culture” might be seen to be “based” or built.


Olivia Banner
.
Invisible Syndromes: Virtual Biomedical Communities, Self-Monitoring, and Narratives of the Self
Virtual patient communities, some claim, will transform the practice of medicine in the 21st century, particularly because they provide a wealth of self-reported data that medical research may one day be able to use. As part of a larger project on the postgenomic transformation of identities, this paper traces how individual and group biomedical identities are narrated in and constructed through a number of virtual communities and the discourses of futurity inscribed within the practice of community interaction. I compare and contrast two communities: first, those on livejournal.com, which are established by members of the community itself; second, those on PatientsLikeMe.com, which are organized and administered by a company whose implicit interest is in the data-mining of symptoms and treatment – and, through its recent partnering with the genetic testing company 23andMe.com, the possibility of data-mining genetic information as well. In both cases, my interest lies in examining what generic conventions shape the reporting of an illness, and how the conventions determined by the form/data design of the new media sites themselves shape what manner of affective communication is transmitted/reported by patients. I therefore look at conditions that have been traditionally (although less so recently) thought to be at least partly psychosomatic and for which no biomarkers exist, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Fibromylagia – often referred to as “invisible illnesses.” Because these are syndromes most often diagnosed in women, I pay particular attention to the gendered nature of how affective changes are reported to these patient sites, as well as the different modulations of patient difficulties with receiving diagnoses and treatments for very complicated and often misdiagnosed syndromes.


Tamara Emerson
.
Faith, Science, and the Antebellum Orientalization of Chinese Medicine
In 1847, Nathan Smith Davis founded the American Medical Association upon the principles of science, education, and ethics, all of which were based on a western european cosmology. While Davis and his colleauges were aware of the sectarian (or, non-orthodox) physicians against which they defined the AMA, he and others seemed little prepared for the disruption Chinese medicine would have on the organization as information concerning Chinese medical practices began to circulate through antebellum America. Although education, class, and professionalizaion were sufficient reason to promote the AMA over sectarian physicians within U.S. boundaries, orthodox physicians faced a new 'foe' in Chinese medicine as U.S. writers' exoticization of Chinese practices made them tempting to citizens who prided themselves on their ability to make individualized choices and their ability to become global consumers. It is in their response to and interactions with Chinese medicine through missionaries to China as well as Chinese immigrants in California that the AMA reveal their reliance on evangelical christianity to combat this Chinese encroachment. Indeed, testimonies of missionaries Samuel Wells Williams, Dr. Peter Parker and Rev. A.W. Loomis indicate that in their attempt to convince U.S. citizens of orthodox medicine's rationality and Chinese citizens of the efficacy of U.S. medicine these missionaries falsified Chinese medical practices through appeals to religion and faith. This paper explores this falsification and the way in which its enactment reveals the AMA's own reliance on faith for a 'rational' establishment of medicine.


Kristina Gupta
.
Sex for Health: Representations of Sex as a Health-Promoting Activity
Recently, scientific and popular press articles have begun to represent sex as a “health-promoting” activity. A number of scientific studies have identified possible health benefits of regular sexual activity, including increased lifespan and decreased risk of heart attack and certain types of cancers. These scientific findings have been widely reported on in the popular press. This “sex for health” discourse differs from other discourses about health and sexuality because it claims that sexual activity leads to quantifiable physical and mental health benefits in areas not directly related to sexuality. Analyzing this discourse provides an opportunity both to better understand broader health promotion discourses, especially the ways in which scientific studies are appropriated by the popular media, and to better understand current norms and anxieties about sexuality. In this article, I examine this discourse and argue that although the “sex for health” discourse may serve to de-stigmatize sexual activity for some, it may also increase pressure to be sexually active and may further pathologize sexual “dysfunction.” In addition, these representations often serve to further privilege a normative form of sexual behavior – coitus in the context of a monogamous heterosexual partnership – at the expense of non-normative sexual desires, identities, and practices.

Session 3 (F) Library
Nature, Nurture, Systems Theory
Chair:
Kira Walsh



Ellen Moll
.
Repeating and Retreating in Caryl Churchill's _A Number_
Caryl Churchill's _A Number_ presents a discussion of cloning that also serves as an allegory about the ethical and political dimensions of erasing the past, and its parallel, erasing the other. In the play, a young man discovers that he is actually a clone of his father's dead son; when he confronts his father about it, the subsequent revelations are even more troubling to them. As the play progresses, it is revealed that there were a number of clones made, and that they are all unwittingly part of a scientific experiment; the father then proceeds to have conversations and conflicts with various iterations of his "son." The play draws upon the debates that are sometimes referred to as "Nature versus Nurture," but more than that, it undermines these very categories. Churchill parodies the discourse on nature and nurture to reveal how and why it is deeply implicated in gender, history, and various "othering" processes. Based on Donna Haraway's work on "naturecultures," and Wendy Doniger's work on "the mythological clone," it can be seen that Churchill's play addresses the ethical stakes not so much of cloning, but of language and other worldbuilding processes.


» OConnell Posthuman Child of God SLSA 2010
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Maria O'Connell
.
A Child of God Much like Yourself: Cormac McCarthy’s Posthuman Serial Killer
If all the world is a stage, conversely every stage, every novel—every narrative—is also a world, or at least a narrative representation of a world. The representation of the social system in Cormac McCarthy’s Child of God, is a good illustration of some of the concerns and themes in posthumanist theory.There are many posthumanist narratives about physical transformations of humans into aliens or monsters and the disruption of their socialization through the inability of others to accept their personhood (their utterances). I am interested here in examining a narrative that theorizes posthuman transformation from another point of view. Cormac McCarthy, in Child of God, offers us a narrative about narrative, about stories and the ways that a social system communicates its boundaries. In this narrative Lester Ballard is revealed as a man who is transformed into a monster through the distinction of utterance by the fictional social system of Sevier County, Tennessee, where the novel is set. His communicative offerings (his shock over his father’s suicide, his desire for home and family, his inability to, as Sheriff Fate says, “find some other way to live or some other place in the world to do it in” are rejected utterances (123)). In allowing readers to see both Ballard’s story and the social interpretation of it, McCarthy opens up a space to examine how social systems ascribe humanity/non-humanity even to those who are physically human.


Kira Walsh
.
Haunted (Doll) Houses and the Mystery of Development
The Dollhouse Murders (1983) by Betty Wren Wright and Behind the Attic Wall (1985) by Sylvia Cassedy are just two examples of a still-vibrant trend in middle-grade literature involving stories about haunted dolls and doll houses. In each novel, the young, female protagonist must solve a family mystery about a death through their engagement with an inherited doll house. Similarly, in each novel the fact that the protagonist is a child allows them to access the evidence embedded in the doll house while adult family members cannot. Yet, without the inheritance of a tragic family history beyond the children's immediate experience, neither doll house would be haunted. In my paper, I will consider how these novels -- and similar haunted doll/doll house novels -- reflect a continuation of an ongoing discussion about the technology of genetic and cultural inheritance that has its roots in scientific and psychoanalytic investigations of inheritance reaching back to the end of the nineteenth century. Turning to the work of Susan Oyama, I will then consider how the resolution of the mysteries in both novels depends on an understanding of inheritance and ontogeny that goes beyond a "nature-nurture" conception of development -- both of individuals and of families.

Session 3 (G) Illinois
Mapping Wonderland: Writing and Speaking from the Brain’s Point of View
Chair:
Anne Dalke

» Notes Towards a Roundtable: Accessing Wonderland
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Alice Lesnick
“In a sense all writing is frog brain writing. Every word a metaphor, every metaphor a toy, every pun an opening of the space between..." Four faculty members, in neurobiology, education and literary studies, who have been engaging one another since February in a Facebook discussion board on “World Literature and Neurobiology,” propose a panel to explore a way of thinking about literature that attends less exclusively to its time-or-place-based origins, and more expansively to the human brain processes of which cultural production is a consequence. We will explore what it means to read a range of written, visual, and musical texts as renderings of both the unconscious and consciousness, of both inchoate and more deliberate cognition. As we share and invite this alternate form of interpretation, we intend to engage others to think together with us about the ways in which cultural production may be inclusive both of reflective processes and of the "cognitive unconscious," sharing "the same oscillation across the threshold of the perceived and the unperceived." Our scheme of "mapping wonderland" will attend as much to the wonder that literature prompts (and is prompted by) as to the process of "landing" it (in the sense of being settled or caught). We will close by asking attenders to think with us about what the uses of such a mode of reading might be.

Session 3 (H) Michigan
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Chair:
Karl Zuelke
;
Paul Sukys
;
John Amankwah
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, geologist, paleontologist, philosopher, theologian, and Jesuit priest, melded his scientific and theological pursuits to produce a unique and far-ranging philosophy that continues to shed light on the human predicament in the twenty-first century. Teilhard posits that a fundamental evolutionary impulse inherent in all creation gives rise to the successive developments on Earth of the geosphere, the biosphere, and ultimately the noosphere, the realm of thought and consciousness, each of these spheres marking steps on the evolution of the cosmos toward Teilhard’s “Omega Point,” a hypothetical point in the distant future where the progressive enfolding of matter reaches its maximum complexity and which gives rise to a fulfillment of universal consciousness. But humankind at this moment has not adapted quickly enough to the rapid evolution of the noosphere, resulting in an overabundance of an undirected psychic energy which becomes destructive, giving rise to the wars, genocide and social upheaval of the twentieth century, and now the threat of environmental collapse humanity faces in the twenty-first. Members of this panel propose to engage with Teilhard’s philosophy from political, ecological and theological perspectives in order to further an understanding of the complex problems humanity faces at this moment in history, but also to reengage with Teilhard’s profound and optimistic sense of hope in what lies ahead.



Paul Sukys
.
Teilhard and the International Community: Dealing with Power Blocs and Genocide
Because the work of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin focuses on the ultimate state of humanity at Point Omega, it easy to dismiss his view as that of a starry-eyed optimist who had little practical experience in the real world of international politics and global catastrophes. It is also easy to characterize Teilhard’s work as overly positive, given his academic training as a theologian, rather than as a political scientist or a historian. It is easy to dismiss Teilhard for these reasons, but it is also wrong. Teilhard plays the role of evolutionary theologian very well, but he is also capable of playing other roles with equal competence, including those of meta-psychohistorian and existential philosopher. In these roles, Teilhard recognizes human limitations for what they are, yet is able to transcend, rather than ignore, those limitations in the development of his unique philosophical perspective. To make a proper evaluation of Teilhard’s theory, it is, therefore, necessary to read between the lines of his theological essays and to examine the events of his life. Once we take a deeper look at his work and his life, it is possible to picture Teilhard as a realist who recognizes a globalized world that is divided into two competing power blocs (1) one based on economic inequities and (2) the other on ideological differences. It is also possible, perhaps even necessary, to explore how Teilhard deals with mystery of an omnipotent, benevolent God who remains silent in the face of shoah in the modern world.


John Amankwah
.
Communicating a Teilhardian Understanding of Creation and its Life-Filled Spirit: The Teilhardian Approach
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a modern theologian and philosopher provides an invigorating and appealing cosmo-scientific and philosophical new understanding of life and the place of consciousness in creation. He has postulated that creation is a life-filled entity in constant process of unfolding and that it constitutes the embodiment of nature in all its forms. For him, the evolutionary nature of creation involves a primordial multiplicity of complex web of life forms each possessing multidimensional systems of life-filled energy. He articulates this divine-like energy in nature as the Noosphere— a psychic energy and a biosphere as the place for life organisms sustained through the psychic energy that fills creation. The evolutionary literature of Teilhard reveals a higher level of philosophical and theologico-metaphysical perspectives that demonstrate a driving force moving creation to its fulfillment (the Omega Point).. He views creation in phylogenetic (φυλήγενετικός) terms, a complex intertwining and interaction of species. His literature shows the basic forms of natural philosophy which deals with the fundamental idea of creation and the questions arising from humans. Responding to some of these questions, Teilhard reveals a complex relatedness of specie systems, the beginnings of organisms, and the development of the natural order in all its forms. He believes that creation is developing and that there is an animus behind this development. This paper seeks to contribute to the understanding of the place of consciousness (noosphere), and the life within the biosphere, and their effect in the environment (geosphere) in the work of Teilhard de Chardin.


Karl Zuelke
.
Teilhard de Chardin and Gaia
James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis have popularized the Gaia theory, a new paradigm regarding life on Earth, which proposes that Earth can be regarded as a self-regulating, living organism in its own right. The vision of Teilhard has affinities with the Gaia hypothesis in that both deal with planet-wide phenomena, and beyond that, with processes inherent in the cosmic order. They differ in that Teilhard begins with a faith-based theological assumption that divine spirit is inherent in the cosmos. He posits a rudimentary psyche in elementary matter. Gaia, differs by being founded in ecology, not theology. Levels of biological organization demonstrate fractal relationships, and the highest level is the living organism of planet Earth. No rudimentary psyche within matter is necessary for Earth to evolve toward noospheric consciousness because Gaia depends on relationships between ontological levels, not essences inherent in them. Gaia, as a story, thus resonates perfectly in our poststructuralist moment. But like Teilhard’s conception, it has the potential to help humankind re-imagine its place in the cosmos, locating the human once again as integral to the living fabric of the planet. Teilhard’s vision adds one important element to this: Humankind’s special place within the emergent cosmic order confers a privilege: We create the story that will guide our future. The creative principle of Teilhard finds expression in a new understanding of what it means to be human. We can choose to move into a new mythic age. This paper considers the emerging Gaian paradigm in light of Teilhard.


Afternoon Tea - Fri 3:30pm - 4pm


Session 4 - Fri 4pm - 5:30pm

Session 4 (A) Ohio (AV)
Animating Biophilosophy Panel 2: Qualia
Chair:
Phillip Thurtle
;
Adam Nocek
These two panels explores the linkages between, life, knowledge, animation, and vitality. In it we intend to focus on animation in order to re-conceptualization life beyond the metaphysical distinction of vitalism and mechanism and beyond the chemical distinction of the organic and the inorganic. We use the concept of "animation" as a broad problematic for thinking about vitality, as well as a privileged technology for exploring the emergent dynamics of movement and change. The first panel investigates the relationships between, animation, vitality, and life. The second panel sets out to look at the types of vitality in relationship to knowledge. Both panels affirm the importance of “life” as a concept of enquiry and the need to experiment with philosophy as a time based medium.



Phillip Thurtle
.
Genaffect: The Feeling Gene and the Spatial Politics of Evolutionary and Developmental Biology
We are used to thinking about genes in terms of codes and determinations. The story is well known, genes code for proteins and proteins help make organisms. Recent work in the evolutionary and developmental biology has complicated this simple story by demonstrating how the location of the gene, and the way that the gene is embedded in networks of molecular regulation are also crucial for giving form to a developing organism. The same gene, for instance, can help to produce different structures in different parts of the organism. This shift can be thought of as a shift from gene action (where genes are producers) to gene feeling (where genes respond to specific cellular environments). This shift in thinking also brings new challenges for those of us interested in the political implications of scientific biological knowledge. No longer is a politics stressing the importance of environments (nurture) over codes (nature) sufficient; what is also needed is a politics that can explore the affective potential of cellular and cultural spaces.


Richard Doyle
.
Phytopsyche, or How I Learned to Count to One
This paper will model animals as heuristic vectors for metabolic and informational exchange fostered by plant "subjects" - e.g. plants attract animal attention for seed dispersion, pollination and speciation. In place of the usual categorical distinction between plant and animal, I will experiment with a “holonomic” model of plant/animal interaction drawn from ecology that recognizes even the alterity that divides animal from plant – a seemingly straight forward taxonomical divide – as an aspect of much larger and deeply interconnected dissipative structures ( e.g. networks of bacteria, ecosystems, biomes, demographics) and their interactions, with a focus on interactions involving attention. This notion of a plant ontology as embedded in or immanent to animal ontology will then provide an occasion for the exploration of consciousness ( human and otherwise) as an evolutionary feedback loop for exploring the recombinant space of plant evolution. Here, what Darwin called “artificial selection" through the focusing of attention on differentials of plant traits can be viewed as a mode of plant perception, sexually selecting itself into the future through human consciousness and labor.


Elizabeth Buschmann
.
Rhetorical performance and agency: do while
The performance DO While begins with three characters circling a hilltop throughout the evening, performing a series of looped phrases as the sun sets. Their phrases have little relationship with one another, yet they oscillate in and out of phase with movement, stillness, and cadence as they strive to achieve synchronicity between biological and kinesthetic frameworks with each repetition. The movement of their bodies represents the entirety of experience they have accumulated over the course of their respective lives. The piece seeks to test rhetorical performance, yet is aware of its own limitations given there is no “outside” to the context of what has been, that which is everything. There is no way to remove a body from the point in which it exists: one cannot simply hijack a skeleton from the muscle tone resting atop it, for the learned memory it has gained over the years is impossible to relinquish – there is no a priori to return to, no fresh start, no pre-adaptive possibility... nothing is original (Baudrillard). Because there is no discernable break in this relationship between flesh and bone, they simply co-exist, where the present is colonized by the past. Despite the fact that there is no returning to a pre-adaptive space, no “BLANK” canvas, there is still a blank, what is argued historically as a site of creative and emergent potentiality that springs from over abundance and all inclusiveness. Inherited from eastern philosophy and later used in the art of Marcel Duchamp, among others, blank as a term refers to the site of potentiality that emerges from “all inclusiveness”. True, nothing is original, however from contingencies, from embedded context, new possibilities emerge. Do While endeavors to explore this potential as a piece that is predicated on the “white noise” [...]


Orit Halpern
.
The Organizational Organism: Time and Matter in Cybernetics
This paper will interrogate the diagrams and flow charts shared between cognitive-neuro science, computer science, and political science in the post-war period. Merging the biological and the technical, the organization and the organism, these diagrams traverse a territory from the interior of the brain to the structure of government. Linked by the discourse of cybernetics and game theory, all these fields share, therefore, in a discourse of “communication” and “control”. I will use these three sites to map a historical transformation in temporality, representation, and perception emerging from within the logic of this cybernetic discourse. As I hope to show, these machine-minds, these closed boxes, and these self-referential policy making loops are the wish-images of an aspiration to transform a world of ontology, description, and materiality to one of communication, prediction, and process; to make machines lively and organisms machinic. But from inside these little circuits and networks also emerges a series of new struggles and tensions, desiring and destructive, between communication and control, between representation and prediction, and between matter and memory; tensions and possibilities that have much to say to contemporary critical practices in a digital world. In this moment where organism and organization are reconfigured, and where both materiality and abstraction are transformed, we can trace the contours of a new bio-political order transforming the very idea of life. These diagrams have worlds to say, therefore, to the possibility of thinking both life and philosophy in our contemporary period.

Session 4 (B) Panorama B (AV)
Canyonlands: Edward Abbey and the Defense of Wilderness
Chair:
Lance Newman
;
Roderick Coover
Canyonlands is a documentary about writer Edward Abbey and environmental battles over the nature and use of the Western deserts. Abbey worked as a seasonal ranger and forest lookout in Western parks and forest-lands including Lees Ferry, Arches National Park, and Grand Canyon, and Glacier National Park. He wrote in praise of wilderness, and he called attention to the destruction of the desert landscape due to dam-building, road-building, mining, and industrial tourism. The documentary offers a provocative combination of archival films and contemporary recordings, including interviews with Abbey's friends Jack Loeffler, Ken Sleight, Jim Stiles, Katie Lee and Kim Crumbo. Directed by Roderick Coover Co-Writers: Roderick Coover and Lance Newman Voice and narration: Brett Keyser and Shawn Rohlf Produced by Unknown Territories The documentary is available in 42 and 54 minute versions. 9x16 ratio NTSC and HD color stereo Sample available at http://www.edabbey.com Supplementary materials at http://www.unknownterritories.org The screening will be introduced by the project collaborators, Roderick Coover and Lance Newman. Roderick Coover creates panoramic interactive environments and multimedia documentary projects. He is an associate professor in Film and Media Arts at Temple University in Philadelphia. URL: http://www.roderickcoover.com Lance Newman is Associate Professor of English at Westminster College of Salt Lake City. He is the author of Our Common Dwelling: Henry Thoreau, Transcendentalism, and the Class Politics of Nature (Palgrave, 2005) and many other books, articles, and poems. URL: http://people.westminstercollege.edu/faculty/lnewman


Session 4 (C) Panorama A (AV)
Animal Ethics and Representation II: Approaches from Three Disciplines
Chair:
Michaela Giesenkirchen Sawyer
This stream is devoted to the ethical implications of representing animals in literary, philosophical, or visual texts, including visual exhibits. Overarching concerns are the need to redefine the relationship between human and non-human animals; anthropocentrism versus animal empowerment; ideational or physical violations versus empathy and appreciation; and the role of the creative arts in stimulating awareness and political activism in favor of animal rights. This third session showcases three different disciplinary approaches to the critical analysis of creative representations of animals: a literary approach, applying narratological theory to the representation of humans-as-animals; a philosophical approach, calling for a return to pre-enlightenment rationalism for a better appreciation of animal nature; and a sociological approach, studying the educational effects of different modes of animal representation.



Laura Shackelford
.



Karen Mizell
.
Reason, Imagination, and Dignity: The Rights of Animals
Contemporary animal rights philosopher Bernard Rollin argues that Aristotle’s concept of telos provides a coherent and rational approach to making sense of the moral standing of nonhuman animals. Rollin’s analysis is starkly divergent from influential views of philosophers such as Descartes and Kant, who excluded nonhuman animals from the domain of moral concern, as well as of Bentham and Rawls, who offered abstract moral consideration to nonhuman animals with questionable practical application. Rollin offers a radical change in the context of the debate about nonhuman animals as objects of moral concern, challenging classical philosophical views of them as ‘things,’ arguing that we have reason to regard them as moral beings deserving of respect and dignity. As a metaphysical construct, telos undergirds normative responses to animal needs and interests, and figures into a twofold moral imperative: one, which commits us to the interdisciplinary study of the mental and emotional capacities of animals, cognitive ethology; and another, which commits us to attempt to accommodate those capacities and to act in ways that accommodates their interests. Application of Rollin’s view to genetically modified, or transgenic, nonhuman animals, a practice employed by a few contemporary artists, as well as any number of research laboratories, reveals plausible and rational moral reasons to resist such practices, especially when they violate the interests and needs of the nonhuman animals.


Linda Kalof;
Jennifer Kelly;
Joe Zammit‑Lucia
.
Animal Representations, Museums, and Meaning: A Sociological Approach
In modern urban culture, animal representations are central to the future development of human-animal relationships. While there have been numerous studies documenting the meaning of popular culture representations that depict animals, no empirical research has examined the impact of animal photography on viewer perceptions. Using a Personal Meaning Map, we documented the changes in museum visitors’ perceptions of animals after viewing an exhibit of fine art photographic animal portraiture exhibit at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, France. Seventy-six percent of visitors gave meaning to animals in a different way after viewing the animal portraits. Pre-exhibit, the visitors thought about animals primarily in terms of “Nature” and “Wild/Free” creatures. Post-exhibit the visitors’ meanings of animal emphasized “Kinship” and “Vulnerability.” In addition, feelings related to the need for conservation efforts surrounding animals were significantly enhanced. Our findings indicate that certain artistic approaches to animal representation (such as portraiture photography that depicts animals as individuals) can change people’s perceptions of animals, have an influence on human-animal relations and enhance conservation efforts. We question the effectiveness of traditional approaches to animal and “wildlife” representations as conservation tools. We also challenge the widespread assumption that didactic communication of scientific and technical information represents a better way than the use of artistic approaches to create a culture that is sympathetic to conservation efforts.

Session 4 (D) Meridian West (AV)
Gaming
Chair:
Patrick Jagoda




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Sam Travis
.
A Game of Perky Pat: How a Science Fiction Author Predicted the MMORPG and the Ideologies that Drive it.
Game playing is a theme central to a good many works by Phillip K. Dick. Dick recognized the act of game playing – an act characterized by the surrender of one’s autonomy to the often arbitrary rules of the game being played – as suggestive of deeper social and cultural implications. As culture and ideology were largely inseparable within Dick’s work these fictional games quickly became metaphorically ideological, satirical in the sense that they laid bare the arbitrary nature of the “rules” governing a given society by defamiliarizing both the game and the act of playing. But like so much of Dick’s work, what began as metaphorical or satirical has become predictive. Two constants operate within Dick’s games: game playing always has major consequences outside of the game, and there is always conflict between the game players and the rules. These constants have become the framework for a newly emergent, all too real kind of game. The MMORPG. The recent rise in popularity of MMO gaming has demanded new kinds of scholarship in critical game studies, and scholars have responded en force with articles on subjects like Real Money Trade and player created Mod’s, but the average gamer remains unaware of their place within the ideological framework governing these virtual playgrounds. Dick recognized the ideological nature of game playing, and with that realization he predicted the evolution of gaming to its modern form, doubtless his work has something to say about the evolution of gaming ideologies as well.


Sylvie Bissonnette
.
Life and posthuman metamorphoses in animation
This paper examines the limits of life in representations of post-vital organisms, and, more particularly, forms of metamorphoses in animation and video games. It looks at virtual mutations and processes of genetic modifications in works that offer competing discourses on genetic determinism and the intertwined processes that underlie living organizations.It also explores diverse forms of couplings between users and virtual worlds and the ways in which they may extend our conceptions of life. This paper also argues that repetition and training in video games alter and metamorphose our bodies and enhance the player’s skills and corporeal knowledge beyond the game world. It finally examines the impacts of these animations and video games on bio-ethics.


Patrick Jagoda
.
Processing the System: A Game Studies Approach to Global Networks
From 1940s “systems theory” to the emerging scientific inter-discipline of “network science,” numerous twentieth and twenty-first-century thinkers have been interested in the way that interdependent entities form integrated wholes. Parallel to these scientific explorations, various literary and artistic forms have explored social, political, and cultural systems. Novels from Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle (1906) to Don DeLillo’s Underworld (1997) use aesthetic and formal techniques to render vast worlds and offer a glimpse of the networks on which they are founded. Similarly, films from Modern Times (1936) to Syriana (2005) create cinematic linkages between modern individuals and the systemic totalities that constitute them. This paper explores the ways that one of the dominant contemporary art forms — the computer game — might help us better understand global networks. Through a series of case studies, I contend that digital games have the potential not only to represent networks, but also to offer the player an experience of interconnected structures that otherwise exceed comprehension. Simulations such as SimCity and Peace Maker enable self-reflexive explorations of the emergence and operational dynamics of complex systems. Massively Multiplayer Online games (MMOs) such as World of Warcraft and Alternative Reality Games (ARGs) such as The Beast require a user to form collective alliances and dwell on networked structures. Social activist games such as Third World Farmer and Oil God use game processes to make players aware of the protocols that make up various political totalities. In addition to close readings of games and interactive genres, this paper draws on recent studies of networks by writers such as Albert-László Barabási and Alexander Galloway. Software studies approaches, especially Noah Wardrip-Fruin’s concept of “expressive processing” and Ian Bogost’s notion of “procedural rhetoric,” are also integral to my reading of game systems.

Session 4 (E) Circle Centre (AV)
The Bricoleur’s Laboratories: Marcel Duchamp’s Concocted Pluriverses
Chair:
James W. McManus
In his introduction to the catalogue for the 1942 First Papers of Surrealism exhibition, Robert Allerton Parker labeled those who “project their obsessive vision of the invisible” as “Explorers of the Pluriverse.” Parker’s observation reads equally applicable when reflecting on the Exposition du Surréalisme (Paris, 1938), and anticipates the second Exposition du Surréalisme (Paris, 1947. Principle among the explorers was the bricoleur Marcel Duchamp who, collaborating with André Breton, served as the principle installation designer for the three major Surrealist exhibitions. Beginning with the 1938 Exposition, engaging in a forceful rejection of the “white cube,” Duchamp subsumed the three exhibition spaces into labyrinthine cabinets of curiosities – their pluriverses products of the bricoleur’s experiments. The three exhibitions share a common quality, spaces where the spectator’s equilibrium is made unstable, thrusting the participants into an active dialectic with their own experience. Addressing Duchamp’s design for the 1938 exposition James Housefield, exploring the artist’s integration of his interests in astronomy, considers an exhibition space turned topsy-turvy. Looking at Duchamp’s contributions to the 1942 exhibition Anne Collins Goodyear makes a case for the disquieting effects caused by his "compensation portraits" and “sixteen miles of string” - creating territories of perpetual transition and instability. James McManus considers evidence of the bricoleur’s shadowy presence where he conducted clandestine experiments, fashioning pluriverses visible and invisible in the 1947 Paris Surrealist exposition.



James W. McManus
.
Not seen and/or less seen: The Bricoleur Working in the Shadowy Spaces of His Laboratory - The Second Exposition Internationale du Surréalism
New York had served as a temporary home for many Surrealists in exile during World War II. In 1946 André Breton led a return to Paris, where he hoped to re-establish his authority and that of Surrealism – a daunting task in the cauldron of post-war politics, the social climate, and images burned in the minds of peoples sickened by the horrors of the war. Understanding the need to make Surrealism highly visible Breton embarked on a plan to assemble a major exhibition, one marking as Gérard Durozoi observed, “a certain progression in the direction of a new mythology.” Circumstances also placed Duchamp in Paris during the second half of 1946. As he had done in 1938 and again in 1942, Breton sought the advise of Duchamp in the design and execution of the exhibition space. Duchamp agreed to the task, one that allowed him to use the exhibition as a clandestine laboratory where he could conduct his secret experiments – in plain sight and undetected. In this paper I will discuss Duchamp’s contributions to the design of the exhibition space, works conceived for the exhibition, and his infamous catalogue cover – all contributing, as I will contend, to the nascent Étant donnés begun in secret a year earlier.


James Housefield
.
Of Coal Sacks and Galaxies: Duchamp, Astronomy and Surrealism in 1938
Artist Marcel Duchamp's contributions to the 1938 Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme included the dramatic conception of the exhibition space to be experienced by visitors as an artwork. Visitors approaching the gallery passed through a courtyard in which they encountered Salvador Dali's Rainy Taxi, with its curious spectacle of meteorology transferred to the interior of a Parisian taxicab. Upon entering the building, visitors faced a darkened space in which flashlights enabled the viewing of art on display. After moving through an imaginatively recreated geography of Paris (represented by street names both real and unreal), visitors came to a room in which Duchamp prepared the ceiling with a reported 1200 coal sacks. Duchamp's exhibition design transported the night sky to the interior of the gallery space, thereby "interiorizing" astronomical phenomena. Central to this interpretation is an historical analysis of the term "coal sacks," once used in astronomy to describe dark rifts in the Milky Way. Duchamp's 1938 exhibition design thus connects with the recurring presence of astronomy in his art and in that of his fellow Surrealists.


Anne Collins Goodyear
.
Transit and transition in The First Papers of Surrealism
This paper explores metaphors of transit, transition, and estrangement developed by Duchamp in The First Papers of Surrealism, which he curated with Andre Breton. I will argue that through his masterminding of "compensation portraits," which introduced alternate identities for participants in the exhibition; his own self-presentation as the wife of a migrant dust-bowl farmer, suggesting an analogy with Man Ray's Dust Breeding photograph; and his construction of a complex maze of string, which obfuscated other works of art on view in the exhibition, Duchamp deliberately problematized the experience of geographical, psychic, and political space and identity, creating territories of perpetual transition and instability. In so doing, Duchamp up-ended convention, forcing the space of the "in-between" or "infra-mince into view, and creating new physical and conceptual terrain for the fabrication and experience of art--or anti-art.

Session 4 (F) Library
Posthumanism and the Class Ends of Animality
Chair:
Robert Faivre
The posthumanities, and with them the figure of the “animal,” have emerged as the new interpretive matrix for understanding the “crisis of the humanities.” Whether Donna Haraway’s call for undoing “the Great Divide” between “human” and “animal” (_When Species Meet_), Derrida’s concept of the “l’animot,” the (textual) space in-between human and animal (_The Animal That Therefore I Am_), or Cary Wolfe’s argument that “the human is, and never was, human” (_Zoontologies_), dominant posthuman discourses argue that the traditional humanities and their anthropocentric, hierarchical binaries of Cartesian thinking which, in placing the thinking subject above the body and embodied feeling, marginalize “the animal,” and in doing so, are no longer capable of responding to emerging realities. The animal, on these terms, heralds the end of traditional humanities and the rise of a new posthuman paradigm. This panel is a critical re-reading of discourses of animality and its class ends. The figure of the “animal,” the panel proposes, is invoked by dominant discourses both as an implicit recognition of the historical limits -- that is, the social contradictions of capital and the limits of the ideological management of the class contradiction -- and at the same time as a rewriting of the historical limits as the natural (existential) condition of the human/animal situation. The panel includes four analytical papers which demonstrate the historicity of the "animal" and posthumanism, and which contribute to the development of materialist theory of culture.



Kimberly DeFazio
.
Posthuman Romanticism and the Question of the (Animal) Other
Kimberly DeFazio's paper, "Posthuman Romanticism and the Question of the (Animal) Other," maps contemporary posthuman discourses and their differences, paying particular attention to their treatment of the “other.” It addresses the new transpecies theories (Cary Wolfe, Donna Haraway, Giorgio Agamben) and examines what Wolfe calls “the question of the animal” in relation, on the one hand, to earlier textual theories of Derrida and Heidegger which establish the other as textual trace, and, on the other hand, to the more nostalgic (modernist) articulations of the posthuman, as in the writing of Andrei Codrescu. The paper also locates contemporary posthumanities in the context of earlier treatments of the human/animal distinction in the writings of Emerson and Wordsworth, whose green aesthetics articulated a new (post-urban) imaginary which blur the boundaries of Western epistemology and its instrumentalities. The paper will contrast these diverse articulations of otherness with the materialist theory of other, as elaborated in Marx’s _Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts_, where otherness is an effect not of epistemology but the alienation of humans from labor.


Robert Faivre
.
Fictions of the Animal
In “Fictions of the Animal,” Robert Faivre reads J. M. Coetzee’s novella _The Lives of Animals_ and E. O. Wilson’s novel _Anthill_ for their use of narrative fiction and implicit argument for “fiction” and literature as a superior means of grasping reality beyond the apprehension of reason and critique. Wilson’s “fictional turn” is significant because it does not begin with his writing of a novel, but is a hallmark of his sociobiology, from his early books on ants and human nature to his _Consilience_. Both re-write human (social) relations in terms of the animal, essentially recasting social issues as natural matters. Through a critique of their arguments, and drawing on Engels’s theory of the concept and the animal (_Anti-Duhring_ and _Dialectics of Nature_), this paper explains the figures and logic of Coetzee’s and Wilson’s writings as exemplary not exceptional “fictions” and re-conceptualizes in terms of the social and historical forces by which they are produced.


Jennifer Cotter
.
Trans-species Family Values
Jennifer Cotter’s essay, “Trans-species Family Values” argues that posthumanism, through tropes of trans-species “love” and “bio-harmony” is re-installing in cultural theory “family values” as a decoy to cover over the way in which the class relations of transnational capitalism – the exploitation of human labor-power by humans – structure all social relations among humans and between humans and animals. More specifically, through a critical re-examination of Donna Haraway’s concept of “trans-species family” (_When Species Meet_), Hardt and Negri’s “wasp-orchid love” (_Commonwealth_) and the trans-species romance _Bee Movie_, her paper addresses the way in which the discourses of the “posthuman family” suture freedom from alienation to a capitalist anti-worker fairytale of class, privatization, and entrepreneurship, represented as “resistance,” “bio-harmony” and “love.” Drawing on Engels’ _Dialectics of Nature_ and _Origin of the Family_, as well as Alexandra Kollontai’s historical materialist examination of “love,” Cotter argues instead that freedom from alienation is in dialectical relation to the abolition of exploitation.


Robert Wilkie
.
The "Life" of Capital is Labor
Robert Wilkie’s paper, “The ‘Life’ of Capital is Labor,” argues that posthumanism’s recasting of global inequalities as the effect of a violent metaphysical closure that prevents the “human” from recognizing “all the living things…as his fellows, his neighbors, or his brothers” (Derrida, “The Animal That Therefore I Am (More to Follow)” 402) is reflection of the process by which capital moves towards subsuming all differences into the ultimate difference – the difference of exploitation. Contrasting Marx’s distinction in the _1844 Manuscripts_ between “species life” and “natural life” with the writings of Agamben (_The Open: Man and Animal_) and Hardt and Negri (_Multitude_), as well as the recent film _District 9_, Wilkie argues that the posthuman is an effect of the collapse of “species life” (of labor and intelligence which is developed by laboring) into “natural life” (the life of post-reason) and thus an ideological means for erasing the fundamental contradiction in capitalism is not inter-species, but exploitation.

Session 4 (G) Illinois
Wiki Wisdom: From Archetype to Meme
Chair:
Cheryl Wood Ruggiero
;
Susan Allender-Hagedorn
;
Karen Swenson
At Virginia Tech we offer several sections of Introduction to Science Fiction and Fantasy (a freshman level course) each semester, totally on-line, and several of us have formed a collaborative teaching cohort for the class. In this presentation we will demonstrate our experiences in having students create the VTSF Wiki Project, now a multiclass, continuing project. We want to discuss one surprise we encountered with the wiki: how students have a rich understanding of SF memes that influence their sense of self and community and changing concepts of ownership, authorship, and plagiarism.

Session 4 (H) Michigan
Documenting Science: Natural History, Cartography, Databases
Chair:
Richard Pell




Frances Van Scoy
.
Reconstructing a Community for Historic Fiction
Creative writers, historians, and social scientists study documentation of communities over time. For nineteenth century America this documentation includes land and estate records, military service and pension records, and maps. Late century vital records, photographs, county histories, and collected biographies are also often available. A multimedia database is a useful structure in which to store all of these records but additional user tools are needed. A case study of Greenwich Township, Huron County, Ohio, 1820-1900, is presented to illustrate the design of an innovative database structure and user interface for such a collection of documents and user inferences. The following 1896 paragraph is illustrative. “When the CC&C railroad was built, forty-six years ago, the homes of Hiram Townsend, Wm. Carl Sr. and Abram Gifford were the only houses, while the incorporated village now boasts of four churches, a fine graded school with two hundred pupils, five dry goods stores, a large, well-kept hotel, several mills, and two grain houses, and a nearly completed system of water works and electric lights.” Links to/from this paragraph include “1850 events”, “CC&C Railroad”, and the three first heads of household (whose records link to other records naming them). Census records for 1900 can be used to identify some likely owners or employees of the 1896 businesses in the village. Such a database can be used to recreate an historical community into which fictional characters can be inserted.


Michael Simeone
.
From Chronometers to Computers: The Contributions of Image Processing Methods to Histories of Mapping the Great Lakes in the Long 18th Century
Early mapping of the North American continent (1640-1820) generated sizable archive of ornate atlases and sheet maps. Studying seventeenth and eighteenth-century maps in the context of modern understandings of cartography reveals distortions that were the inevitable results of comparatively primitive technologies, difficulties of travel by sea, rivers, and overland, and inaccurate and conflicting data from explorers and traders. European sailors could not calculate longitude until the later part of the 18th century, and before then, primitive chronometers interfered with accurate calculations of longitude. As part of the Digging into Data authorship collaboration at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, this project examines quantitative data produced from image processing of over 40 historical maps that feature the Great Lakes. In light of new data about the scale, shape, and dimensions of lakes, this project will explain the contributions to cartographical, literary, and technological histories gained through collaboration with computer scientists, as well as explain the methods and tools used throughout.


Richard Pell
.
Treaties, Borders and Fences within the PostNatural
The Center for PostNatural History a public outreach organization based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania that is engaged in the cataloging, documenting and presenting of life-forms that have been modified by humans through processes such as selective breeding or genetic engineering to meet human desires. This presentation will focus on the geography and biology of containment within the realm of emerging genetically engineered organisms. Concerns over ecological impact, intellectual property as well as public relations have shaped the habitats that have been permitted for occupation by transgenic life-forms. Specific locations that are exemplary of these factors will be visited in this presentation through the use of landscape photography, satellite imagery and diorama. Also explored will be the methods of containment that rely on biology rather than physical barriers. Strategies in genetic copy prevention that have been employed to minimize the possibility of organisms reproducing outside of laboratory or commercially owned habitats will be examined in organisms as diverse as E. coli, watermelon, corn and humans.


Plenary II - Fri 6:30pm - 8pm

Plenary II (A) Meridian Centre
Science Comic Books as Agents of Stealth Education.
Chair:
Jay Hosler
Comic books employ a complex interplay of text and images that makes them uniquely effective at conveying concepts and motivating student engagement. As such, they have been shown to be an effective mechanism for improving student literacy. This makes comics an appealing option for science educators trying to improve science literacy about pressing societal issues involving science and technology. By scaffolding scientific concepts within stories, science comics have the potential to be agents of stealth education by making use of narratives that provide context for material. A pedagogical instrument that motivates students to read about science, helps them understand basic scientific principles as well as the logic of the scientific method and makes the whole process fun would be quite useful for science curricula. There are, however, special challenges to consider when making science comics. A balance must be struck between content and story such that the comic is engaging without jeopardizing the integrity of the scientific content. My first two science comics, Clan Apis and The Sandwalk Adventures, have used stories about life, death, friends and family to explore the natural history and biology of bees and the logic of natural history, respectively. As a biologist and creator of science comics, I will bring my own perspective to the development of the comic book textbook Optical Allusions and how its effectiveness for teaching biological concepts and influencing student attitudes about science was evaluated in an undergraduate setting.



Session 5 - Sat 8:30am - 10am

Session 5 (A) Ohio (AV)
Animal Ethics and Representation III: Captive Animals in Postmodern Art
Chair:
Michaela Giesenkirchen Sawyer
This stream is devoted to the ethical implications of representing animals in literary, philosophical, or visual texts, including visual exhibits. Overarching concerns are the need to redefine the relationship between human and non-human animals; anthropocentrism versus animal empowerment; ideational or physical violations versus empathy and appreciation; and the role of the creative arts in stimulating awareness and political activism in favor of animal rights. This third and final session examines how recent visual artists have represented captive animals in their works. We will discuss how art can effectively draw attention to the dehumanizing effects of displayed animal captivity on the observer, but also how it can reinforce these effects, either inadvertently or self-reflexively, through the formal conventions of visual art as well as the institutional venues in which it is displayed.



Suzanne Black
.
Regular Rabbit or Martyr Mouse? Genetically Engineered Animals, Contemporary Art, and the Image Event
Although the genetic modification (GM) of laboratory and farm animals raises important ethical concerns about the welfare and instrumental use of animals, animal rights’ groups have mounted few campaigns against the practice; those campaigns that do exist tend to be ineffective in their use of sweeping argumentative strategies and ill-considered choice of audience. In part, it is difficult for activists to make visible the genetic engineering of animals, for biotechnology alters animals in ways that do not necessarily yield shocking images or cause animals major suffering. On the other hand, contemporary artists like Lynn Randolph, Bryan Crockett, Catherine Chalmers, Eduardo Kac, and Alexis Rockman have created compelling images of genetically modified mice, rabbits, and livestock. In addition to summarizing arguments on the ethics of making GM animals, this presentation displays and analyzes artists’ images in relation to Kevin DeLuca’s category of the image event. The goal of this project is to assess the rhetorical impact of these visuals, asking whether such images have potential uses for activists.


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Corinna Ghaznavi
.
Captive Animals, Human Control: The Zoo and the Circus in the work of Frank Noelker and Douglas Gordon
My paper will focus on how the work of visual artists Frank Noelker and Douglas Gordon contributes to critical histories and contemporary discussions of zoos. Noelker and Gordon give us familiar animals stripped of all accouterments and thus simply, and clearly, show their plight. By representing animals that are captured, bred, housed and kept in environments completely controlled by humans, the artists expose both the animal, and the human animal, as bereft. Noelker’s Zoo portraits (1997 – 2002) address the great disparity between the power and beauty of the animal itself, and the strict confines of an artificially constructed environment. For the installation Play Dead, Real Time (2003) Gordon had a young Indian elephant, Minnie, and her trainer, brought from Connecticut into the Gagosian Gallery in New York City’s Chelsea district. Here, in the large empty gallery space, she performed a series of tricks including play dead, stand still, walk around, back up, get up, and beg. In my discussion, I will build a trajectory from zoos to performing animals and raise the question of human dominance and control that is implicit in how, and why, animals are held in captivity. I will conclude with a presentation of Noelker’s Chimp Portraits (2002-2006): photographs of animals that have been ‘retired’ from either biomedical research, the entertainment industry, and the pet trade, and sometimes a combination of all three.


Alissa Mazow
.
Audubon on Acid: Walton Ford’s Taxonomical Transgressions and the “Nature” of Art Museums
Having long proclaimed the American Museum of Natural History his favorite cultural institution, the contemporary artist Walton Ford creates saturated and heroically sized watercolors of exotic, wild, and invasive mammals, reptiles, and birds. His juiced up approach brings a Frankenstein monstrosity to the paintings and taxidermic animals of nineteenth-century naturalist John James Audubon and dioramist Carl Akeley. Ford forces us to digest these historical representations of slaughtered and posed animals through his contemporary, symbolistic re-presentations of the earlier naturalists’ work. Often boxing his paintings within deep glass frames, recalling shipping crates and dioramas, he makes analogies between art and animal cargo. Suddenly making natural history “cool enough” for the contemporary art world, Ford constructs parallels between specimens in display cases and art objects in frames. Ford’s two-dimensional re-presentations of animals circumscribe the contemporary art museum as too static and sterile regularly to generate rich interpretations. Yet, against the backdrop of white walls today, Ford’s animals come alive, pacing their framed cages and tracking our every move. He spurs us to reexamine both the statuesque historical taxidermic animals populating halls and dioramas of natural history museums and the historical art objects contained in frames and under glass in art museums. Thus, Ford connects historical patterns of collection, display, and visual consumption in these venues.

Session 5 (B) Panorama B (AV)
From Synaesthesia to Cyborgs: Science and the Visualization of Higher Realities in Modern and Contemporary Art. Panel 1
Chair:
Melissa Warak
Panel 1: Strategies of Perception, Pedagogy, and Play This three-part panel addresses a broad historical range of the ways in which twentieth century artists utilized scientific advancements as means to visualize alternative realities. The artists examined in this panel drew from fields as diverse as sense physiology, the occult, robotics, and new theories of cinema towards the creation of art that furthered the quest for a heightened experience of the world or an expanded consciousness of the self. For these artists, engaging with contemporary scientific discoveries was a means of ensuring the social relevance and visual immediacy of their work. Each paper on this panel explores the ways these artists deflected, distorted, and refashioned scientific findings to fit their own aesthetic and conceptual ends. In terms of this creative or subversive consumption, modern artists become a revelatory lens through which to view the process by which modern individuals have incorporated scientific and technological advances into their conceptions of themselves and their places in the universe. The manner in which artists interrogated science in order to reconsider the relationship of the modern subject to society is a common thread in these papers. In sum, the speakers on these panels reveal an image of the modern artist as a figure whose combination of intense intellectual curiosity and suspicion of convention provided the foundation for some of the most intriguing contacts between science and culture of the past hundred years.



Michael Maizels
.
Kandinsky, Synaesthesia and Convergence
This paper examines the themes of sensory convergence and perceptual equivalence in Kandinsky’s writings. Art historians have previously paid significant attention to the “synesthetic” aspect of Kandinsky’s oeuvre, his written and painted explorations of the equivalence between specific sights and sounds. However, judging from Kandinsky’s multiple and mutable characterizations of these equivalences, it is extremely unlikely that Kandinsky was a clinical synaesthete. More likely, Kandinsky developed an interest in synaesthetic symptoms from his interest in contemporary psychology, such as Theodor Lipps’ work on embodied and fragmentary perception. Kandinsky sought to explore how artistic fragments combine and re-combine to communicate with the soul of a viewer, an exploration that resonates with the then-emerging study of linguistics. This paper further considers how Kandinsky’s explorations of artistic communication through sensory perception and convergence exemplify his broader search for the harmonies and translations that underlie human experience in the world. I ultimately argue that Kandinsky’s appeals to trans-sensory perception did not reflect a physiological condition but the purposeful deployment of an artistic theme. Through these appeals, Kandinsky strove to cultivate awareness that sight and sound - and by extension religion and science, reason and intuition, personal authenticity and outward creativity - were dyads whose ostensible opposition belied a deeper cosmic and spiritual unity.


Katie Anania
.
Rounding the Bend: Pedagogies of the Scribble, 1898-1973
This paper considers the stakes of kinetic drawing methods, namely scribbling, in the development of medium-specific abstract art in postwar Europe and the United States. Art educator Viktor Lowenfeld’s 1949 essay “Technique and Creative Freedom” argued that permitting a child to scribble not only allowed her to develop a creative subjectivity proper to the contemporary fine artist, but proposed further that children should be given materials adaptive to their natural gestures and motor development. The scribble’s fixation as a foundational and paradigmatic gesture, however, has its origins in the research of British anthro-psychoanalyst James Scully, who first documented children’s scribbling habits in his 1898 Studies of Childhood. With Scully and Lowenfeld as organs for intuitive learning that privileged spontaneous mark making, the practice of foundational drawing both expanded and contracted in the years following World War II. By 1973, the consensus among art educators was that an individual’s gestures and aesthetic needs were the primary determinants of how one should choose a medium. I aim here to rehearse Scully’s and Lowenfeld’s research on scribbling, and examine the resulting fetishization of haptic drawing that their work provoked among art educators. This in turn promoted, among artists and critics, a more anthropological and touch-based notion of drawing, and re-vivified its position as an intellectual practice in conceptual art circles.


Lauren Hamer
.
The Bauhaus at Play
Johannes Itten is widely acknowledged as establishing the tenor and structure of the Bauhaus’ preliminary coursework. Itten’s pedagogical system was informed by theories of childhood development aimed at bringing the intellectual forces and creative faculties of the individual into harmony. Through active experimentation, the Vorkurs were meant to develop an awareness of the properties of colors and materials, stressing the tactile and intuitive development of the student’s natural inclinations. With important exceptions, discussion of Itten’s Vorkurs has considered his commitment to a syncretic spiritualism the key distinction between his and Moholy-Nagy’s subsequent tenure. Such discussion has come at the expense of investigating his method’s long, intellectual provenance and continued relevance for art pedagogy. Centering my discussion on the notion of play, first articulated in Schiller’s Ästhetische Briefe, I hope to recast Itten’s “unorthodox” techniques as perhaps the clearest manifestation of neo-Herbartian principles. Established by Herbart and developed in the work of Pestalozzi and Fröbel, these pedagogical structures drew on a Rousseauian notion of the child as a naturally equipped learner. Moreover they evolved in tandem with cognitive psychology, as it remained connected to questions of both aesthetics and art making throughout the nineteenth century. I argue that Itten’s exercises should be considered games aimed at extending a child-like creative impulse and establishing the inherent “rules” of materials. As Itten wrote of his work at the Bauhaus, in 1919 “I proposed that we should prepare all sorts of games for the coming weeks… in one stroke [I have] knocked out the traditional academic approach by leading all creative activity back to its roots in play.” Taking the notion of play seriously allows a consideration of the close relationship between cognitive psychology, idealist philosophy and modern art in this period.

Session 5 (C) Panorama A (AV)
Art, Science, and Creative Writing I: Sensory Experiences
Chair:
Janine DeBaise
The first of two linked panels that weave together science, art, and creative writing, the participants will look at the creative process and sensory experiences: How do we use language/art/science/music to express sensory experiences? What role does technology play in the expression of sensory experiences? How do sensory experiences inform creative/artistic work?



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Dennis Summers
.
Phase Shift Videos: Methods of Creation and Viewer Response
I have been working on a series of digitally created abstract “color field” videos for the past several years. They were initially inspired by the early phase shift music of Steve Reich. In Reich’s early compositions he played simple repeated motifs that slowly went out of phase with one another. The musical interest came from playing off the predictability of the motif, against the unusual sonic textures created over time. My first video (One Again) was created analogously setting two colors (a disk inside of a square), each of which cycles through all the colors in the spectrum, against each other as they slowly go out of phase. They come back into phase after roughly 15 minutes at which point the piece will seamlessly loop. Although in other pieces from this series, the shapes, arrangements of shapes, and color patterns become more complex, at the basic level the generative system remains the same.

These pieces can be experienced on different levels. They are visually quite beautiful, and set up an ever changing pattern of interesting color relationships. They create unusual optical effects –for example, the shapes sometimes appear to change size, or even move– when in reality nothing except color is ever altered. For some viewers the musical relationship is synesthetic. For many it is an absorbing meditative experience. Because they are always projected larger than human scale, the experience becomes physiological and interactive. Some viewers will use their cast shadow to “play” with the videos; others sit quietly, their breathing coming into sync with the visual oscillations.


Laura Otis
.
The Taste of Literary Knowledge
If you want to offend a literary scholar, tell her that literature is all a question of taste: I like what I like; you like what you like, end of discussion. If this claim is true, how can there be knowledge about literature, since taste—in this case, a synaesthetic metaphor—suggests personal delectation rather than rational thought? “To taste,” from the Middle English “tasten,” originally meant to touch or to feel and has only more recently meant to enjoy in one’s mouth. Whether “taste” denotes handling or savoring, it suggests a corporeal experience, one resistant to language and antithetical to knowledge-creation as we know it. So is there a place for taste in literary studies? In literature courses, the issue rarely arises, since questions of taste stop discussions rather than promote them.
 Body and mind, however, are inseparable, and many languages recognize multiple ways of knowing. In French, savoir conveys a knowledge of facts, whereas connaître denotes familiarity. Outside of literary studies, many critics would maintain that English departments teach connaissance, just as classes on wine-tasting educate one’s palate. If these critics are right, can there still be knowledge about literature? By becoming aware of the way literature touches us and “tastes” to us, what do we learn? My presentation will question attempts in literary studies to dissociate knowledge from the senses through dismissive metaphors, showing the potential for new knowledge that these metaphors reveal.


Michael Filas
.
The Lyrica Cantos
I do not suffer from fibromyalgia, but I have been working on this assemblage project that explores the disease through its representation on the Internet, TV ads, and infomercials. For fibromyalgia sufferers, the sensual experience of debilitating neurological pain presents a physical and emotional nightmare that is exacerbated by the absence of an objective medical diagnostic to confirm the disease. Because all known tests such as blood work and radiology scans come out normal, the essential diagnostic has become a patient’s reported pain when pressure is applied by the physician to 18 specified “tender points.” Most patients suffer for several years before the controversial diagnosis is made and treatment, the Pfizer drug Lyrica, can be prescribed. Untreated, mistreated, and often severe pain has fueled the creation of an online community, an ersatz empathy network where bloggers and citizen journalists can confirm that they are neither crazy nor alone. Specifically related to sensual experience, beyond the fundamental somatic pain, I am interested in the way advertisements for Lyrica suggest that relief from pain brings a new appreciation for tastes, smells, colors, and sounds—an explicit appeal to patients whose pain has eclipsed sensual gratification of any kind. “The Lyrica Cantos” combines voices from physicians, advocacy groups, patient testimony on Youtube, treatments of Lyrica commercials, plus a chorus of opportunists hawking miracle cures and treatments for the vulnerable and desperate sufferers, all sampled and inflected here with varying degrees of fictional, or creative non-fiction, license.


Margaret Dolinsky
.
Facing virtual environments and navigating interactive art
Virtual environments (VEs) are computer generated experiences using three dimensional modeling and animation, audio and requiring visitor interaction. Visual imagery can substantiate virtual environments. As we wander through the virtual environment, we are given over to the visual elements in our proximity. VEs created as an art form tend to pay deference to the aesthetic fundamentals of art including shape, color, size, repetition, etc. These fundamentals are the foundation of art whereby compelling visual imagery can promote a shifting awareness of the world and conceivably, of existence within it. This presentation will discuss VEs that include portraiture and abstract elements surrounding the face as a predominant and salient visual component to create a specific artistic aesthetic. In my work, the face is used as an element to drive a pivotal awareness to promote a shift in perception which can occur while visitors are interacting within a VE. I will discuss how the portrait is an elemental thread through my artwork and how it is used along with facial and audio detection systems to help the visitor interact with the installations.

Session 5 (D) Circle Centre (AV)
The Arts I: Physics
Chair:
Kersti Tarien Powell




Christine Filippone
.
From Miracle Machines to Nuclear Dreams: Alice Aycock’s Quest for Alternative Futures
Artist Alice Aycock’s machine works of the late 1970s and 1980s placed the towering miracles of science and technology on shifting sand. Comprised of metals, plastics and whirling turbines, the artist’s monumental assemblages evoked contemporary sources of energy and power in form, including nuclear plants and accelerators, which the artist juxtaposed metaphorically with defunct scientific theories, such as the 19th century ether wind. Aycock’s works point to the folly of an uncritical faith in science as a predominant form of knowledge, but at the same time, the uncertainty inherent in new theories in physics afforded the artist a sense of liberation as she identified with the “free-floating” quantum particle moving through walls, and gained privileged access to all pasts and futures inspired by Borges’s Aleph. In metaphoric travel through time and space, validated by quantum physics, the artist created other worlds providing the perspective to speculate on the restrictions of her own. Her works questioned the prominence of rationalism, viewed by many among the counterculture as the basis of a closed, technological Cold War American society, and by many contemporary scholars of gender and science as ideologically patriarchal. Literary scholar Carol Pearson proposed that conceptions of non-linear time, such as relative time was a common strategy in feminist utopian works at this time, particularly works of science fiction, and I argue, visual works as well. The notion of openness and uncertainty upon which these theories are premised provided Aycock and other women artists the validation and flexibility needed to imagine alternatives to closed, technological society.


Kersti Tarien Powell
.
“Dualism is the word”: Wave/Particle Functions in Banville and Stoppard
Tom Stoppard and John Banville have both admitted a fascination with science, and these interests are famously deployed in their literary works. Stoppard has claimed no profound knowledge of physics, suggesting instead that his interest in science has almost more to do with his ignorance of the field, so that a concept that is universally known – such as the wave/particle duality of light – seems new and exciting to him. Banville, on the other hand, was quite open about his ambitions for the science tetralogy (Dr. Copernicus, Kepler, The Newton Letter and Mefisto), declaring that the “rapidly converging” fields of art and science are a way to “go forward with the novel.” In this paper I am going to analyze the function of wave/particle duality in Stoppard’s play Hapgood and Banville’s novel Doctor Copernicus. In particular, I will concentrate on the evolution of wave/particle duality in the draft versions of these works. My paper will demonstrate that both of these texts originated from this scientific concept, which became more than a thematic interest: in both cases it finally turned into a structural and thematic metaphor. However, I will argue that this “scientific” framework eventually became the source of dysfunction in both literary works. What was supposed to uphold the structure started to complicate and ultimately disrupt that structure in both of these texts.

Session 5 (E) Meridian West (AV)
"Time, Rhythm, and Whitehead" [3 panels] Panel 1, "Practical Philosophy"
Chair:
Steven Meyer
[general description for entire stream:] This sequence of panels ultimately concerns Alfred North Whitehead’s contestation, as it happens, of ‘ends of life,’ that is, of life taken to be the sort of thing that actually ends or ends in an absolute sense. Famously, Whitehead’s philosophy of organism was provoked (in part) by the death of his youngest son, Eric, as an airman in combat near the end of WWI. “Of Coming into Being and Passing Away”—the title of a poem by Geoffrey Hill, loosely and traditionally translating Aristotle’s De generatione et corruptione—may warrant reference here as Whitehead acknowledged that limitations in the Aristotelian scheme also motivated him. “Events become and perish,” he wrote in Adventures of Ideas (1933), and therefore “we should balance Aristotle’s—or, more rightly, Plato’s—doctrine of becoming by a doctrine of perishing,” as he had sought to do in Process and Reality (1929). “When they perish, occasions pass from the immediacy of being into the not-being of immediacy. But that does not mean that they are nothing. They remain ‘stubborn fact’” (237). Like ‘specious present,’ Whitehead retained the phrase ‘stubborn fact’ from his reading of William James, and entrainment along such lines—of Jamesian cognitive rhythms entrained in Whitehead, or Whitehead entrained by James, or some sort of mutual entrainment occurring—suggests something of the complexity, and interest, that Whitehead’s understanding of time and rhythm still retains, amply demonstrated here.



Steven Meyer
.
“Taking Time Seriously”
In the present talk I propose to summarize Whitehead’s account of time, focusing especially on a little-known 1926 essay actually called “Time” as well as on the close ties between William James’s concept of the specious present and Whitehead’s actual occasions. How does Whitehead thereby provide articulation for such notions as process or flow? What is the significance in this context of his post-Darwinian understanding of evolution? Finally, (in what little time remains!) I'll examine how Whitehead’s manner of “taking time seriously” distinguishes his account of temporality from that of such contemporaries as Husserl and Heidegger, and how it provides a template for future investigation that takes physiology (not just anatomy) and rhythm (not just pattern) seriously.


T. Hugh Crawford
.
“The Song of the Broadaxe: Whitehead, Time, and Object Oriented Ontology”
While discussing the rhythms of natural occurrences early in Science and the Modern World, Whitehead notes: "the practical philosophy of mankind has been to expect the broad recurrences, and to accept the details as emanating from the inscrutable womb of things beyond the ken of rationality." To be fair, at this point in the text he is commenting on the emergence of modern science and is not yet articulating the complexities of what we now know as Process and Reality, but his notion of "things beyond the ken of rationality" points directly toward the current movement in philosophy usually referred to as Object Oriented Ontology. Taking their lead from Graham Harman, who has enlisted portions of the oeuvre of Bruno Latour in support, practitioners of OOO argue for a new (non-naive) realism based on an understanding of the sometimes hidden agency of things, or, to use the language of Jane Bennett, the vibrancy of matter. Whitehead hovers over these discussions, sometimes to be dismissed, and at other times, to be perhaps grudgingly acknowledged. One way into the relationship between Whitehead's work and this current discussion is to focus on time and rhythm, specifically how things are manifested in seemingly simple, unfolding processes. The middle term of OOO—oriented—is often treated as a copula, but careful attention to the vibrancy of matter in a given event (an actual occasion) reveals the hidden agency of things. Put bluntly (and in the language of Whitehead) things prehend their world, and the act of working with and through those very things produces/reveals specific orientation. In other words, even if the thing evades understanding through instrumentalization (being treated as object for human use or understanding), its pushing back, its actual agency asserts its being as orienting. A practical example drawn [...]


Joan Richardson
.
“Timing Sentences”
Following Steven Meyer’s lead in “Taking Time Seriously,” and turning back to my offering last year, Windows 2009, or “Notations of the wild, the ruinous waste,” I will continue this November to explore manners of expressing time in the sentences I compose—“I” in the sense presented last year as “transform” or conduit—, attempting to represent in and through these sentences what Whitehead in 1905 named “interpoints,” a premonitory version of “wormholes,” a term coined by John Archibald Wheeler (“its from bits”) in 1957 and derived from the Poincaré conjecture. We know that while time within or as part of a four-dimensional universe is conceptualized as a line, time within or as part of a hyper-dimensional universe is conceptualized as a “wormhole” or fold. My ongoing attempt is to translate this experience, score it, provide, as it were, a curving grammar, “timing sentences” to register superpostioned pulsations or quanta of perceptions. As Whitehead observed in the same 1905 talk where he named “interpoints,” “…it is a changing world to which the complete concept must apply…. To find a special property of motion, we require a kinematical science.” Combining two strands from my ongoing and more recent fascination with the work of figures we might call “priests of the invisible,” to use a phrase from Wallace Stevens, I shall borrow shapes of thought from Jonathan Edwards and Iannis Xenakis.

Session 5 (F) Library
The Science and Poesis of Death
Chair:
Atia Sattar
;
Masha Mimran
This panel explores scientific attempts to understand the end(s) of life at the turn of nineteenth-century Europe. Knowledge of life and its ends then ranged from research into physiological functions, psychological insights, and even more philosophic understandings of vitality and death. According to Foucault, the “new look” on illness at the time was a result of the pathologists’ effort, influenced by Xavier Bichat, to perceive the living body through the perspective of death. In turn, the rise of medical disciplines, such as psychology, neurology, and psychoanalysis, particularly influenced literary fiction. While doctors established their theories and techniques through the publication of case studies, treatises, and even plays or novels, popular literary authors were equally enmeshed in perceiving and creating understandings of life, as a biological, psychological, and philosophical category. This panel invites papers that explore how medical texts and the works of literary realism, naturalism, decadence, and modernism both assimilated and challenged scientific discourses on the end(s) of life at the turn of the century. Possible questions this panel seeks to answer are the following: How does the newly found “medical gaze” in the sciences also shape and inform narratological techniques and literary innovations in fiction narrative? What is the relationship between the somatic body and the disordered mind at the end of the nineteenth century? How do literature and medicine explore (and sometimes glorify) such notions as bodily decay, madness, and illness? How does the corpse become a site of knowledge and an object of artistic and aesthetic contemplation?



Masha Mimran
.
Beneath Manet’s Olympia: Death and its Poses in Zola’s Thérèse Raquin and Baudelaire’s “La Corde.”
In the preface to Thérèse Raquin, Zola insists that the narrator, like the doctor, should look at the awful truth of human debasement in its most precise science. Yet, while Zola foregrounds naturalism in scientific discourse, he also de-naturalizes the notion of scientific perception. Hence Thérèse’s corpse, like Manet’s Olympia, with a cord strewn around her neck, inspires both the beautiful and its horrors. In Baudelaire’s “La Corde,” dedicated to Manet’s “Boy with Cherries,” Manet’s inviting and rosy cheeked boy takes on a ghostly appearance as the artist gazes at the child’s corpse. In this paper, I look at the motif of the corpse and argue that by incorporating the sciences into the discourse of fiction, both texts reassess the relationship between imagery and the poetics of the visual, not only as a scientific enterprise but rather as an endeavour to consider both the limitations of fiction when framed by the scientific discourse and the limitations of the clinical eye.


Maureen Chun
.
The Jamesian Prognosis: On the Meaning of Vitality in The Wings of the Dove
In the figure of Sir Luke Strett, Henry James complicates the dramatic conversion of innocence to experience, ignorance to knowledge depicted in nearly all of his novels. The Wings of the Dove is a cognitive (melo)drama in which the American innocent Milly Theale dies after learning of Kate and Densher’s deception; she dies a literal death, but her medical condition remains unspecified and even strikes the reader as figural. In my paper I investigate instances of what Michael Wood identifies as a “semi-intransitive sense of ‘know,’ where the word seems almost synonymous with life, or at least with vivid consciousness.” This sense of “knowing” coincides with the “living” Luke Strett counsels, and yet seems opposed to knowledge as revelation of fact. I argue that, through the figure of the doctor who offers abstract advice for an anonymous ailment, James constructs a drama in which knowledge and experience are not simply opposed to innocence but form a relational web with vitality and illness.


Atia Sattar
.
Under the Knife: The Virtual and Material in Nineteenth-Century Surgery
In his written reminiscence entitled “A Cure For Nerves,” British surgeon Frederick Treves appropriates the voice of a female patient affected with nerves. Forced to undertake the rest cure, this woman is confined to a nursing and surgical home, in a room below the dreaded operating theater itself. From this perspective, she finds herself a peculiar witness to an operation, to “a drama in which one of the actors was Death.” As this drama above her progresses, as she hears the sounds of surgical procedure, she undergoes a psychic surgery of her own, one that excises from her the neurosis with which she was afflicted. This paper examines the implications of Treves’ appropriation of the female neurotic voice, an appropriation that uses the procedural specificity of surgery to render psychic turmoil virtual. In other words, he creates the possibility for a surgical aesthetic that, while sensory and performance-based, remains virtual—a psychosomatic imagining of the material engagement with the knife.

Session 5 (G) Illinois
Numbers and Narratives
Chair:
Arielle Saiber

This panel will explore the reflexive relationship between numbers and narratives in several different contexts. Spanning a wide historical range and including a variety of sources, our papers converge on common interests in how numbers confer authority, demand ethical intervention, and shape gender politics, particularly in response to changing social and natural environments. Panel Chair: Arielle Saiber, Associate Professor of Italian, Bowdoin College



Jacqueline Wernimont
.
Quantifying Sin: The Ethics of Number in Paradise Lost
Quantification posed both an epistemological and a pragmatic problem for early modern thinkers; mensuration practices were not yet standardized and the issues of what infinity, zero, and the numbers in between were was a topic of intense debate. At the same time, the rise in mathematical approaches to nature suggest that what was quantifiable was both knowable and manipulable. This paper utilizes work in the history of math and the ethics of representation to explore John Milton’s rhetoric of counting in his epic poem, Paradise Lost (1667). Milton appears to align the uncountable with the unnamable evils of Satan, whose “numberless...bad angels” seem to swarm and multiply beyond the rules of natural creation. Scholars have posited “unity” or one as the endorsed number for Miltonic ethics, but the unified figures of Paradise Lost (God, Adam, Creation) all fracture in ways that trouble a simple dichotomy between the one and the many. This paper will suggest new ways of thinking about the ethics of numbering in the context of the English civil war, the last ravages of the plague, and the rising population of London.


Peder Roberts
.
A Tale of Two Cultures: Frank Debenham, Hans Ahlmann, and Quantitative Methods in Interwar Geography
This paper contrasts the approaches to physical geography described by Frank Debenham (first Professor of Geography at Cambridge University), and Hans Ahlmann (Professor of Geography at the Stockholm Högskola), between the world wars. Debenham’s narrow-minded insistence upon the importance of cartographic survey reflected an imperial belief in the power of numbers to confer control of spaces. His geography was a heavily masculine exercise in measuring distant frontiers, quantification conferring control, and his dismissal of urban and regional geography as trivial sat uneasily with many professional colleagues. For Ahlmann – who pushed a rigorously quantitative approach to the study of landforms – numbers conferred the power to understand deeper processes, rather than bringing distant spaces into the realm of cartographic knowledge. His commitment to understanding landforms (particularly glaciers) through the interaction of mathematically-expressed processes stressed the power of quantitative methods to explain rather than simply describe, and cast the polar regions as domesticated research sites rather than frontiers. I conclude that historical narratives focused on the rise of quantitative methods within geography must be complemented by more nuanced analyses of the role of numbers in the cultures as well as the practices that defined the discipline.


Anne Brubaker
.
Accounting for Sentiment: Bookkeeping Women in American Literature, 1888-1925
This paper explores the recurring trope of the bookkeeping woman in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century American fiction, focusing particularly on Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s What Diantha Did (1910), and Edna Ferber’s Fanny Herself (1917). These writers use the figure of the female keeper of accounts not only to explore the implications of women’s historical relocation from the home to the office, but also to represent an alternative model of female subjectivity. Within this new model of subjectivity, rationality and fiscal discipline explicitly subvert sentimentality and consumption as principal feminine characteristics. Gilman and Ferber’s heroines adopt a mathematical sensibility, guiding their lives not by instinct or emotion, but by channeling emotional expressions through numeric representations and defining their identities around their quantitative skills. This paper is part of a larger effort to consider how mathematics becomes a crucial idiom for renegotiating gender and ethnic identity within an emerging technoscientific culture.

Morning Tea - Sat 10am - 10:30am


Session 6 - Sat 10:30am - noon

Session 6 (A) Ohio (AV)
Epic Mind Quests: Big Visionary Books for 21st Century Contemplative Science?! Session I: Encountering Jung's Liber Novus
Chair:
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Richard Doyle
Just as scientists make observations and conduct experiments with the aid of technology, contemplatives have long made their own observations and run experiments with the aid of enhanced attentional skills and the play of the imagination. B. Allan Wallace, Principles of Contemplative Science In a 2006 SLSA invited lecture of great wit and insight, Nobel Laureate Gerald Edelman pondered the "hard problem" of consciousness (Chalmers), asking if the experience of mind can ever be understood through an analysis of brain function. This panel takes up this "problem" of consciousness through the joyful collective first person investigation of two twentieth century epics of introspection: Carl Jung's Red Book and Philip K. Dick's Exegesis. Jung's texts and paintings, sequestered in a Swiss bank vault since the 1950s, have been compiled into a truly monumental book with sales that have astonished publishers and critics alike. Jung's texts and images chronicle a path through spiritual crisis and gnosis that yield crucial guidance to any epic quest for mind. Dick's Exegesis, an eight thousand page mostly hand written response to his 1974 Valis experiences in which the "universe turned inside out", records PKD's first person reality crisis in a world increasingly composed of information and simulacra. Both of these texts provide challenges and insights for the work of contemplative science in fathoming the uncanny efficacy of consciousness. Our panels will draw on investigators from disciplines ranging over poetics, political theory, the history of psychology, aesthetics, literature, religious studies, rhetoric, and consciousness studies in a collective quest for a contemplative science of mind.



Josef Chytry
.


Frederick M. Dolan
.
A Discourse of Secular Prophecy?
It is now widely acknowledged that secular humanism leaves something to be desired. The liberal-democratic state relies on a deontological concept of justice that is independent of doctrines about ultimate concerns. John Rawls, for example, assumes that citizens may have commitments to comprehensive worldviews, but that they can exercise them reasonably by agreeing not to impose their worldviews on others. Such reasonably-exercised commitments need not disturb a conception of politics restricted to maintaining the fairness of a society’s basic institutions. The difficulty with such a solution is that the force of worldviews is weakened when they are rendered merely private, ironic, or in a word, “reasonable.” The foreground culture of public reason threatens to swallow up the background culture of comprehensive worldviews. This leads to two different but paradoxically related outcomes: nihilism, in which no one can commit themselves to anything, and fanaticism, an unreasonable and often violent dedication to a comprehensive worldview. I want to approach the problem of how to combine a deontological concept of justice with a culture of robust commitments by considering what we can call the discourse of secular prophecy. Obvious examples include Whitman and Nietzsche. The former squared the circle by proposing to establish democracy as a religion by means of the poetic legislation of an American Literatus; the latter did so by dispensing with democracy in favor of a neo-aristocratic artist-tyrant. My question is whether Carl Jung’s Red Book and Philip K. Dick’s Exegesis count as distinctive further episodes in this discourse.


Adam Snider
.
C. G. Jung’s The Red Book and the Anti-Aesthetics of Active Imagination
Jung’s practice of active imagination has been discussed in relation to many activities that would ordinarily be considered art forms, such as painting, dance, and creative writing. His notion also includes an interpretive approach, one that is in sharp contrast to the ordinary way art is perceived, both popular and philosophical. While The Red Book is being hailed as an artistic and literary achievement, a Jungian reading of a series of mandala paintings shows that their original purpose and status are not those of art objects. Despite Jung’s intentions, active imagination has been and will continue to be, now more than ever, construed as a practice for creating and interpreting “art”. It can therefore be compared to other psychological techniques, such as the automatism of the surrealists and W.B. Yeats, and the paranoiac-critical method developed by Salvador Dali. The issue cannot be dismissed as merely semantic. A unique problem that The Red Book and other psycho-spiritual epics of our era face is the aestheticizing tendency of contemporary interpreters. Does this tendency mask the cultural significance of texts and images by viewing them as objects that elicit, more or less, a perception of beauty? Jung offered an alternative approach to creating and interpreting what is ordinarily called art. In this presentation of Jung’s practice of active imagination I will examine The Red Book in relation to thought about how our era understands art, comparing what I call Jung’s antiaesthetics of active imagination to Heidegger’s association of aesthetics with Cartesian subjectivism and the so-called forgetting of Being.


Philip Kuberski
.
The Revelation of Polarity in Jung’s Red Book
Jung’s "Liber Novus" -- the so-called "Red Book" -- is the record of a brush with schizophrenia and a fully realized apocalyptic vision. The experiences that led to the writing of "The Red Book" came after a period of crisis in which Jung broke with Freud, questioned the scientific and the aesthetic routes open to him, and was flung into what he called, in "Memories, Dreams, Reflections," a “confrontation with the Unconscious.” In order to conserve his experiences, Jung sought to record them in an atavistic manner: “high-flown” discourses were recorded in Gothic German script and illustrated with naive illuminations and portentous western mandalas. Tempting as it would be to accept or even to excuse "The Red Book" as an “esthetic” work, we must follow Jung in rejecting that characterization. It is both greater and lesser than such a characterization, because it addresses a theme that must remain elusive of such conclusiveness. Neither art nor science, neither religious revelation nor esthetic expression, "The Red Book" is an exposition of polarity. Jung came to realize that the mind, in its conscious and unconscious aspects, is governed by a self-regulating dynamism that acts to correct imbalances and one-sidedness. Polarity, in a broader sense, is a dynamic interplay of opposites that are in fact complementary and mutually defining. It can be observed in every field and scale of intellectual exploration and has been adumbrated and articulated by the ancient Taoists, Heraclitus, Giordano Bruno, Blake, Emerson, Bohr, Joyce, and others. The teachers of polarity see that dualistic thinking encourages action but clouds the mind. The recognition of the play of polarity in the world, by contrast, leads to detachment, which is to say, wisdom, enlightenment, or gnosis. In such a state we are, as Jung said with respect to a vision of his recently deceased wife, “beyond the mist of affects.” Indeed, Jung’s “confrontation with the Unconscious” was itself an instance of self-regulating polarity: thrown off balance [...]

Session 6 (B) Panorama B (AV)
From Synaesthesia to Cyborgs: Science and the Visualization of Higher Realities in Modern and Contemporary Art. Panel 2
Chair:
Melissa Warak
Panel 2: New Studies of the Occult and Perception in Modern Art This three-part panel addresses a broad historical range of the ways in which twentieth century artists utilized scientific advancements as means to visualize alternative realities. The artists examined in this panel drew from fields as diverse as sense physiology, the occult, robotics, and new theories of cinema towards the creation of art that furthered the quest for a heightened experience of the world or an expanded consciousness of the self. For these artists, engaging with contemporary scientific discoveries was a means of ensuring the social relevance and visual immediacy of their work. Each paper on this panel explores the ways these artists deflected, distorted, and refashioned scientific findings to fit their own aesthetic and conceptual ends. In terms of this creative or subversive consumption, modern artists become a revelatory lens through which to view the process by which modern individuals have incorporated scientific and technological advances into their conceptions of themselves and their places in the universe. The manner in which artists interrogated science in order to reconsider the relationship of the modern subject to society is a common thread in these papers. In sum, the speakers on these panels reveal an image of the modern artist as a figure whose combination of intense intellectual curiosity and suspicion of convention provided the foundation for some of the most intriguing contacts between science and culture of the past hundred years.



M.E. Warlick
.
Alchemy, Surrealism, and the Putrefaction of War
Bracketed by the two World Wars, Surrealism developed in Paris with strong political views. Throughout the 1920s, their political debates created factions within the movement, but generally they shared leftist and strongly anti-nationalistic sentiments. Many young men of Surrealism’s first generation had reluctantly fought in World War I or they had worked in hospitals touched by its human toll. As the movement developed throughout the 1920s and 1930s, the surrealists also began to explore various aspects of western esotericism. Most notably, their interest in alchemy grew on several fronts. Max Ernst had been drawn to the parallels between alchemy and human psychological development, most likely based on the writings of the Viennese psychoanalyst, Herbert Silberer, who had stressed the alchemical phase of putrefaction. He compared this initial stage of death and destruction to the psychological state of introversion, in which damaging aspects of the psyche must be destroyed in order to develop fully as an individual. Carl Jung would later reiterate these parallels between alchemical putrefaction and the difficult psychological crises that often occur in the initial stages of treatment. While Jung was not admired by the early Surrealists, his publications on psychology and alchemy were significant for the next generation whose works came to maturity in the post-WWII war years. Scholars have demonstrated the importance of esoteric traditions to early twentieth century politics, but often they have emphasized the links between esotericism and more conservative or even fascist ideologies. This paper will explore the ways in which many of the surrealist artists incorporated aspects of alchemical philosophy into their visual protests against the proliferation of war, including the works of Max Ernst, Leonora Carrington, Leonor Fini, and Alberto Giacometti. The highly debated question of Salvador Dali’s politics will also [...]


Peter Mowris
.
Kraft of the Cosmic: The Use of Physiological Psychology in Service of the Occult by Rudolf Steiner and Rudolf von Laban, 1900-1925
The overlapping fields of modern dance and the movement arts [Bewegungskunst], as these occurred in German speaking countries during the early twentieth century, are generally understood as having mystical or occultist motivations. This paper counters that general belief by outlining the ways in which two of its major figures, the occultist philosopher Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) and the choreographer Rudolf von Laban (1879-1958), absorbed and reshaped the supposedly positivist discipline of physiological psychology into a veritable keystone of their different ambitions for the reformative power of group expression and performance. I will ultimately argue that, in different ways, both men modified the discipline’s interest in establishing laws of normative mental function into a program for the evolution of collective consciousness toward higher, occultist realities. This paper will not only alter scholarly awareness of these two figures and their historical moment, but will also restructure our overall sense of the social place that this lesser known branch of psychology had during the early twentieth century.


Melissa Warak
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“I’ll Purify My Ears”: Poetry, Sound, and Silence in Larry Poons’s Dot Paintings
From 1962 to 1969, the geometric abstractionist Larry Poons painted his best-known works, known collectively as the dot paintings. Scholarship tends to categorize Poons contradictorily as both an “optical artist” motivated by viewer response and a “painter’s painter” obsessed with surface, color, and materiality; he is featured prominently in Emile de Antonio’s documentary Painters Painting (1972), a paean to Greenbergian formalism. In fact, Poons had an extensive career as a musician and composer, participated in John Cage’s late 1950s experimental composition classes at the New School for Social Research, and was a founder of the New York Audio Visual Group in the early 1960s. This paper argues that Poons’s musical activities, coupled with his burgeoning interests in Zen Buddhism and Taoism, informed the process of creating the dot paintings. In particular, I explore ways in which his readings of the ninth century Zen “Cold Mountain Poems” by Han-Shan, which were newly translated in 1958 by Beat poet Gary Snyder, tied in with concepts of sound, silence, improvisation, meditation, and consciousness expansion that may be underscored in dot paintings such as Day on Cold Mountain (1962), Night on Cold Mountain (1962), Euthalia (1963), and Han-San Cadence (1963). By contextualizing these works within a more broad cache of cultural information, this paper proposes a new lens for understanding the issues of viewer perception and the capacity for expanded consciousness in the dot paintings.


Ashley Busby
.
“Pixie” Mystic: Pamela Colman Smith and the Tarot
This paper examines symbolist artist Pamela Colman Smith’s illustrations for the Golden Dawn’s Waite-Rider-Smith Tarot deck completed in 1909. While scholarship on Smith has focused broadly on her occult sources, little work has looked specifically at the ways in which the deck’s imagery served as a culmination of these varied mystical interests. Moreover, the deck, under the direction of Golden Dawn leader Arthur Waite, is unique in the history of Tarot imagery for its inclusion of illustrated pip cards (the Minor Arcana). Previous decks included little more than decorative floral motifs on the pips. As instructed by Waite, Smith created a new visual iconography for these cards, one which has been widely adopted. The Waite-Rider-Smith Tarot remains one of the most popular decks among practitioners and has inspired numerous clones and derivatives. While Waite provided some specific input and directions for the illustrative content, this paper examines the ways in which Smith infused the deck with her own ideas and imagery. This paper posits Smith’s illustrations as borrowing from a range of sources on mysticism and the occult: her close friendship with W. B. Yeats and her subsequent membership in the Golden Dawn, her belief in synaesthesia based largely on the Rosicrucian theory of correspondences, and an interest in Celtic and other folklore imagery. Blending these traditions, “Pixie”—an apt self adopted nickname—helped to shape twentieth century Tarot symbolism and readings.

Session 6 (C) Panorama A (AV)
Art, Science, and Creative Writing II: Community and Communities
Chair:
Janine DeBaise
The second of two linked panels that weave together science, art, and creative writing, the participants will present original writing and research about community and communities. What do we learn from plants and animals? What does science tell us about relationships, about community? What can fiction and poetry tell us about the relationship between humans and other species? How do other species write our understanding of nature? How do artists and creative writers talk about community? How can the study of ecology inform creative writing?



Janine DeBaise
.
Learn the Flowers
Janine DeBaise will read an excerpt from a manuscript of creative non-fiction that explores my connection to upstate New York, a landscape that includes a protected miromictic lake as well as the most polluted lake in North America. Taking her cue from Gary Snyder’s admonishment to “learn the flowers,” she attempts to mesh botany and ecology with personal history in investigating what plants teach about relationship and about community. She explores the role plants play in her life -- poison ivy that teaches her to be mindful, a garden that gives her a physical connection to the earth, and river birches that become part of a ritual that embed memory into the landscape. Her writing is an attempt to reconcile the rational scientific worldview with the intuitive, emotional, or spiritual elements of the creative process. She hopes her participation in this session will stimulate discussion about the different lenses that scientists, artists, and writers bring to the idea of community, and what we can learn by considering, in ways both scientific and creative, our relationship to the flora and fauna of our landscapes.


Jenn Griggs
.
Coherences: Writing Nature, Avian Constructions, and Infrastructural Landscapes
Coherences explores how birds have written our understandings of the lived world. Avians act as symbols of the places they inhabit though their color and song and become elemental to our experience of the environment. With this authority birds can then make place through re-inhabiting cities and contaminated landscapes. This essay looks to nature writers, birder narratives, site analysis, urban and landscape theory, examples of recent design as well as government agencies. This medley of sources shows historically and culturally the convergence of birds and a sense of nature, or place. Where the ends of life are imagined, such as toxic waste sites, dense urban landscapes, or national sacrifice zones, birds re-imagine place and home by inhabiting these polluted locations. Community in this setting comes to mean an ecology of knowledge; prehensions are contingent with bodies, experience, and the environment. How we write nature can bring into recognition the junctures of effluence and ecology. Posthumanism, cuts, intervals, and sky become means to understanding the ways landscapes and animals can help us re-write nature and re-imagine our manufactured ends. In this setting, each chirp and coo can affect the identities of individuals, habitats, communities, and nations. Avian song exposes the coherence of technology, life, and landscape. With these concurrent narratives, places once deemed unsafe or uninhabitable can be re-written into complex sites of wonder, restoration, and belonging.


Jennifer Calkins
.
Fire, Itinerancy, and the California Quail—Animal Behavior at the Intersection of Human and Nonhuman Communities.
I will present aspects of the ongoing project, The Quail Diaries, which investigates the specific tension occurring at the intersection of the human and nonhuman communities on a habitat patch in southern California. In my work studying the behavioral ecology of the California quail (Callipepla californica) I explicitly document the relationships among individuals in the quail community while observing the multitude of other biotic interactions occurring around me (the community ecology of the site). This work occurs on an urban habitat patch and, while no region on earth is free from human (Homo sapiens sapiens) impacts, research on animal behavior in urban habitat patches, in particular, intersects with a criss-crossing of issues arising from the community of humans that are part of, though often unaware of, the ecological community of the Southern California chaparral and scrub. The Quail Diaries integrates the scientific study of quail behavior with lyric essay and photographic documentation in an attempt to expose these issues of development, fire, the itinerant and the oblivious human and (not so oblivious canine Canis lupas familiaris) walker.


Karalyn Kendall-Morwick
.
"A Community of Beasts": Reimagining Urban Modernity with J. R. Ackerley’s Dogs
This paper—part of a larger project which examines literary modernism’s reconfiguration of the human/dog relationship—reads J. R. Ackerley’s My Dog Tulip and We Think the World of You as efforts to reconcile canine bodies with the conditions of urban modernity. Both works fictionalize Ackerley’s efforts to provide his Alsatian bitch, Queenie, with a fulfilling and decidedly “doggy” life in modern London. In the space of the city, though, Tulip and Evie (Queenie’s fictional stand-ins) figure as excess. Their boundless energy, biannual heats, and “liquids and solids” (the subject of an entire chapter in My Dog Tulip) trouble the increasingly rigid boundaries of urban modernity. Yet absent from Ackerley’s depiction of the human/dog relationship is the critique of modernity so often expressed through the figure of the dog. The fiction of Jack London and Albert Payson Terhune and the popular science of Konrad Lorenz, for example, present dogs as barely tamed wolves who belong in natural, or at least rural, spaces, and certainly not in the overcivilized space of the city (lapdogs excepted). Ackerley’s Tulip and Evie reveal an anthropocentric arrogance underlying this antimodern critique. By literally marking the urban landscape and sniffing out messages and traces left by other animals, they give the lie to the perception of the city as a straightforwardly manmade environment. While not idealizing the city as a space constructed equally by and for humans and nonhumans, Ackerley underscores how urban spaces are shaped by all of the many species to which they are home. Moreover, in co-constructing their environment, human and dog transform one another’s experience of that environment. Dogs, Ackerley suggests, thus help us construct who we are in relation to the interspecies communities to which we belong.

Session 6 (D) Circle Centre (AV)
The Arts II: Digital Media
Chair:
Stephanie Boluk




David Cecchetto
.
Posthumanism and Disjunction in Locative Art
In this presentation, I begin by briefly introducing a specific sense of the term posthumanism, drawing on Cary Wolfe’s recent articulation of the term in “What is Posthumanism?” From here, I proceed to suggest why locative media art practices might be productively folded into this perspective as a means of desublimating the biases that ground particular narrations of human-technology coupling. Finally, my presentation closes by contrasting the sites of disjunction in two very different locative works, "Cicadas" and "StoryTrek": whereas the StoryTrek system operates via a disjunction that stems from the gap between its technology and its users, Cicadas works instead with disjunctions that are internal to its technology, and that flow outwards into its user’s subjectivity unbeknownst to them. In short, then, I suggest that the two works imply radically different relations between technology and human agency—radically different versions of the posthuman—culminating in two distinct lenses through which we might consider the conditions for ethical agency in the context of ubiquitous technology.


Aden Evens
.
The Ontology of Material Abstraction
This paper explores the ontology of the digital, proposing that the central power of the digital is abstraction. Digital technologies bring this abstraction to actuality, and the intrusion of immaterial abstraction into the material world perturbs our usual experience of the actual. For example, digital abstraction enables the perfect reproduction of digital artifacts, eliminating the distinction between copy and original and thus challenging established economic and legal expectations. But this same abstraction also means that digital artifacts can be widely disseminated with minimal cost and few resources, and it encourages an aesthetics of appropriation and combination. The same power of abstraction both provides the digital’s extraordinary capability and suggests its problematic limitations. The paper examines further implications of the abstraction at the heart of digitality, asking where it gets a purchase in the actual and investigating other ways in which the ontological characteristics of the bit emerge in the behaviors of digital technologies and the culture that has grown around them.


Stephanie Boluk
.
“The Disenchantment of Time”: Seriality and Procedurality in On Kawara’s _Today_ series
In an article for the _Village Voice_, Peter Schjeldahl went so far as to pronounce 1966 "The Year of the System" (qtd in Meyer 167)*. This is the same year that On Kawara initiated his _Today_ series which he has continued to produce for over four decades. In the space of a day Kawara paints the current date over a plain colored canvas. Through a close reading of _Today_ as well as _I am Still Alive_ and _One Million Years (Past & Future)_, I pick up the discussion of temporality with which Jeff Wall ends his provocative essay on the role of photojournalism, history painting and the monochrome in On Kawara’s work. I investigate the way in which difference and repetition articulate a particular view of mortality and humanity through serial logic. Using Marshall McLuhan and Walter Benjamin, I also explore the function of media and mediality in Kawara’s pieces and conclude by examining some contemporary works. What for Kawara is a lifetime of avant-garde practice operating, as Lucy Lippard has written in “slow time”, has been subsumed within the practices of networked and programmable media. I discuss the crucial differences that arise when the procedural logic that has guided Kawara’s labor is simultaneously translated into human-computer interaction as well as dispersed over networks. The digital conflation between artist, audience and machinic subjectivity redefine Kawara’s serial practice. *Meyer, James. Minimalism: Art and Polemics in the Sixties. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004. Print.

Session 6 (E) Meridian West (AV)
"Time, Rhythm, and Whitehead" [3 panels] Panel 2, "The Sociological Biological"
Chair:
Steven Meyer
[general description for entire stream:] This sequence of panels ultimately concerns Alfred North Whitehead’s contestation, as it happens, of ‘ends of life,’ that is, of life taken to be the sort of thing that actually ends or ends in an absolute sense. Famously, Whitehead’s philosophy of organism was provoked (in part) by the death of his youngest son, Eric, as an airman in combat near the end of WWI. “Of Coming into Being and Passing Away”—the title of a poem by Geoffrey Hill, loosely and traditionally translating Aristotle’s De generatione et corruptione—may warrant reference here as Whitehead acknowledged that limitations in the Aristotelian scheme also motivated him. “Events become and perish,” he wrote in Adventures of Ideas (1933), and therefore “we should balance Aristotle’s—or, more rightly, Plato’s—doctrine of becoming by a doctrine of perishing,” as he had sought to do in Process and Reality (1929). “When they perish, occasions pass from the immediacy of being into the not-being of immediacy. But that does not mean that they are nothing. They remain ‘stubborn fact’” (237). Like ‘specious present,’ Whitehead retained the phrase ‘stubborn fact’ from his reading of William James, and entrainment along such lines—of Jamesian cognitive rhythms entrained in Whitehead, or Whitehead entrained by James, or some sort of mutual entrainment occurring—suggests something of the complexity, and interest, that Whitehead’s understanding of time and rhythm still retains, amply demonstrated here.



Michael Halewood
.
“Conformation, Time and Actuality”
“Time in the concrete is the conformation of state to state, the later to the earlier; and the pure succession is an abstraction from the irreversible relationship of settled past to derivative present” (Whitehead, Symbolism. Its Meaning and Effect). Along with his on-going denial of the notion of ‘nature at an instant,’ Whitehead also asserts that any notion of pure time, of endless becoming, must be recognised as an abstraction rather than an account of the real process of existence. Instead, he views the transition from ‘state to state’ as exhibiting both the actuality of reality and of time. In this paper, I will look at this concept of “conformation” and the manner in which Whitehead attempts to balance the demands of describing the creativity of the world with the necessity of such existence relating both to a specific past and to an open, yet delimited, future. I will argue that through the notion of conformation Whitehead offers an account of the inter-twining of historical modes of actuality with a processual temporality. I will attempt to draw out the importance of Whitehead’s notion of conformation for contemporary thought by pointing to the challenge that it makes to social theory’s assumption of conformation as always relating to a conservative position with regard to social order and society. I will also, tentatively, point to the challenge that Whitehead’s account of time and conformation makes to biological descriptions of the blind, natural, mechanisms and rhythms. Overall, the paper will outline the radical position which Whitehead adopts with regard to temporality as the actual expression of novelty and difference in relation to the specific milieu within which such expressions occur.


Thomas Lamarre
.
“Evolutionary Expansiveness: Process and Progress in Whitehead”
The theory of natural selection is today contested on many fronts, in terms consonant with Whitehead's "fallacy of misplaced concreteness." The extension of natural selection to history and society has long been contested, and biological research has begun to narrow the range of applicability of natural selection. Whitehead's understanding of evolution is interesting here: while evolution is integral to his process philosophy, Whitehead strives to avoid misplaced concreteness (as in his account of history and evolution, PR 46). On the one hand, if one can speak of the life of an electron or of the atom transforming itself into an organism, it is because Whitehead sees "Science taking on a new aspect which is neither purely physical, nor purely biological. It is becoming the study of organisms" (SMW 97). On the other hand, this science that lies between physics (conversion of energy) and biology (doctrine of evolution) is not mere process but retains something of the progress implicit in evolutionary theory: "The general aspect of nature is evolutionary expansiveness" (SMW 89). As such, Whitehead accepts and qualifies the notion of survival value and adaptation. To understand Whitehead’s take on survival, adaptation, natural selection, and evolution, we need to take seriously his suggestion that the ultimate unit of natural occurrence is the event (rather than the cell or the gene) in the context of contemporary debates in biology. We need also to address how (or whether) he avoids misplaced concreteness in his qualifications of evolutionary theory when he addresses history and human society.


James J. Bono
.
“Whitehead on Rhythm, Vibration, Time, and ‘Novel Effect’: Atomicity, Organisms as Societies, and the Critique of Pattern”
This paper will build on my 2008 SLSA discussion of the central role of atomicity to understanding Whitehead’s fundamental notion of actual occasions and consequently organisms and Life itself. By describing a world of interconnected actual occasions that “call unto” each other, Whitehead refused traditional notions of perduring principles and deterministic substances that replicate unchanging patterns as foundational to biological explanations of life and organisms. Instead, I shall argue that Whitehead points to the concreteness of experience in the continual making and remaking of actual occasions as events as offering an alternative account of “inheritance” that avoids the abstraction of “purpose” and “ends” as pre-programmed “in” the organism. For Whitehead, such “enduring objects” as those societies of actual occasions that comprise what we call organism and organic life arise from the “contrast between inheritance and novel effect.” Central to a Whiteheadian analysis of organism, societies, and life, then, is (as Steven Meyer reminds us) “taking time seriously.” Indeed, the very notion of “pattern” in most pre-Darwinian biology is subject to the same critique that Whitehead leveled against the mechanistic materialism of the seventeenth-century: namely, that it presumes a “succession of instantaneous configurations of matter” that elides all trace of temporality. By contrast, Whitehead prefers to speak of pattern in relation to rhythm: the intensity of the vectorial flow of feeling arising in the process of actual occasions both atomistically remaking themselves and simultaneously “calling unto” other actual occasions leads, in the case of “societies” or “organisms” that share a spatial and temporal “life-history,” to a “rhythmic character” that can, in turn, produce stability. As we shall see, the rhythmic for Whitehead is in dynamic temporal relation to “physical vibration” and their creative gathering together in the enduring object produces both inheritance and novelty. As Deleuze, following Whitehead, notes, “The event [...]

Session 6 (F) Library
NeuroBioPolitics: Derrida, Deleuze, Guattari
Chair:
Astrid Schrader




Arkady Plotnitsky
.
Apollo’s Brain: Chaos, Life, and Thought in Keats’s Hyperion Poems and Modern Neuroscience
This paper offers a reading of both Keats’s Hyperion poems and of the relationships between them as a literary-philosophical exploration or allegory of the nature of human thought. This reading brings both poems together with Hegel’s famous concept of “tarrying with the negative” [Verweilen] in The Phenomenology of Spirit (19), Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of thought as a confrontation between the brain and chaos, and the neurobiological functioning of the human brain. The period of Keats’s life between the compositions of these two poems is marked by both Keats’s creation of some of his greatest poetry and the progression of his illness (he contracted tuberculoses earlier), which led to his early death (age twenty five) in 1821. Keats, who had considerable (by the standard of his time) training in chemistry and medicine, was, I argue, aware of and poetically explored the complexities of the functioning of the human brain. Indeed, the understanding of the brain, which ultimately led to the modern neurological understanding of the brain, begins to emerge at the time, with the work of Franz J. Gall (1758-1828), and, as is well known, it had a significant impact on Romantic thought. The very frequency of occurrence of the word “brain” in Romantic poetry, such as that of Keats and, especially, Shelley, vis-à-vis “mind” in earlier literature is remarkable. What I shall specifically argue, however, is that Keats is especially concerned and poetically explores the workings of human brain at the threshold between life and death, and thus also between thought and chaos, which Hegel thought as “tarrying with the negative,” and Keats as “most like the struggle at the gate of death” (Hyperion, Book III, 126). My argument is especially enabled by Deleuze and Guattary’s philosophical insights into the thought and the brain (“the Thought-Brain,” as they call [...]


Astrid Schrader
.
Time, Technology and Species Politics in Harmful Algal Research
Drawing on research with marine microorganisms that contribute to so-called “Harmful Algal Blooms,” this paper explores how assumptions about ontological differences between humans and nonhumans animals is predicated on specific conceptions of time and shape technologies for the detection of “harmful species.” Marine scientists make no attempt to hide the anthropocentrism in the notion of harmful algal blooms. Harmfulness means either directly harmful to human health or the altering of “ecosystems in ways humans do not like”. But what exactly is meant by this abstract category “human” in this case? Building on Jacques Derrida’s deconstruction of ‘our’ anthropocentric notions of time and history, I discuss how an epistemological anthropocentrism in the construction and technoscientific detection of harmful species affects the ecological/political relevance of their harmfulness to specific humans.


Megan Fernandes
.
Interconsciousness and Qualia in 20th Century Anglophone Literature
“Bit light in the head...brainfogfag. That tired feeling. Too much for me now”- Leopold Bloom, “Circe” Ulysses, Joyce 356. This paper investigates theories of consciousness, memory and sensation with a specific interest in the affect of intersubjectivity as discussed by philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Jacques,Derrida and by neuroscientist, Antonio Damasio. The paper is interested in interdisciplinary theories about how the subject functions in moments of cognitive impairment, when the “stitch” as Zizek says, between the inner and outer world comes undone so that the dialectical tension of the self and narrative becomes questionable and dissolves. This self-contraction, which is a conversation explored in this paper in both neuroscience and philosophy, looks in particular at qualia which neuroscientist Gerald Edelman describes as the “phenomenal transform” or the subjective state that reflects neural activity in the brain. This qualia, or bodily affect, emerges as a set of higher order discriminations based on a value-category memory system, and these constellations of synapses become the infrastructure for thought patterns, behavior, and reactions, as memory continues to reinforce synaptic links from remembered stimulations. However, looking at memory in moments of liminal mental states such as hallucination, daydream, and panic, requires us to ask how involuntary memory differs from the intellectual effort of recollection. How is sensation, derived in such moments, presented or composed in narrative? How do objects and colors serve as constellations which stimulate body performance and memory in both the reader and the story world? From Katherine Mansfield’s hallucinatory furniture to Medbh McGuckian’s disorienting colorful imagery, this paper looks to explore the architecture of affective experience in the 20th century literary text through a cognitive neuroscientific lens.

Session 6 (G) Illinois
Flash Fiction Writing Challenge
Chair:
Susan Allender-Hagedorn
;
Cheryl Wood Ruggiero
Sue Hagedorn and Cheryl Ruggiero have issued a writing challenge for the 2010 SLSA annual meeting in Indianapolis. We seek entries of flash fiction writing in themes appropriate for SLSA. (Given our interests, we especially welcome flash science fiction, but we are open to all appropriate themes!) What is flash/micro fiction writing? It is VERY short prose fiction—it goes by many names and lengths*: flash fiction—not over 1000 words (usually shorter) micro fiction—not over 500 words drabble fiction—not over 100 words 69 fiction—exactly 69 words nano fiction—exactly 55 words *all lengths excluding titles Example from http://www.pifmagazine.com/1998/06/the-essentials-of-microfiction/: She would always sleep with her husband and with another man in the course of the same day, and then the rest of the day, for whatever was left to her of that day, she would exploit by incanting, “French film, French film.” (yes, this is [Amy] Hempel’s story [“Housewife”] in its entirety.)


Business Lunch (Panorama Ballroom) Sat noon - 1:30pm


Session 7 - Sat 2pm - 3:30pm

Session 7 (A) Ohio (AV)
Epic Mind Quests: Big Visionary Books for 21st Century Contemplative Science?! Session II: Exegesis Exegesis
Chair:
Richard Doyle
Just as scientists make observations and conduct experiments with the aid of technology, contemplatives have long made their own observations and run experiments with the aid of enhanced attentional skills and the play of the imagination. B. Allan Wallace, Principles of Contemplative Science In a 2006 SLSA invited lecture of great wit and insight, Nobel Laureate Gerald Edelman pondered the "hard problem" of consciousness (Chalmers), asking if the experience of mind can ever be understood through an analysis of brain function. This panel takes up this "problem" of consciousness through the joyful collective first person investigation of two twentieth century epics of introspection: Carl Jung's Red Book and Philip K. Dick's Exegesis. Jung's texts and paintings, sequestered in a Swiss bank vault since the 1950s, have been compiled into a truly monumental book with sales that have astonished publishers and critics alike. Jung's texts and images chronicle a path through spiritual crisis and gnosis that yield crucial guidance to any epic quest for mind. Dick's Exegesis, an eight thousand page mostly hand written response to his 1974 Valis experiences in which the "universe turned inside out", records PKD's first person reality crisis in a world increasingly composed of information and simulacra. Both of these texts provide challenges and insights for the work of contemplative science in fathoming the uncanny efficacy of consciousness. Our panels will draw on investigators from disciplines ranging over poetics, political theory, the history of psychology, aesthetics, literature, religious studies, rhetoric, and consciousness studies in a collective quest for a contemplative science of mind.



Erik Davis
.
PKD's Oracular Infection
PKD's Oracular Infection What kind of text is the mass of material we hesitantly and half-ironically dub "the Exegesis"? Who exactly is the exegete, and what is being limned and unpacked? How does our model of what sort of text this is influence, or infect, our own reading strategies and the space of possibility and constraint they created? I want to approach the question of how we frame this unframeable mass of material by approaching PKD's own intertextual web, particularly the strategies of oracular reading and information infection that mark some of his most significant works, including The Man in the High Castle, VALI S, and A Maze of Death.


Richard Doyle
.
The Dharma of PKD?
It strikes me as an interesting paradox that a Buddha -- an enlightened one -- would be unable to figure out, even after four-and-a-half years, that he had become enlightened. Fat had become totally bogged down in his enormous exegesis, trying futilely to determine what had happened to him. He resembled more a hit-and-run accident victim than a Buddha. Valis, In daily entries, diagrams and visionary sketches, Philip K.Dick's Exegesis documents an eight year attempt to fathom what he called "2-3-74", a post modern visionary experience of the entire universe "transformed into information." As a prophet of the digital age, Dick described himself as "nailed by information", and his response was to write up and through his digital epiphanies of February and March of 1974. Dick's encounters with what he variously called VALIS ( the acronymed deity of "Vast Living Intelligent System" and the eponymous VALIS novels), Firebright, Sophia and Zebra (named for for its capacity to delude the senses like a Zebra's stripes) send him on a classic visionary quest through the esoteric literatures and sciences of the planet, as PKD focuses his polymath sensibility, wide ranging erudition, visionary enthusiasm and zen like humor on a cosmic whodunnit: What was Valis? At over 8000 pages of mostly handwritten, unnumbered and often undated text, the sheer scale of PKD's Exegesis actively disrupts any ontological category with which we might attempt toclassify it. Perhaps it is precisely this resistance to narration and description that renders the Exegesis instructive to any contemplative science: Like an 8000 page kōan, the Exegesis demands understanding and yet actively thwarts comprehension, prompting the reader, and perhaps the writer, to exhaust their egoic attempts "to determine what had happened to him", breaking their frame of reference and, just possibly, awakening.


Pamela Jackson
.
"Oh, for A Guru!"
But I don't dare tell Fat that he is searching for himself. He is not ready to entertain such a notion, because like the rest of us he seeks an external savior. Valis In entries that sometimes ran to hundreds of pages, Phillip K. Dick tried to write his way into the heart of a cosmic mystery that tested his powers of imagination and invention to the limit. PKD imvented, revised, and discarded theory after theory, mixing in dreams and visionary experiences as they occurred, and pulled it all together in the three late novels known as the Valis trilogy. This presentation by the Editor of the forthcoming two volume set of the Exegesis will focus on the moments of desperation, humor and courage of one writer thinking to the end of what is to be thought.

Session 7 (B) Panorama B (AV)
From Synaesthesia to Cyborgs: Science and the Visualization of Higher Realities in Modern and Contemporary Art. Panel 3
Chair:
Melissa Warak
Panel 3: Material, Perception, and Performativity in Postwar Art This three-part panel addresses a broad historical range of the ways in which twentieth century artists utilized scientific advancements as means to visualize alternative realities. The artists examined in this panel drew from fields as diverse as sense physiology, the occult, robotics, and new theories of cinema towards the creation of art that furthered the quest for a heightened experience of the world or an expanded consciousness of the self. For these artists, engaging with contemporary scientific discoveries was a means of ensuring the social relevance and visual immediacy of their work. Each paper on this panel explores the ways these artists deflected, distorted, and refashioned scientific findings to fit their own aesthetic and conceptual ends. In terms of this creative or subversive consumption, modern artists become a revelatory lens through which to view the process by which modern individuals have incorporated scientific and technological advances into their conceptions of themselves and their places in the universe. The manner in which artists interrogated science in order to reconsider the relationship of the modern subject to society is a common thread in these papers. In sum, the speakers on these panels reveal an image of the modern artist as a figure whose combination of intense intellectual curiosity and suspicion of convention provided the foundation for some of the most intriguing contacts between science and culture of the past hundred years.



Chelsea Weathers
.
Breaking Down and Building Up: Andy Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable, Amphetamine, and Expanded Consciousness
This paper will examine the aesthetic of Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable (EPI) events in terms of its replication of the neurological and sensory effects of amphetamine, as manifested by his experimentation with multiple technologies. For a period of about eleven months in 1966, Andy Warhol’s EPI performed in discotheques such as The Dom on New York City’s lower east side, Poor Richard’s in Chicago, The Trip in Los Angeles, and The Fillmore in San Francisco. The shows included the feedback-ridden music of the Velvet Underground, multi-screen projections of Warhol’s films, slide projectors whose carousels contained psychedelic images, spotlights with colored gels, pistol lights, strobe lights, and the first use of a mirror ball in a discotheque context. The goal of the EPI was never togetherness or communal experience, but isolation of the individual––an assault on the senses to brutalize the viewer into a state of disintegrated consciousness. According to mass media accounts and audience reactions, such endeavors were met with derision. Within the context of expanded cinema, the genre with which scholars usually place the EPI performances, there is no place for the alienating effects the shows had on their audiences––nor is there adequate discussion of the debt that the aesthetic of the EPI owes to the unnerving paranoiac effects of amphetamine. Furthermore, such alienation and emphasis on individual experience was not simply an end in itself; often it could lead to a form of expanded consciousness that is at times at odds with the tenets of expanded cinema.


Meaghan Kiernan
.
Cindy Sherman and Cyborg Discourse
The immense scholarship on Cindy Sherman’s photographic work includes interpretations of the gaze, the simulacrum, femininity as a masquerade, and the abject. There remains, however, a major discourse that largely ignores her oeuvre: theorizations of the cyborg. Although only one article has considered Sherman’s pictures through a cyborg lens––Andrew Menard’s “Cindy Sherman: The Cyborg Disrobes” (1994)––I propose a deeper analysis of the progressive realization of Sherman as a cyborg, a hybrid of human and machine. I expand upon previous approaches to Cindy Sherman’s images in order to situate the artist more precisely within cyborg discourse, existing at the intersection of technology, science, and culture. Not only does she (the artist) take hold of the new technologies of the prosthetic eye to create her photographs, but she (the model subject) progressively exposes her body as a hybrid of nature and artifice. Ranging from an embedded and subtle incorporation of technology in the early 1980s to a complete transformation into a metallicized monster in the mid 1990s, this period of her work illustrates Sherman’s gradual cyborg embodiment. Photographs of the technologically altered creatures call for a drastically different conception of spectatorship. Her practice of creating the images and featuring herself within them collapse the subject/object opposition present within patriarchal theorizations of vision and spectatorship. The socialist-feminist cyborg theory renders the male/female, self/other, and natural/artificial binaries obsolete. This elimination of dualisms, I believe, places Sherman’s photographs outside the Lacanian diagrams of visuality and traditional codes of looking at images. Offering flight from the patriarchy, cyborgs use technology to annihilate gender and call for a fundamentally different conception of spectatorship––one that better reflects the fluid networks and constant exchanges of information within the cyborg world.


Roja Najafimoghaddamnejad
.
Materialized Perception: Cubism of Material in Jean Dubuffet’s Table series and Portraits of 1950s
Dubuffet does to material what cubists do to perspective, and as a result, alters a person’s perception of his art. Dubuffet’s oil painting through 1950s invites the viewer to a slow game of hide-and-seek. A chase between the large outlined entities and the unrecognizable details. These little unrecognizable shapes are due to the heavy usage of material. The details seem unstructured, but the viewer seeks to see recognizable figures in them. One can say these little filling fragments are meant to play the eyes with an endless commute – a continual merging and fading between the abstract material and the figure. These details materialize and dematerialize themselves in a mysterious way in a manner that recalls philosophies of perception from the period. In Phenomenology of Perception, for example, Maurice Merleau-Ponty explains the ontology of human body as a “strange object, which uses its own parts as a general system of symbols for the world.” If we accept this as an idea of sublimation, in use of material, Dubuffet de-sublimates the accepted aesthetic forms, especially that of human figure. In 1949 Dubuffet and other intellectuals, namely André Breton, officially founded La Compagnie de l'Art Brut, dedicated to collecting works created by insane, eccentric, or “naïve” people. By collecting Art Brut, which he saw as the art that is uncontaminated by high culture and is the direct result of the impulses of the common man, Dubuffet wished to challenge the conventional aesthetic of Western culture by bringing a new order and a new venue of perception. The table series of the 1950s provides a suitable example for addressing two noticeable characteristics in Dubuffet’s work: materiality and figuration. Table and table settings had been part of Jean Dubuffet’s composition since 1925 and over two decades later the motif returned in force to Dubuffet’s [...]


Kate Green
.
The Meaning of Mediation in Vito Acconci’s Early 1970s Videos
In early 1970s interviews Vito Acconci discusses his recent shift from installations involving live performance to those in which his presence is mediated by performative video presented on television monitors. In these interviews Acconci and critics grapple with the significance of the move: When is Acconci’s presence via video more relevant than it is live? Does the mediated image forge a more intimate relationship with viewers because of a lack of audience/performer inhibition and the physical proximity encouraged by the new “cool” medium of televised image? How does the shift from live to mediated body figure a distance with the audience that is productive? The fact that these archival interviews generate more questions than answers is a testament to the complexity of an issue which remained unresolved then and largely unexplored today. In an attempt to tease out what it meant for Acconci to televisually mediate his relationship with audiences in the 1970s, this paper will consider several of Acconci’s works from the early 1970s as well as interviews from the period in relationship to the newly televisual nature of life in the US at the time (by 1970 almost every living room was installed with the new medium of television, whose content supposedly brought the world into the home and vice-versa). Through focusing on Acconci’s seminal mediated gestures from the early 1970s this paper will help to historicize the issues involved with mediated gestures today.

Session 7 (C) Panorama A (AV)
Animal Studies I
Chair:
Nigel T. Rothfels



Sarah E. McFarland
.
Liminal Species and Shapeshifters: Productive Disorientation and the Essence of Becoming
In the Western tradition, there is a tendency to ignore biological and behavioral continuities between humans and other animals; we mute the animal in ourselves and dismiss the human in other animals. This project examines those times when the binaries between humans and other animals shiver and flex, enabling productive moments of disorientation, namely during moments of individual “becoming.” Gulles Deleuze and Felix Guattari destabilize notions of a concrete “real” identity and stasis in their ideas about becoming-animal, thus undermining the central premise of animal ontology, which is that organisms have substantial essences or structures that are identifiable (in other words, that there are actually stable animal beings). Deleuze and Guattari suggest instead that there are historically contingent and variable processes of “becoming animal” that are constituted as activity in flux. As James Urpeth succinctly states, “Flux, change, and relation are, for them, more real than permanence, stability, and identity” (102). Organisms are not perceived as coherent systems with permanence and stability; instead, Deleuzian-Guattarian becoming-animals are never determinate entities, never finished fluxing between various impermanent conditions. This presentation explores this fluxing in various liminal species and shapeshifters (namely the selkie from Irish folklore) to delve into the essences of becoming self.


Jeff Karnicky
.
Do Birds Exist? The “Existential Refrain” of the European Starling
At the end of his recent book Skylark Meets Meadowlark, Tom Gannon notes “the anthropocentric gall” of studying birds in order to “know thyself better.” This notion of birds as either a means of appreciating nature or of understanding the human place in the world is a common one. Writing in 1878, Walt Whitman, after listening to some birds sing for half an hour, stated, “I have a positive conviction that some of these birds sing, and others fly and flit about here, for my especial benefit.” Is there another way of encountering birds, a way that does not interpellate them, through sight and vision, into a human realm? Gannon writers that “we can know that real crow poking outside in the garbage, shitting irreverently on our SUV.” My paper will examine how humans might “know” birds without subsuming their subjectivity into the human. I will focus on recent scientific studies of visual and language ability in the European Starling, and discuss the “existential refrain,” (to use Felix Guattari’s language) produced by Starlings in 21st century America. My paper will attempt to hear this refrain as a means of escape from a human-centered understanding of birds. KEYWORDS: birds, vision, language, existential refrain


Christopher Todd Anderson
.
Animal Consciousness, Language, and Autonomy in American Poetry
This paper will examine the ways in which American poets have explored (or in some cases failed to consider) the autonomy of nonhuman animals, including the possibility that these animals may possess consciousness and language. In the course of the paper I will draw attention to three main issues: First, the contrast between, on one hand, poems that discuss animals uncritically (sometimes through simplistic anthropomorphization) and, on the other hand, poems that attribute to nonhuman animals various degrees of consciousness, language, and/or autonomy of experience. Second, the relationship between these poems of animal experience and the old trope of the poet as a prophetic figure who imaginatively conveys knowledge and experience not accessible to the average person. I will argue that some animal poems paradoxically combine this dated conception of the prophetic poet with a scientifically-informed interest in the reality of animal subjectivity. Third, the question of how (or whether) our understanding of this body of poetry can be enhanced by examining it in the context of animal studies and the scientific study of animal consciousness, language, and emotion. In order to consider the wide-ranging history of animal poems in the United States, I will touch upon the work of several poets, including earlier works by Walt Whitman, Marianne Moore, and Elizabeth Bishop, but I will focus primarily on the environmentally-engaged work of contemporary figures such as Gary Snyder, A. R. Ammons, Mary Oliver, and Pattiann Rogers.

Session 7 (D) Circle Centre (AV)
Object-Oriented Feminism 1: "Programs"
Chair:
Katherine Behar
Object-Oriented Feminism 1: Programs" seeks to sketch priorities and parameters for Object-Oriented Feminism. What would a program for Object-Oriented Feminism (OOF) entail? We begin from commonplace object experiences like the sociological and economic continuities Veblen noted between women and commodities, the subsequent exploitation of tools in Harman's reading of Heidegger, and our own everyday objectification as women and men–which is to say as humans–dancing cheek to cheek with Bogost's "Latour Litany" of consumables. In Haraway's term, objects are starting to look a lot like feminists' "companion species." From these coordinates, OOF undertakes to account for contemporary object practices. First, beginning with an invented etymology, we look to digital practices. By questioning the seeming thing-less-ness of software, is it possible to reverse-engineer a feminist connection to object-oriented programming? Does the model of software set the program for Object-Oriented Ontologies? Moving next to language, we ask what becomes of the subject in the turn toward object-oriented practices? What orientation describes this now evacuated point of view? Lastly, we approach the issue of relations to question both the ethics and tenor of inter- and intra-object relationships. Can deadening and objectification from within, as in the practice of Botox injections, inspire an inert object camaraderie among objectified feminists? Can OOF recuperate love?



Wendy Hui Kyong Chun
.
Programmed Visions: Software and Memory
Recent legal and theoretical debates over the status of software focus on whether or not software really exists. This paper argues that these debates miss what is most interesting and important about software: its status as a “thing,” as something both concrete and ambiguous that refigures relations between subjects and objects. It traces software’s historical emergence as an invisibly visible (or visibly invisible) object, linking it to gendered (among other) hierarchies embedded in its vapory structure. Lastly, it situates the recent rise of “thing theory” and “object oriented philosophy” as themselves responses to—not simply theoretical tools necessary to examine—new media.


Patricia Ticineto Clough
.
Let us Stipulate that What is Left in a Point of View is a Subject: Language and Object-Oriented Ontology
Taking up the move from the linguistic turn to the speculative turn of an object-oriented ontology, I want to revisit those psychoanalytically informed descriptions of infant-child and mother that have been a starting point in discourses about the constitution of the human as a (speaking) subject. In the move to an object-oriented ontology, how is a subject to be understood? What is the relationship of language to a subject where a subject is not only human but rather a point of view left as a virtual residue in what Graham Harmon calls “the interior of some intentional whole?” As point of view is placed outside the ocular-centric tradition and intentionality is no longer restricted to the human, rethinking the relationship of language and a subject also raises questions about bodies, desires, phantasms. Drawing on Deleuzian philosophy both to elaborate the use to which I am putting “virtual residue” and to take up the idea of series, I will suggest a different way to think of language and a subject that insists on the poetic and the vast role that Harman imagines aesthetics deserves to play in ontology.


Katherine Behar
.
Facing Necrophilia, or "Botox Ethics"
Just as Object-Oriented Feminism incorporates human and nonhuman objects, it must extend between living objects and dead ones. This paper explores how self-objectifying practitioners of body art and plastic surgery incorporate inertness and deadness within the living self. First we discuss body art and plastic surgery through Catherine Malabou's concept of brain plasticity, the constitution of oneself through passive reception and active annihilation of form. Malabou associates plasticity's destructive aspect with plastic explosives and its malleable aspect with sculpture and plastic surgery. Yet seen from under the knife, plastic surgery and body art seem to make plastic objects in Malabou's full sense of the term. The plastic art object of surgery kills off its old self to sculpt a new one. This brings us to Botox, the snicker-worthy subject at the heart of this paper. In Botox use, optional injections of Botulinum toxin temporarily deaden the face, Emmanuel Levinas' primary site of living encounter. With Botox, living objects elect to become a little less lively. Botox represents an important ethical gesture: a face-first plunge for living objects to meet dead objects halfway, to locate and enhance what is inert in the living, and extend toward inaccessible deadness with necrophiliac love and compassion. "Botox ethics" hints at how Object-Oriented Feminism might subtly shift object-oriented terms. Resistance to being known twists into resistance to alienation. Concern with qualities of things reconstitutes as concern for qualities of relations. And, speculation on the real becomes performance of the real. Botox ethics experientially transforms empathy for dead counterparts into comingled sympathy. Setting aside aesthetic allure, Botox ethics shoots up.


N. Katherine Hayles
.
Respondent

Session 7 (E) Meridian West (AV)
"Time, Rhythm, and Whitehead" [3 panels] Panel 3, "Rhythm Analysis"
Chair:
Steven Meyer
[general description for entire stream:] This sequence of panels ultimately concerns Alfred North Whitehead’s contestation, as it happens, of ‘ends of life,’ that is, of life taken to be the sort of thing that actually ends or ends in an absolute sense. Famously, Whitehead’s philosophy of organism was provoked (in part) by the death of his youngest son, Eric, as an airman in combat near the end of WWI. “Of Coming into Being and Passing Away”—the title of a poem by Geoffrey Hill, loosely and traditionally translating Aristotle’s De generatione et corruptione—may warrant reference here as Whitehead acknowledged that limitations in the Aristotelian scheme also motivated him. “Events become and perish,” he wrote in Adventures of Ideas (1933), and therefore “we should balance Aristotle’s—or, more rightly, Plato’s—doctrine of becoming by a doctrine of perishing,” as he had sought to do in Process and Reality (1929). “When they perish, occasions pass from the immediacy of being into the not-being of immediacy. But that does not mean that they are nothing. They remain ‘stubborn fact’” (237). Like ‘specious present,’ Whitehead retained the phrase ‘stubborn fact’ from his reading of William James, and entrainment along such lines—of Jamesian cognitive rhythms entrained in Whitehead, or Whitehead entrained by James, or some sort of mutual entrainment occurring—suggests something of the complexity, and interest, that Whitehead’s understanding of time and rhythm still retains, amply demonstrated here.



Astrid Lorange
.
“Readerly Occasions, Rhythms of Presentness and a Poem by Gertrude Stein”
In The Concept of Nature Whitehead describes the present as both the “wavering breadth of boundary” and as occurring between the immediacies of past and future (memory and anticipation). For him, the present is an ingredient in the passage of nature, worldly process; it is that which has relation to what is happening, what will happen, and what has happened. In her lecture, “Composition as Explanation,” Gertrude Stein says: “The composition is the thing seen by every one living in the living they are doing, they are the composing of the composition that at the time they are living in the composition of the time in which they are living. It is that that makes living a thing they are doing.” In the same lecture, Stein describes her compositional ethos as “groping for a continuous present” (Writings 1903-1932). My paper will look at Stein's prose-poem “SCENES. ACTIONS AND DISPOSITIONS OF RELATIONS AND POSITIONS” (Geography and Plays) alongside the temporal-poetical assertions of “Composition as Explanation.” I will ask whether a Steinian continuous present is companionable with Whitehead's notion of the present, “the immediacy of the teleological process whereby reality becomes actual” (Process and Reality). I will argue that time is a moment in/of composition and that this is evident in/of an occasion of reading poetry. With Stein, Whitehead and glances to Bergson, James and Serres, I will attempt to demonstrate the importance of viewing time not as a linear development but as a rhythmic composition which takes both material and poetical forms in the same instant.


Andrew Goffey
.
“The Rhythm of Events?”
Rhythm is a notion which recurs at irregular intervals throughout Whitehead's work: from a chapter in The Principles of Natural Knowledge, through his lecture The Rhythms of Education, to the "rhythmic throbs of emotion and pain" in Process and Reality. The existence of rhythm is bound up, for Whitehead, with life. "Life is rhythm as such," "wherever there is rhythm, there is some life," as he puts it in The Principles. On the basis of a discussion of the different relations (the differential relations?) that can be established between rhythm and event in Whitehead's work, and with a view to previous discussions in the Whitehead stream about the relations between Deleuze and Whitehead, this paper asks what it might mean to talk about a "rhythm of events." In what ways might Whitehead's work give us the means to get a more precise conceptual understanding of what is, after all, a crucial feature of experience? Thought of in terms of the process of intensification in concrescence, we can associate the rhythm of events with the eventuation of a power to cause: what Deleuze and Guattari say a propos of music may be valid here, it "draws people and armies into a race that can go all the way to the abyss." The paper will develop in two sections: in the first half, it will propose a reading of the links between rhythm and event in Whitehead's writing. In the second half, it will develop a synthetic account of the importance of the rhythm of events in everyday life, making links with for example Henri Lefebvre's work on rhythmanalysis and Walter Benjamin's reflections on the destruction of experience.

Session 7 (F) Library
Neuroscience and the Arts
Chair:
Andrew Logemann



Pierre-Louis Patoine
.
From Semiotic to Somatic: A Neuroaesthetic Approach to Immersive Literary Reading
How can we experience literary fictions on a somatosensory level? What are the modalities of reading as an embodied performance? Although literary texts may offer a carnal, somatosensory relation to their readers in surprisingly various ways, the immersive experience, that is, the possibility to "dive" into a book appears like a necessary condition for simulative embodied reading, for a reading productive of sensations. I am convinced that this relation between immersive attentional states and embodied reading is a critical dimension not only of today's literary practices but also of their future in our digitally-driven technocultural ecology. I propose to study such a relation though a neuroaesthetic model which carefully combines elements from literary and semiotic theory with cognitive neurosciences. I believe we can use recent neurological researches suggesting that linguistic processing and conceptual thought are rooted in the feeling, imitative body and more specifically in activations of sensorimotor and affective-motivational neuronal networks to understand literary reading as a simulative mentation, a practice which can fully involve the empathic bodymind. My aim here is to go beyond the hype often associated with the latest neuroimagery study and to avoid the naive or deterministic use of neurological data which have pushed british philosopher Raymond Tallis (2008) to claim that "neuroaesthetics [...] is wrong about our experience of literature." On the contrary, we will see that neuroaesthetics can provide useful and accurate insights on our complex relation to literary fiction.


Mark Pizzato
.
Mirror Neurons, Emotional Contagion, and Catharsis
What does current neuroscience show us about the performance of reality, fantasy, and dreams inside our heads—shared culturally through theatre and cinema? How do such insights about the "mind's eye," as Hamlet calls it, relate to stage and screen experiences of self, other, emotion, violence, and morality? This essay explores fundamental performance elements of the human mind by comparing the postmodern psychoanalytic theories of Jacques Lacan with empirical research from neuroscience. It considers recent discoveries about mirror neurons and emotional contagion, which clarify certain theories of catharsis, from ancient India and Greece to the present.


Andrew Logemann
.
The “Luminous Halo” of Consciousness: Virginia Woolf and the Neuroscience of Narrative
This paper will consider the use of neuroscience as a theoretical framework in modernist studies, with an eye toward the arguments it engenders and forecloses, and the extent to which Virginia Woolf engages in theorizing about the brain, the mind, and the challenges of authentic representation. The act of applying neuroscience to literary study carries with it significant challenges, and, as Tony Jackson has argued, it is incumbent upon the critic to “make a case for an interpretive utility of its theories.” This paper will do just this, as it considers the work of neuroscientists who consider the nature of consciousness—Antonio Damasio, Andrew Meltzoff, and Vittorio Gallese—alongside Virginia Woolf’s textual production. Specifically, this paper will argue that Mrs. Dalloway (1925) and Woolf’s theorizations of fiction anticipate some of the discoveries of modern neuroscience. As Woolf describes it, “The mind receives a myriad of impressions… From all sides they come, an incessant shower of innumerable atoms,” and the task of a novelist, for Woolf, is much in keeping with Steven Pinker’s argument in Blank Slate about mental processes: novelists should “record the atoms as they fall upon the mind in the order in which they fall, let us trace the pattern, however disconnected and incoherent…” (Woolf, “Modern Fiction”). Thus, as I will argue, neuroscience prepares us to recognize and appreciate in Woolf’s fiction a consistent, developing line of inquiry into human perception and consciousness.

Session 7 (G) Illinois
Science as Substrate: Core Concepts and Narrative Structure
Chair:
Craig McConnell

This session is dedicated to exploring the use of natural science concepts in the construction of narratives in post-war prose. A. Samuel Kimball will explore the way in which a science including evolutionary biology and the cognitive study of consciousness enables a new reading of narration in Lindsay's Voyage to Arturus. Farzad Mozafarzadeh will explore the way in which Italo Calvino’s use of characters defined by physical and biological theories determined the narrative techniques for the stories collected in Cosmicomics and t Zero. William McRae will explore the way in which John Fowles’ use of a “Narrative without Intention” in writing The French Lieutenant’s Woman draws from the deep structure of Darwin’s Origin of Species. Craig McConnell will explore the way in which a variety of alternative formulations of time drawn from pre-Newtonian, Newtonian, Einsteinian, and post-Einsteinian physical theories provide the structure for Alan Lightman’s Einstein’s Dreams. We are excited about the prospect of giving these papers at SLSA, where we believe they will contribute to an ongoing conversation about the interplay between scientific concept and literary narratives.



A. Samuel Kimball
.
Evolutionary Costs of Consciousness: Narration, the Agency Detection Device, and Lindsay's Voyage to Arcturus (1920)
In a brief reading of Lindsay’s science fiction novel, I develop three propositions. First, that evolutionary biology and the cognitive study of consciousness should be understood as subsets of a science for which there is as yet no name—provisionally, the science of economization on economization. This science clarifies the paradoxical—indeed, the incipiently “deconstructive” character—of key concepts in evolutionary theory, including the concepts of survival, reproductive success, fitness, adaptation, extinction, mutation, and life. Second, that this science, therefore, is in fundamental accord with Derrida’s deconstruction in general and in particular with his critique of first-person, self-reflective consciousness. Those evolutionary and cognitive theorists who repudiate Derrida’s deconstruction miss an important opportunity for understanding how his thinking is not antithetical to evolutionary biology and the cognitive sciences but in profound alignment with them. More specifically, it is a critical resource for addressing the human susceptibility to false belief in relation to the evolutionary costs of consciousness—that is, its inescapable epistemological limits. Third, that the concept of economization economized enables evolutionary and cognitive oriented literary criticism to analyze a previously unrecognized function of narration—namely, its operation as a means of testing a basic mental tool, what Justin L. Barrett has called the “hypersensitive agency detection device” or HADD (Why Would Anyone Believe in God, 32), and its role in the formation of beliefs, non-reflective as well as reflective.


Farzad Mozafarzadeh
.
Transcending Time and Space: Calvino’s Narrative Technique in Cosmicomics and t Zero
The circumstances presented to readers by Calvino in his sets of short stories, Cosmicomics and t Zero beg for a hermeneutic as unique as the character Qwfwq. I speak of the method employed by Calvino in supplying characters who, unlike those in most of western literature, exist as individuals shaped by scientific theories rather than mortal beings with bodies and set in familiar physical parameters. The purpose of this paper will be to assess a few of the situations in which Calvino has generated these "alternative subjects" and analyze the ways in which the understanding of a scientific theory or principle then determines the narrative techniques, structures and characterization. I wish to explore in what ways the audience is compelled to participate in the construction and understanding of these characters against traditional modes of fictional interpretation. For example, in “All at One Point,” the characters are compressed into a singularity, existing in a spaceless realm until the Big Bang separates them, and in “The Form of Space” the characters are described as falling through space in parallel lines at an unperceivable speed thus describing them as essentially beams of light. If given characters that are neither human, animal, nor even “things” as we comprehend in everyday life, is this enough to engender a new hermeneutic? If not, what, if anything, is subverted with these characters as the vehicles for dissemination of narrative and scientific concepts?


William McRae
.
Narrative Without Intention in John Fowles’ The French Lieutenant's Woman
Darwin’s The Origin of Species is the intellectual backbone of John Fowles’ The French Lieutenant’s Woman. Although Charles Smithson, the novel’s protagonist, initially believes that Darwinian fitness confirms his aristocratic status, he learns that fitness is no static measure of social class and that adaptation is fundamentally uncertain and contingent. If at first the narrator’s explicit rejections of the aesthetic conventions which defined nineteenth-century fiction seem far removed from Darwin, they are not by the novel’s end. Reflexively entering into the fiction, the narrator draws upon Alain Robbe-Grillet’s call for a “nouveau roman” and Roland Barthes’ commentary on the “death of the author.” Doing so, he reluctantly accepts that his narrative cannot be the fully realized expression of a God-like author, or “readerly,”as Barthes would put it. For Fowles’ narrator, again in Barthes’s terms, the narrative becomes “writerly,” traced by uncertainty, recursion, and multiple narrative pathways. These transformations in the protagonist and the narrator reflect the deepest features of Darwinian narrative, or what can be called “narrative without intention”: stories which seem to tell themselves, they are retrospective not prospective, causal but never predictive. As with Darwin, so with Fowles: a postmodern and narrative reading of Darwin, The French Lieutenant’s Woman is itself a narrative without intention, a writerly noveau roman which ends quite literally with a double ending, suggestive both of the protagonist’s contingent future and the figurative death of its own narrator.


Craig McConnell
.
Playing with Time: Alan Lightman and the Narrative Structure of Einstein’s Dreams
On its publication in 1992, Alan Lightman’s Einstein’s Dreams made a tremendous splash with readers and critics, garnering praise for its lightness, its whimsy, its thoughtfulness and the lyrical elegance of its prose. Previews appeared prominently in Harpers and The Sciences, with author blurbs specifying Lightman’s dual status as a teacher of both physics and writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Beyond appreciations of its readability and its invitation to join Lightman in his mediations on the great variety of fanciful alternate universes that he imagines, few have taken the deeper structure of the novel seriously. The titular dreams range from meditations on the experiential and physical nature of time (worlds where “time is discontinuous”, where “time passes more slowly for people in motion”, where “time is an infinite ruler”) to poetic descriptions of time (worlds where “time is like a flow of water”, where “the texture of time happens to be sticky”). The astute reader soon realizes that experiential, physical, and poetic are not exclusive categories. An overall narrative arc is achieved by framing these dreams between Prologue, Interludes, and Epilogue premised on Einstein’s waking thoughts in the spring and summer of 1905. In this paper, I will explore the physicality of these meditations on the nature of time, the relationship between Lightman, Einstein, and the conceptual foundations of time, the framing of the novel beyond the speculative dream motif, and the structure of the whole as a novel.

Session 7 (H) Michigan
Technology and Theories of Life
Chair:
Steven LeMieux




Marcel O'Gorman
.
Stiegler, Becker, Technoculture
This paper provides a thanatological consideration of technoculture by crossing the work of Bernard Stiegler with that of Ernest Becker, who is best known for his Pulitzer Prize winning book, _The Denial of Death_ (1974). Particular consideration is given to Becker's notion of culture as a "heroic action system" that permits individuals to: a) deny their finitude; and b) earn recognition as persons of value in a world of meaning. Becker's work both enhances and challenges Stiegler's thanato-prosthetic understanding of the techne/human fusion, making possible a more expansive conception of technological being rooted in both the denial of death the desire for recognition.


Jennifer Rhee
.
Life Robotic
In this paper I will theorize life through technologies of the lifelike – humanoid robots and androids. By attending to the simulation of certain conceptions of life, I will explore how android and humanoid robotics variably conceive of life, how these robotic technologies approach life’s emulation, and how conceptions of life are contracted, expanded, and transformed around these technologies. To think about these questions, I will look specifically at the lifelikeness of David Hanson’s and Hiroshi Ishiguro’s androids. Both roboticists aim to create androids that are, in appearance, indistinguishable from humans. Their androids are often described as “extremely lifelike.” What is this life that Hanson’s and Ishiguro’s androids are so much like, and how is it communicated in its robotic resemblance? One might point to the anthropocentrism of life in the android. However, the life that finds robotic likeness in Hanson’s and Ishiguro’s androids cannot be reduced to the human, if this life is in fact centrally organized around the human at all. What conceptions of life, then, are imagined, distorted, and foreclosed by these androids? And how do these conceptions of life resonate beyond their android likeness?


Steven LeMieux
.
Texts as Technobodies: Writing(Reading) Indigestion
With this presentation I want to fully embrace a move towards abandoning common (humanistic) conceptions of life and living bodies. Borders between human and animal and machine have become increasingly porous, and technology has begun to more obviously permeate these borderlands--not as mediator but as body--simultaneously equal to and different from any other body. Amidst post-humanism all bodies are laid out horizontally, and I want to regard post-humanism as not only the end of human exceptionalism but of exceptionalism writ large. The status of life can no longer be used as a means of organizing bodies. To enter fully into unorganized relationships with all those bodies around us it is imperative that we become curious about the symbiotic relationships that compose our own bodies. Writing(reading), as a technobody is as present and deeply imbedded in us as any bacterium. Writing (and the simultaneous reading that always occurs) is the physical impression of multiplicity of relationships, and the text, contrary to Plato, responds. As technobody it engages in becoming-writer as writer moves towards becoming-text, and it is impossible to write(read) the same sentence twice--it moves and changes with us. Becoming-with and becoming curious about writing as technobody I want to move towards Donna Haraway’s notions of “nourishing indigestion” as a new means of writing and engaging with text. Indigestion forces a sharp recognition of the contours and intersections of all those bodies around us, and we cannot sit transparent while we read and write.


Afternoon Tea - Sat 3:30pm - 4pm


Session 8 - Sat 4pm - 5:30pm

Session 8 (A) Ohio (AV)
Biomedical Narratives
Chair:
Ronald Schleifer



Lindsay Thomas
.
VAS: An Opera in Flatland and the Steinach Operation: Reproduction and Debt in Accounts of Vasectomies
The few critical pieces about Steve Tomasula and Steven Farrell’s graphic novel VAS: An Opera in Flatland focus on the novel’s engagement with reproduction as a textual phenomenon, taking into account the many genres and forms of media the text reproduces within its pages. Such pieces treat the central issue of sexual reproduction only as a plot question. But the question VAS asks over and over again and around which its plot revolves, whether or not the main character, Square, will take his “turn” and get a vasectomy, is not simply a plot question. What is at stake in VAS, rather, is an attempt to come to terms with how reproductive technology structures our understanding of sexual reproduction. Working from Melinda Cooper’s reading of Marx in Life as Surplus: Biotechnology and Capitalism in the Neoliberal Era, this paper argues this understanding centers on a model of reproduction as debt. This debt is specifically couched within a discourse of neoliberal economics in that it understands itself as generative – as productive of more debt, more reproduction. Furthermore, such an understanding of reproduction places the novel in direct contact with the history of vasectomy as a medical procedure. Using early twentieth-century medical accounts of the Steinach operation and the benefits of vasectomy, this paper emphasizes that the association of reproduction and debt seen in VAS is important to understanding the medical history of vasectomy as well.


Tom Idema
.
Infected genomes: Understanding the biopolitics of contagion with Deleuze and Guattari, Margulis, and biopunk
Ever since Pasteur’s work on germs as carriers of disease, microbes have been consistently coded as threats on human health. Lynn Margulis’ theory of symbiogenesis has changed the meaning of infection, which is no longer necessarily understood as an impingement on life, but also as having a crucial role in the genesis of species. According to Margulis, transmission of genetic material across generations is cross-cut by a regime of lateral transmission, connecting organisms of widely divergent natures, a process that can ultimately result in the synthesis of genomes and the creation of new species (Margulis and Sagan 2002). While symbiogenesis has largely been accepted within the life sciences, Margulis’s claim that symbiosis is more fundamental for speciation than inherited variations remains highly controversial. Their theories also pose a challenge to common cultural scripts about heredity, disease and the ‘normal’ (healthy) body. Parallel challenges to these scripts are found in contemporary biopunk (authors such as Octavia Butler, Greg Bear and Nancy Kress) and in Deleuze and Guattari’s A Thousand Plateaus. I want to demonstrate that, together, these texts provide a means for understanding a double movement where contamination as a biopolitical problem becomes less a threat from the outside than an ontological principle, and where thought itself becomes contagious. Recombining sources in a transdisciplinary fashion, these texts embody a ‘minor science’ that understands and instantiates contaminations across and beyond the nature-culture divide, working towards a new eco-centric bioethics.


Ronald Schleifer
.
Science in Action: Narrative, Phronesis, and the Practices of Medicine
This paper examines the practices of medicine -- as both an art and a science -- in relation to the "modal" or "embedded" knowledge described in "embodied cognitive science." It aims at demonstrating the ways that narrative functions in the practical science of medicine beyond the strictures and assumptions of traditional scientific understanding. Its title, alluding to Bruno Latour's work, also indicates the ways that it will articulate Latour's understanding of science and technology with the critique of Edward Slingerland by focusing on the "performative" nature of clinical medicine, which is striking example of the interplay between constructivist and innate ("essentialist") assumptions in the practical, goal-oriented work of healing and caregiving.

Session 8 (B) Panorama B (AV)
Dalí Vision: Optics, Perception, and Spatial Illusion in the Art and Writings of Salvador Dalí (post-1940)
Chair:
Jonathan Wallis
Salvador Dalí is well-known for his optical illusions, most notably those produced through his paranoiac-critical method and use of anamorphosis in painting.  This session looks beyond these endeavors into the vast realm of Dalí’s output after his association with Surrealism.  From the 1940’s onward, Dalí explored various scientific theories about the nature and perception of reality through visual art that incorporated aspects of atomic physics, stereoscopy, holograms, etc. He also wrote novels and essays acknowledged recently by certain scholars as sophisticated, quasi-cinematic works of literature with highly “visual” properties.  How do these later endeavors break with, continue, or complicate Dalí’s lifelong interests in optics, spatial illusionism, and perception?  What scientific, literary, and artistic sources drove these fascinations?  Where and how do these investigations fit within the larger discourses of science, art, and literature in the second half of the twentieth century? 



Elliott King
.
Dalí, Julesz, and new revelations concerning Dali's “stereoscopic” canvases
In the 1930s, Dalí's paranoiac-critical method had been a powerful tool in the Surrealists' quest to penetrate the subconscious. Formulated contemporaneously with Lacan's thesis on paranoia, Dalí's method embraced the deliberate misreading of the world through a creative state of self-induced - but fully aware - 'psychosis'; this misreading of subjects materialised non sequitur images and associations for him, which he then dissected to locate their relevance to his psyche. Three decades later, this technique would inform his interpretation of the perceptual work of Dr. Béla Julesz, specifically Julesz's 1970 text, Foundations of Cyclopean Perception. This book served as Dalí's inspiration for several paintings including Cybernetic Odalisque and Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea with at Twenty Metres Becomes the Portrait of Abraham Lincoln, though I am particularly interested in bringing it to light in terms of his so-called 'random dot' paintings, a little-known series executed between 1977 and 1979. These paintings are commonly published and exhibited as stereoscopic pairs, though in only a few instances are they legitimately stereoscopic, leading scholars and curators to suppose they are incomplete or ineffective.  I am instead persuaded that the sources for these works were never intended to be stereoscopic, though it would seem that Dalí himself may have misunderstood how such images were intended to function. Removed from their scientific utility, these 'random dot' paintings invoke a chain of uniquely Dalinian associations, from Spanish folklore to the myth of the Golden Fleece, evincing an auxiliary, largely unexplored level of perception - that is, artistic vision.  


A. Samuel Kimball
.
Thanatomorphosis: Salvador Dalí’s “Paranoiac-Critical” Reading of Millet’s “Angelus”
Named after his dead brother, Dalí heard throughout his life an interpellative threat that split and doubled his sense of self. Dalí’s resulting anxiety, coupled to his sense of “carrying the clinging carcass of this dead brother,” excited his “paranoiac-critical” suspicion that human consciousness is structurally anamorphic and necessarily blind to this anamorphosis. In elaborating and performing this intuition throughout his work, Dalí turned the wound of his name into an existential quest for the unrepresentable condition of the possibility of representation, for the non-visible condition of the possibility of sight, for the non-pictorial conditions of picturing, hence for the non-conscious condition of the possibility of consciousness. In other words, he attempted to delineate that which is other to the self within the self, and therefore that which threatens to overwhelm and even obliterate the I while constituting the I. He thereby broached a fundamental paradox concerning the evolution of the (Cartesian) sense of first-person self-certainty. He did so by way of his anamorphic production of double images and his “paranoiac-critical” method of reading through single images to their repressed content, a method which doubles his techniques. To explain what is at stake in Dalí’s paranoiac-critical anamorphosis, I will analyze his thanatotic reading of Millet’s “Angelus,” which he expounded in a book-length study that the contemporary art history James Elkins believes to be “one of the most sustained and brilliant pieces of historical writing about images . . .” and “the best work of twentieth-century art history. . . .”


Jonathan Wallis
.
Beyond the Picture Plane: Salvador Dalí’s Stereoscopic Paintings, Ernst Gombrich’s Art and Illusion, and Binocular Fission
This paper explores the relationship between Salvador Dalí’s stereoscopic paintings and Ernst Gombrich’s discussions of the intersections of science, psychology, and art in his 1960 publication, Art and Illusion. Inspired by the perspectival experiments of Dutch Baroque artists and more recent techniques of stereoscopic photography, Dalí created double-paintings in the 1970’s that transcended captured visible reality, revealing and complicating what he termed “optical truth.” In this paper, I suggest that Dalí’s innovative illusionistic paintings further an ongoing Gombrichian art of illusion by advancing the artist’s “code” beyond the limits of the picture plane through stereoscopic viewing, challenging previous boundaries between illusion and reality. By staging “binocular fission” in the presentation of his paintings (through separate images for each eye), Dalí induces binocular fusion in the act of viewing. Thus, the creation and/or perception of a spatial reality through painting occurs within the mind, and while this “reality” is visible in space it does not exist in actual space. Dalí’s lifelong obsession with doubling and twinning is reflected in the stereoscopic works, and his ideas about the multivalent perception of reality and the subjective nature of perception take on an intense and realized synthesis different than his earlier, surrealist optical illusions. Moreover, several stereoscopic paintings suggest attempts (largely unrealized) to combine stereoscopy with the artist’s paranoiac-critical method, furthering the artist’s longstanding interest in using optical effects to, as Dawn Ades has stated, “create not the illusion of a real scene but the reality of illusions.”

Session 8 (C) Panorama A (AV)
Animal Studies II
Chair:
Patrick LeMieux



Natalie Hansen
.
Dressage: Training the Equine Body
In Discipline and Punish, Foucault uses the term “dressage” to refer to practices that effectively train bodies to execute precise maneuvers in the service of disciplinary power. Tracing a long history of military training, with an origin story located in Ancient Greece and a formalizing period during the seventeenth and eighteen centuries in Europe, dressage continues to be practiced today as a highly popular equestrian sport. Although horses do not appear in Foucault’s text, examining Foucault’s use of the word and its association with horse training practices reveals not only the dehumanization of “dressage” as applied to human subjects, such as soldiers or factory workers, but reveals the workings of power inherent in what continue to be popular practices of training horses for sport and pleasure. My analysis examines the language used to describe human-horse training relations from Xenophon’s The Art of Horsemanship, to seventeenth- and eighteenth-century European training manuals, to twentieth-century guides. How do training narratives travel from fifth-century Greece to twentieth-century America? Reading these texts alongside Foucault’s critique of disciplinary power reveals how training discourses enact species hierarchies by objectifying equine bodies and naturalizing practices of domination. Training practices, in creating certain types of bodies and relationships, are political, and, applying Foucault’s understanding of biopolitics to the training of equine bodies in dressage underscores how the politics of training disappear within the practice. In what ways are horses as domesticated bodies subject to biopolitical control? What type of disciplinary relationship does the human-horse training relationship represent?


Christina Chia
.
Race and the Social Work of Dog Play
“[H]ow much more promise is in the questions, Can animals play? Or work?” Donna Haraway, When Species Meet Play has been “the thing” in recent scientific research on canine behavior. Whether posited as social cooperation (Bekoff), embodied communication (Smuts et al), or the linchpin of domestication (Tomasello and Hare), the playfulness of dogs is a crucial figure in the shifting definition of human-canine relationship from domination to companionship and co-evolution. My paper puts this body of work in conversation with a fragment of 19th-century fiction that offers a jarringly different picture of dog play as labor in the service of social domination. In The Master’s House (1854), a self-proclaimed “moderate” novel of slavery by the frontier local-colorist Thomas Bangs Thorpe, a group of white and black children gather to “play runaway”: with a black child acting the part of the fugitive and the master’s deer hound puppy on the chase. Approaching his quarry, the hound “giv[ing] forth cries of excitement, and… yelp[ing] with puppy joy.” In a richly suggestive twist on familiar narratives of “slave hunts,” racial repression is powered, not by raw canine aggression, but by the fun-lovingness of puppies. How might the science of human-canine co-evolution help us begin to understand dog’s sensory, embodied experience of human-on-human domination? How might attention to the history and persistence of racial inequalities complicate emerging models of interspecies mutuality – or complexify these models for a more democratic multispecies future?


Patrick LeMieux
.
Loyal Doggedness: The Figure of the Dog in Velazquez's Las Meninas
In The Order of Things (1966), Michel Foucault performs a close reading of Diego Velazquez's Las Meninas (1956). In developing this lengthy description, Foucault proposes that Las Meninas is not a figurative illustration of the court of King Philip IV but is instead a painting of representation itself — representation in its pure form. The specific composition of each figure in the painting informs this conclusion. However, for all his detailing, Foucault overlooks the dog for which his only description reads "to the right the dog lying on the floor, the only element in the picture that is neither looking at anything nor moving, because it is not intended...to be anything but an object to be seen." In this way the figure of the dog becomes a supplement to Foucault's episteme in which pure representation binds human subjectivity via the conflated bodily position of artist, subject, and audience. Given the dog's unique position as a supplement to this regime of pure-representation, possibilities emerge for unleashing "bound subjectivity" by analyzing this figure as a metonymy for the art discourse at large. My essay traces the dog through various disciplines including animal studies, post-humanism, object oriented philosophy, and cultural analytics before arriving at the creation of an original artwork: a welcome mat for the art institution featuring a cropped, to-scale image of the dog from Las Meninas. This customized art accessory embodies a heuretic methodology for ethical close reading and demonstrates a type of loyal doggedness for the art discourse.

Session 8 (D) Circle Centre (AV)
Object-Oriented Feminism 2: "Parts"
Chair:
Katherine Behar
"Object-Oriented Feminism 2: Parts" takes an Object-Oriented Feminist view of bodies and body parts. As objects, bodies provide a case study of how Object-Oriented Philosophy introduces an unusual, nearly topological, imperviousness to scale: objects are composed of objects. Body parts are objects, having the same value and integrity as the body objects they are arranged to comprise. This regressive modularity leads to questions about when a body object is considered a living object or a dead one, and about how body parts can be differently systematized. In Object-Oriented Feminism, bodies are programmed objects par excellence. How are bodies programmed differently when practices like cardiology construe hearts as different kinds of objects (as electrical systems or as hydraulic systems)? How do transgenic art practices challenge quid pro quo bioethics in the "art object" of a living (or dead) organism? In transgene infection, what determines how art objects and objects of science attain legal standing or ritual value? As a specific, historical, cultural object for segmenting the body, can a corset provide anamorphic insight into objects in general? And how does this complex mereology (the theory of relations between parts and wholes) intersect with practices of the self that employ the corset, like fetishism?



Anne Pollock
.
Heart Feminism
When feminists theorizations of the body have foregrounded particular body parts, whether breasts or uteruses (too many to cite) or more recently brains (Wilson) and bones (Fausto-Sterling), they have rendered feminism and the body in distinct ways. What might starting analysis from the heart offer for feminism? The heart’s mechanical and hydraulic aspects have been important in articulating implicitly male bodies since early modern medicine, and the organ’s electrical aspect is also evocative. Spurred by the etymology of “articulation” – from ancient Greek, both dividing the body into parts and segmenting speech into intelligible language (Kuriyama) – this paper grapples with a heart-centered feminist articulation of the body.


Adam Zaretsky
.
Object-Oriented Bioethics: gene application technology, trans-normative bioethics and posthuman(e) sacrifice of Transgenic Devices
We look at hereditary alterity as a technologically gendered art of forming bodies and as a way towards actuating beings born under the aegis of authored morphological predeterminism. Transgene infection is achieved by engineering gene cassettes/constructs considered inert until they are reincorporated into a nuclear genome beginning a hereditary cascade. Actual transgene infection involves human application of gene insertion machines targeted towards the nuclei of germ cells (vertebrate, fly, worm, plant, etc.) The apparatii include standard viral vector design as well as the microinjectors, biolistic devices, electroporators and coprecipitation transformations. Once parented by these symbolically gendered tools, the pressed gonads belong to the living world, the machinic predecessors and to the artists who drive/test/keep/display them. Unfortunately, most modified beings must be contained and some must be humanely sacrificed to protect the environment from foreign species invasion, to defend programs of society from their-selves and to reduce the suffering of living sculpture. Aesthetic cathexis towards other-body expressions point to the applicator’s desire and intention: objectified dominance (scope and poke), lust for reproductive signature (living fame) as well as the standard libidinal taboos – incest, pedophilia, necrophilia, coprophilia, zoophilia and ritual murder. In Object-Oriented Bioethics the questions pertain to the living or quashed remainders of anti-anthropocentric contact relations. Object Oriented Ontological Feminism critiques through a mix of object oriented code aesthetics, psychoanalytic object relations and contemporary feminist readings of the potential for use value in working resistance from the POV of objectification.


Frenchy Lunning
.
OOF! The Corset: An Anamorphosis of Ambiguous Objects
Represented on ancient wall paintings, historical advertisements, political cartoons, famous paintings and histories of fashion, fads and femininity, the corset stands as a particular object in a closely circulating assemblage of objects that condense around the feminine and the fetish. I submit that the corset reflects and represents the same distortions, slant progressions and “miss-shaping” as does the object in the same anamorphic entangled fields of the feminine and the fetish. This paper will attempt to describe the assemblage or field of these objects and trace their circulations, progressions, and constructions through their histories, linkages, conflicts and alliances to discover or uncover the potential of a Feminist reading of object-oriented philosophy.


Ian Bogost
.
Respondent

Session 8 (E) Meridian West (AV)
PsychoScience: Jung, Skinner, Turing
Chair:
Jay Labinger




» Archetype and Eternal Object
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Grant Maxwell
.
Archetype and Eternal Object: a critical response to David Ray Griffin’s synthesis of Jung’s and Whitehead’s articulations of formal causality in Arch
In his introduction to Archetypal Process (1989), David Ray Griffin suggests that both C.G. Jung’s concept of “archetypes” and Alfred North Whitehead’s concept of “eternal objects” “reassert something like the Platonic view of the importance of formal causes in the nature of things”(Griffin, 11). I wholeheartedly endorse this view and commend Griffin for making the connection between these two seminal thinkers explicit. However, I would like to dispute Griffin’s assertion that synchronicity “is probably the weakest element in Jung’s speculations”(Griffin, 27) and argue that, in fact, Griffin’s dismissal of synchronicity in favor of Whiteheadean panexperientialism betrays a fundamental misconception by Griffin of what synchronicity constitutes. In all fairness, this confusion is understandable since Jung himself often seemed confused about the ontological status of the archetypes and their relationship to synchronicity. Moreover, the subtitle of Jung’s Synchronicity, “an acausal connecting principle,” is rather misleading since synchronicity is essentially a modern inflection and renomination of formal causality as a reaction to the privileging of material and efficient causality in modernity. Nevertheless, I will argue that Richard Tarnas’ explication of the nature of synchronicity and the archetypes in The Passion of the Western Mind (1991), derived largely from the work of James Hillman and Stanislav Grof, sheds light on the conceptual error at the root of Griffin’s misreading. Furthermore, I will suggest that synchronicity and panexperientialism, far from being competing explanations for the “parapsychological phenomena” that Griffin discusses, are, in fact, complementary concepts, both expressing different aspects of formal causality.


Tyler Curtain
.
The afterlife of behaviorism: contemporary theories of subjectivity and social formation
In this paper I will give a short history of Skinnerian behaviorism from the 1950s through the 1970s. I will then discuss cognitive behavior therapy as one instance of the rehabilitation of a behaviorist vocabulary of subjectivity and social formations. By way of example I will discuss the career of psychologist Robert Boice, and discuss the role of writing and block in the work of Boice and BF Skinner.


Jay Labinger
.
Translating/Decoding in Science and Literature: Sometimes a @#$%^&* is just a @#$%^&*
This paper takes as its starting point Edmundo Paz Soldán’s 2003 novel El Delirio de Turing (which I read in English translation, as Turing’s Delirium), in which the central character, a cryptanalyst, sees everything in his world as a coded message needing to be deciphered. The common metaphor for science, “reading the book of Nature,” implicitly carries along the additional metaphors of science as translation or decoding, since Nature doesn’t write her book in our language. Observational science could thus be described as gathering messages to be decoded. But how do we know which are real messages and which are just noise? While interpreting literary works has also been metaphorically described as a decoding act, it is generally not accepted practice to try to decide which messages are “real” — that is, intended by the author. However, in a translated work, the translator’s choice of certain words, phrases or passages can often appear to be an encoded representation of some particular feature of the original text. Can we decode these apparent messages? Should we? My talk will explore problems of questionable coded messages in my scientific work, translation, and the Paz Soldán text, and resonances between the realms.

Session 8 (F) Library
The Neuroturn: Epistemological Intersections Between Neuroscience and the Humanities
Chair:
Jenell Johnson
Neurofiction, neurohistory, neurotheology, neuroaesthetics, neuroeconomics, neuropolitics: the list of disciplines adopting neuroscience for their research is growing at an astounding rate. The rapid development and proliferation of these new neuro-fields, a moment this panel terms the “neuroturn,” suggests a radical shift in the epistemology across a number of disciplines, including those of the humanities writ large. This panel examines three facets of knowledge production during the neuroturn, the invention of a critical vocabulary, the cross-fertilization of literature and neuroscience, and the rhetorical boundaries between popular and academic neuroscience, in so doing, each panelist emphasizes the need for a cautious and critical perspective at this fascinating period in the history of ideas.



Melissa Littlefield
.
“Brainhood” after the “Neurorevolution”: Why we Need a Critical Vocabulary for the Neuroscientific Turn in the Humanities
The ubiquitous application of neuroscience to fields beyond biomedicine has been characterized as revolutionary—akin to the industrial and information revolutions (Lynch 2009)—and as evidence of a new ‘neurosociety’ in which all domains of life and knowledge production are (or soon will be) under the rubrics of the neuro. As has been the case with other imaging technologies, from cinema to the X-ray to Positron Emissions Tomography, those technologies employed by the neurosciences and used in the neuroturn (MRI, fMRI, EEG) are products and producers of new ways of seeing (Dror 1999, 2001a, 2001b; Cartwright 1992, 1995; Dumit 2004; Beaulieu 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004; and Crary 1992, 2001). So too does the neuroturn require the invention of a new way of seeing via a mutli-disciplinary, interpretive language. In this presentation, Littlefield explains the need for a new vocabulary by pairing the novums of two recent science fiction narratives that focus on fMRI, The Truth Machine (1996) and “The Erdmann Nexus” (2009), alongside the developing terminology of critical neuroscience. In each case, this paper argues, the invention of language to explain the neuroturn performs three tasks: it falsely historicizes the field, creates “working objects” (Daston and Galison 1992, 85), and renders the neuroturn palatable to mass media.


Birge
.
It’s Not Brain Science (or is it?): The Influence of Contemporary Fiction on Neuroscience
Birge’s paper examines the disciplinary interstitiality of literature at the moment of the neuroturn, focusing on the provocative claim that the work of novelists contributes to or counts as scientific research. Though long espoused by those on the literary side of the “two cultures” and relatively ignored by scientists, the idea of literature as science demands renewed focus in light of recent crossover work. Despite the fact that many neuroscientists such as V.S. Ramachandran and Oliver Sacks draw from novels in their popular science writings, studies such as Jonah Lehrer’s Proust was a Neuroscientist are taken to task by the scientific community for their oversimplification of scientific thought and sweeping gestures relating artistic works to neuroscientific discoveries. On the other hand, novels are increasingly utilized in both scientific journal articles as well as science classrooms, and science-themed novels as well as works such as Lehrer’s (or, similarly, the UCSF Memory and Aging Center’s study of semantic dementia and Marquez’ One Hundred Years of Solitude) are inspiring new dialogue between science and literary scholars. As medical schools around the country increase their literature components, requiring students to study novels in addition to peer-reviewed research, this paper examines just what neuroscience stands to gain from this multidisciplinary expansion.


Jenell Johnson
.
The Neuroturn’s Appropriation of Popular Neuroscience
In this paper, Johnson investigates how the new neuro-fields rely on popular neuroscience to support their assertions, and to what effect. A cursory glance at the bibliographies of many neuro-scholars reveals that much of their information about the brain is taken from books by Antonio Damasio, Steven Pinker, V.S. Ramachandran, and Joseph LeDoux (e.g. Freese et al 2003; Eakin 2004; Cook 2006; Bachman 2007; Dale et. al 2007). Although the aforementioned authors are well-respected and groundbreaking neuroscientists, the texts that ground many neuro-fields are best described as “accommodations” of science (Fahnestock 1986), translated in form and content for a general reading public. The reason seems clear enough: unfamiliar with the terminology and methodology of the neurosciences, many neuro-scholars turn to accommodations because they are more accessible. However, translation always comes at a price. Studies of the popularization of science have found that accommodations of science often exhibit stronger claims of certainty and fewer qualifications than original research (Fahnestock 1986); in addition, book-length accommodations in particular exhibit claims of universality foreclosed by the discursive norms of academic science writing (Varghese and Abraham 2004). Using a broad survey of recent neuro-scholarship, Johnson argues that the boundary crossing of neuro-scholars extends beyond disciplines and into the boundary dividing academic and popular discourse as well, and asks: at what point does the neuroturn’s dependence on popular neuroscience risk uncritical “neuro-realism” or “neuro-essentialism” (Racine et. al 2004), and what implications do these forms of reductionism have on knowledge production?

Session 8 (G) Illinois
Pure Fiction
Chair:
John Bruni
This panel looks at how the boundary between the pure and the impure is constructed and policed in science fiction, naturalism, and the larger cultural practices and politics of consumption in the early twentieth century. We explore the double meaning of purity as fiction, that is, both how purity is dramatized and how it is constituted as a fiction that guides fantasies about securing individual and collective identity. Central to our investigation is the body and how it matters: the physicality of reproduction, appetite, and metabolism. We find particularly prominent anxieties about impure bodies and imagined ways of controlling these bodies through racial hygiene, temperance, and self-discipline. Disciplinary action taken on and against the body, we suggest, cuts across the disciplinary regimes that guide scientific discourses about evolution, thermodynamics, public health, and ecology. Starting our inquiry, Patrick B. Sharp demonstrates how sexual selection informs narratives of motherhood and how these narratives en-gender the prehistory of science fiction’s golden age. Next, Cara Erdheim connects Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle to his autobiography The Fasting Cure (fashioned from earlier articles he wrote about dieting in Physical Culture Magazine) to trace how social movements in naturalist fiction are grounded in calls for environmental advocacy. Lastly, John Bruni investigates how Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie and Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth portray an emerging doctrine of thermodynamics that rewrites the evolutionary narrative of decline through scenarios of waste and over-consumption.



Patrick B. Sharp
.
Racial Hygiene, Sexual Selection, and Science Fiction before the Golden Age
In this paper, I look at the use of evolutionary arguments regarding sexual selection in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. Drawing from the work of Darwin, feminists such as Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Inez Haynes Gillmore created visions of the future that they saw as empowering to women. In their respective novels Herland and Angel Island, these authors took an essentialist approach that accepted much of the formulation of male and female put forward by Darwin and several other evolutionary thinkers of the period. In Angel Island, for example, Gillmore revisits an evolutionary primal scene where civilized men become stranded on an island visited by beautiful flying women. Gillmore represents these men as driven by primal evolutionary drives that lead them to capture and clip the wings of these women. This evolutionary captivity narrative provides the basis for Gillmore's feminist critique of contemporary domestic and social arrangements that cage women and prevent them from contributing to the march of progress. Both Gilman and Gillmore took the notion of biological motherhood and used it to argue for the importance of women in producing better offspring to help "the race" progress. This notion of progress, I argue, was part of a racial nationalism of the period that became encoded in science fiction at a critical moment in the development of the genre. As such, these narratives of future motherhood became encoded as part of the racial unconscious of the genre.


Cara Erdheim
.
Sinclair's Dietary Discourse: Rethinking Naturalist Hunger from the Jungle to the Fasting Cure
My paper explores how Sinclair's fascination with deprivation contributes to a counter-discourse that enriches our perspective on naturalist concepts of hunger, strength, and survival. Despite harrowing accounts of starvation and sickness throughout The Jungle (1905), Sinclair seemed to deny his own hunger in The Fasting Cure (1927), an autobiography inspired by his earlier twentieth-century writings for Physical Culture Magazine about extreme dieting. I argue that Sinclair's autobiographical work on fasting fads, vegetable diets, and natural foods following his completion of The Jungle both complicates and complements our view of appetite and environment in the novel. This paper identifies a largely unexamined preoccupation with starvation and temperance that surfaces in relation to American literary naturalism’s anti-meat rhetoric, a dietary discourse that Sinclair both pioneers and participates in. These dialogues about dieting may seem ironic, considering that they follow Sinclair's completion of a novel about starvation, sickness, and poverty among Chicago's most desperate immigrant populations; however, I see a parallel between Sinclair's vegetarianism, which he refers to in The Fasting Cure as a newfound religion, and the socialist conversion that Jurgis Rudkus experiences at the novel's end. Using The Jungle as my central primary text, this paper connects Sinclair's fascination with fasting fads, raw foods, restrictive eating, and public health to his later political writings about government-subsidized farming and sustainable gardens within cities. When read comparatively, Sinclair's fiction and nonfiction affirm the centrality of environmental advocacy to naturalism's social reformism.


John Bruni
.
Dirty Naturalism and the Regime of Thermodynamic Self-Organization
In this paper, I investigate how Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie and Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth rewrite the evolutionary narrative of decline. Dreiser and Wharton question whether the social Darwinist trope of survival of the fittest (and failure to survive as extinction) can be articulated through images of biological struggle. My reading of their works suggests that survival depends, to a larger degree, upon the connection of economics to metabolic processes. In other words, a model that ties economic flows to energy flows. I consider how the thermodynamic language that informs this model also shapes the emergent “new economy” in the early twentieth century that promotes stock market speculation based on the circulation of information. My argument focuses on how Dreiser and Wharton’s representations of evolution suggest that the wasteful practices of Wall Street speculation are echoed by the effects of over-consumption on the natural environment. I proceed to make a larger argument about the “dirty naturalism” of Dreiser and Wharton and how it short-circuits the emerging regime of thermodynamic self-organization that underwrites imperialist projects on a global scale. Through my reading of Dreiser and Wharton, I connect the self-referential codes that constitute social systems to fantasies of pure information/energy—dreams that obscure the violence of ongoing capitalist transformations of scientific knowledge production.

Session 8 (H) Michigan
Sci-Fi I: Tactility, Food, Remediation
Chair:
Eric White



Megan Friddle
.
Science Fiction and Food: What Happened to the Future of the Future?
Science fiction, as a genre serving simultaneously as entertainment and social critique, maintains a uniquely symbiotic relationship to culture. This relationship flourishes on multiple levels, informing popular culture as well as public policy. Authors of science fiction ask their readers to suspend disbelief and to accept implausible technology, alternate trajectories for historical events, and even genetic changes that bring into question the very nature of humanity. It is through this radical shift in perspective that science fiction can re-imagine the present as an alternative and/or future world. Though food sometimes appears in radically different forms, usually for the sake of convenience, it often remains relatively unchanged in these future worlds. In order to explore the presence of food, and the kind of work that various consumables do in science fiction, I begin with a brief history of futurity and American food policy. Next, I examine a selection American science fiction novels published between 1959 and 2002 and their connections to food and resource management discourse. Though some work has been done already to connect the history of American food discourse to science fiction, little has been written about novels published after the 1950s, particularly those that imagine an alternate present or future that is not explicitly dystopian. How have science fiction and public policy dealt with the dystopian events filling the past thirty years? In a very real sense, they have turned away from the future itself, investing instead in a “damage control” vision of a transformed present.


John Shanahan
.
"Remediation and Apocalypse in David Mitchell's 'Cloud Atlas.'"
David Mitchell’s award-winning 2004 novel Cloud Atlas works by a method of sampling, or remix. Each of the novel’s six internal stories derives its style from a different, older, form of literary representation and, in some cases, a single author or individual work. I argue that the different media forms that constitute the six separate stories (memoir, journal, letters, mass-market fiction, recorded interrogation, and oral tale) ultimately tell a higher-order tale of ongoing media shifts and their consequences for narrative. (We might also note here that two of Cloud Atlas’ central stories, set in the future, depict a world after printed books.) I explore the meanings of Mitchell’s strong intertextuality, and argue that the novel serves as an allegory of our contemporary culture of “remediation”—the tendency of newer media to embed earlier media inside them in modified form in an ongoing quest for transparency. At the same time, Mitchell has described his novel as centered on the ubiquity of oppression. But the political valences of the novel are in fact unstable. Liberalism and cosmopolitanism seem to be recommended in many parts of the novel rather overtly. Yet the formal structure of this novel, rife with narrative circularity and archetypal features, suggests something much less progressive. Because of the novel’s circular narrative structure, and despite its seeming liberalism at the level of content, it also gives off signals that imply eternal and inescapable patterns of oppression and ecological destruction. The rebirth hints in the narrative and circularity of its general structure should be read as an ideological defeatism that belies the surface optimism of the novel as a whole.


Eric White
.
Mind as Matter: China Miéville's PERDIDO STREET STATION and the Tactility of Thought
“A magic lantern was flickering in his head, bombarding him with a succession of images... These were memories. These were dreams. [He] was spattered by a psychic sluice...He swam in...a glutinous cesspit of dreamjuice...until he could hardly breath, he was drowning in the sloshing stuff of dreams and hopes, recollections and reflections....His body was a boneless sack of mental effluent. Somewhere way away, he heard it moan and rock on the bed with a liquid gurgling.” In PERDIDO STREET STATION (2000), China Miéville employs a rhetoric of tactility to figure the workings of the imagination. Even as he alludes to a familiar understanding of imaginative experience as a sequence of phantasmagorically shapeshifting images, Miéville's descriptions of mental process evoke intensely tactile feelings. This promotion of material embodiment and haptic proximity to the world may provide an antidote for an all-too-frequent concomitant of the traditional association of the imagination with the faculty of sight, namely, a culturally normative organization of the sensorium that privileges sight over every other sense because the visual faculty in particular facilitates the installation of a fixed dichotomy of self and other, or the illusion of a self-contained subject of knowledge contemplating the world from a safe distance as a potentially controllable object. Miéville's figuration of consciousness as a tactile phantasmagoria constitutes an orientation toward experience premised not upon the distanciation attributed to the faculty of sight which has traditionally given rise to fantasies of omniscience and mastery but on the haptic merging of knower and known.


Dinner on Your Own - Sat


SLSA Dance (Living Proof) - Panorama Ballroom 9pm -


Session 9 - Sun 8:30am - 10am

Session 9 (A) Ohio (AV)
Ends of Life I: Biomedicine
Chair:
Morgan Tunzelmann



Priya Venkatesan
.
“The Physician as "The Reader": Ethics and Interpretation in Medicine”
The assumption that the humanities “humanize” scientists or doctors, or make them sensitive to the soft aspects of their otherwise hard lives, is replete with problems (Metzl 2009). However, there are benefits which exposure to humanities, or more precisely the act of reading, confer upon physicians. In this talk, I am going to present case studies, a film and examples of poetry to offer a validation of the important role the humanities play and the kind of influence they can have on the practice of the physician. I am going to make the argument that being in touch with the humanities makes physicians understand the human origin of disease as opposed to the scientific or biomedical origin and can actually enable the physician to have a repertoire of responses when treating patients. Reading not only increases empathy but enhances the clinical decision making skills of the physician. The act of reading literature brings out interpretive skills that go beyond the exteriority of the bureaucratic and technical demands of the institutionalized profession of medicine. Furthermore, I will demonstrate how this concept of critical interpretation through medical humanities relates to the practical applications of ethics in daily life of the physician and is relevant for the medical profession. Through the 2008 film The Reader, I will demonstrate the power of reading and listening to literature, both psychic and emotional, and how reading literature affects our interpretation of others in the context of biomedicine.


Etienne Pelaprat
.
The Genealogy of the Vegetative Subject: A Critique of Contemporary Life and Death
This paper presents a “genealogy of the vegetative subject” as a critique of shifting definitions of life and death in contemporary society, and situates the work within the biopolitical literature of the humanities and social sciences. By vegetative subject I refer not simply to the contemporary medico-legal articulation of the vegetative patient, brain-death, or life-sustaining care, but to the production of a human subject at the intersection of a new discourse of life and death itself and a series of biopolitical struggles. In the early 20th century, a physicalist epistemology of the mind rooted in the brain made it possible for the neural production of consciousness -- what I call cognizant life -- to sustain a discourse of human life itself. When cognizant life was linked to brain-death in the mid-century, a new threshold of life and death emerged. As I argue, however, the co-extension of cognizant life with human life results in an ontological aporia: deciphering which neural-cognitive processes are sufficient to produce mind, and thus a living or dead being, cannot be answered by the knowledge of the neurosciences. It is in this sense that the cognizant life problematizes not only conventional definitions of medical, ethical, and legal death, but so too institutional, legislative, and ethical practices that mediate our encounter with the dying and dead. Indeed, we must examine our contemporary experience of death precisely in the ways we have sought to produce a subject in a discourse of life, and a threshold of death, that makes no room for what is ontologically specific to human death. This is the task of a genealogy of the vegetative subject.


Morgan Tunzelmann
.
Touch and the Surgical Embrace in Pauline Chen’s Final Exam: A Surgeon’s Reflections on Mortality (2007)
In her 2007 memoir, Final Exam, the surgeon Pauline Chen sets herself the task of examining how and why her profession systematically depersonalizes dying. Covering the topics of death and clinical objectivity in a style that alternates between sentimental anecdote and amateur sociological analysis, Chen devotes the first part of her book to narrating her initial encounters with death through certain ritualistic procedures learned in medical school: “the cadaver dissection, the first resuscitation, and the first pronouncement of death” (xiv). The other part of the book “delves into the heart of clinical work, revealing how our professional responses not only manifest but also perpetuate themselves” (xiv). My paper will engage Chen’s narrative to question the role that touch and the “haptic” sense play both in aiding the medical student to memorize the anatomical details of the human body (through what Kant terms “physiological knowledge”), as well as in forming those habitual “professional responses.” Drawing upon philosophical treatises by Jean-Luc Nancy and by Jacques Derrida, I will show how although touch forms a degree of intimacy between the surgeon and the patient’s body, its facilitation of physiological and empirical knowledge also inherently abets the human aversion to death. Paradoxically, in philosophical terms, being aware of touch—arguably, necessary to surgical practice—shows the “incommensurability” between soul and body and perhaps even, I will hypothesize, between empathic and phenomenal experience.

Session 9 (B) Library (AV)
Sci-Fi II: Wonder Woman, Frontiers, Everyday Life
Chair:
Jennifer L Lieberman



Brian Matzke
.
“Extravagant fiction today...cold fact tomorrow”: Amazing Stories and science as a participant in everyday life
In the nineteenth century and earlier, literary depictions of science tended to underscore its extraordinariness rather than its ordinariness. In The Age of Wonder, Richard Holmes observes that romantic writers held an image of science hinging on notions of the fantastic and “the dazzling idea of scientific genius.” To this day, “wonder” is typically seen as a central component of scientific fiction, and particularly science fiction. However, in the twentieth century, when science fiction became a discrete genre, it was as concerned with depicting the mundanity and familiarity of scientific progress. This is evident in the first science fiction magazine, Amazing Stories. In his editorial at the beginning of the magazine’s first issue, publisher Hugo Gernsback writes: “Science...enters so immediately into all our lives today, and we are so much immersed in this science, that we have become rather prone to take new inventions and discoveries for granted. Our entire mode of living has changed with the present progress.” These lines do not encourage the reader to marvel at the wonder of science, but rather to appreciate science’s relevance to the reader’s everyday reality. This paper will argue for a reevaluation of Gernsback and Amazing Stories. Through interpretation of Gernsback’s editorials, his fiction, and the fiction that he published in his magazine, I will demonstrate that Amazing Stories evinces a shift in literary representations of science towards increased awareness of science as a participant in mundane and everyday concerns.


Matthew J. Brown
.
Love Slaves and Wonder Women: Values and Popular Culture in the Psychology of W.M. Marston
Wonder Woman is one of the most iconic and well-known of all comic-book superheroes. What is far less appreciated is her scientific origin in the psychological theories of William Moulton Marston. In the field of psychology today, Marston is remembered for making contributions to the development of the lie detector test. In his time, however, he was a major figure both within the discipline of psychology and in the public eye, contributing to psychological research in deception, basic emotions, personality types, abnormal psychology, sexuality, and consciousness. Despite his historically minor impact on the field of psychology, Marston's work is instructive in several ways for philosophers of science and philosophers of psychology. Besides his interesting early attempts to draw conclusions about emotions and cognition on the basis of work in neuroscience, Marston's research is an interesting case study in the relation between science and values. I will show how Marston's work draws on his (unorthodox) feminist values and implies normative conclusions about psycho-emotional health and education. Further, I will show how Marston makes use of the popular press as an unusual venue of the application of his scientific research, including popular psychology books, magazine articles, a novel, and his comic book character, Wonder Woman. I will argue that this case has significant similarities much more recent exemplars of value-laden research, as well as posing new challenges.


Jennifer L Lieberman
.
The Significance of the Frontier in American Science and Fiction
Recent scholarship, including Carl Abbott's Frontiers Past and Future: Science Fiction and the American West (2006) and William H. Katerberg's Future West: Utopia and Apocalypse in Frontier Science Fiction (2008), has explored how science fiction has used the trope of the frontier since the 1930s. My paper complements such criticism by exploring how the image of the scientific frontier was shaped in literature and laboratories between the 1890s and 1940s. During this era, popular weekly magazines like the New Golden Era—as well as novels such as Garrett P. Serviss's Edison's Conquest of Mars (1898) and Edgar Rice Burroughs's Gods of Mars (1918)—imagined "scientific frontiers" for America to annex after the census declared the American frontier closed in 1890. At the same time, the recently-closed frontier was becoming a new seat of scientific invention. Scientists and technologists with laboratories in the West, such as Nikola Tesla and DeWitt Bristol Brace, transformed the American frontier into a place where new technological knowledges were produced, long before Los Alamos, Las Vegas, and Silicon Valley became popular symbols for American technological development. By associating contemporary technoscientific industries with the frontier, fiction and science writers depicted certain realms of scientific production as distinctly American. In so doing, these writers helped redefine the concept of the frontier during an era characterized by postfrontier anxiety. This paper explores the literary and cultural history of the "scientific frontier," while considering how this history might raise new questions about science fact and fiction in the twenty-first century.

Session 9 (C) Panorama A (AV)
Animals III
Chair:
Cat Yampell



» Bryson presentation
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Michael Bryson
.
That's Some Fish Story: What the Asian Carp Controversy Can Tell Us about Science, Sustainability, and the Future of the Great Lakes Watershed
Right now one of the greatest fish stories in recent decades is unfolding before our eyes. Its epicenter is the southwestern rim of the Great Lakes Watershed -- itself the world's biggest freshwater surface resource. The Great Asian Carp Controversy has spawned a multistate legal battle about how to prevent the entry of two non-native carp species into the Great Lakes from the Sanitary and Ship Canal that connects Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River basin, and thus avoid a potential environmental catastrophe. The debate about the Asian Carp problem and how to deal with it encompasses a breathtaking variety of conflicting cultural narratives that take the form of media reports, policy documents, international treaties, and scientific studies. Several key themes and tropes structure these narratives, including the dangerous specter of invasive species, sometimes referred to as "biological pollution"; the contested credibility of a new scientific technique, environmental DNA (e-DNA) monitoring; competing economic and ecological arguments about local versus regional sustainability; the role of uncertainty in science and policy; and the capabilities and limitations of technology to solve environmental problems. This presentation maps the key issues and narrative elements of the Asian Carp controversy, and suggests that a sustainability-focused assessment needs to take into account not just the relevant scientific information, environmental policy, and legal frameworks, but also the content and rhetoric of the fish stories being told. Moreover, the controversy provides an opportunity to critically reflect on the multiple meanings of the sustainability concept itself.


James Barilla
.
Reflections From A Ratcatcher
The theme of this year’s conference has to do with questions surrounding the end of life, and this paper intends to explore the dilemma posed by invasive species, particularly the question of whether they should be eradicated from their new locations. This creative nonfiction narrative will explore the broader context of invasion biology through a personal encounter with an invasive species: the black rat. When a rat invades the walls of my house in South Carolina, it literally brings home many of the questions of how we should deal with invasive species. Should I simply accommodate the creature? Trap it with a live trap and release it somewhere else? Poison it? Sprinkle the walls with powdered bobcat urine? At first, I thought of the rodent as simply an invader of my personal space, when in fact the “Global Invasive Species Database” lists it as one of the world’s worst invasive species. The omission, I come to realize, says something about time, about how we build relationships with species that transcend place, that offer us a sense of continuous personal history even in the face of shifting geography. To call the rat an invasive species, to call attention to its origins, is to call attention to our own origins in other places. To say it belongs in one place and not another is to raise that question about ourselves. It’s easier to think that rats, like annual grasses in the California hills have always been everywhere. Even when one decides to come inside your home. I think this paper could work well on a creative panel generally, or as part of a panel that deals with invasion biology.


Cat Yampell
.
Brutality, Bestiality, and the Catwalk: The State of the Union in 2010
A man that tortures and kills innumerable animals is reinstated as a professional football player, receives a humanitarian award for courage and improving the lives of neglected children, and is further compensated nearly $20 million dollars in back and bonus pay. In Moorestown, NJ, all charges are dropped against a local police officer who sexually assaults five cows. A Superior Court judge is incapable of determining that acts of cruelty against animals have been perpetrated. Currently, New Jersey does not have any laws against bestiality. In Washington State, a man is arrested for running a bestiality ranch for tourists. Upon the ranch’s seizure, many of the animals had to be euthanized. Judges’ delight on a popular fashion reality show changes to horror when they realize that the clothes they believe to be trimmed with animal fur are actually embellished by human hair. The innovative fashion designer is out of the competition. Faux fur that is indistinguishable from real fur, real fur dyed and disguised as faux, and animal prints are strutted down European and American catwalks. Are these prints and faux fur doing more harm than good? San Diego, CA, in contrast, passes a law forbidding the sale of any animals within the city limits, recognizing that animals are beings with rights, not commodities. As the first decade of the twenty-first century draws to a close, the progress of the United States as an enlightened country that respects other species, their rights and their welfare remains highly and frighteningly questionable.

Session 9 (D) Michigan (AV)
The Arts III: Nature
Chair:
Melody Jue



Hannah Star Rogers
.
Bioarts and STS
This presentation will investigate work in the Biological Arts. I will tell a few stories from my experiences as a resident at SymbioticA and offer some examples of recent and on-going biological artworks. I will use these ethnographic observations will to illuminate the mythology, lifeworld, and practices of Biological Arts practitioners at Symbiotica, as well as the “Bioarts” more generally. Attention will be paid to the ways in which conceptual and “working” pieces function and convey meaning. For example, I will discuss the practice of showing living bioart works in the gallery and the implications this has for both curators and audiences. Additionally, I will argue that Biological Arts and Science & Technology Studies have a great deal to offer each other through both their practical concerns and their ways of approaching their subjects.


Jen Boyle
.
Animating the Ends of Life: the simulacra of choice in the fetal image
Oklahoma’s newly proposed “ultrasound bill” is one in a cluster of new legislative initiatives across the US requiring women to obtain an ultrasound image before an abortion is performed. Several of these new bills (Texas, Nebraska, and Indiana) insist that the woman “not look away from the image”: the woman must see the image; and the attending doctor must offer an informed description of the image to the woman. What type of animation of life and death, as “made” and “born” (Sarah Franklin; Judith Halberstam), is anticipated in these mediated performances? This paper and multimedia performance plays with two potential models of the simulacra at play in the mediated image of “life.” Moving between animated sequences of fetal ultrasounds and excerpts from the Brother’s Quay stop-motion animation short, Rehearsals for Extinct Anatomies (1988), I investigate how affective temporality informs the imparting of life in the animated image. A comparison of Quay’s art and the aesthetic of the “scene of conversion” in the ultrasound animations illuminate how the fetal ultrasound inadvertently embraces mediated time as a form of bio-reproduction. Ultimately, I want to point to how such a model of bio-reproduction creates an opening for a creative re-imagining of the ends (fits and starts) of life. Finally, I draw on two theoretical possibilities for reading duration, animation, and life in these images: the simulacra of life as “capture” (Foucaultian control) and as “swerve” (epicurean materiality: Bergson and Spinoza).


Jason Zuzga
.
The Triumph of the Organelle: Harvard's Biovision Project and the Animated Cell
This paper will consider the affect and distribution of scientific animations of of microbiological processes, spotlighting the creation and reception of the digital animation "The Inner Life of the Cell" as developed at Harvard by Alain Viel and Robert A. Lue in 2006. http://www.studiodaily.com/main/searchlist/6850.html http://multimedia.mcb.harvard.edu/ The paper will draw on recent scholarship in documentary studies, such as the notion of "documentary display" as developed by Keith Beattie as well as Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison's work on objectivity. Bruno Latour's idea of a parliament of things suggests the potential for greater exchange between scientists and political entities; missing, however, in such a interdisciplinary network would seem to be the circuit in which educational presentations trope biochemical and organic processes for the public, the step in which a bio-public of citizens may be mustered, endowed with a sense of wonderful mastery over the most unfamiliar yet intimate realm, namely, the fantastic terrain of struggle and triumph (of the will) within one's own body. Less a focus on the language of science, this paper will use psychoanalytic theory and media theory to consider how this particular video risks a trope of heroic agency to "actors" deeply embedded and hardly independent within the cell's overall homeostatic complexity. The use of this animation in the biology classroom, especially for students who may take only one or two science classes, will be considered.


Melody Jue
.
Digital Oceans: Taking critical spatial theory (virtually) underwater
Critical spatial theory has almost exclusively focused on land and human dwelling, taking for granted our 180 degrees of mobility and a floor and using the relative stability of landforms to describe place. While this valuable body of theory informs spatial problems specific to human life and cities, it misses the complexities of liquid or gaseous mediums and the organisms that live there. What aspects of our theories about space and place would change if we considered the medium of water? How (and for whom) is space navigated, traversed, and lived in an aqueous environment? This paper puts critical spatial theory and scientific visualizations of the ocean into dialogue, following the emergence of “digital oceans” produced by media artists and ocean scientists. I focus on the media installation ATLAS in silico as a digital ocean and discuss how it updates a particular history of scientific atlases and the epistemic claims they have traditionally made. Created by a collaboration of artists and scientists based out of UCSD’s Calit2 center, ATLAS in silico reanimates the genomic data of marine microbes collected during J. Craig Venter’s global ocean survey as a freeway of blue dots against a black background on 60 LCD screens, inviting participants to find patterns in microbial genomic data through visual and sonic feedback. ATLAS in silico is a heterotopia that inverts and gathers ocean space, virtual space, and biological space together in one place. I compare this tripartite layering to Foucault’s heterotopias of the archive, cemetery and boat, considering how “digital oceans” both double and re-produce ocean space. Digital oceans take critical spatial theory to new and unexplored territory, asking us to consider the vehicles—digital, metaphorical, or seaworthy—that we use to make our epistemic claims.

Session 9 (E) Illinois (AV)
Bodies and Science in Victorian Literature: Poe, Stoker, Shelley
Chair:



Nicki Buscemi
.
"We learn from failure, not from success!": Death and the Medical Case in Stoker's _Dracula_ and Collins's _Heart and Science_
The medical case helped reconceptualize the sick person during the Victorian period, transforming patients into "cases" of particular diseases. Both the objectifying and knowledge-producing qualities of this ubiquitous form of medical reporting prompted novelistic responses. My paper explores how Wilkie Collins's _Heart and Science_ (1883) and Bram Stoker's _Dracula_ (1897) participated in a complex valorization of the sometimes callous, yet often useful, techniques of the clinician and his case method. Both novels acknowledge the boon of accumulated case information, but they don't unquestioningly accept medical authority. On the contrary, _Heart and Science_ and _Dracula_ ultimately portray the case method as a means to harness medical failures--including death--for good. In Stoker and Collins's novels, records of prior cases serve as prerequisites for comprehending and eliminating the vampiric "infection" attacking Mina Harker and the "Brain Disease" suffered by the surgeon protagonist's sweetheart. At the same time, though, it is Drs. Seward and Van Helsing's failures in treating these earlier cases, not their successes, that provide them with the knowledge necessary for curing Mina. And the "post-mortem examination" performed on one of the cases in _Heart and Science_ proves crucial in producing the life-saving "deductions and discoveries that threw a new light on the nature and treatment of brain disease." The paradox of the case brought home by _Heart and Science_ and _Dracula_ is thus that the case history's detailed documentation of suffering and death is both an intended and necessary means to quell pain in the future.


Liz Hutter
.
"Alive with the Qualifications of the Dead--Dead with Propensities of the Living": Edgar Allan Poe's and Robert Montgomery Bird’s Experiments in Ar
This paper examines how nineteenth-century fiction writers, Robert Montgomery Bird and Edgar Allan Poe, rework eighteenth-century physiological mechanisms for resuscitating apparently dead bodies in order to explore the interior condition of desperation familiar to many antebellum Americans. In Bird’s Sheppard Lee, the title character undergoes a series of physical transformations in which his spirit, upon simply exhaling, is transferred to a nearby dead or apparently dead body, thereby resuscitating it. Poe's tale, "Loss of Breath" dives immediately "inside" the mechanism of breathing and stages the entire tale in the moment of the protagonist's inhale. Poe's uses his breathless protagonists as a case study to explore the peculiar consequences of a body having too much or too little air. My analysis of these tales demonstrates how both Poe's and Bird's fictional accounts of resuscitation disrupted the medical premise of resuscitation as a controlled, orderly event whose goal was a renewal of the body’s vital principle and restoration of the body to its original state. I argue that in "Loss of Breath" and Sheppard Lee resuscitation of the apparently dead body supports a strategy of bodily preservation in near-death states. Poe's and Bird's fictional protagonists who live precariously on the verge of death, I conclude, resemble nineteenth-century Americans, who are similarly socially and psychologically suspended in a near-death state in the wake of the century's unpredictable and devastating financial failures.


Margaret Linley
.
Frankenstein Revisited: Life and Afterlife around 1831
Part of the enduring attraction of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein can be attributed to its dual focus, encompassing not only the “cause of generation and life” but also the consequences. The result is a compelling darker version of Percy Shelley’s “poetry of life” and its “want” that uniquely highlights the fundamental role of literature in the processes and procedures of what Foucault has taught us to call biopower. By the third edition of Frankenstein in 1831, we find, writ large as it were, the mutually dependent and politically motivated relation between mediation and what counts as life, the moment, that is, when the novel’s legacy of prodigious cultural reproduction merges the new biopolitical calculus on life with power over the individual body and regulation of the species that was transforming the status of the human, its ends as well as beginnings. The argument of this paper is that the 1831 Frankenstein can be held up as the very model of an emergent understanding of media in the early nineteenth century as a somatic technology that touches and activates the bodily senses and feelings, and thereby moves or mobilizes audiences, transporting them to other places or even other worlds, a transformative model which continues to dominate our understanding of the relation between our means of communicating and the value we place on life itself.

Session 9 (F) Panorama B
On Richard Powers
Chair:
Katherine Skwarczek



Jessie Stickgold-Sarah
.
“Scientist’s certainty and cleric’s awe”: Achieving mystery in Richard Powers’s The Gold Bug Variations
In the two intertwined stories of Richard Powers’s The Gold Bug Variations, the double helix of DNA serves as a figure for the tension between mystery and completion, between, as Powers puts it, “scientist’s certainty…and the cleric’s awe” (399). The fundamental project of The Gold Bug Variations is to warn us away from the separation between dispassionate science and engaged humanity. Powers does not suggest that the two coexist easily; on the contrary, he demands that we learn to accommodate and accept the resistance between the two, the space of mystery. I read the conflict between mystery and conclusion through DNA and its early discovery, examining how it becomes a problem of understanding life and its meaning. The novel is troubled by DNA’s mechanistic explanation for life, which scientist Stuart Ressler sees as a struggle between the “code” of genetics and the real humanity of the individuals that code creates. His confidence in the superiority of pure science is challenged repeatedly by the events of the novel. More specifically, although Ressler and his colleagues speak of “science” as a homogenous discipline, the particular procedural and theoretical difficulties posed by their DNA-focused subfield of molecular biology undermine Ressler’s personal understanding of—and refuge in—scientific objectivity. I demonstrate that genetics functions in the novel as a framework which both provokes and reconciles, producing a resolution to philosophical and disciplinary ruptures.


Trey Strecker
.
Richard Powers's Narrative Ecologies
In _The Comedy of Survival_, Joseph Meeker asks whether literature “contribute[s] more to our survival value than . . . to our extinction.” Describing literature as “the race’s high-level genome,” novelist Richard Powers suggests it does, positing art as “an anesthetic [and] a placebo,” “a refuge” and “a moratorium,” “a place to hide out in long enough to learn how to come back.” Emerging from Powers’s formulations of art, literature, and storytelling, this paper examines the survival value of narrative throughout Powers’s oeuvre and its representation of “the living, interlocked world” we inhabit. From _Three Farmers on Their Way to a Dance_ (1985) through _Generosity: An Enhancement_ (2009), his fictions function as narrative ecologies, urging readers to understand “not what a thing is, but how it connects to others.” Exploring connectivity in narrative systems and ecosystems, Powers’s art operates “something like Bakhtin’s dialogism, which privileges relationships [and] complicity, thereby preserving the idea of the individual but only in collaboration with other individuals” (Harris). Amid “the heft, bruise and hopeless muddle of the world’s irreducible particulars,” Powers’s narrative ecologies celebrate story’s ability to “refract vast, voiced, complex interactions between local and global that no single discipline can know inclusively or pretend to master.”


Katherine Skwarczek
.
Street-Neurology as Diagnostic Procedure in McEwan’s Saturday and Powers’ The Echo Maker
In The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, neurologist Oliver Sacks recounts his experience “taking to the streets” of New York City to observe neurological disease “in the real world” instead of the closed, controlled environment of a clinic or laboratory. “Street-neurology,” as Sacks so aptly dubs this practice, evokes both the urban and quasi-anthropological figure of the flaneur and the increasing visibility of neuroscience in our cultural imaginary. My examination of the figure of the “street-neurologist” in two contemporary novels calls into question the seemingly-objectivist stance of the diagnostician and its ethical implications, even as these figures are valorized for having privileged epistemological access. In Ian McEwan’s 2005 novel Saturday, the figure is a street-neurosurgeon, who diagnoses a man with a degenerative neurological condition during the middle of a dangerous scuffle on a London street, likely saving his own life in the process. Richard Powers’ 2006 novel The Echo Maker employs a figure resembling Sacks himself: a neurologist and writer of popular case studies who treats a patient for a delusional syndrome resulting from brain injury. Doctors Perowne and Weber are both at crucial junctures in their lives, confronting their advancing years, uncertain careers, or surrounding political tensions. The “street” setting that marks the diagnostic confrontation blurs the lines between private and professional medical life, and observation and participation. Most importantly, it also characterizes neurological diagnosis as a defensive practice that keeps at bay fears of mortality and failure – personal, professional, and disciplinary.


Morning Tea - Sun 10am - 10:30am


Session 10 - Sun 10:30am - noon

Session 10 (A) Ohio (AV)
Ends of Life II: Medical Humanities
Chair:
Nancy Barta-Smith



Rahima Schwenkbeck
.
Wax Gives Way to Flesh: Examining the Ethics Surrounding Disease Collection
In the past, medical cabinets were assembled to assist in educating physicians on new types of ailments, treatments and diagnoses. Within these cabinets contained skulls repossessed from criminals, skeletons, wax casts and carefully preserved items in arsenic, wax, and alcohol solutions. Bits of bone and flesh, and carefully rendered items to appear just as lifelike, lined these cabinets, allowing physicians a chance to view and better understand both conventional and unusual illness. However, through great technological advancement, medical personnel have moved beyond curiosity cabinets to cryogenic storage chambers. Facilities designed to house the history of disease have moved beyond inert plaster casts to vessels holding bacteria and viruses capable of causing worldwide devastation. Not surprisingly, curiosity cabinets which welcomed public viewing are in stark contrast to medical research facilities of today; which rather than a nickel admission, require security clearance and a retina scan. In this paper, ethics beyond the curiosity cabinet are examined. Issues of safety, necessity, and the future engage the audience in order to discuss continued storage of strains of deadly fungi, viruses, bacteria and more. In order to do so, the history of past medical specimen collection and advancement to current storage techniques is presented. An overview of the location and types of hazardous agents are considered, leading into issues of environmental disasters, potential security threats, useful applications, and advancements in medicine made through these deadly specimen.


Nancy Rushforth
.
Death and the Poieses of Architecture
The 2010 call for papers for the SLSA Conference suggests that you “are particularly interested this year in submissions that might coordinate with a stream of sessions on "Ends of Life.” A discussion of the development of the art and science of architecture as it relates to the end of life would offer a complementary approach to those dealing with other art forms and sciences presented at the conference. I would like to propose a presentation in which I demonstrate the relationship between the human need to memorialize the dead, and the development of architectural forms and structures. Cave burials from 60,000-80,000 BC demonstrate care for the body and ceremonial purpose in its disposal. The earliest forms of architecture created through post and lentil construction were those created in remembrance of the dead. Tracing the evolution of architectural design through the centuries, we find continued examples of developments in engineering in the construction of more and more elaborate memorial architecture. Beginning with Neolithic Dolmen structures from 4200 BC, followed by Stonehenge, the pyramids, the Pantheon, gothic cathedrals, the Taj Mahal, down to the current design and construction of the One World Freedom Tower Memorial in NYC, memorials to the dead have been a driving force in the evolution of architectural development.


Nancy Barta-Smith
.
The Consolations of Mortality: Lessons on the End of Life in the Work of Wendell Berry
Abstract The Consolations of Mortality: Lessons on the End of Life in the Work of Wendell Berry For most of us, mortality itself is the fatal flaw that makes every human life a tragedy in which the “noble creature that is man” is brought low. However, Wendell Berry has sworn his allegiance to the body and the earth from his earliest published work. Like William Bryant Logan in Dirt; The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth, Berry embraces the soil as a living element. In The Long Legged House he asserts “The most exemplary nature is that of the topsoil. It is very Christ-like in its passivity and beneficence, and in the penetrating energy that issues out of its peaceableness. . . . It is enriched by all things that die and enter into it. It keeps the past not as history or as memory, but as richness, new possibility. Its fertility is always building up out of death into promise.” Unlike Martha Nussbaum, who accepts empirical psychology’s evidence for the naturalness of disgust at corpses and human waste in her recent volume Not for Profit, Berry is filled with gratitude as “under the fallen leaf my breastbone burns with imminent decay. Other leaves fall. My body begins its long shudder into humus.” This presentation will survey Berry’s portrayal of the end of life across a variety of genres to explore how this changed perspective shapes his ethics and representation. His portrayals will be read through the lens of his repeated allusions to the subplot of King Lear. Although Berry does not actively advocate assisted suicide, he would wish for all of us the gift Edgar gives to Gloucester—to die not in despair that we are not gods after all, but smiling in recognition that “ripeness is all.” Key words: [...]

Session 10 (B) Library (AV)
Science/Race
Chair:
Sarah Mitchem



Jason Kelly
.
Racial Theory and Neoclassicism in Enlightenment Thought
This paper explores the relationship between neoclassicism and racial theory in Britain between 1770 and 1830. Examining neoclassical aesthetic theories, artistic productions, and scientific texts about race, it reveals that neoclassicism and race were mutually reinforcing discourses. Coming from similar epistemological groundings, each was necessary to constructing the other. In other words, neoclassicism shaped racial theory and vice versa, a fact that had a profound influence on practices of cultural production and consumption during late Georgian and Regency Britain. In the context of racial theory, neoclassicism did two things. First, it was a powerful tool in representing racial difference. Secondly, neoclassicism's aesthetic standards of beauty and epistemological assumptions provided measures for humankind. They were both Eurocentric and based on assumptions about universal truth and cultural hierarchy. When combined with scientific discourses about physiological differences among human groups, neoclassicism was used in tandem with physiology to demonstrate racial superiority or inferiority. This paper will provide two case studies that reveal the changing patterns of neoclassical aesthetics and racial theory between 1770 and 1830. The first examines the art associated with the Cook voyages. Neoclassical paintings and prints provided a narrative framework in which the explorers' ethnographic descriptions could be understood by the public. The second case study looks at Thomas Hope’s neoclassical designs and his theories about race. As Hope structured his built environment around themes of the historical progression of the arts in Europe, he articulated a corollary racial discourse to those being created through philosophy and science.


Fiona Barnett
.
Wet Specimens: Dissecting Racialized & Sexualized Bodies
In 1836, fifteen hundred paying spectators watched the autopsy of Joice Heth in New York City; at least one commented that it took “a good deal of force” to open her body. Heth had been exhibited by PT Barnum as ‘The Greatest Natural and National Curiosity in the World,’ and was touted as the former wet-nurse of George Washington. Constituted as a mammy of the nation-state, Heth’s body was crucial to the project that inherited the European racial imaginary at the same time that it deliberately tried to part with it. This paper considers the autopsy of Joice Heth in its relation to a previous spectacular autopsy of a black woman’s body – that of Saartjie Baartman, also known as the Hottentot Venus. Baartman was taken from South Africa in 1810 and exhibited in Europe for the remaining 5 years of her life. After her death in 1815, her body was autopsied and her dissected genitals were preserved for exhibition in a museum until 1974. This paper argues that the dissection and subsequent re-presentation of those autopsies in the press did not just act on already racialized bodies, but worked to establish this particular 'end of life' as a site for the force of racialization. Despite some similarities in their lives, deaths and autopsies, the two figures have had rather different afterlives in theoretical inquiries - their 'ends of life' carry distinct valences and effects. By which means do their bodies continue to do specific work for cultural & theoretical practices?


Sarah Mitchem
.
Fauna and Trauma: Subversive Devolution in Postcolonial Narratives
Since the 15th century colonizers systematically employed a Western-based hierarchy to categorize indigenous fauna, flora, and peoples. This implanted structure preserved the metropole’s power by fracturing natural networks using an anthropocentric ideology cataloging humankind as separate from animals. Additionally, evolutionary theories were distorted in order to create Social Darwinism, the belief that certain individuals and races harbored undesirable characteristics. These impurities were often explained as either retarded development or “devolution”—the conviction that some species reverted to more primitive versions. Arguing that white males were the result of natural selection par excellence, native peoples were often seen as wavering between “proper” people and near-animals. This supposed developmental purgatory labeled them as “primitive,” “savages,” or “brutes,” and offered colonizers an excuse to treat them with the same barbarity exhibited towards animals. This essay, building upon the work of contemporary green postcolonial issues, focuses on a key anti-imperialist text, Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks, to demonstrate a subversive use of devolution. Fanon’s narrative challenges his oppression by embracing the human/animal conflict presented by devolution: using narrative and psychoanalytic tactics he portrays the pressures of racism as driving him into an internal human/animal contest. Ultimately, the struggle leads to self-determination that maintains the anthropocentric status; he discards his animal qualities in favor of a reformed (read: superior) identity of man. However, Fanon’s radical resistance to imperial propaganda also offers a glimpse into the conflation of the human/animal categories that future writers will embrace in order to combat colonial, and neocolonial, measures.

Session 10 (C) Panorama A (AV)
Hackers, Cybertext, Lyric
Chair:
Cara Ogburn



Michael Black
.
Don't Phreak Out! Ma Bell is Watching: Recovering the Hacker in the Fictional Systems of Thomas Pynchon, Joseph McElroy, and William Gaddis
Like their nonfictional counterparts, hackers in American literature have existed at the margins: their presence only acknowledged by critics within genre fiction and even then not as hackers but rather as exemplars of how technology is romanticized for its potential to disembody users. The critical attention paid to hacker characters in science fiction, and their precursors in the postmodern fiction of the 1970s, largely ignores the cultural history of hacking. Instead, critics focus on how authors like Thomas Pynchon, Joseph McElroy, and William Gaddis engage with cybernetic theory in ways that influenced the cyberpunk movement. This gap becomes doubly ironic when one considers that cybernetic theory originates, in part, from technological advances in Claude Shannon's research on telephone networks for Bell Labs. Indeed, the figure of the hacker in popular culture also has its origin in telephones. This essay returns to the emergence of the hacker as a cultural figure in the early media coverage of phone phreaks, recovering the relationship they saw between themselves and technology in order to explore how the technologically obsessed fictions of Pynchon, McElroy, and Gaddis envision hackers as tragic figures in search of secret knowledge who are reluctantly pulled into opposition with a technocratic order. This paper thus enlarges our understanding of the influence of 1970s novels on the development of later fictional representations of technology while drawing attention to an area which has thus far been overlooked by literary approaches to cyberculture.


Alexandra Kleeman
.
Transactional Subjects: Sound Structure and Text as Lyric Co-Actors
Who is the subject of lyric poetry, and to what extent is that subject preceded by and contingent upon a poietic apparatus that shapes the composition and speaker simultaneously? Donna Haraway writes that “we are not immediately present to ourselves. Self-knowledge requires a semiotic-material technology linking meanings and bodies" (Haraway 1991), arguing that the assemblage of material and conceptual actors that facilitate lyric utterance demonstrate true environmental agency, defined by Mark Hansen as “cognitive operationality beyond the maintenance of system identities or autopoiesis” (Clarke and Hansen 2010: 117). Although lyric as a genre is often associated with the direct and unmediated emotive projection of the autonomous subject, lyric speech is richly informed by the apparatus of composition, a contextual space in which sound forms, generic conventions, and an intertextual generic network all contribute to the formulation of utterance. In rhyming forms in particular, utterances are strongly influenced by the agency of material actors external to the composer. A reading of poet and theorist Susan Stewart’s essays on the composition of rhyming poetry, in combination with readings of rhyming forms, reveals a very different process from the authorial control often posited in discourse on poetics. Stewart describes a type of freedom and enlarged possibility emergent from the semantic connections suggested by the sound structure of a word. Creativity thus involves active collaboration with linguistic structures that not only support but actively create meaning, arguing that lyric utterance is transactional, a hybrid effort distributed across distinct systems.


Cara Ogburn
.
Ergodic Literature, Print Novels and Embodied Reading
In his influential book, Cybertext, Espin Aarseth describes what he calls “ergodic” texts as works that require “nontrivial effort…to allow the reader to traverse the text” (1). While many of these texts use digital or computer mediation (i.e. hypertexts), Aarseth is careful to categorize quite a few works of postmodern literature within this framework. These books, he asserts, require readers to actively engage the text in order to make sense of their nonlinear, labyrinthine qualities. In this presentation I will consider the ways that two such print texts--Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves and Italo Calvino’s If on a winter’s night a traveler--work on and with their readers. The work or labor required by these books is, I argue, an embodied kind of work. These two texts (and others like them) make readers aware of themselves as readers viscerally—through mental and physical demands. These texts require readers to relearn how to read. In turn, I argue that such works have something to say about overlaps in textuality and embodiment in our increasingly digital age. While in her Writing Machines N. Katherine Hayles has argued against exclusively using the strategies of literary criticism to read electronic literature, it seems that the reverse--turning some of the strategies we use to read electronic texts back onto print--can help us say something about the nature of texts and reading in the current age.

Session 10 (D) Michigan (AV)
The Arts IV: Practice
Chair:
Sarah de Rijcke




Dawna Schuld
.
In a Muddle: situational art, disorientation, and the quandary of consciousness
This paper discusses how the disorienting nature of California light and space art serves as an experiential ground from which to consider the nature of consciousness. The ganzfeld installations of Robert Irwin, James Turrell, and Douglas Wheeler (developed in the 1960s from psychophysical experiments on light perception) prioritize viewer consciousness as the core material factor in the work of art. With the ganzfeld, the artists formed an enveloping haze of light that is at once intimate and vast, neither figure nor ground. Such work induces that potentially productive state anthropologist Gregory Bateson termed a “muddle.” Muddles enable us to maximize the potential of human consciousness as a subject for both artistic and scientific inquiry. The art of Irwin, Turrell, and Wheeler allows us the luxury of literally wallowing in our confusion and considering how it feels. Theirs is a qualitative and non-reductive approach to experience that enables the viewer to consider more than one valid interpretation, if not simultaneously, then in rapid oscillation. In the wake of such experience, we find that the work’s meaning is not a matter of either/or but rather of both/and. Meaning is discovered in what Antonio Damasio calls our “grappling” with the problem, rather than in the artistic―or scientific―object per se. A deliberate confrontation with muddled states such as the ganzfeld prevents us from thinking of consciousness, and/or a work of art, as something that is easily defined, while facilitating prolonged consideration of its processes.


» Text and Images
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Steven J. Oscherwitz
.
Artist- Steven J. Oscherwitz 2010 Submission Philosophy of Mind Revisited
I want to understand the forms I compose in my drawings as having a connection to a higher cognitive whelm than that of my own thought and imagination. I envision these drawn forms to be a reflection of life forms that actually exist in some unknown biological dimension, life worlds that may even someday echo the microscopes of Leeuwenhoek and Robert Hook’s observations of microscopic species. I want to explore a time in the history of philosophy when my composed drawn forms might be understood or interpreted as having this larger connection to nature ; a time when cognition ,imagination and the cosmos were understood to be more intimately connected than posed by 20th century mechanistic and scientific theories. First I will briefly outline two ancient treatises’ , Aristotle’s On The Soul and Sense and Sensibilia ; Focusing on how an ancient concept of species is used in relation to cognition, imagination, intellect and soul ; these internal senses will be explored along with his explanations of the external senses of sight, hearing, smell and touch. Then I will examine medieval cognitive theory in Robert Pasnau’s Book, Theories of Cognition in the Later Middle Ages ,compeering Aritotles treatise's with the scholastic philosophers , Thomas Aquinas, William of Ockham, Peter John Olivi use of the concept of species. I will conclude by exhibiting 2 of my drawings and stating what I believe to be the relevance of these early cognitive theories in relation to a more contemporary interpretation of my drawings.


Sarah de Rijcke
.
Visual knowing, art, and the web: The enactment of images of art works in networked infrastructures.
Digital representations of art increasingly circulate in distributed, networked contexts. As part of a larger project on visual knowing around networked image databases, the current paper addresses the production, handling, and dissemination of images of art in a setting where new, networked technologies blend with existing documentation practices. The Rijksakademie for the visual arts in Amsterdam houses a residency for 50 artists from all over the world. During their stay, residents document their work (process). After they leave, their documentation is updated with information about exhibitions, projects, and publications. In the paper, I analyze how artists and employees invest themselves in these practices of representation and documentation. I am especially interested in the entanglement of images and art works with the institute’s image database. In addition, I focus on how the visual documentation relates to the complex experience of making/seeing art objects. When and how is art recognized as such, do they get documented, databased? What purposes does documentation have for different users/producers (i.e. resident artists, employees, visitors, curators, researchers)? How does the networked context in which the images function as digital representations, shape the status of art objects themselves? And how do these documentation practices relate to other electronic settings and networks in which the images might circulate (artist’s website, Flickr, sites galleries, etc.)? Conceptually, the paper draws on science and technology studies and new media studies. Taken together, these approaches enable an analysis of mediation processes, and of the performative dynamics involved in manipulating and circulating images.

Session 10 (E) Illinois (AV)
Theories of Ontology: Affect, Latour, Einstein
Chair:
Fiona Druitt



» Distributed Agency and Its Discontents
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Peggy Reynolds
.
Distributed Agency and Its Discontents
The computational revolution has made the re-theorization of ‘agency’ both possible and necessary. The digital technologies it has introduced have helped foreground the recursive dynamic animating both human and non-human registers even as these technologies continue to imbricate the latter into ever-more interdependent and disarticulatable wholes. Unfortunately, as boundaries between entities begin to blur so, too, do loci of agency thus making it difficult to enforce moral or ethical codes tied to atomist conceptions of the individual. Those who wish to theorize agency in terms of assemblages rather than bounded entities then face a quandary: how can undesirable outcomes, such as the recent market collapse, be avoided if the causal agents behind such cascade-events cannot be positively identified? How, in other words, might theorizing relations in terms of, for example, a “flat ontology” (Delanda) or a “Parliament of Things” (Latour), help us avoid future catastrophes and, in a related problem, help us come to terms with the non-linear causal chains that seem to characterize our newly-emerging reality? This paper will examine whether such philosophies do, indeed, offer a helpful perspective on these issues even as it explores the role played by our ongoing technogenesis in such an assessment.


» Latour and Literary Intentionality: Scientists in Submarines |
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Gabriel Anderson Hankins
.
The Ape of the Affective: a Latourian approach to critical "cognitive studies of literature"
Some seventy-odd years after William K. Wimsatt Jr. and Monroe Beardsley co-authored their papers “The Affective Fallacy” (1947) we find that “affect” has returned as live (albeit often uncontested) issue and strategy for critical practice— most obviously in the “affective turn” in queer theory, critical race theory, and other literary-critical methodologies. But “affect,” it turns out, has been extensively researched and investigated by empirical theorists within psychology and cognitive science departments. Should we take the empiricists’ claims about “how affect works” seriously? I will argue that the later work of Bruno Latour, the noted theorist of science studies and sociology, might allow us to consider seriously (that is, critically) the question of an interdisciplinary exchange between literary studies and cognitive science on affect, though only by setting much higher standards for our descriptive methodologies on the empirical side as well as higher standards for the interpretation of empirical evidence on the literary-critical side. I will stage the question by positing an imagined joint English Ph.D. / M.D. student of great tenacity and intellectual breadth who wants to obtain meaningful literary-critical “evidence” and results from an empirical (fMRI, say) study of the “affect” presented in undergraduate heads faced with representative Romantic-elegiac, ironic, sentimental, modernist-elegiac, and “personal” poems in a standard textbook. What sort of criticism, help, or useful warnings might a posited Latourian dissertation advisor, also of great intellectual tolerance and patience, be able to give her? Or is the whole project doomed to failure before it begins? This essay is part of a larger project arguing for the literary-critical uses of Latourian theory, and is parallel with an argument on “A Woolf in CAT scanning” that I will be presenting at the Modernist Studies Association in Fall 2010.


Fiona Druitt
.
Embodying the Gaze: Einstein and the Materiality of Space.
Foucault opens his archaeology in The Order of Things with an extended reading of Diego Velázquez's famous painting, Las Meninas, prying open the paradox of representationalism that plays across the modern divide between the canvas as materiality and as a signifier in ideology. This paper will explore how Einstein’s 1905 intervention in physics (special relativity) and its conjectures about ‘spacetime’, the intertwining of space and time, can help us to rethink the modern paradoxes of the representationalist gaze opposite the positivity of things. This paper will argue that Einstein’s discovery (rather than his philosophy) leads to a philosophical interpretation of a ‘materiality of space’ and to a more intimate relationality between knowing and being (epistemology/ontology). Embodying the gaze then, with homage to Einstein, allows us to return productively to the tensions enlivened by the modern viewing of Las Meninas, and to Foucault’s open question: ‘what is the connection, the difficult link between being and thought?’ Such a cross disciplinary engagement offers up insights, not only to critical theory in the humanities and to physics itself, but to the ‘two cultures’ problem that has, in Continental thought, for the last couple of centuries, kept these disciplines apart. This paper aches towards their productive entanglement in which science and the humanities can be thought and embodied in and through one another – and that, across the dilemmas and divides of modern thought, where being and knowing, matter and meaning, reality and representation, and space and time come together and apart – that this is not a complication, but a clue.

Session 10 (F) Panorama B
Darwinism and Nineteenth Century Literature
Chair:
Christopher Leslie




» Plotting Devices
Previous

John Hay
.
Plotting Devices: History and Form in Evolutionary Literary Criticism
Recent work in literary Darwinism and evocriticism, by scholars like Joseph Carroll and Brian Boyd, applies theories of human nature from evolutionary biology to literary texts, often focusing on narrative and the novel. Richard Dawkins has been a popular source for the evolutionary materials, yet the new movement has tended to ignore Dawkins's idea of the meme. Memetics may be of special interest to literary critics not because of its scientific status but because it can be used to address issues of form from a perspective that encompasses historical change. In fact, Dawkins's concept of the meme is strikingly similar to both A. O. Lovejoy's concept of the unit-idea and Franco Moretti's more recent insistence on the importance of studying literary genres and devices. In this paper, I address the ways in which Moretti’s focus on genres and devices can complement the attitudes toward universal features of literature promoted by literary Darwinists. If narrative is an essential component of human nature, then we can expect a proliferation not only of fables and stories but also of meta-narratives that structure and give meaning to human experiences. Changing historical conditions should result in both changing meta-narratives and changing attitudes toward literary forms. By paying attention both to human history and to evolutionary biology, literary scholars can trace the movement of ideas across time and reveal the possibilities for—and limitations of—literary forms.


Christopher Leslie
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“Behavior Lawless as Snow-Flakes”: Whitman’s Organicism in a Culture of Teleology
This paper considers the organic methodology in Whitman’s Leaves of Grass as a counterpoint to the teleological discourse of race in the nineteenth century. The illogical structure of the poem resembles the rhizomic structure of grass more than a rational dictation. The recurring motifs and a conversational style provide a poem about process instead predefined knowledge. While observing human life, he notices that we do not obey laws like the laws of physics but instead appear “lawless as snow-flakes” (l. 979), Using an inductive method, the poet’s rhizomic style represents an ethic of scientific inquiry.This choice is interesting in the context of the contemporary teleological bias in ethnology where racial theorists accommodated earlier notions of racial hierarchy in their adaptation of Darwin’s evolution. Nott and Gliddon’s Types of Mankind promoted a polygenist notion, based on a deductive logic, and the theory of progress from savagery through barbarism to civilization by authors such as McGee suggested that all human races were on a path toward a predetermined goal, but only some races (the whiter ones) could attain it. This paper presents Leaves of Grass as an opportunity to understand the nineteenth century rhetoric concerning difference. Emphasizing the organic, unexpected and illogical aspects of nature as his starting point, Whitman demonstrates how “all truths lie in things” (l. 647). Instead of making deductive inferences based on preconceived notions, Leaves of Grass trains its readers to be open to finding the properties of the natural world by the examination of direct evidence.

Wrap Up Session (Panorama Ballroom) noon - 1pm