On the Capabilities of Media: Towards a Poetics - Fall Lecture Series Part 1

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Research into ‘historical’ or ‘early’ media but also of pre- or non-digital modern media has been recognized as of genuine significance to the understanding of today’s media-bound world. This lecture series both recognizes the important historical research that has already been conducted in this field and departs from its principal concerns, in the interest of what Professor Yves Abrioux proposes to call a poetics of media. Consequently, it will engage in a series of close readings of works of literature and art but also of other artifacts, both past and present.

Lecture 1: Close Reading and the Capabilities of a Medium

The close reading of cultural artifacts–including texts, as is now increasingly recognized–requires that one pay explicit attention to their medium in its historicity, which also involves the interactions with other media that any given medium always implies. This proposition can usefully be explored by a detailed consideration of a reduced number of historical artifacts, political, artistic or literary, whose status in terms of media, which we tend to overlook, in part (at least) as a result of our overfamiliarity with them, is constitutive of their effect. The challenge for us is to acknowledge the capabilities of any new medium as it co-emerge with a new political or cultural formation, even if its actualization in history, in close proximity to questions of genre, turns out to have been only fleeting.


  • Workflow Status:Published
  • Created By:ntippens3
  • Created:10/12/2016
  • Modified By:Fletcher Moore
  • Modified:04/13/2017