Speaker Series, 2014-15

Fall 2014

​October 3: Don Thompson

Emeritus Nabisco Brands Professor of Marketing and Strategy, Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto

The $12 Million Stuffed Shark: The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art
Co-sponsored with the Art History & Communication Studies Student Association
Arts Building, Rm W-145, 853 Sherbrooke W, McGill University, 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
 

October 7: Walter Benn Michaels

Professor, Dept. of English, University of Illinois at Chicago
Media@McGill Scholar, 2014-2015.

Diversité, egalité ou théâtralité? From Mallarmé and Meillassoux to Arthur Ou and Mabou
Arts Building, Rm W-215, 853 Sherbrooke W, McGill University, 5:35 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
 

October 9: Jamel Shabazz

"Pieces of a Man": The life and work of a New York street photographer
Arts Building, Moyse Hall, 853 Sherbrooke W, McGill University, 6:00 p.m. Reception to follow at 7:30
 

October 21: Rachael Z. DeLue

Associate Professor, Dept. of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University

Arthur Dove’s Things
Arts Building, Rm W-215, 853 Sherbrooke W, McGill University, 5:35 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
 

October 23: Glenn Greenwald

Beaverbrook Annual Lecture
Pollack Hall, 555 Sherbrooke W, McGill University, 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
 

November 14–15:  Media@McGill International Colloquium: Sound, Vision, Action

McCord Museum, 690 Sherbrooke W, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
 

November 26: Vicki Mayer

Professor, Dept. of Communication, Tulane University

Almost Hollywood: The Cultural Dimensions of US Film Policy
Education Building, Rm 624, 3700 McTavish, McGill University, 5:35 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.


Winter 2015


January 29: Brian Larkin

Associate Professor, Barnard College, Columbia University

Techniques of Inattention: Religion and the Mediality of Loudspeakers in Nigeria.
This paper examines the use of loudspeakers in Nigeria, particularly their implication in religious violence, to examine the technologizing of everyday life in Nigeria. It draws on loudspeakers to show how the operation of technology forms a medial base that organizes urban experience. But I argue that technology operates through a reciprocal set of exchanges with other domains from religious practice, to urban violence, to political rule.  Loudspeakers produce cultural techniques of attentiveness. For media theorists these techniques are the aftereffect of the "dispositif" of technologies.  For scholars of religion, by contrast, attention is a religious act, a form of self-cultivation enjoined by traditions of religious discipline.  I seek to explore this reciprocal interaction to open up questions about technology, religion and urbanism.

Brian Larkin is the author of "Signal and Noise: Infrastructure, Media and Urban Culture in Nigeria" (Duke, 2008) and the co-editor of "Media Worlds: Anthropology on New Terrain" (California, 2000). He writes on issues of media, infrastructure, urbanism and religion in Nigeria and is currently completing the manuscript, "Secular Machines: Media and the Materiality of Islamic Reviva". Larkin teaches anthropology at Barnard College, Columbia University.
 

February 5: Anne Dunlop

Associate Professor, History of Art, Tulane University

Italian art, transcultural exchange, and Marco Polo's tomatoes
 

February 12: Kyle Stine

Media @ McGill 2014-2015 Post Doctoral Fellow

Circuits of Reproduction: Toward an Archaeology of Machine Perception


March 24: Kara Keeling

Associate Professor, Cinema Studies, University of Southern California

On “Digitopia”: Blackness, Technology, and the Digital Frame
Otto Maass Chemistry Building, Room 217, 801 rue Sherbrooke W., 5:30pm

Questions concerning technology have long been part of Black film studies. Indeed, as John Akomfrah points out in “Digitopia and the Spectres of Diaspora," the extent to which anti-black racism is inherent in the film apparatus itself has been of concern to those film and media scholars and makers who have sought to craft theories, analyses, films and videos capable of transforming existing race relations by revealing another organization of things within the cinematic.⁠ For Akomfrah, the history of debate, analysis, experimentation, and failure within analogue media forms, such as film and video, that raise the possibility that those forms might support anti-racist and/or Black media practices point towards what he calls a “digitopic desire” or a “digitopic yearning” that haunts the history of analogue media praxis.  Akomfrah argues that such a “digitopia,” perceptible throughout film history, anticipates today’s digital media technologies and is fulfilled by them. In this talk, I consider Akomfrah’s proposition concerning the potential of digital media technology. While Akomfrah reads the preoccupation with the technologies of media making within the history of Black film praxis as the presence of a yearning for today’s digital technologies, I argue that digital media technologies, like the analogue ones to which they are related, raise a series of issues about the ongoing centrality of technology and technē to Black existence. Rather than fulfilling a promise made and broken by celluloid and other analogue media technologies, digital media intensifies elements constitutive of the cinematic by making them more broadly perceptible. As Akomfrah points out, digital media technologies make the mode of production of audio-visual images more accessible to filmmakers whose access to image-making has been structurally limited. New possibilities for creative exploration and imaginative experimentation, including new strategies for improvisation with audio-visual images, open up for those filmmakers because the barriers to production are less formidable than with the more capital intensive technologies. At the same time, the greater accessibility of digital media technologies makes it possible to renew an interrogation of historical relationships between technology and Blackness in ways that, perhaps, reach beyond any digital frame.
 

April 2:  Kimberly R. Moffitt

Assistant Professor, American Studies, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Acting While Black in Disney's Land