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Author: Marcel Danesi
Pop culture emerged in the first decades of the twentieth century as a reaction to the restrictive social traditions of colonial America. It spread quickly and broadly throughout the bustling urban centers of the 1920s—an era when it formed a partnership with technology and the business world. This coalition gave pop culture its identity, allowing it to thrive and form alliances with artistic and literary movements. But pop culture may have run its course with the rise of meme culture. This publication revisits the social, psychic, and aesthetic roots of pop culture, suggesting that meme culture has fragmented its historical flow, thus threatening to bring about its demise.
Legibility in the Age of Signs and Machines offers a compelling reflection on what the notion of legibility entails in a machinic world in which any form of cultural expression – from literary texts, films, artworks and museum exhibits to archives, laws, computer programs and algorithms – necessarily partakes in ever-more complex processes of (mass) mediation. Divided over four clusters focusing on desire, justice, machine and heritage, the chapters in the volume explore what makes something legible or illegible to whom or, indeed, what; the kinds of reading, processing or navigating such il/legibility facilitates or forecloses; and the role critical (media) theory, literary studies and the Humanities in general can play in tackling these and related issues.

Contributors: Ernst van Alphen, Anke Bosma, Siebe Bluijs, Sean Cubitt, Colin Davis, Katrine Dirckinck-Holmfeld, David Gauthier, Giovanna Fossati, Isabel Capeloa Gil, Pepita Hesselberth, Yasco Horsman, Janna Houwen, Looi van Kessel, Esther Peeren, Seth Rogoff, Roxana Sarion, Frederik Tygstrup, Inge van de Ven, Ruby de Vos, Peter Verstraten, Tessa de Zeeuw
Architecture and Control makes a collective critical intervention into the relationship between architecture, including virtual architectures, and practices of control since the turn of the twentieth to twenty-first centuries. Authors from the fields of architectural theory, literature, film and cultural studies come together here with visual artists to explore the contested sites at which, in the present day, attempts at gaining control give rise to architectures of control as well as the potential for architectures of resistance. Together, these contributions make clear how a variety of post-2000 architectures enable control to be established, all the while observing how certain architectures and infrastructures allow for alternative, progressive modes of control, and even modes of the unforeseen and the uncontrolled, to arise.

Contributors are: Pablo Bustinduy, Rafael Dernbach, Alexander R. Galloway, Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, Maria Finn, Runa Johannessen, Natalie Koerner, Michael Krause, Samantha Martin-McAuliffe, Lorna Muir, Mikkel Bolt Rasmussen, Anne Elisabeth Sejten and Joey Whitfield
In Bourdieu in Question: New Directions in French Sociology of Art, Jeffrey A. Halley and Daglind E. Sonolet offer to English-speaking audiences an account of the very lively Francophone debates over Pierre Bourdieu’s work in the domain of the arts and culture, and present other directions and perspectives taken by major French researchers who extend or differ from his point of view, and who were marginalized by the Bourdieusian moment.

Three generations of research are presented: contemporaries of Bourdieu, the next generation, and recent research. Themes include the art market and value, cultural politics, the reception of artworks, theory and the concept of the artwork, autonomy in art, ethnography and culture, and the critique of Bourdieu on literature.

Contributors are: Howard S. Becker, Martine Burgos, Marie Buscatto, Jean-Louis Fabiani, Laurent Fleury, Florent Gaudez, Jeffrey A. Halley, Nathalie Heinich, Yvon Lamy, Jacques Leenhardt, Cécile Léonardi, Clara Lévy, Pierre-Michel Menger, Raymonde Moulin, Jean-Claude Passeron, Emmanuel Pedler, Bruno Péquignot, Alain Quemin, Cherry Schrecker, Daglind E. Sonolet.
This book considers the production of collective identity in Venice (Christian, civic-minded, anti-tyrannical), which turned on distinctions drawn in various fields of representation from painting, sculpture, print, and performance to classified correspondence. Dismemberment and decapitation bore a heavy burden in this regard, given as indices of an arbitrary violence ascribed to Venice’s long-time adversary, “the infidel Turk.” The book also addresses the recuperation of violence in Venetian discourse about maintaining civic order and waging crusade. Finally, it examines mobile populations operating in the porous limits between Venetian Dalmatia and Ottoman Bosnia and the distinctions they disrupted between “Venetian” and “Turk” until their settlement on farmland of the Venetian state. This occurred in the eighteenth century with the closing of the borderlands, thresholds of difference against which early modern “Venetian-ness” was repeatedly measured and affirmed.
Readers who appear to be lost in a storyworld, members of theatre or cinema audiences who are moved to tears while watching a performance, beholders of paintings who are absorbed by the representations in front of them, players of computer games entranced by the fictional worlds in which they interactively participate – all of these mental states of imaginative immersion are variants of ‘aesthetic illusion’, as long as the recipients, although thus immersed, are still residually aware that they are experiencing not real life but life-like representations created by artefacts.
Aesthetic illusion is one of the most forceful effects of reception processes in representational media and thus constitutes a powerful allurement to expose ourselves, again and again to, e.g., printed stories, pictures and films, be they factual or fictional. In contrast to traditional discussions of this phenomenon, which tend to focus on one medium or genre from one discipline only, the present volume explores aesthetic illusion, as well as its reverse side, the breaking of illusion, from a highly innovative multidisciplinary and transmedial perspective. The essays assembled stem from disciplines that range from literary theory to art history and include contributions on drama, lyric poetry, the visual arts, photography, architecture, instrumental music and computer games, as well as reflections on the cognitive foundations of aesthetic illusion from an evolutionary perspective. The contributions to individual media and aspects of aesthetic illusion are prefaced by a detailed theoretical introduction.
Owing to its transmedial and multidisciplinary scope, the volume will be relevant to students and scholars from a wide variety of fields: cultural history at large, intermediality and media studies, as well as, more particularly, literary studies, music, film, and art history.
Off Beat: Pluralizing Rhythm draws attention to rhythm as a tool for analyzing various cultural objects. In fields as diverse as music, culture, nature, and economy, rhythm can be seen as a phenomenon that both connects and divides. It suggests a certain measure with which people, practices, and cultures may comply. Yet, for this very reason rhythm can also function as a field of exclusion, contestation, and debate. In that respect, rhythm possesses an underestimated meaning-creating potential. Whereas its connecting force is often accentuated in the aesthetic, political, and commercial usage of the term, the divisive aspect of rhythm is at least as important. This volume wants to rid rhythm of its harmless, nearly esoteric, reputation as a cosmic unifier by understanding it in the light of the contemporary medial turn. In the present collection of essays, we have encouraged approaches that combine political, aesthetic, musical, and theoretical dimensions of rhythm.
The Construction of the Sardinian Character in Italian Cinema
This volume explores how Sardinians and Sardinia have been portrayed in Italian cinema from the beginning of the 20th century until now, starting from the examination of Sardinian tropes in a wide range of texts – travel writing, fictional sources, essays and academic works. The purpose is to shed light on the cultural construction of the Sardinian character and to reveal the ideology that is behind this process. Hence the volume challenges topics such as the dynamics between verbal and visual imagery, and the intertwining between discourse, images and audience. It addresses the following questions: how was the Sardinian character translated from texts into films? Which strategies were developed to define Sardinian images on screen? For whom were these images intended? Which ideology lies behind the images?
Focusing on cultural images within film and literature, this volume is of interest to those working in imagology, comparative, cultural and Italian studies.
Cultural transformation tends to be described in one of two ways: either with reference to what comes about, is created or emerges in the process of change or with reference to what is destroyed or obscured in that process. Within a performative paradigm, that is, from a perspective which focuses on the manner in which social and cultural reality is constituted or brought about by human activity, theorists have, in recent years, tended to underline the productive aspects of transformation by emphasising the creative thrust of performative processes and events. In so doing, this perspective has tended to overlook the extent to which a certain destructive element may in fact be inherent to such performative processes. Drawing upon a range of historical and contemporary constellations of socio-cultural change and a variety of different types of events and activities, the articles in this volume describe different forms of destruction and their respective role in processes of transformation.
Their shared aim is to explore the manner in which destructivity, such as the destabilisation and destruction of orders, subjects and bodies, can be grasped by concepts of performativity. In other words, to what extent may a certain destructive dynamic be inscribed within this very notion?
Collective Creativity combines complex and ambivalent concepts. While ‘creativity’ is currently experiencing an inflationary boom in popularity, the term ‘collective’ appeared, until recently, rather controversial due to its ideological implications in twentieth-century politics. In a world defined by global cultural practice, the notion of collectivity has gained new relevance. This publication discusses a number of concepts of creativity and shows that, in opposition to the traditional ideal of the individual as creative genius, cultural theorists today emphasize the collaborative nature of creativity; they show that ‘creativity makes alterity, discontinuity and difference attractive’. Not the Romantic Originalgenie, but rather the agents of the ‘creative economy’ appear as the new avant-garde of aesthetic innovation: teams, groups and collectives in business and science, in art and digital media who work together in networking clusters to develop innovative products and processes.
In this book, scholars in the social sciences and in cultural and media studies, in literature, theatre and visual arts present for the first time a comprehensive, inter- and transdisciplinary account of collective creativity in its multifaceted applications. They investigate the intersections of artistic, scientific and cultural practice where the individual and the collective merge, come together or confront each other.