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Category Archives: Bad news from the present


Friend of mine just forwarded me this CFP (that’s ‘call for papers,’ for the unwashed among you) for an impending scholarly clambake at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia. In this golden age of academic off-jag, it’s pretty hard to stand out as a polysyllabic bullshitter, but this, uh, text and its author deserve mad props for totally delivering on the enticing promise of the panel’s subtitle. Take us beyond meaning, Jamie Bianco of the University of Pittsburgh!

Non-discursivity and Affect: Beyond Meaning in Media

Seminar Organizer: Jamie Bianco, U of Pittsburgh
Within cultural and comparative studies, we engage the world through discursive and critical frameworks. In response to emerging theorization of multimodality, non-discursivity, creative criticism, practical research, object-oriented philosophy, and speculative realism, this seminar seeks to engage work that draws out these emergent conceptualizations in relation to cultural and media production, reception, circulation/distribution, and response. Are non-discursive elements “readable” in a critical response? What is the role of “design”? How might we think about and produce responses to ecologies and ethologies of culture, media, mediated objects, and user/makers within creative critical or multimodal productive methods that privilege critical making over intervention? Are experiential critical designs effective? This seminar considers media to include print and analog forms as well as digital and computational forms and welcomes work in multimodal/multimediated genres and styles.

So much to admire here. I love the way that “practical research” stands out like a turd in a punchbowl next to “multimodality, non-discursivity” etc etc. I loves them scare quotes around “‘readable'” and “‘design,'” though would prefer to see same around “role,” and maybe “seminar” too, because that’s a concept that’s really been insufficiently problematized. I’m dying to know the distinction between “critical making” and “intervention.” Are we talking here about the difference between sitting around criticizing shit and actually doing something about shit? Just a fucking guess, based on the rash assumption that it has to mean anything at all.

In the words of my man Flann, “Can you imagine the sneering daredevils who despise each other for not ‘understanding’ grey incomprehensibilities like this?”

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