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New Media in the Classroom
Literary scholars face a new and often baffling reality in the classroom: students spend more time looking at glowing screens than reading printed text. The social lives of these students take place in cyberspace instead of the student pub. Their favorite narratives exist in video games, not books. How do teachers who grew up in a different world engage these students without watering down pedagogy? Clint Burnham and Paul Budra have assembled a group of specialists in visual poetry, graphic novels, digital humanities, role-playing games, television studies, and, yes, even the middle-brow novel, to address this question. Contributors give a brief description of their subject, investigate how it confronts traditional notions of the literary, and ask what contemporary literary theory can illuminate about their text before explaining how their subject can be taught in the 21st-century classroom.
Language, Power, and Computer Game Culture
Video and computer games in their cultural contexts.
As the popularity of computer games has exploded over the past decade, both scholars and game industry professionals have recognized the necessity of treating games less as frivolous entertainment and more as artifacts of culture worthy of political, social, economic, rhetorical, and aesthetic analysis. Ken McAllister notes in his introduction to Game Work that, even though games are essentially impractical, they are nevertheless important mediating agents for the broad exercise of socio-political power.
In considering how the languages, images, gestures, and sounds of video games influence those who play them, McAllister highlights the ways in which ideology is coded into games. Computer games, he argues, have transformative effects on the consciousness of players, like poetry, fiction, journalism, and film, but the implications of these transformations are not always clear. Games can work to maintain the status quo or celebrate liberation or tolerate enslavement, and they can conjure feelings of hope or despair, assent or dissent, clarity or confusion. Overall, by making and managing meanings, computer games—and the work they involve and the industry they spring from—are also negotiating power.
This book sets out a method for "recollecting" some of the diverse and copious influences on computer games and the industry they have spawned. Specifically written for use in computer game theory classes, advanced media studies, and communications courses, Game Work will also be welcome by computer gamers and designers.
Ken S. McAllister is Assistant Professor of Rhetoric, Composition, and the Teaching of English at the University of Arizona and Co-Director of the Learning Games Initiative, a research collective that studies, teaches with, and builds computer games.
Voltairine de Cleyre and the Revolution of the Mind
The question of souls is old; we demand our bodies, now. These words are not from a feminist manifesto of the late twentieth century, but from a fiery speech given a hundred years earlier by Voltairine de Cleyre, a leading anarchist and radical thinker. A contemporary of Emma Goldman---who called her "the most gifted and brilliant anarchist woman America ever produced"---de Cleyre was a significant force in a major social movement that sought to transform American society and culture at its root. But she belongs to a group of late-nineteenth-century freethinkers, anarchists, and sex-radicals whose writing continues to be excluded from the U.S. literary and historical canon. Gates of Freedom considers de Cleyre's speeches, letters, and essays, including her most well known essay, "Sex Slavery." Part I brings current critical concerns to bear on de Cleyre's writings, exploring her contributions to the anarchist movement, her analyses of justice and violence, and her views on women, sexuality, and the body. Eugenia DeLamotte demonstrates both de Cleyre's literary significance and the importance of her work to feminist theory, women's studies, literary and cultural studies, U.S. history, and contemporary social and cultural analysis. Part II presents a thematically organized selection of de Cleyre's stirring writings, making Gates of Freedom appealing to scholars, students, and anyone interested in Voltairine de Cleyre's fascinating life and rousing work. Eugenia C. DeLamotte is Associate Professor of English, Arizona State University.
Toward a Transnational Aesthetic
What is the work of film in the age of transnational production? Randall Halle finds an answer in the film industry of Germany, one of Europe's largest film markets. In the 1990s Germany shifted from a state-subsidized mode of film production to one dominated by private interest. At the same time, the European Union began drawing together Europe's national markets, forming a homogenous, yet synergistic whole. This book studies these changes broadly, but also focuses on the transformations in their particular national context. _x000B_Halle concludes that we witness currently the emergence of a new transnational aesthetic, a fundamental shift in cultural production with ramifications for communal identifications, state cohesion, and national economies._x000B_
Southerners are accustomed to hearing stories of a residence, an old hotel, a mansion, or a battlefield being haunted. In Ghost Hunters of the South, Alan Brown shows that ghostlore is no longer enough for some. The forty-four ghost hunting groups he profiles in this book pack cameras, Geiger counters, thermal scanners, oscilloscopes, tape recorders, computers, and dowsing rods to find and record elusive proof of supernatural activity. With candor, the directors and team members reveal the passions and even obsessions that lead them to this expensive, time-consuming, and sometimes dangerous and chilling pursuit of evidence of the spirit realm. Brown interviews enthusiasts from twelve states--Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. Ghost Hunters of the South takes the reader along on exciting and fearful investigations of places such as the Myrtles, St. Francis Inn, Chickamauga Battlefield, Bob Mackey's Music World, Old Talbott Tavern, North Carolina State Capitol, Granberry Opera House, and 17Hundred90 Inn and Restaurant. Brown participates in some of the investigations to gain a full and objective understanding of teachers, doctors, accountants, housewives, and law enforcement personnel, who devote much of their free time to a quest that many outsiders view with skepticism if not scorn. In fascinating, frightening, and sometimes humorous accounts, Brown highlights the determination of these individuals to answer the question: "What happens to the soul after death?" Alan Brown is a professor of English and director of the Writing Center at the University of West Alabama.
The Transnational History of a Film Style
Intellectual, cultural, and film historians have long considered neorealism the founding block of post-World War II Italian cinema. Neorealism, the traditional story goes, was an Italian film style born in the second postwar period and aimed at recovering the reality of Italy after the sugarcoated moving images of Fascism. Lasting from 1945 to the early 1950s, neorealism produced world-renowned masterpieces such as Roberto Rossellini's Roma, città aperta (Rome, Open City, 1945) and Vittorio De Sica's Ladri di biciclette (Bicycle Thieves, 1947). These films won some of the most prestigious film awards of the immediate postwar period and influenced world cinema.
This collection brings together distinguished film scholars and cultural historians to complicate this nation-based approach to the history of neorealism. The traditional story notwithstanding, the meaning and the origins of the term are problematic. What does neorealism really mean, and how Italian is it? Italian filmmakers were wary of using the term and Rossellini preferred "realism." Many filmmakers confessed to having greatly borrowed from other cinemas, including French, Soviet, and American.
Divided into three sections, Global Neorealism examines the history of this film style from the 1930s to the 1970s using a global and international perspective. The first section examines the origins of neorealism in the international debate about realist esthetics in the 1930s. The second section discusses how this debate about realism was "Italianized" and coalesced into Italian "neorealism" and explores how critics and film distributors participated in coining the term. Finally, the third section looks at neorealism's success outside of Italy and examines how film cultures in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and the United States adjusted the style to their national and regional situations.
Vol. 1 (2007) through current issue
The Global South concentrates on the literature and cultures of those parts of the world that have experienced the most political, social, and economic upheaval and have suffered the brunt of the greatest challengs facing the world under globalization: poverty, displacement and diaspora, environmental degradation, human and civil rights abuses, war, hunger, and disease.
How the Corleones Became "Our Gang"
Mario Puzo’s The Godfather is an American pop phenomenon whose driving force is reflected not only in book sales and cable television movie marathons but also in such related works as the hit television series The Sopranos. In The Godfather and American Culture, Chris Messenger offers an important and comprehensive study of this classic work of popular fiction and its hold on the American imagination. As Messenger shows, the Corleones have indeed become “our gang,” and we see our family business in America reflected in them. Examining The Godfather and its many incarnations within a variety of texts and contexts, Messenger also addresses Puzo’s inconsistent affiliation with his Italian heritage, his denial of the multiethnic literary subject, and his decades-long struggle for respect as a writer in contemporary America. The study ultimately offers a way of looking at the much-maligned genre of popular or bestselling fiction itself. By placing both the novel and films within a number of revealing critical situations, Messenger addresses the continuing problem of how we talk about elite and popular fiction in America—and what we mean when we take sides.
In Goth's Dark Empire cultural historian Carol Siegel provides a fascinating look at Goth, a subculture among Western youth. It came to prominence with punk performers such as Marilyn Manson and was made infamous when it was linked (erroneously) to the Columbine High School murders. While the fortunes of Goth culture form a portion of this book's story, Carol Siegel is more interested in pursuing Goth as a means of resisting regimes of sexual normalcy, especially in its celebration of sadomasochism (S/M). The world of Goth can appear wide-ranging: from films such as Edward Scissorhands and The Crow to popular fiction such as Anne Rice's "vampire" novels to rock bands such as Nine Inch Nails. But for Siegel, Goth appears as a mode of being sexually undead -- and loving it. What was Goth and what happened to it? In this book, Siegel tracks Goth down, reveals the sources of its darkness, and shows that Goth as a response to the modern world has not disappeared but only escaped underground.