A reading suggestion for the summer: Traversals: The Use of Preservation for Early Electronic Writing by Stuart Moulthrop and Dene Grigar and with foreword by Joseph Tabbi, described as “An exercise in reclaiming electronic literary works on inaccessible platforms, examining four works as both artifacts and operations.”
For many decades, scholars of adaptation studies have been quarreling on the flaws and merits of the so-called fidelity issue, that is the (biased) idea that the novel is always better than the film and that the value of a movie thus depends on its more or less faithful recreation of the original, whatever all these terms (recreation, faithful, original) may mean.
This is not a new book and many readers may find it pathetically old-fashioned. Yet this collection of writings on art with a capital A by an author often discarded as typically WASP is doing what so much modern art criticism seems no longer “capable and willing” of doing, as we are asked by the air hostess when boarding the plane and being offered an exit seat:
I first read about the work of the Observatório de Favelas in the great book Radical Cities by Justin McGuirk (Verso, 2014). This organization in the vast and sprawling favela Complexo da Maré in Rio De Janeiro was founded by the social geographer Jailson de Souza e Silva. Besides being a place for research about life in the favelas, the organization also houses the Escola Popular de Comunicação Crítica (ESPOCC).
Recently Charlie Johns edited an extremely interesting book that works through the argument that neurosis is the dominant condition of our society today.
Food is a key theme in cultural studies, but often the approach focuses on the negative or problematic aspects of it: anorexia and other eating disorders, obesity and fat studies, outdoor eating rituals and social distinction, the critique of deeply rooted national preferences as a form of modern “mythology” (in the sense of Roland Barthes), the commercialization of snootiness, and the relationship between alimentary habits and climate change.
Anthropocene, posthumanism, biopolitics… Terms such as these have not only become very popular in academic circles, but they are also increasingly used in public debates, catalogues of exhibitions and policy documents. Sometimes a term suddenly becomes a fashionable buzzword, only to go out of fashion as quickly as it gained attention, but there are also terms that people keep on using because they help us to understand something important about contemporary society.