Making Worlds: Global Invention in the Early Modern Period
edited by Angela Vanhaelan and Bronwen Wilson
University of Toronto Press, 2022
Taking into account the destructive powers of globalization, Making Worlds considers the interconnectedness of the world in the early modern period.
This collection examines the interdisciplinary phenomenon of making worlds, with essays from scholars of history, literary studies, theatre and performance, art history, and anthropology. The volume advances questions about the history of globalization by focusing on how the expansion of global transit offered possibilities for interactions that included the testing of local identities through inventive experimentation with new and various forms of culture. Case studies show how the imposition of European economic, religious, political, and military models on other parts of the world unleashed unprecedented forces of invention as institutionalized powers came up against the creativity of peoples, cultural practices, materials, and techniques of making. In doing so, Making Worlds offers an important rethinking of how early globalization inconsistently generated ongoing dynamics of making, unmaking, and remaking worlds.
The Moving Statues of Seventeenth-Century Amsterdam: Automata, Waxworks, Fountains, Labyrinths
Pennsylvania State University Press, 2022
This book opens a window onto a fascinating and understudied aspect of the visual, material, intellectual, and cultural history of seventeenth-century Amsterdam: the role played by its inns and taverns, specifically the doolhoven.
Doolhoven were a type of labyrinth unique to early modern Amsterdam. Offering guest lodgings, these licensed public houses also housed remarkable displays of artwork in their gardens and galleries. The main attractions were inventive displays of moving mechanical figures (automata) and a famed set of waxwork portraits of the rulers of Protestant Europe. Publicized as the most innovative artworks on display in Amsterdam, the doolhoven exhibits presented the mercantile city as a global center of artistic and technological advancement. This evocative tour through the doolhoven pub gardens—where drinking, entertainment, and the acquisition of knowledge mingled in encounters with lively displays of animated artifacts—shows that the exhibits had a forceful and transformative impact on visitors, one that moved them toward Protestant reform.
Deeply researched and decidedly original, The Moving Statues of Seventeenth-Century Amsterdam uncovers a wealth of information about these nearly forgotten public pleasure parks, situating them within popular culture, religious controversies, global trade relations, and intellectual debates of the seventeenth century. It will appeal in particular to scholars in art history and early modern studies.
Playful Pictures: Art, Leisure, and Entertainment in the Venetian Renaissance Home
Penn State University Press, 2022
In Playful Pictures, Chriscinda Henry explores the rise of private art collection in Renaissance Venice as a diporto, or pastime, practiced within a kaleidoscopic matrix of domestic leisure that encompassed the recitation of poetry and tales, games, music making, amateur theatrical activity, and the conversational arts.
Between around 1490 and 1550, a new class of pictures emerged in Venice. These images—primarily paintings but also drawings, prints, book illustrations, and historiated architectural elements—feature quotidian, festive, allusive, and performative subjects that catered to the cultural and intellectual interests of avant-garde patrons and collectors. Several generations of Venetian artists, including Vittore Carpaccio, Giorgione, Titian, Sebastiano del Piombo, Giovanni Cariani, Bernardino Licinio, and Paris Bordon, rose to meet the demand of modern collectors seeking entertaining artworks that could speak to their personal values and taste. Playful Pictures connects painting and the graphic arts with other art forms engaged in the home: vernacular literature and the novella tradition; pastoral music, verse, and theater; urban dialect comedies; and carnival and ludic culture. Taking an interdisciplinary approach that treats these pursuits as linked forms of creative practice, Henry argues that they served as dynamic forms of personal and collective expression for patrons, collectors, artists, and other virtuosi seeking to express a new set of secular values and a contingent notion of selfhood.
Incorporating fresh evidence from archival sources, this book expands the discourse on Renaissance art by situating it within the growing, and increasingly nuanced, scholarly understanding of Renaissance leisure and entertainment culture.
Diminished Faculties: A Political Phenomenology of Impairment
Duke University Press, 2022
In Diminished Faculties Jonathan Sterne offers a sweeping cultural study and theorization of impairment. Drawing on his personal history with thyroid cancer and a paralyzed vocal cord, Sterne undertakes a political phenomenology of impairment in which experience is understood from the standpoint of a subject that is not fully able to account for itself. He conceives of impairment as a fundamental dimension of human experience, examining it as both political and physical. While some impairments are enshrined as normal in international standards, others are treated as causes or effects of illness or disability. Alongside his fractured account of experience, Sterne provides a tour of alternative vocal technologies and practices; a study of “normal” hearing loss as a cultural practice rather than a medical problem; and an intertwined history and phenomenology of fatigue that follows the concept as it careens from people to materials science to industrial management to spoons. Sterne demonstrates how impairment is a problem, opportunity, and occasion for approaching larger questions about disability, subjectivity, power, technology, and experience in new ways. Diminished Faculties ends with a practical user’s guide to impairment theory.
NIGHT STUDIES : Regards croisés sur les nouveaux visages de la nuit / Crossing glances at the new faces of the night
Edited by Will Straw, Luc Gwiazdzinski, and Marco Maggioli
Elya Editions, 2020
The night, in which key issues of economic, political, environmental and social importance are crystallized, is subject to ever-growing pressures. At its deepest levels, society is redefining its nycthemeral rhythms, its cycles of day and night. More and more human activities are shifting towards the night, producing a new space of work and leisure. As they cast off natural constraints, our cities are being remade, by ways of life which are ever more desynchronized, marked by a reduction in work time and by new technologies of lighting and communication. The last three decades have witnessed an ongoing colonization of the night by human activity. As time expands, beyond the limits of the day, so the night imposes itself upon the reality of the day, for better (through parties and festive events) or for worse (through urban violence, conflict, insecurity).
After pioneering work at the end of the 1990s, a new field of research has emerged – “Night Studies,” bringing together historians, urbanists, sociologists, economists, anthropologists, ethnologists, philosophers, biologists, specialists in culture and communication, political scientists, architects, artists and practitioners of all kinds. Around the world, conferences, seminars, research projects, theses and exhibitions focussing on the night have proliferated. In interdisciplinary fashion, these have explored the boundaries of the urban night, its colonization by the day, and its connections to colonization, insecurity, governance, public policy and planning, quality of life, cohabitation, lighting plans, landscapes, mobility, representation, mapping, innovation and marketing.
Painting with Fire: Sir Joshua Reynolds, Photography and the Temporally Evolving Chemical Object
Matthew C. Hunter
University of Chicago, 2019
Painting with Fire shows how experiments with chemicals known to change visibly over the course of time transformed British pictorial arts of the long eighteenth century—and how they can alter our conceptions of photography today. As early as the 1670s, experimental philosophers at the Royal Society of London had studied the visual effects of dynamic combustibles. By the 1770s, chemical volatility became central to the ambitious paintings of Sir Joshua Reynolds, premier portraitist and first president of Britain’s Royal Academy of Arts. Valued by some critics for changing in time (and thus, for prompting intellectual reflection on the nature of time), Reynolds’s unstable chemistry also prompted new techniques of chemical replication among Matthew Boulton, James Watt, and other leading industrialists. In turn, those replicas of chemically decaying academic paintings were rediscovered in the mid-nineteenth century and claimed as origin points in the history of photography.
Tracing the long arc of chemically produced and reproduced art from the 1670s through the 1860s, the book reconsiders early photography by situating it in relationship to Reynolds’s replicated paintings and the literal engines of British industry. By following the chemicals, Painting with Fire remaps familiar stories about academic painting and pictorial experiment amid the industrialization of chemical knowledge.
The Oxford Handbook of Canadian Cinema
Edited by Will Straw and Janine Marchessault
Oxford, 2019The chapters in The Oxford Handbook of Canadian Cinema present a rich, diverse overview of Canadian cinema. Responding to the latest developments in Canadian film studies, this volume takes into account the variety of artistic voices, media technologies, and places which have marked cinema in Canada throughout its history. Drawing on a range of established and emerging scholars from a range of disciplines, this volume will be useful to teachers, scholars, and to a general readership interested in cinema in Canada. Moving beyond the director-focused approach of much previous scholarship, this book is concerned with communities, institutions, and audiences for Canadian cinema at both national and international levels. The choice of subjects covered ranges from popular, genre cinema to the most experimental of artistic interventions. Canadian cinema is seen in its interaction with other forms of art-making and media production in Canada and at the international level. Particular attention has been paid to the work of Indigenous filmmakers, members of diasporic communities and feminist and LGBTQ artists. The result is a book attentive to the complex social and institutional contexts in which Canadian cinema is made and consumed.
Theater of the Dead: A Social Turn in Chinese Funerary Art, 1000-1400
University of Hawai'i Press, 2016
In eleventh-century China, both the living and the dead were treated to theatrical spectacles. Chambers designed for the deceased were ornamented with actors and theaters sculpted in stone, molded in clay, rendered in paint. Notably, the tombs were not commissioned for the scholars and officials who dominate the historical record of China but affluent farmers, merchants, clerics—people whose lives and deaths largely went unrecorded. Why did these elites furnish their burial chambers with vivid representations of actors and theatrical performances? Why did they pursue such distinctive tomb-making? In Theater of the Dead, Jeehee Hong maintains that the production and placement of these tomb images shed light on complex intersections of the visual, mortuary, and everyday worlds of China at the dawn of the second millennium.
Assembling recent archaeological evidence and previously overlooked historical sources, Hong explores new elements in the cultural and religious lives of middle-period Chinese. Rather than treat theatrical tomb images as visual documents of early theater, she calls attention to two largely ignored and interlinked aspects: their complex visual forms and their symbolic roles in the mortuary context in which they were created and used. She introduces carefully selected examples that show visual and conceptual novelty in engendering and engaging dimensions of space within and beyond the tomb in specifically theatrical terms. These reveal surprising insights into the intricate relationship between the living and the dead. The overarching sense of theatricality conveys a densely socialized vision of death. Unlike earlier modes of representation in funerary art, which favored cosmological or ritual motifs and maintained a clear dichotomy between the two worlds, these visual practices show a growing interest in conceptualizing the sphere of the dead within the existing social framework. By materializing a "social turn," this remarkable phenomenon constitutes a tangible symptom of middle-period Chinese attempting to socialize the sacred realm.
Theater of the Dead is an original work that will contribute to bridging core issues in visual culture, history, religion, and drama and theater studies.
The face of medicine: Visualising medical masculinities in late nineteenth-century Paris
Manchester University Press, 2015The face of medicine examines the overlapping worlds of art and medicine in late nineteenth-century France. It sheds new light on the relevance of the visual in medical and scientific cultures, and on the relationship between artistic and medical practices and imagery. By examining previously unstudied sources that traverse disciplinary boundaries, this original study rethinks the politics of medical representations and their social impact. Through a focused examination of paintings from the 1886 and 1887 Paris Salons that portray famous men from the medical and scientific elite - Louis Pasteur, Jules-Émile Péan and Jean-Martin Charcot - along with the images and objects that these men made for personal and occupational purposes, Hunter argues that artworks and medical collections played a key role in forming the public face of scientific medicine.
Byzantine Art and Diplomacy in an Age of Decline
Cambridge University Press, 2014.
The Late Byzantine period (1261–1453) is marked by a paradoxical discrepancy between economic weakness and cultural strength. The apparent enigma can be resolved by recognizing that later Byzantine diplomatic strategies, despite or because of diminishing political advantage, relied on an increasingly desirable cultural and artistic heritage. This book reassesses the role of the visual arts in this era by examining the imperial image and the gift as reconceived in the final two centuries of the Byzantine Empire. In particular it traces a series of luxury objects created specifically for diplomatic exchange with such courts as Genoa, Paris and Moscow alongside key examples of imperial imagery and ritual. By questioning how political decline refigured the visual culture of empire, Dr Hilsdale offers a more nuanced and dynamic account of medieval cultural exchange that considers the temporal dimensions of power and the changing fates of empires.
Wicked Intelligence: Visual Art and the Science of Experiment in Restoration London
University of Chicago Press, 2013.
In late seventeenth-century London, the most provocative images were produced not by artists, but by scientists. Magnified fly-eyes drawn with the aid of microscopes, apparitions cast on laboratory walls by projection machines, cut-paper figures revealing the “exact proportions” of sea monsters—all were created by members of the Royal Society of London, the leading institutional platform of the early Scientific Revolution. Wicked Intelligence reveals that these natural philosophers shaped Restoration London’s emergent artistic cultures by forging collaborations with court painters, penning art theory, and designing triumphs of baroque architecture such as St Paul’s Cathedral.
Matthew C. Hunter brings to life this archive of experimental-philosophical visualization and the deft cunning that was required to manage such difficult research. Offering an innovative approach to the scientific image-making of the time, he demonstrates how the Restoration project of synthesizing experimental images into scientific knowledge, as practiced by Royal Society leaders Robert Hooke and Christopher Wren, might be called “wicked intelligence.” Hunter uses episodes involving specific visual practices—for instance, concocting a lethal amalgam of wax, steel, and sulfuric acid to produce an active model of a comet—to explore how Hooke, Wren, and their colleagues devised representational modes that aided their experiments. Ultimately, Hunter argues, the craft and craftiness of experimental visual practice both promoted and menaced the artistic traditions on which they drew, turning the Royal Society projects into objects of suspicion in Enlightenment England.
The first book to use the physical evidence of Royal Society experiments to produce forensic evaluations of how scientific knowledge was generated, Wicked Intelligence rethinks the parameters of visual art, experimental philosophy, and architecture at the cusp of Britain’s imperial power and artistic efflorescence.
Making Space Public in Early Modern Europe: Performance, Geography, Privacy
Angela Vanhaelen and Joseph P. Ward, eds.
Broadening the conversation begun in Making Publics in Early Modern Europe (2009), this book examines how the spatial dynamics of public making changed the shape of early modern society. The publics visited in this volume are voluntary groupings of diverse individuals that could coalesce through the performative uptake of shared cultural forms and practices. The contributors argue that such forms of association were social productions of space as well as collective identities. Chapters explore a range of cultural activities such as theatre performances; travel and migration; practices of persuasion; the embodied experiences of lived space; and the central importance of media and material things in the creation of publics and the production of spaces. They assess a multiplicity of publics that produced and occupied a multiplicity of social spaces where collective identity and voice could be created, discovered, asserted, and exercised. Cultural producers and consumers thus challenged dominant ideas about just who could enter the public arena, greatly expanding both the real and imaginary spaces of public life to include hitherto excluded groups of private people. The consequences of this historical reconfiguration of public space remain relevant, especially for contemporary efforts to meaningfully include the views of ordinary people in public life.
The Wake of Iconoclasm: Painting the Church in the Dutch Republic
Penn State University Press, 2012.
In describing the seventeenth-century Dutch Republic, Johan Huizinga said, “Paintings could be found everywhere . . . everywhere except in churches.” Although pictures were ubiquitous in the Dutch world, the official religion expressed a fundamental distrust of visual imagery. Indeed, Calvinism and visual culture were both central modes of self-understanding in Dutch society. Investigating this paradox, The Wake of Iconoclasm takes as its main subject the numerous paintings of austere Calvinist church interiors that proliferated in the seventeenth century. Painstakingly crafted and highly naturalistic images of interiors, these peculiar paintings show spaces that were purged of visual imagery during and after the iconoclast riots of the sixteenth century. In essence, they depict the interface of the histories of art and religion. Angela Vanhaelen argues that the main function of this imagery was to stimulate debate about the transformed role of art in relation to the religious and political upheavals of the Reformation and the Dutch Revolt. Paintings of the emptied churches allowed their beholders to grapple with the significant public influence of Calvinism—especially its suppression of past cultural traditions and the new conditions of possibility it created for the visual arts.
The Past is the Present, It's the Future Too: The Temporal Turn in Contemporary Art
New York: Continuum, 2012.
The term ‘temporality' often refers to the traditional mode of the way time is: a linear procession of past, present and future. As philosophers will note, this is not always the case. Christine Ross builds on current philosophical and theoretical examinations of time and applies them to the field of contemporary art: films, video installations, sculpture and performance works.
Ross first provides an interdisciplinary overview of contemporary studies on time, focusing on findings in philosophy, psychology, sociology, communications, history, postcolonial studies, and ecology. She then illustrates how contemporary artistic practices play around with what we consider linear time. Engaging the work of artists such as Guido van der Werve, Melik Ohanian, Harun Farocki, and Stan Douglas, allows investigation though the art, as opposed to having art taking an ancillary role. The Past is the Present; It's the Future Too forces the reader to understand the complexities of the significance of temporal development in new artistic practices.
The Sound Studies Reader
The Sound Studies Reader blends recent work that self-consciously describes itself as ‘sound studies’ along with earlier and lesser-known scholarship on sound from across the humanities and social sciences. The Sound Studies Reader touches on key themes like noise and silence; architecture, acoustics and space; media and reproducibility; listening, voices and disability; culture, community, power and difference; and shifts in the form and meaning of sound across cultures, contexts and centuries. Writers reflect on crucial historical moments, difficult definitions, and competing accounts of the role of sound in culture and everyday life. Across the essays, readers will gain a sense of the range and history of key debates and discussions in sound studies.
The collection begins with an introduction to welcome novice readers to the field and acquaint them the main issues in sound studies. Individual section introductions give readers further background on the essays and an extensive up to date bibliography for further reading in sound studies make this an original and accessible guide to the field.
MP3: The Meaning of a Format
Duke University Press, 2012.
MP3: The Meaning of a Format recounts the hundred-year history of the world's most common format for recorded audio. Understanding the historical meaning of the MP3 format entails rethinking the place of digital technologies in the larger universe of twentieth-century communication history, from hearing research conducted by the telephone industry in the 1910s, through the mid-century development of perceptual coding (the technology underlying the MP3), to the format's promiscuous social life since the mid 1990s.
MP3s are products of compression, a process that removes sounds unlikely to be heard from recordings. Although media history is often characterized as a progression toward greater definition, fidelity, and truthfulness, MP3: The Meaning of a Format illuminates the crucial role of compression in the development of modern media and sound culture. Taking the history of compression as his point of departure, Jonathan Sterne investigates the relationships among sound, silence, sense, and noise; the commodity status of recorded sound and the economic role of piracy; and the importance of standards in the governance of our emerging media culture. He demonstrates that formats, standards, and infrastructures—and the need for content to fit inside them—are every bit as central to communication as the boxes we call "media."
Art History - The Erotics of Looking: Materiality and Solicitation in Netherlandish Visual Culture
Angela Vanhaelen and Bronwen Wilson
Art History, Vol. 35, no.5, 2012.
From the slyly suggestive to the overtly erotic, many early modern Dutch and Flemish artworks were designed to attract the eye, and yet the messages they convey are often equivocal. The Erotics of Looking: Early Modern Netherlandish Art presents a collection of provocative essays by leading scholars of art that delve into ways that material and pictorial qualities of descriptive artworks appeal to beholders to become involved with them. Exploring complex interrelations between making, displaying, and engaging with paintings and prints, the volume brings forward mechanisms through which visual imagery fostered new forms of association in early modern Europe. An introductory chapter lays out the innovative theoretical framework, arguing that descriptive pictures operated as social things, encouraging people to engage with them through the pleasures they offered the senses, prompting debate and potentially opening up ethical and political considerations about the interconnectedness of pictures and the material world. Challenging familiar interpretive models of iconography, verisimilitude, and social art history, the essays shift the focus away from a picture’s meaning toward why art matters, toward how artworks solicit beholders and stimulate deliberation. The Erotics of Looking: Early Modern Netherlandish Art not only offers illuminating insights into ways to look at art - it redefines the concept of art itself.
Transnational Yearnings: Tourism, Migration, and the Diagonic City
University of BC Press, 2011.
The global pathways that connect cities and nations are congested with people, money, and cultural transmissions. These routes are also hampered by uneven power relations and the efforts of groups to maintain or change them. How do hopes and dreams, feelings of guilt or loss affect transnational migration and the way migrants relate to their environment and to one another?
This book is about the migrations and uneven exchanges that bind postcolonial Jamaica to the diasporic city. It is about the desires, intimacies, and power relations that at once inform and reflect transnational migration and the diasporization of urban space. Transnational Yearnings maps a new way to look at contemporary contact zones and global interconnections as it traces circuits of migration and leisure travel between the Caribbean and Toronto, a city that has become for Jamaican Canadians both a place of promise and cultural vitality and a site of criminalization and exclusion through deportation.
Transnational Yearnings is an important addition to recent scholarship on Caribbean transnationalism and Canadian-Caribbean relations. By merging the study of large-scale processes, local opposition movements, and interpersonal connections, it paints a fuller portrait than Jamaican immigrants often receive in the media and will appeal to anyone interested in tourism, migration, postcolonialism, and global exchange.
Intersections of Media and Communications: Concepts and Critical Framework
Will Straw, Sandra Gabriele, Ira Wagman
Emond Montgomery Publications, 2011.
Emphasizing fundamental concepts and key questions, and giving close consideration to how today's students experience media, this brand new introductory text for courses in media and communications studies and sociology of media offers a fresh approach to the topic.
The concise, focused chapters have been contributed by respected scholars from across Canada, resulting in an engaging and thorough exploration of this increasingly prominent aspect of modern life. Examples are drawn from Canada and beyond, with attention paid throughout to both current developments and historical perspectives.
Intersections explores how media affect our relationships to everything — they don't just inform and entertain us, but shape our connections to the world, and define our relationships to it.
Aprehendiendo al delincuente: Crimen y mediios en América del norte
Will Straw, Graciela Martinez-Zalce, Will Straw and Susana Vargas (Eds.)
Mexico City: CISAN/UNAM and Media@McGill, 2011.
For almost twenty years, researchers from the Centre for Research on North America (CISAN) at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) have worked in close collaboration with scholars in the Department of Art History and Communications Studies (and one of its predecessor units, the Graduate Program in Communications) at McGill University. With this book, Media@McGill is happy to support the latest outcome of this collaboration. Co-published by Media@McGill and CISAN, and published in both hard copy and electronic form, Aprehendiendo al delincuente: Crimen y medios en América del norte, is edited by Dr. Graciela Martinez-Zalce (CISAN), Dr. Will Straw and Susana Vargas Cervantes (McGill).
In 2007, a Media@McGill conference on “Crime, Media and Culture” brought together scholars from across North America to address the relationship of media and crime. A subsequent conference at UNAM in Mexico City, on “Crimen, sociedad y medios in Norteamérica,” in 2010, forms the basis for this book. Various aspects of the interplay between crime and media are addressed here, from representations of sexuality in the Mexican tabloid press through the manner in which Canadian television programs portray threats to national security from countries to the south.
Second Wounds: Victims' Rights and the Media in the U.S.
Duke Press, 2011.
The U.S. victims’ rights movement has transformed the way that violent crime is understood and represented in the United States. It has expanded the concept of victimhood to include family members and others close to direct victims, and it has argued that these secondary victims may be further traumatized through their encounters with insensitive journalists and the cold, impersonal nature of the criminal justice system. This concept of extended victimization has come to dominate representations of crime and the American criminal justice system. In Second Wounds, Carrie A. Rentschler examines how the victims’ rights movement brought about such a marked shift in how Americans define and portray crime. Analyzing the movement’s effective mobilization of activist networks and its implementation of media strategies, she interprets texts such as press kits, online victim memorials, and training materials for victims’ advocates and journalists. Rentschler also provides a genealogy of the victims’ rights movement from its emergence in the 1960s into the twenty-first century. She explains that while a “get tough on crime” outlook dominates the movement, the concept of secondary victimization has been invoked by activists across the political spectrum, including anti–death penalty advocates, who contend that the families of death-row inmates are also secondary victims of violent crime and the criminal justice system.
Beyond Mimesis and Convention: Representation in Art and Science
Matthew Hunter and Roman Frigg
"Beyond Mimesis and Convention: Representation in Art and Science" is motivated by the conviction that we students of the sciences and arts are best served by confronting our mutual impasse and by recognizing the shared concerns that have necessitated our covert acts of kleptomania. Drawing leading contributors from the philosophy of science, the philosophy of literature, art history and visual studies, our volume takes its brief from our title. That is, these essays aim to put the evidence of science and of art to work in thinking about representation by offering third (or fourth, or fifth) ways beyond mimesis and convention. In so doing, our contributors explore a range of topics-fictionalism, exemplification, neuroaesthetics, approximate truth-that build upon and depart from ongoing conversations in philosophy of science and studies of visual art in ways that will be of interest to both interpretive communities. To put these contributions into context, the remainder of this introduction aims to survey how our communities have discretely arrived at a place wherein the perhaps-surprising collaboration between philosophy of science and art history has become not only salubrious, but a matter of necessity.
Circulation and the City: Essays on Urban Culture
Will Straw and Alexandra Boutros, eds.
The lived experience of cities has long been defined by motion. As urban dwellers travel to work, home and play they carve random or predictable pathways across neighbourhoods and districts. Circulation And The City investigates the urban capacity for movement, The city as a space of circulation, by taking into account not only the physical displacement of people, but the circulation of cultures, things, and ideas. A series of rich case studies examine a range of topics including neighbourhood gentrification, subway busking, yard sales, electronic waste and language, refining the touchstone principle of circulation For The study of urban culture, both materially and theoretically. Contributors employ a variety of disciplinary approaches to create a richly varied picture of the multiple trajectories and effects of movement in the city. An engaging work that considers city planning, urban culture, and social behaviour,Circulation And The City adds a new dimension that revitalises the ways we have commonly looked at – and thought about – the city.
Precarious Visualities: New Perspectives on Identification in Contemporary Art and Visual Culture
Olivier Asselin, Johanne Lamoureux, Christine Ross, eds.
McGill-Queens University Press, 2008.
Bringing together international scholars from various disciplines, "Precarious Visualities" examines the transformation of our relation to images in contemporary visual culture. Through the study of exemplary media arts works and practices - photography, film, video, performance, installations, webcams, etc - these essays call attention to the precarious attachments of contemporary spectatorship. To look at an image that prevents the stabilization of identification, identity and place; to perceive a representation that keeps oscillating between visibility and invisibility; to be interpellated by screen-images that have ceased to mirror, resemble or refer in that their power lies exclusively on their simulating, hallucinating, blinding or generating function; to relate to an image which entails a rebalancing of sight through the valorization of other senses; to be exposed - through surveillance devices - to the gaze of new figures of authority, unanticipated. Others: the aesthetic experiences examined here concern a spectator whose perception lacks in certainty, identification and opticality what it gains in fallibility, complexity and interrelatedness. Attentive to these precarious attachments, "Precarious Visualities" provides a new understanding of spectatorship, as a relation that is at once corporeal and imaginary, yet persistently prolific in its cultural, social and political effects.
Cyanide and Sin. Visualizing Crime in 50's America
PPP Editions, New York, 2006. 192 pp., 196 four-color illustrations, 9x12".
Cyanide and Sin offers a broad history of the true crime magazine in America with an emphasis on the 1950s and on the visual content of these magazines. Will Straw, a scholar in the Department of Art History and Communications Studies at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, has written a 12,000 word essay that traces the stylistic and conceptual evolution of the Crime magazine genre. He catalogues specific photographers and key designers who were regular contributors to the various magazines. The book contains 196 images from the true crime genre.
Many of the images reproduced both within these magazines and on their covers were set- up reenactments of crimes, some fictive, others real. Often, the images are accompanied by lurid titles such as: Death Crashes A Party, Love Me or Die!, He Was Too Hot To Cool Down.
There have been numerous publications on the history of pulp and crime fiction. Cyanide and Sin is the first book to look at the true crime magazine and the visuals which were a significant part of its appeal. As Straw writes:
'Crime lent itself readily to some of the most powerful impulses within modern image-making. It gave photographers drawn to social marginality subjects with which to avoid the sentimentality that too easily clings to images of the poor or downtrodden. Crime photography has served as the basis for transgressive violations of good taste, and for romantic glorifications of the doomed life. The images assembled in true crime magazines over their 80 year history have moved ceaselessly between what photographic historian Allan Sekula calls the honorific and repressive functions of photography. Images celebrating an extravagant individuality, for instance, have sat alongside others calling for citizen complicity in the enforcement of state power. '
Communication Technology: The Canadian Democratic Audit
University of British Columbia Press, 2005.
When the Internet began to emerge as a popular new mode of communication, many political scientists and social commentators believed that it would revolutionize our democratic institutions. Today, voter turnout is at an historic low and Internet usage is at an all-time high. Can we still make the claim that new information and communication technologies (ICTs) enhance democratic life in Canada? What effect does the technological mediation of political communication have on the practice of Canadian politics? How have such technologies affected the distribution of power in society?
Darin Barney investigates the links between ICTs and democratic processes, arguing that the potential of digital technologies to contribute to a more democratic political system will remain largely untapped unless the more conventional dimensions of Canadian politics, the economy, and modes of governance are reoriented.
The Network Society
Polity Press, 2005.
In The Network Society, Darin Barney provides a compelling examination of the social, political and economic implications of network technologies and their application across a wide range of practices and institutions.
Are we in the midst of a digital revolution? Have new information and communication technologies given birth to a new form of society, or do they reinforce and extend existing patterns and relationships? This book provides a clear and engaging discussion of these and other questions. Using a sophisticated model of the relationship between technology and society, Barney investigates both what has changed, and what has remained the same, in the age of the Internet. Among the issues discussed are debates concerning the emergence of a "knowledge economy"; digital restructuring of employment and work; globalization and the status of the nation-state; the prospects of digital democracy; the digital divide; new social movements; and culture, community and identity in the age of new media.
This book provides an accessible resource for a thoughtful engagement with life in the network society. It will be essential reading for students in sociology and media and communications studies. This will be a valuable textbook for undergraduate students of sociology and media and communications studies.
Accounting for Culture: Thinking Through Cultural Citizenship
Will Straw, Caroline Andrew, Monica Gattinger, and Sharon Jeannotte, eds.
The University of Ottawa Press, 2005.
Many scholars, practitioners, and policy-makers in the cultural sector argue that Canadian cultural policy is at a crossroads: that the environment for cultural policy-making has evolved substantially and that traditional rationales for state intervention no longer apply.
The concept of cultural citizenship is a relative newcomer to the cultural policy landscape, and offers a potentially compelling alternative rationale for government intervention in the cultural sector. Likewise, the articulation and use of cultural indicators and of governance concepts are also new arrivals, emerging as potentially powerful tools for policy and program development.
Accounting for Culture is a unique collection f essays from leading Canadian and international scholars that critically examines cultural citizenship, cultural indicators, and governance in the context of evolving cultural practices and cultural policy-making. It will be of strong interest to scholars of cultural policy, communications, cultural studies, and public administration alike.
The Aesthetics of Disengagement: Contemporary Art and Depression
University of Minnesota Press, 2005.
Reveals how artists engage the scientific notion of depression.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than half of the world's population will have a depressive disorder at some point in their lifetimes. In The Aesthetics of Disengagement Christine Ross shows how contemporary art is a powerful yet largely unacknowledged player in the articulation of depression in Western culture, both adopting and challenging scientific definitions of the condition. Ross explores the ways in which contemporary art performs the detached aesthetics of depression, exposing the viewer's loss of connection and ultimately redefining the function of the image.
Ross examines the works of Ugo Rondinone, Rosemarie Trockel, Ken Lum, John Pilson, Liza May Post, Vanessa Beecroft, and Douglas Gordon, articulating how their art conveys depression's subjectivity and addresses a depressed spectator whose memory and perceptual faculties are impaired. Drawing from the fields of psychoanalysis as well as psychiatry, Ross demonstrates the ways in which a body of art appropriates a symptomatic language of depression to enact disengagement—marked by withdrawal, radical protection of the self from the other, distancing signals, isolation, communication ruptures, and perceptual insufficiency.
Most important, Ross reveals the ways in which art transforms disengagement into a visual strategy of disclosure, a means of reaching the viewer, and how in this way contemporary art puts forth a new understanding of depression.
Comic Print and Theatre in Early Modern Amsterdam: Gender, Childhood and the City
Ashgate Pub, 2003.
Late-17th-century Amsterdam saw the emergence of a range of printed pictures marketed specifically for children. Like the farcical plays from the city's theatre tradition, these prints-picturing scenes of violence, lust, trickery, and madness in the city's homes, markets, streets and waterways-turn Amsterdam's most cherished social and symbolic spaces upside-down. The material seems completely antagonistic to contemporary convictions that the upbringing of children was crucial to securing the future of the household, the city, and the Dutch Republic. Angela Vanhaelen here poses the question of why such sex-tinged, slap-stick images were directed at Protestant children. Working from this paradox, this interdisciplinary study examines the complicated relations between print and technology, the practices of theatre, and the process of urban identity formation. Traditional comic forms were appropriated by both producers and consumers who had much at stake in religious and political battles over the control of Amsterdam and its populations. Analyzing the role of farcical theatre within these power struggles, Vanhaelen demonstrates how concerns about the city's future were deflected onto children. In the first chapter, Vanhaelen examines anxieties about the educational uses of comic material in the schoolroom, the theatre and the home. In the next two chapters, she considers the ways that this material both defined and disrupted the gendered process of initiating children into Amsterdam's most vital public and private spaces: the market and the home. The book concludes with a broader analysis of how the bodies of women and children were connected to shifting definitions of the city.
Community in the Digital Age: Philosophy and Practice
Darin Barney and Andrew Feenberg, eds.
Rowman and Littlefield, 2004.
Is the Internet the key to a reinvigorated public life? Or will it fragment society by enabling citizens to associate only with like-minded others? Online community has provided social researchers with insights into our evolving social life. As suburbanization and the breakdown of the extended family and neighborhood isolate individuals more and more, the Internet appears as a possible source for reconnection. Are virtual communities "real" enough to support the kind of personal commitment and growth we associate with community life, or are they fragile and ultimately unsatisfying substitutes for human interaction? Community in the Digital Age features the latest, most challenging work in an important and fast-changing field, providing a forum for some of the leading North American social scientists and philosophers concerned with the social and political implications of this new technology. Their provocative arguments touch on all sides of the debate surrounding the Internet, community, and democracy.
The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction
Duke University Press, 2003.
The Audible Past explores the cultural origins of sound reproduction. It describes a distinctive sound culture that gave birth to the sound recording and the transmission devices so ubiquitous in modern life. With an ear for the unexpected, scholar and musician Jonathan Sterne uses the technological and cultural precursors of telephony, phonography, and radio as an entry point into a history of sound in its own right. Sterne studies the constantly shifting boundary between phenomena organized as "sound" and "not sound." In The Audible Past, this history crisscrosses the liminal regions between bodies and machines, originals and copies, nature and culture, and life and death.
Blending cultural studies and the history of communication technology, Sterne follows modern sound technologies back through a historical labyrinth. Along the way, he encounters capitalists and inventors, musicians and philosophers, embalmers and grave robbers, doctors and patients, deaf children and their teachers, professionals and hobbyists, folklorists and tribal singers. The Audible Past tracks the connections between the history of sound and the defining features of modernity: from developments in medicine, physics, and philosophy to the tumultuous shifts of industrial capitalism, colonialism, urbanization, modern technology, and the rise of a new middle class.
A provocative history of sound, The Audible Past challenges theoretical commonplaces such as the philosophical privilege of the speaking subject, the visual bias in theories of modernity, and static descriptions of nature. It will interest those in cultural studies, media and communication studies, the new musicology, and the history of technology.
Prometheus Wired: The Hope for Democracy in the Age of Network Technology
University Of Chicago Press, 2001.
From all sides, we hear that computer technology, with its undeniable power to disseminate information and connect individuals, holds enormous potential for a reinvigoration of political life. But will the Internet really spark a democratic revolution? And will the changes it brings be so profound that past political thought will be of little use in helping us to understand them?
In Prometheus Wired, Darin Barney debunks claims that a networked society will provide the infrastructure for a political revolution and shows that the resources we need for understanding and making sound judgements about this new technology are surprisingly close at hand. By looking to thinkers who grappled with the relationship of society and technology, such as Plato, Aristotle, Marx, and Heidegger, Barney critically examines such assertions about the character of digital networks.
Along the way, Barney offers an eye-opening history of digital networks and then explores a wide range of contemporary issues, such as electronic commerce, telecommuting, privacy, virtual community, digital surveillance, and the possibility of sovereign governance in an age of global networks. Ultimately, Barney argues that instead of placing power back in the hands of the public, a networked economy seems to exacerbate the worst features of industrial capitalism, and, in terms of the surveillance and control it exerts, reduces our political freedom.
Of vital interest to politicians, communicators, and anyone concerned about the future of democracy in the digital age, Prometheus Wired adds a provocative new voice to the debate swirling around "the Net" and the ways in which it will, or will not, change our political lives.