Do Digital Critics Dream of Electric Texts? (- or – Genres, Media, Culture, & Technology, Respectively)

“How can it not know what it is?”
, the protagonist of the film Blade Runner, after interviewing an android that did not know it was an android and therefore behaved as if she were a human being.

With this in mind, I would like to propose a discussion of what happens to established literary or otherwise artistic genres (including painting, music, etc.) when confronted by “emerging” media and technology.  I see this discussion perhaps starting off from Marshall’s McLuhan’s monolithic proclamation in 1964 that “the medium is the message” and discussing the role of diverse forms of media in society, then fast-forwarding through almost 50 years of cultural production and technological development – so we can ask, “well, where are we now?”.  Are these cultural artifacts as “new” they are touted to be? Are they speech, discourses, or genres? Are they the wellspring of a new cultural current, or the latest addition to an ever-evolving continuum? The discussion is well under way when we think about literary adaptations in film, for example, but what about video games, mashups, and other digital texts? Other questions that come to mind would be:

  • Would that which we call a tweet by any other name have 140 characters?
  • If Art and Life imitate one another, what does SecondLife imitate?
  • If José Martí were alive today, would he have a blog?
  • Could citizen journalism and social media have saved the Tainos? Can it help the Caribe now?
  • Where in the Caribbean is Puerto Rico? See Google Maps: 1898 Edition.

Satire and speculation aside, I see this session as a provocative discussion not only of how technology and new media can/will/may/won’t change scholarship in the humanities (and particularly within the Caribbean), but also of what this all means for or can contribute to the whole Caribbean as a Culture  (if such a thing exists – if not, we can always start its Wikipedia page).



Categories: General, Session Proposals |