Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Penn Colloquium: Franklin Cason

Franklin Cason (Temple University)
"Avant-Garde Jazz as a Model for Cinema Studies"

Wednesday, November 14, 2012
330 Fisher-Bennett Hall
University of Pennsylvania

My current research considers that pragmatist philosophy offers a productive way through the impasse between traditional film theory and “post-theoretical” or cognitive approaches to film scholarship; a debate that had relatively little interest in, or effect on, the development of African American film practice or black film studies. To make this pragmatic inquiry address African American cinema with some specificity, I suggest an experimental approach to researching and writing about black cinema. Responding to both recent calls for a black cinema studies rooted in African-American cultural practices, and David Bordwell’s claim that film studies has much in common with musicology, I will argue that avant-garde jazz suggests several research and theoretical approaches. But unlike Bordwell’s musical analogies of film form, my target is film theory itself. Black cinema thus becomes an important case study for theorizing aesthetics and politics in cinema, generally. By exploring jazz, pragmatism, and black cultural practices, while following Richard Rorty’s lead in Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (1981), and Michael Magee’s Emancipating Pragmatism: Emerson, Jazz, and Experimental Writing (2004), I take seriously the possibilities offered by bridging the unique interests between black film analysis, cognitive film theory, screen theory, critical race theory, musicology, deconstruction, and pragmatism.

Two talks: Galloway and McGonigal

Center for Humanities at Temple
Digitial Humanities in Theory
Lecture: "The Unworkable Interface" 
by Alex Galloway
Associate Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication, New York University

Tuesday, November 13
4:00–5:30 pm,
CHAT Lounge (10th flr Gladfelter)

Interfaces are back, or perhaps they never left. The familiar Socratic conceit from the “Phaedrus” of communication as the process of writing directly on the soul of the other has, since the 1980s and ‘90s, returned to center stage in the discourse around culture and media. Windows, doors, airport gates and other thresholds are those transparent devices that achieve more the less they do: for every moment of virtuosic immersion and connectivity, for every moment of inopacity, the threshold becomes one notch more invisible, one notch more inoperable. This lecture examines the interface, what GĂ©rard Genette called a “zone of indecision” between the inside and outside of media. What is a computer interface and how does it structure interaction, work, and play?

Swarthmore College
Talk: "Games to Change the World" 
by Jane McGonigal

November 14th, 2012
7:30 PM
LPAC Pearson-Hall Theater
Swarthmore College

Game designer Jane McGonigal is harnessing the power of Internet games in new ways to help solve some of the biggest challenges facing our world. Her public talk is based on her book Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make us Better and How They Can Change the World, as well as recent game designs. She asks her audience to imagine a world in which every great challenge we face is a quest; where the harder a task is, the more people want to do it; where people take pleasure in failing and come back invigorated; and where they communicate spontaneously with their collaborators to pool their knowledge toward shared solutions. It turns out that world already exists-in games.