End of the Semester Links, Spring 2016

April 24, 2016

Nuclear and Environmental

Justin Gillis, “Scientists Warn of Perilous Climate Shift Within Decades, Not Centuries.”

Ross Andersen, “We’re Underestimating the Risk of Human Extinction.”

Matthew Schneider-Mayerson, “On Extinction and Capitalism.”

Robert Macfarlane, “Generation Anthropocene.”

Will Worley, “Radioactive Wild Boar Rampaging around Fukushima Nuclear Site.”

Rebecca Evans, “Weather Permitting.”

 

Hyperarchival

Jacob Brogan, “The Supreme Court Won’t Stop Google From Scanning Every Book in Existence.”

Panama Papers.

Fredric Jameson, “In Hyperspace.”

Michelle Moravec, “The Never-ending Night of Wikipedia’s Notable Woman Problem.”

Colleen Flaherty, “Streamlining Citations.”

Selim Bullut, “Vivienne Westwood’s Son is Burning His £5m Punk Collection.”

Chloe Olewitz, “A Japanese AI Program Just Wrote a Short Novel, and It Almost Won a Literary Prize.”

Jethro Mullen, “Computer Scores Big Win against Humans in Ancient Game of Go.”

Lise Hosein, “How Christian Bök Made a Bacterium Write Poetry to Him.”

Paul Resnikoff, “In 2015, Vinyl Earned More Than YouTube Music, VEVO, SoundCloud, and Free Spotify Combined.”

“This . . . Robot Says She Wants to Destroy Humans.”

Hyperallergic, “Anish Kapoor Coats ‘Cloud Gate’ in the Darkest Black Known to Humanity.”

Robinson Meyer, “How to Write a History of Videogame Warfare.”

Jed Whitaker, “New NES Emulator Displays Classic Games in 3D.”

Joe Blevins, “Koyaanisqatsi Recreated with Just Watermarked Stock Footage.”

Ed Young, “Most of the Tree of Life Is a Complete Mystery.”

The Electronic Encyclopedia of Experimental Literature.

And Lincoln Michael, “David Bowie’s 100 Favorite Books.”

 

Trump

Trump

As part of an attempt to answer the question How is Trump Possible? (which someone should steal as the title of their book), I’ve gathered together a wide variety of explanations and related ephemera.

Simone Chun, “Noam Chomsky: ‘I Have Never Seen Such Lunatics in the Political System.'”

Thomas Frank, “Millions of Ordinary Americans Support Donald Trump. Here’s Why.”

Lauren Berlant, “The Trumping of Politics.”

Glenn Greenwald, “The Rise of Trump Shows the Danger and Sham of Compelled Journalistic ‘Neutrality’ and “Donald Trump’s Policies Are Not Anathema to US Mainstream, but an Uncomfortable Reflection of It.”

Charles Simic, “Sticking to Our Guns.”

Robin James, “Hello from the Same Side.”

Chris Hedges, “The Revenge of the Lower Classes and the Rise of American Fascism.”

Amanda Taub, “The Rise of American Authoritarianism.”

Emma Lindsay, “Trump Supporters Aren’t Stupid.”

Patricia Lockwood, “Lost in Trumplandia.”

George Souvlis Maria-Christina Vogkli, “A New Electorate: Mike Davis on Clinton, Trump, and Sanders.”

Matt Walsh, “Dear Trump Fan, So You Want Someone To ‘Tell It Like It Is’? OK, Here You Go.”

Gavin Speiller, “Why I’m Supporting the Demonic Creature That Emerged from the Depths of Hell in This Year’s Presidential Election.”

And Tom O’Donnell, “Here’s Why I Am a Proud Godzilla Supporter.”

 

Economic and International

George Monbiot, “Neoliberalism: The Ideology at the Root of All of Our Problems.”

Thomas Piketty, “America’s Frightening Oligarchy.”

“Lèse humanité.”

 

ctyp_73ded5_prince-purp

Literature and Culture

Jon Pareles, “Prince, an Artist Who Defied Genre, Is Dead at 57.”

Peter Coviello, “Is There God after Prince?”

Charles Curtis, “Just How Good Was Prince at Basketball?”

Ervin Dyer, “A New Center for African American Poetry, Poetics.”

Poetry and Race in America, University of Pittsburgh Center for African American Poetry and Poetics.

Claudia Rankine, “Sound and Fury.”

Boris Kachka, “Claudia Rankine Challenges White Teachers, Pities White Racists in AWP Keynote.”

Geoffrey Bennington, “Embarrassing Ourselves,” review of Of Grammatology, by Jacques Derrida, translated by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, introduction by Judith Butler.

Eli Thorkelson, review of Why There Is No Poststructuralism in France, by Johannes Angermuller.

Matthew Mullins, “Are We Postcritical?” review of The Limits of Critque, by Rita Felski.

David Golumbia, “Code Is Not Speech.”

Lee Konstantinou, “We Had to Get Beyond Irony: How David Foster Wallace, Dave Eggers, and a New Generation of Believers Changed Fiction.”

The Great Concavity, a David Foster Wallace podcast.

Mark Sussman, “David Foster Wallace as Burkean Conservative: More D. T. Max on Every Love Story is a Ghost Story.”

John Jeremiah Sullivan, “David Foster Wallace’s Perfect Game.”

Mark Soderstrom, “Unequal Universes.”

Ian Bogost, “The Art—and Absurdity—of Extreme Career Hopping.”

Bruce Robbins, “Working on TV.”

Angie Cruz and Oindrila Mukherjee, editors, Atravesando: An Aster(ix) Anthology.

Ashley Hutson, “Lit Mag Committed to Social Change is Intense, Provocative, and Simply Good Reading.”

Ben Woodard, “A Blood More Red, a Red So Deep.”

Reynaldo Anderson, “Afrofuturism 2.0 and the Black Speculative Art Movement: Notes on a Manifesto.”

Jay Rachel Edidin, “One of the Original X-Men Is Gay.”

Ashaki M. Jackson, Surveillance.

George Sterling, “A Wine of Wizardry.”

Simon Parkin, “Hideo Kojima’s Mission Unlocked.”

Robert L. Kehoe III, “‘The Sharp Edge That Finds Us: Edward Mendelson’s Moral Agents and the Question ‘What Is Man?'”

Marta Bausells, “Why We Read: Authors and Readers on the Power of Literature.”

Black Ocean Press, “Designing the Tomaž Šalamun Series.”

Alia Al-Sabi, “Fan Mail: Taylor Baldwin.”

Butterbirds, Rugged Bug.

A profile of one of my amazing students: “Sarah Lane: The Gamechanger.”

Stephanie Roman, “Shadow of the Colossus: Ecology of Boss Fights.”

And in headlines you cannot make up, Helena Horton, “Microsoft Deletes ‘Teen Girl’ AI after It Became a Hitler-Loving Sex Robot within Twenty-Four Hours.”

 

Humanities and Higher Education

Andrew Hoberek, “Melissa Click and American Anger.”

Frank Pasquale, “Automating the Profession: Utopian Pipe Dream or Dystopian Nightmare?”

Colleen Flaherty, “The Power of Grad Teaching,” “Academics Get Real,” and “End of the Line in Wisconsin.”

Matthew Johnson, “State College of Florida Officially Scraps Tenure in Testy Meeting.”

Andrew Simmons, “Literature’s Emotional Lessons.”

James Doubek, “Attention Students: Put Your Laptops Away.”

Laura McKenna, “The Ever Tightening Job Market for PhDs.”

And Cards against the Humanities.

 

Pittsburgh

Deborah Fallows, “Language as Art in Pittsburgh.”

Kate Giammarise, “Pittsburgh Residents Voice Affordable Housing Concerns.”

 


An Interview with Jonathan Arac

March 30, 2016

2.cover (1)

I just published “An Interview with Jonathan Arac” in the most recent issue of boundary 2. I am honored to have had the chance to interview Arac, who has been such a important mentor to me in so many ways. An even further honor is having the interview appear in an issue with work by Tom Eyers, David Golumbia, McKenzie Wark, and others, along with Bruce Robbins’s interview of Orhan Pamuk and Jeffrey J. Williams’s interview of Wai Chee Dimock. What a fantastic issue.


Spring Break Links 2016

March 8, 2016

It has been a very busy past few months, and my links have suffered. But spring break has provided some lovely, unencumbered time, so here are many, many links (futilely) attempting to catch up with what’s been happening in the world. (In the interest of space, I’ve also passed over some of the more visible recent stories.)

 

Nuclear and Environmental

Paul Krugman, “Republicans’ Climate Change Denial Denial.”

Democracy Now, “Naomi Klein on Paris Summit: Leaders’ Inaction on Climate Crisis Is ‘Violence” Against the Planet.”

Adrienne LaFrance, “The Chilling Regularity of Mass Extinctions.”

Isabelle Stengers, In Catastrophic Times: Resisting the Coming Barbarism.

Sebastian Anthony, “Scientists Discover an Ocean 400 Miles Beneath Our Feet that Could Fill Our Oceans Three Times Over.”

Kylie Mohr, “Apocalypse Chow: We Tried Televangelist Jim Bakker’s ‘Survival Food.'”

Alex Trembath, “Are You and Upwinger or a Downwinger?”

Eric Bradner, “Newly Released Documents Reveal US Cold War Nuclear Target List.”

 

Hyperarchival

The Electronic Literature Collection, vol. 3.

The Library of Jacques Derrida.

Metacanon: American Fiction 1900-1999.

McKenzie Wark, “Creators of the World Unite,” review of Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free, by Cory Doctorow.

“Libricide: Literature on the Destruction of Books and Libraries.”

The Vault of the Atomic Space Age.

Kia Makarechi, “Iran Set to Unveil Collection of Western Art Largely Unseen Since 1979 Revolution.”

Robinson Meyer, “The Decay of Twitter.”

Dennis Perkins, “I Worked in a Video Store for 25 Years. Here’s What I Learned as My Industry Died.”

Miles Bowe, “Download 30GB of Lost Cassettes from the 80s Underground.”

Nicole Dewandre, “The Human Condition and the Black Box Society,” review of The Black Box Society: The Secret Algorithms That Control Money and Information, by Frank Pasquale.

Will Partin, “When a Videogame World Ends.”

Samantha Hunt, “A Brief History of Books That Do Not Exist.”

Alexander Provan, “The Last Platform.”

Bradford Bailey, “Cornelius Cardew’s Treatise (1963-67).”

naxxu, “Here’s a giant 800-track alt/indie-focused 90’s playlist in chronological order.”

 

International

James Fallows, “On the Impossibility of Fighting ISIL.”

Paul Mason, “The End of Capitalism Has Begun.”

Slavoj Žižek, “In the Wake of Paris Attacks the Left Must Embrace Its Radical Western Roots.”

Sam Kriss, “Building Norway: A Critique of Slavoj Žižek.” and “Why Slavoj Žižek Is Wrong About the Syrian Refugee Crisis—And Psychoanalysis.”

Graeme Wood, “What ISIS Really Wants.”

Etienne Balibar, “In War.”

Jeffrey Fleishman, “‘Poetry is a witness’ to Suffering Wrought by Syria’s Civil War.”

Neel Ahuja, “Still Ahead Somehow,” review of The Security Archipelago: Human-Security States, Sexuality Politics, and the End of Neoliberalism, by Paul Amar.

 

Literature and Culture

Charles Simic, “Age of Ignorance.”

David L. Ulin, “In Numero Zero, Umberto Eco Has his Mind on Conspiracy–Again.”

Ann E. Bromley, “In Memoriam: Ralph Cohen, Professor Who Transformed Literary Criticism.”

Adam Fitzgerald, “On the Black Avant-garde, Trigger Warnings, and Life in East Hampton: In Conversation with Poet Dawn Lundy Martin.”

Ta-Nehisi Coates’s National Book Award Acceptance Speech.

David Simpson, “Terror Talk and Political Management.”

Matthew Mullins, “Are We Postcritical?” review of The Limits of Critique, by Rita Felski.

Fred Moten, “On Marjorie Perloff.”

Tameka Cage Connely, “Try Me: Beneath the Art of Terrance Hayes.”

Joshua Mostafa, “The View from Nowhere,” review of Forget English! Orientalisms and World Literatures, by Aamir R. Mufti, and Born Translated, by Rebecca L. Walkowitz .

David Palumbo-Liu interviews Amitav Ghosh, “The Opium Wars, Neoliberalism, and the Anthropocene.”

October no. 155, “A Questionnaire on Materialisms.”

John Freeman, “Ben Lerner Is Apprehensive.”

Sadie Stein, “Ben Lerner on The Lichtenberg Figures.”

Reynaldo Anderson, “Afrofuturism 2.0 and the Black Speculative Art Movement: Notes on a Manifesto.”

Kate Kellaway, “Claudia Rankine.”

Edward Mendelson, “Obama as Literary Critic.”

Juliana Spahr and Stephanie Young, “The Program Era and the Mainly White Room.”

Alison Flood, “Lost Shelley Poem Execrating ‘Rank Corruption’ of Ruling Class Made Public.”

Colin Dayan, “Throw Away Your Mind.”

Sam Kriss, “Abandon the Future.”

Zachary Loeb, “The Ground Beneath the Screens,” review of A Geology of Media and The Anthrobscene, by Jussi Parikka.

Duncan Thomas, “The Politics of Art: An Interview with Jacques Rancière.”

Virginia Jackson, “The Function of Criticism at the Present Time.”

Adrian Parr, “What Is Becoming of Delezue?”

Dinah Lenney and Arne De Boever Interview Christopher Schaberg and Ian Bogost, “Here Comes Everything.”

Nicola Masciandaro, “Wings Flock to My Crypt, I Fly to My Throne.”

Zak Bronson, “Living in the Wreckage,” review of Salvage: Amid This Stony Rubbish, no. 1.

Heather Scott Partington, “Life-in-progress,” review of Submission, by Michel Houellebecq.

Spencer Kornhaber, “The Rapper of Refugees: What’s M.I.A.’s ‘Borders’ Video Really About.”

Adam Fleming Petty, “The Spatial Poetics of Nintendo: Architecture, Dennis Cooper, and Video Games.”

Michah McCrary, “Many Layers, Many Guises: An Interview with Sven Birkerts.”

Aaron Shulman, interview with Robert Coover.

Tom Bissel, “Everything About Everything: David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest at 20.”

John Baskin, “Death Is Not the End.”

D. T. Max, “Beyond Infinite Jest.”

Arthur Chu, “How Jessica Jones Absorbed the Anxieties of Gamergate.”

Tammy Oler, “Oh, the Humanity,” review of Ann Leckie’s Imperial Radch trilogy.

Paul Kincaid, “The Destruction of Genre,” review of Slade House, by David Mitchell.

Elizabeth G. Dunn, “The Myth of ‘Easy’ Cooking.”

Ester Bloom, “How ‘Treat Yourself’ Became a Capitalist Command.”

Fandor Keyframe, “What Is ‘Lynchian’?”

Rachel Will, “Robert Pruitt’s New Works Juxtapose African Culture and Space Objects.”

Richard Jean So and Andrew Piper, “How Has the MFA Changed the Contemporary Novel?”

Cathy Day, “My Critique of a Critique of MFA Programs.”

Moran Sanderovich, sculptor.

Robin James, “Hello from the Same Side.”

Aaron Bady, “Our Star Wars Holiday Special.”

Sam Kriss, “Smash the Force.”

Steve Paulson, “No Warp Drives, No Transporters: Science Fiction Authors Get Real.”

Julia Johanne Tolo, “Margaret Atwood Is Writing a Superhero Comic Book.”

Donald Trump’s “The Art of the Deal”: The Movie.

David Sims, “Why Would People Watch Shia LaBeouf Watch Himself?” and Fallout 4: Have Dog, Will Travel.”

M. H. Miller, “Jason Rohrer Will Be the First Video Game Designer to Have a Solo Museum Show.”

Michael Maizels and Patrick Jagoda, The Game Worlds of Jason Rohrer.

Nathan Reese, “An Exhibition That Proves Videogames Can Be Art.”

Mike Sterry, “The Totalitarian Buddhist Who Beat Sim City.”

William Hughes, Undertale Dares to Players to Make a Mistake They Can Never Take Back.”

A. Will Brown, “Matthew Barney: River of Fundament.”

Meghan Tifft, “An Introverted Writer’s Lament.”

Emily Carlson, Symphony No. 2.

Tracy K. Smith, “Don’t You Wonder, Sometimes?”

Mark Sussman, “David Bowie, the Language of the Tribe, Weirdness, and so on.”

After Happy Hour Review issue #4.

Ashley Hutson, “Lit Mag Committed to Social Change is Intense, Provocative, and Simply Good Reading,” review of Asterix (Fall 2015).

Rose Eveleth, “Imagination Battles: What Will the Future Look Like?” review of Speculations (The Future Is ___), edited by Sarah Resnick.

Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy is coming to TV!

And Kobe Bryant, “Dear Basketball.”

 

Humanities and Higher Education

Andrew Hoberek, “Why I Continue to Support Melissa Click.”

Laura McKenna, “Should Professors Be Fired for Damaging a College’s Reputation?”

Goldie Blumenstyk, “As Big-Data Companies Come to Teaching, a Pioneer Issues a Warning.”

Colleen Flaherty, “Academics Get Real,” on #realacademicbios.

Sol Gittleman, “Tenure Is Disappearing. But It’s What Made American Universities the Best in the World.”

Rani Neutill, “My Trigger Warning Disaster.”

John Warner, “Students Aren’t Coddled. They’re Defeated” and “Kill the 5-Paragraph Essay.”

Bill Schacknerh, “Campaign Underway to Unionize Pitt Faculty” and more here and here.

Susan Harlan, “Rubric for the Rubric Concerning Students’ Core Educational Competency in Reading Things in Books and Writing about Them.”

And Claire Vaye Watkins, Derek Palacio, and Anni McGreevy, “Academic-Job Listings for My Exes.”

 

Pittsburgh

Adam Smeltz, “Study Finds Black Men Left Out of Pittsburgh’s Rebirth.”

Raymar Hampshire, “Why I Left: Pittsburgh Has an Expiration Date.”

Nick Coles, “Black Homes Matter: The Fate of Affordable Housing in Pittsburgh.”

Robin Clarke wins the University of Pittsburgh’s 2015 Iris Marion Young Award for Political Engagement.


MLA 2016 Panel: The Anthropocene and Deep Time in Literary Studies

December 1, 2015

At this year’s MLA Convention in Austin, Texas, I will be on a panel on The Anthropocene and Deep Time in Literary Studies. I have included the information on the panel and an abstract for the paper I will be presenting below.

 

670. The Anthropocene and Deep Time in Literary Studies

Saturday, 9 January, 5:15–6:30 p.m., 6B, ACC

Program arranged by the forum LLC 20th- and 21st-Century American

Presiding: Heather Houser, Univ. of Texas, Austin

Speakers: Gerry Canavan, Marquette Univ.; Bradley J. Fest, Univ. of Pittsburgh; Kristin George Bagdanov, Univ. of California, Davis; Rebecca Wilbanks, Stanford Univ.

Session Description:

The notion of the Anthropocene was coined in 2000 to highlight that human beings’ transformation of the planetary environment will be visible in the geological strata. Beyond its crucial influence in the environmental humanities, the Anthropocene links to discussions of deep time in literary studies. This session taps into and elaborates on these two ongoing discussions.

 

“Fictional Quantities That Make Themselves Real”: Speculation, Petropolitics, and Deep Time in Reza Negarestani’s Cyclonopedia

Since its publication in 2008, Reza Negarestani’s experimental work of “theory-fiction,” Cyclonopedia: Complicity with Anonymous Materials, has become somewhat of a literary touchstone for a variety of writers and thinkers revolving in the orbit of speculative realism. Resembling what would happen if Deleuze and Guattari collaborated with H. P. Lovecraft, Cyclonopedia is a serious, albeit ironic encounter with non-correlationist thought, with speculation, deep time, and hyperobjects of all kinds. It is also a rigorous literary attempt to think through climate change, the War on Terror, and the petropolitical realities of the twenty-first century. This paper will explore a variety of issues that converge in Negarestani’s remarkable book. Beginning with Cyclonopedia’s implicit emphasis on how speculation is necessary for thinking the present (rather than, say, rationalism, measurement, or management), this paper will argue that Negarestani’s encounter with geology and nonhuman hyperobjects indicates that experimental literature may be uniquely suited to thinking about deep time and the realities of climate change in a way unavailable to more conventional narratives. If Steven Shaviro has recently suggested that “at its best, speculative philosophy rather resembles speculative fiction,” then Negarestani’s “novel” is evidence of what might happen when speculative philosophy becomes speculative fiction. Cyclonopedia is not only an important text for thinking about nonhuman entities and deep time in an age of observable climate change, it is also an important entry into the ancient debate between poetry and philosophy. Less a “novel after theory” than theory as novel, Cyclonopedia demonstrates that literature will continue to play an important role for understanding the Anthropocene.


October 2015 Links

October 21, 2015

Nuclear and Environment

Saeed Kamali Dehghan, “Iranian Parliament Passes Bill Approving Nuclear Deal.”

McKenzie Wark, “The Capitalocene.”

Trevor Paglen, Trinity Cube.

 

US Politics

Daniel Schlozman, “The Sanders Phenomenon.”

 

Science

Nicola Twilley, “Meet the Martians.”

Tom Chmielewski, “After Intelligent Life Is Discovered.”

Ross Andersen, “The Most Mysterious Star in Our Galaxy” (need I say “alien megastructures”?).

 

National Security State

The Intercept, The Drone Papers.

A visual glossary of The Drone Papers.

Culture Machine, Drone Culture.

Arjun Sethi, “Obama Misled the Public on Drones.”

“Where Spies Go When They Don’t Know.”

And an old one: Mike Lofgren, “Anatomy of the Deep State.”

 

Hyperarchival

Alexander R. Galloway, “From Data to Information.”

Jacob Brogan, “The Shame of Finding Your Younger Self Online.”

Curt Hopkins, “In the Age of Digital Music the Tape Is Making an Unlikely Comeback.”

Adrienne LaFrance, “Raiders of the Lost Web.”

Alison Gopnik, “No, Your Children Aren’t Becoming Digital Zombies.”

 

Literature and Culture

Dawn Lundy Martin, ed., “Dossier: On Race and Innovation,” a special issue of boundary 2.

Charles Stross, “21st Century: A Complaint.”

Alexandra Alter, “Svetlana Alexievich, Belarussian Voice of Survivors, Wins Nobel Prize in Literature.”

Joshua Cohen is writing a novel and allowing people to see him write it (it’s titled PCKWCK).

Terry Eagleton, “Utopias, Past and Present: Why Thomas More Remains Astonishingly Radical.”

Park MacDougald, “The Darkness before the Right.”

“An Interview with Robert Coover.”

Adam Kelly, “E. L. Doctorow’s Postmodernist Style.”

Barrett Brown, “Stop Sending Me Jonathan Franzen Novels.”

Ira Wells, “Mr. Difficult Rejects His Title,” review of Purity, by Jonathan Franzen.

Wesley Morris, “The Year We Obsessed Over Identity.”

Richard Brody, “Postscript: Chantal Akerman.”

Holly Andres, “Who Won Science Fiction’s Hugo Awards, and Why It Matters.”

Dan Brooks, “Banksy and the Problem of Sarcastic Art.”

Alec Wilkinson, “Something Borrowed,” on Kenneth Goldsmith.

Cathy Park Hong, “There’s a New Movement in American Poetry and It’s Not Kenneth Goldsmith.”

Alberto Comparini, “The Questionable Orthodoxy of Genres,” review of The Novel Essay, 1884-1947, by Stefano Ercolino.

Bill Capossere, “Purposeful Motion,” review of Changing the Subject: Art and Attention in the Internet Age, by Sven Birkerts.

Davey Wreden’s The Beginner’s Guide.

Laura Hudson, The Beginner’s Guide Is a Game That Doesn’t Want to Be Written About.”

Naomi Alderman, “The First Great Works of Digital Literature Are Already Being Written.”

Mathieu Piccarreta, “French City Introduces ‘Short Story Dispensers’ In Public Areas.”

Caitlin White, “Children’s Picture Book What Is Punk? Introduces Toddlers to Way Better Music Than Raffi.”

The Great Concavity, a new podcast on David Foster Wallace.

Jonathan Moody, Olympic Butter Gold.

And Ian Bogost, “Egg McNothin’.”

 

Humanities and Higher Education

Audrey Watters, “The Functions of Education-Technology Criticism.”

Mary Ellen McIntire, “How One College Hopes to Reshape General Education.”

Jenna Lay, “Job-Market Advice–for Faculty.”

And I am Pseudonymous, “Dear Cornell University. . . .”

 

Pittsburgh

Marylynne Pitz, “Warhol Curator Quits after Five Months.”

And the 2015 Society for Utopian Studies Conference Program.


September 2015 Links

October 1, 2015

These links are coming a day late, but as anticipated, it has been a very busy semester.

 

Nuclear and Environmental

Lizzie Wade, “Earth in 10,000 Years.”

John Metcalfe, “Imagining the Most Catastrophic Climate Future Ever.”

Steven Vogel, “Environmental Ethics in a Postnatural World.”

Chris Mooney, “Why Some Scientists Are Worried About a Surprisingly Cold ‘Blob’ in the North Atlantic Ocean.”

Laurence Topham , Alok Jha and Will Franklin, “Building the Bomb.”

Ross Andersen, “Watching Nuclear War From Across the Galaxy.”

And a letter from Governor Jerry Brown.

 

US and National Security State

The WikiLeaks Files: The World According to US Empire.

Sy Hersh, “Evil but Stupid.”

 

Science

Adrienne LaFrance, “Water Is Flowing on Mars.”

 

Hyperarchival

Caitlin Dewey, “Everyone You Know Will Be Able to Rate You on the Terrifying ‘Yelp for People’–Whether You Want Them To or Not.” 

Rose Eveleth, “Introducing the Archive Corps.”

Alister Doyle, “Syrian War Spurs First Withdrawal from Doomsday Arctic Seed Vault.”

Kalev Leetaru, “History As Big Data: 500 Years Of Book Images And Mapping Millions Of Books.”

Colin Coopman, “The Algorithm and the Watchtower.”

Zachary Loeb, “The Social Construction of Acceleration,” review of Pressed for Time: The Acceleration of Life in Digital Capitalism, by Judy Wajcman.

Miya Tokumitsu, “The Politics of the Curation Craze.”

Nikhil Sonnad, “This Free Online encyclopedia Has Achieved What Wikipedia Can Only Dream of.” On The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Margarita Noriega, “The Map of Literature.”

Ben Quinn, “Isis Destruction of Palmyra’s Temple of Bel Revealed in Satellite Images.”

Mimi Zeiger, “Yayoi Kusama’s Infinitely Immersive Installation Opens with The Broad in Los Angeles.”

And an old one: Grant Brunner, “Programmer Creates 800,000 Books Algorithmically, Starts Selling Them on Amazon.”

 

Literature and Culture

Carolyn Kellogg, “Ta-Nehisi Coates and Other Authors Who Landed MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grants: What Made Them Stand Out.”

Ben Lerner, MacArthur Fellow.

N. Katherine Hayles, “Searching for Purpose,” review of Seveneves, by Neal Stephenson, and Aurora, by Kim Stanley Robinson.

Fredric Jameson, “In Hyperspace,” review of Time Travel: The Popular Philosophy of Narrative, by David Wittenberg.

Ian Bogost, “In the Habit,” review of Gamelife, by Michael W. Clune.

McKenzie Wark, “Blog-Post for Cyborgs” and “Benjamedia.”

Alexander R. Galloway, “Assessing the Legacy of That Thing That Happened After Poststructuralism” and “From Data to Information.”

Bruce Robbins, “Working on TV.”

Anjali Vaidya, “The Final Installment of the Ibis Trilogy,” review of Flood of Fire, by Amitav Ghosh.

Laila Lalami, review of Flood of Fire, by Amitav Ghosh.

Mark Goble, “Good Literary Criticism: On the Crisis of Man,” review of The Age of the Crisis of Man: Thought and Fiction in America 1933-1972, by Mark Greif.

John Higgs, “Was Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain Actually Created by a Long-forgotten Pioneering Feminist?”

Sarah Kaplan, “A White Guy Named Michael Couldn’t Get His Poem Published. Then He Became Yi-Fen Chou.”

Sherman Alexie Speaks Out on The Best American Poetry 2015.

Yi-Fen Chou, “The Bees, the Flowers, Jesus, Ancient Tigers, Poseidon, Adam and Eve.”

Brian Spears, “Yellowface in Poetry.”

Jenny Zhang, “They Pretend To Be Us While Pretending We Don’t Exist.

Aaron Bady, “Best American Poetry Pseudonyms.”

Teju Cole, “Migrants Welcome.”

Art Winslow, “The Fiction Atop the Fiction: Did Pynchon Publish a Novel Under the Pseudonym Adrian Jones Pearson?”

John Beck, “Beneath the Soviets the Beach,” review of Molecular Red, by McKenzie Wark.

Carolyn Kellogg, “Salman Rushdie’s New Novel Two Years Lets the Jinn Out of the Bottle.”

Radio Hour: Salman Rushdie, Jill Essbaum, and Jerry Stahl.

Janet Maslin, The Art of Memoir, by Mary Karr, Is a Veteran’s Guide.”

Amanda Fortini, “Interview: Mary Karr, The Art of Memoir, no. 1.”

Morten Høi Jensen, “Me, Myself, and Hitler,” review of My Struggle, Book Five, by Karl Ove Knausgaard.

Rhys Williams, “Wake Up and Smell the Weird,” review of Three Moments of an Explosion, by China Miéville.

Eleanor Goodman, “Letter from Shanghai.”

Andrew Broaks, “Do You Miss the Future? Mark Fisher Interviewed.

Nick Levey, “A Temporal Humanism: A Review of Joseph Frank’s Responses to Modernity.”

Nell Zink, “Early Thoughts on Purity by Jonathan Franzen.”

Urmila Seshagiri, “Biology, Destiny, Purity.”

David Haglund, Mr. Robot and the Angry Young Man.”

“Don DeLillo to Receive National Book Award for Lifetime Achievement.”

Don DeLillo, Zero K (forthcoming).

Jason Horsley, “The Invitation of the Mirror: Jonathan Lethem and Me, from the Margin to the Mainstream.”

David Orr, “The Most Misread Poem in America.”

Laura Miller, “David Foster Wallace and the Perils of ‘Litchat.'”

John Semley, The End of the Tour Flattens David Foster Wallace into the Grinding Machinery of Fame He so Often Detested.”

Phillip Maciak, “Original Programming: On Mr. Robot.”

De Witt Douglas Kilgore, “Envisioning Astroculture in the American Hemisphere,” review of Past Futures : Science Fiction, Space Travel, and Postwar Art of the Americas, by Sarah J. Montross.

Martin Woessner, “Fail Slow, Fail Hard,” review of Freedom to Fail: Heidegger’s Anarchy, by Peter Trawny.

George Gene Gustines, “Ta-Nehisi Coates to Write Black Panther Comic for Marvel.”

Dan Piepenbring, “The Solar Anus.”

Don Van Natta Jr. and Seth Wickersham, “Spygate to Deflategate: Inside What Split the NFL and Patriots Apart.”

Heidi Kemps, “Nintendo’s Forgotten Console.”

“Dismaland: Inside Banksy’s Dystopian Playground.”

Grace Ambrose, “Reissue of the Week: Conflict.”

Nicola Masciandaro, “Wings Flock to My Crypt, I Fly to My Throne: On Inquisition’s Esoteric Floating Tomb.”

Patrick Jagoda, Network Aesthetics (pre-order).

Andrea K. Scott, “Triple Threat” (on Triple Canopy).

Plinth, no. 4.

Emoji Dick.

Julia Yu, “Goodnight Dune.”

Andy McDonald, “And Now, A Fat Guy On A Toilet Talks To You About Fat Shaming.”

And Jared Smith, “Taylor Swift: A Socratic Dialogue.”

 

Humanities and Higher Education

Megan Garber, “The Rise of ‘Quit Lit.'”

Colleen Flaherty, “Public Good-byes.”

Oliver Lee, “I Have One of the Best Jobs in Academia. Here’s Why I’m Walking Away.”

Ian Bogost, “No One Cares that You Quit Your Job.”

“How America Reacted to ‘The Coddling of the American Mind.'”

Ryan Holiday, “The Real Reason We Need to Stop Trying to Protect Everyone’s Feelings.”

David L. Ulin, “Read before You Speak.”

Adrienne LaFrance, “Millennials Are Outreading Older Generations.”

Henry Veggian, “Adjunct Professors and the Myth of Prestige.”

Simon During, “Stop Hyping Academic Freedom.”

And the 2015-2016 academic year is “The Year of the Humanities” at the University of Pittsburgh.


Panel Abstract: Utopian Geologies

September 6, 2015

I just got word that a panel I organized was accepted for the 2015 Society for Utopian Studies Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, taking place November 5-8. I have included the general abstract for the panel, and the abstracts for each individual paper.

The panel will take place on Saturday, 7 November 2015, 8:30 -10:45 am.

 

Utopian Geologies

Panelists: Racheal Forlow, Dan Malinowski, and Bradley J. Fest

In the twenty-first century, the Anthropocene has emerged as an important concept for understanding the impact of human life on the planet. As activists, journalists, and scholars attempt to respond to the challenges this new epoch presents, many invoke deep time as a significant mode of thinking. This panel will take up the question of how the utopian imagination, long a site for speculating about the future, might contend with such geologic timescales. Responding to the conference topic of “global flows” by discussing things that flow at very, very slow paces, each paper will consider an important literary encounter with utopian geology. From Walt Whitman’s emergent poesis, to Kim Stanley Robinson’s posthuman environmental ethics, to the emphasis on human finitude in recent speculative thinking, these papers all signal a desperate need to reinvest in the imagination in the face of observable climate change.

 

Walt Whitman’s Geologic Imagination and the Future

Racheal Forlow, University of Pittsburgh

Western utopian traditions imagine how human activities might create better futures. Today, those who pursue projects of this kind confront a singular set of challenges. Scientists argue climate change and a range of other environmental emergencies threaten the future of the species. Because most agree the activities a tradition of Enlightenment thinking privileges produced these threats, the present seems to demand we conceive anew the ways we hope to project and build better worlds. Some artists, intellectuals, and activists committed to this work therefore suggest we abandon anthropocentric views of the universe and autonomous views of human individuals for more broadly materialist accounts. In this paper, I argue a tradition of American poetry Walt Whitman originates offers projects of this kind historical and conceptual resources. Whitman treats the human faculties contemporary projects require—among these imagination, reason, and feeling—in thoroughly material terms. In “Song of Myself” (1855), he imagines human creative power is an evolutionary force that emerges out of deep, geologic history. So conceived, the human is not a powerful, autonomous agent that dominates what is not identical to it. Instead, the species participates in a broader set of transformative processes. I believe recognizing US traditions offer this alternative vision of the human might serve attempts to project and build futures in the novel ways contemporary crises compel.

 

Should We Eat the Dirt? Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy, Geology, and New Materialism

Dan Malinowski, Rutgers University

No matter where humanity goes, it will shape and be shaped by its environment. In this talk, I will explore the ways in which Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars Trilogy (1994-96), through the long time-spans in which it occurs, allows us to follow the flow of human society on literally untouched land, providing a useful thought experiment for exploring the ethics of the relationship of humanity to geological features. I will examine the debates surrounding terraforming enacted within these novels, highlighting their central aporia: namely, how a utopian society can (or cannot) coexist with a posthuman ethics towards the natural landscape. I will show how the recent work in the New Materialism can articulate this problem more productively than the Heideggerian model of geological ethics proposed by Fredric Jameson in his essay on the trilogy. In doing so, this paper will articulate a view of the world in which the interactions of the “dead” world and its new inhabitants flow back and forth in an ongoing and multi-directional process, a consideration inseparable from any utopian possibility whether here on Earth or there on Mars.

 

Speculative Criticism, Black Metal Theory, and Utopia: Richard Grossman’s “Torah Ball”

Bradley J. Fest, University of Pittsburgh

In recent years, invoking Fredric Jameson’s famous quip about it being easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism has become something of a cliché. Given the realities of observable climate change and the seeming inability for human institutions to make the broad, sweeping changes necessary for responding to life in the Anthropocene, one might find it difficult to disagree with claims about the foreclosure of the utopian imagination. So it is perhaps surprising that a variety of thinkers, emerging from the school of Speculative Realism (or New Materialism), have been emphasizing species finitude, particularly with regard to deep, geologic timescales. Rather than explore possible utopian futures, writers like Ray Brassier, Nicola Masciandaro, Reza Negarestani, Eugene Thacker, McKenzie Wark, Evan Calder Williams, and others, often writing under the heading of “Black Metal Theory,” frequently invoke the utter inevitability of human extinction. As part of a larger project of articulating what I am calling “speculative criticism,” this paper will explore what such dark geologies might offer for both the study of literary works massively extended in space and time and the pressing need to reconceive and reinvest in the utopian imagination in the twenty-first century.


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