Deep Grad School: Creativity-cum-Culture

joy

The Culture Lab is a forum for researchers at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania committed to exploring, enriching, and elucidating the contours of culture and communication. We are interested in culture as it is, as it takes shape, and as it is remembered. We are interested, in other words, in culture anywhere that it exists. We bring a panoply of methods, perspectives, and tools to understanding culture so that culture is both expansive and modular, with large stakes and conspicuous entry points.

+

The Simplicity of Strangers

pica strangers

I took a break from talking about the intersections of art and communication at the Cultural Studies Association conference in Chicago recently to look at some contemporary art in situ. Something about Strangers (2008) by Amalia Pica (pictured here) made me linger. A string of multi-colored flags lays limp on a wall, as if the detritus from a family party in a midwestern garage. As I tried to quickly make sense of it, my thoughts vacillated between the private and the public, dismissing it as overblown kitsch aesthetic and allowing its simple, haunting elegance to pique childhood memories wrapped in saccharin, nostalgia, guilt, and the fear you have when you are too young to know…

+

Osmotic Networks and the Ekphrastic Death of Archive Fever

Coloredcaterpillar

The Digital Humanities Summer Institute kicked off this morning in an auditorium chockablock with wide-eyed geeks. Not long into the welcoming remarks, one of the event organizers explained, quite plainly, that what you take away from the Institute is only 12% what you learn in the course you’ve chosen. The other 88%, he said, is about the people sitting around you. What followed in this opening ceremony was a series of Harry Potter analogies employed to describe the various objectives of the different courses (the “dark art” of databases, the unconference sessions in the “room of requirement,” the “muggle-oriented” multimedia design) and a deep sense, in reading even the smallest gestural cues in the room,…

+

Fact and truth, text and body

Is film a viable medium for communicating scholarly knowledge? Such is the question driving the Seminar in Visual Ethnography that John Jackson (informally) co-teaches with Professor Stanton Wortham in the Graduate School of Education. I attended the class yesterday to see a friend of mine, Noam Osband, guest lecture. Noam is a doctoral candidate in anthropology and has successfully lobbied the dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences to accept a filmic dissertation. If film can serve as a means of communicating ethnography – and as Noam sees it, a unique and inherently valuable medium for such endeavors – how does one strike the perfect chord between fact and truth, didacticism and lyricism,…

+

The Ableism after UMD Delta Gamma’s Ableism

ableism facepalm

In case you haven’t heard the news about an email that circulated among the University of Maryland chapter of Delta Gamma, let me give you a roundup of links about it. The Most Deranged Sorority Girl Email You Will Ever Read (Gawker) Delta Gamma Sorority Girl Email From University of Maryland is Insane and Amazing (Huffington Post) Being ‘Sweet and Nice’ is Driving the DG Sorority Sisters at Maryland to Madness (The Atlantic Wire) UMD Delta Gammas “LITERALLY” Lay Down the Law in Psychotic Email (Guest of a Guest) Should we even dwell on the vile email? From the assumption of compulsory heterosexuality (“I would rather have 40 girls that are fun, talk to boys,…

+

Less Method, More Research

Firehouse research is a kind of investigation that begins with a researcher at-the-ready, prepared to slide down the greased pole and head into the field. Some have attributed the term to Everett Hughes in 1970, though tracking down exactly where the term originates is surprisingly difficult. Gladys Lang, while being interviewed for a documentary called Women of the Film, gladly notes a different definition of the term, given by Elihu Katz referring to her famous 1953 paper on the MacArthur Day in Chicago that she co-authored with husband Kurt Lang. Katz labeled their work “firehouse research” because they looked for fires and tried to put them out (McCormack & Simonson, 2007, p. 23).

+

For Aaron Swartz, A #pdftribute

0114_aaron_swartz

Disability and hacking share much beyond their need to be emancipated from their negative connotations. They both have emancipatory potential, by – as McKenzie Wark would have it – creating abstractions in the world. Hacking and disability are about seeking out borders, transgressing them when we need to, and imagining new worlds. It’s about thinking vanward.

+

Culture Lab @ ASC.

The Culture Lab is a forum for researchers at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania committed to exploring, enriching, and elucidating the contours of culture and communication. We are interested in culture as it is, as it takes shape, and as it is remembered. We are interested, in other words, in culture anywhere that it exists.
Skip to toolbar