On May 27th, distinguished media theorist Henry Jenkins (USC) was the final speaker in this year's series, discussing notions of the "civic imagination" and transmedia storytelling. This draws on his recent work exploring how activists are tapping into popular culture in new ways (as well as the infrastructure and traditions of fandom) as part of what we Jenkins calls the "Civic Imagination," where cultural objects like Superman, The Walking Dead, Harry Potter, and Hunger Games are being transformed into resources for social change.
On May 30th, Paul Rabinow (UC-Berkeley) was our colloquium keynote speaker. In his talk, he asks: "How should one conduct inquiry—today—into problems of broad scope and historical depth? How should one give form to participant-observation into problem spaces in which the specific site must be understood to be connected with multiple other sites and formations? In sum, how should one conduct contemporary inquiry?"
On May 30th, Keren Omry (University of Haifa) spoke at our annual colloquium in her talk titled: "A Geometry of Uncertainty: 9/11 and Culture of the Contemporary in a Digital Age"
On May 30th, Phillip Wegner (University of Florida) spoke at our annual colloquium in his talk titled: "The Rising Fortunes of the Contemporary and the Challenge of Periodization"
Celebrated international artist Ori Gersht delivered a lecture entitled "Optical Unconsciousness" with an introduction by Alexander Nemerov (Department Chair & Carl and Marilynn Thoma Provostial Professor in the Arts and Humanities; Stanford University). A public Q & A followed the presentation.
In this talk, Stanford's Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht discusses "Historicization of History as Political Challenge and Existential Fate," themes taken up in his recent book After 1945 – Latency as Origin of the Present (2013, Stanford University Press).