Great Expectations

A blog of the Department of English at BGSU:A place for faculty, students and alumni to connect.

“Cloning Terror, Telling Tales, and Surveying the Ruins: Epidemics of Collapse: Notes on Documentary and the Post-Industrial Sublime”

Posted by bgsuenglish on January 24, 2008

27.jpgHow can documentaries represent the post-industrial without reproducing a nostalgic representation of industry? How do you negotiate a landscape of collapse?

These questions and many more will be explored in the first of this year’s Provost Lecture Series, the theme of which is “Cloning Terror, Telling Tales, and Surveying the Ruins.” The series kicks off next week with a visit from Paula Rabinowitz from the University of Minnesota. She will be giving her talk “Epidemics of Collapse: Notes on Documentary and the Post-Industrial Sublime” on Wednesday, January 30th at 6:30 pm in the Sky Bank Room (201) in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union.

Dr. Rabinowitz explores a transnational poetics of post-industrialism through an analysis of film, photography, and poetry, paying special attention to Thomas Lahusen’s Living Among Ruins: Detroit and Komsomolsk, Mark Nowak’s Shut Up Shut Down, and Spike Lee’s When the Levees Broke. She examines how the iconic figures of the struggling worker and the devastated agricultural locations of the Depression era are rearticulated to make sense of contemporary post-industrialism. Looking at multiple transnational sites including China, Russia, and Detroit, she explores how these images are “remnants” both of abandonment and of progress. Her talk will be of interest to any scholars working with film, documentary, or deindustrialization.

Paula Rabinowitz is Professor and Chair of the Department of English at the University of Minnesota, where she holds the Samuel Russell Chair in the Humanities. She is author of Black & White & Noir: America’s Pulp Modernism, They Must Be Represented: The Politics of Documentary, and Labor and Desire: Women’s Revolutionary Fiction in Depression America. Her recent essays on art and culture have appeared in NY Arts, PAJ, Social Text, Legacy, Cineaste, Film International, Women’s Studies Quarterly, and T/Here. Her ongoing book projects include The Demotic Ulysses: How Pulp Fiction Brought Modernism to America which explores the impact of the paperback revolution on censorship, sexuality, audiences and literary taste, and The End and the Not which explores recent attempts to reconstitute documentary forms in the era of post-industrialization. She has been a Fulbright scholar and received a fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation.

Special Thanks go to the College of Arts and Sciences, the Graduate College, the Department of Theatre and Film, the Department of Ethnic Studies, the School of Art, the American Culture Studies Program, and the Office of the Provost.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact the Institute for the Study of Culture and Society at 419-372-0585

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