“The Cento, Romanticism, and Copyright.” English Studies in Canada 38.2 (2012): 71-101. [Published June 2013]
This article excavates the obscure literary genre of the cento – a genre of poetry defined by its wholly derivative composition from quotations of other works – and its supplementary relation to Romantic literature and the period’s transformations of copyright regulation. The cento’s Romantic reworkings position this genre as a precedent for later appropriation art, especially digital culture’s sampling and remix practices. Specific uses of the cento form by the essayist William Hazlitt and the poet William Wordsworth suggest precedents in the period’s culture of literary production for fair dealing, the “user’s right” to the limited appropriation of copyrighted works that has more recently become ensconced in copyright law. By investigating the place of the cento in Romantic literary production, this study argues for the importance of fair dealing to both creative and critical forms of writing, and contributes historical context to the present-day “copyfight.”
This reprint of “The Cento, Romanticism, and Copyright” is made available for Open Access distribution with the author’s grateful acknowledgement of English Studies in Canada (ESC) for the original publication of the article.
“Towards a theory of the dubject: doubling and spacing the self in Canadian media culture.” Selves and Subjectivities: Reflections on Canadian Arts and Culture. Ed. Manijeh Mannani and Veronica Thompson. Athabasca UP, 2012. 235-64.
This book chapter builds on the figure of the “dubject” that I have proposed elsewhere (see the Continuum and Socialist Studies articles below): a postmodern form of mediatized and remediated subjectivity, assembled through technologies of mechanical reproduction and distributed through networks. This chapter attempts a more thorough theorizing of dubjectivity, as a kind of double movement of doubling and spacing, in some cases understood as a strategy of survival, a tactical retreat: from the real into simulation, from the flesh into the word. Such processes of dubjection seem specifically prominent in cultural and economic conditions peculiar to Canada and its postcolonial place in contemporary globalization. The chapter examines examples of such dubject formation in Canadian media culture: not only in cultural productions like the films Videodrome (1983) and Pontypool (2008) but also among cultural producers themselves, such as Margaret Atwood and Glenn Gould. Articulating Canada’s political economy of perennially imperilled sovereignty and colonization by various cultural and media empires, dubjection positions the individual citizen as a commodity produced by competing intellectual property claims, a consumer of media as consumed by media, an organic self reorganized by its technological others.
“Frankenstein as a figure of globalization in Canada’s postcolonial popular culture.” Continuum 25.2 (2011): 731-42.
Abstract: This essay analyzes the cultural functions of Frankenstein as a figure of globalization in postcolonial popular culture. Focusing on the case of Canadian film production, I begin by contextualizing Canadian film as a postcolonial site of globalized popular culture, characterized by ‘technological nationalism’. In this context, I consider three Canadian films that adapt Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to represent globalization. David Cronenberg’s Videodrome (1983) borrows from Frankenstein and Marshall McLuhan to critique new media in the ‘global village’; Robert Lepage’s Possible Worlds (2000) quotes from the Universal Frankenstein film; and Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbot’s The Corporation (2003) uses Frankenstein as a recurring analogy for the modern corporation. This essay signals a starting point for a more interculturally and transnationally comparative investigation of how Frankenstein adaptations provide a powerful repertoire of representational devices for a postcolonial theory of globalization.
Abstract: This paper investigates Canadian adaptations of Frankenstein. Briefly surveying criticism on Frankenstein adaptation, I argue that Marshall McLuhan’s apocalyptic media theory should be understood in direct intertextual relation to Frankenstein, through his distinctive (and popular) usage of the discourse of “technology.” McLuhan’s theory thus frames my reading of two representative Canadian Frankenstein adaptations. The 1982 film Videodrome creates a media monster by openly parodying McLuhan; Margaret Atwood’s 2003 novel Oryx and Crake imagines genetic and media technologies leading to global catastrophe. I compare the “aftermath” thematics of these texts and their production contexts to argue that new media join more familiar objects of Frankensteinian representation (e.g. research ethics and globalization) to distinguish Canadian Frankenstein adaptations.
“Ipsographing the Dubject; or, The Contradictions of Twitter.” Socialist Studies 5.2 (2009): 113-22.
Abstract: This article takes a critical look at Twitter, the Web 2.0 “telegraph system” that has rocketed to public attention following its uses in major events like the Mumbai attacks and the Iran election. Placing Twitter in a long tradition of hostility to new media, I theorize its contradictory functions: as news feed and filter; as community and commodity; as document and performance.
“‘Come on back to the war’: Germany as the Other National Other in Canadian Popular Literature.” Discourses of Security, Peacekeeping Narratives and the Cultural Imagination in Canada. Spec. issue of University of Toronto Quarterly 78.2 (2009).
Abstract: This paper expands on talks given at German conferences to argue for bringing postcolonial studies to mainstream Canadian popular culture, and thus to a rethinking of Canada’s con- and disjunctions with its traditional national “others,” the UK and the USA, through the mobilizations of popular culture for militarized nation-building. This argument identifies Germany’s role in popular Canadian literature as a recurring national “other” against which Canadian nationalism develops, sensitized to national security discourse. Representations of Germany as a chronotope of distant war and natural evil recur among some of the most internationally famous works of Canadian literature. Those read in this essay include Anne of Green Gables, “In Flanders Fields,” Never Cry Wolf, The Handmaid’s Tale, the oeuvre of Leonard Cohen, and Neuromancer. The essay concludes with thoughts on the ironies and implications of transnational stereotype and state policy in the popular uses of literature.
Schulzke, Marcus. “Creating an enemy: Social militarization in the war on terror.” Canadian Political Science Review 5.2 (2011): 157-64. 161 (I’ll forgive the typo).
“Downloading Doppelgängers: New Media Anxieties and Transnational Ironies in Battlestar Galactica.” Science Fiction Film and Television 2.1 (2009).
Abstract: This essay reads the re-made Battlestar Galactica series—a 21st-century Frankenstein—according to the Canadian contexts of its production and the globalized contexts of its distribution, both formal (on cable TV) and informal (on the Internet). Contextualized by the history of media imperialism in Canada, the British Columbia sets and Canadian star casting of the series ironically articulate US-Canadian border and security concerns. Among these articulations, Battlestar focuses particular attention on new media issues, at a moment when the Canadian government responds to pressure from US entertainment interests to align its intellectual property laws with their more punitive American counterparts.
Dillon, Grace L. “Diaspora narrative in Battlestar Galactica.” Science Fiction Film and Television 5.1 (2012): 1-21. 2, 5, 6.
“On ‘Vulgar Exhibition’: Hazlitt, ‘The Fight,’ and the Pornography of Popularity.” Nineteenth Century Prose 36.1 (2009): 77-100.
Abstract: Reversing the terms of possession in Andrew Ross’ study of pornography, and developing Suzanne Kappeler’s detection of something “pornographic in the idea of mass circulation” (27), this paper historicizes the embedding of pornography in the modern discourse of popular culture. The paper articulates a genealogy of this embedding by rereading William Hazlitt’s 1822 essay “The Fight” in the contexts of its production. The familiar style and popular cultural subject of Hazlitt’s essay—controversial when published—cohere around references to the author’s “emotional pornography” (Paulin 45). The genealogy opened by Hazlitt’s text and its production context illuminates the historically class-biased imbrication of pornography in the epistemology of popular culture and asks how to re-imagine “popular culture” beyond the pornographic supplement that has installed heterosexist norms in the concept.
Whale, John. “Real Life in the London Magazine: Pugilism and Literature in the 1820s.” Sport in History 31.4 (2011): 381-97. 396.
“‘The Web of Our Life is of a Mingled Yarn’: The Canadian Adaptations of Shakespeare Project, Humanities Scholarship, and ColdFusion.” Co-authored with Daniel Fischlin, Dorothy Hadfield and Gordon Lester. College Literature 36.1 (2009): 77-104. Rpt. in Canadian Adaptations of Shakespeare. Ed. Daniel Fischlin. U of Guelph, Guelph.
Abstract: This essay presents an overview of some of the issues related to bringing a major research project on Shakespeare into a World Wide Web/IT context. The essay seeks to allow others thinking of undertaking large-scale, IT-based projects related to Shakespeare (or any other Humanities research for that matter that involves extensive database manipulation on the web) to understand and resolve some possible problems in planning and launching a compelling (though imperfect) model of IT-usage in the management of complex arrays of data related to a major Humanities research project. The essay introduces the Canadian Adaptations of Shakespeare Project in relation to its prior online iterations, then details the opportunities, challenges, and solutions encountered in database design and information architecture. The essay thus reflects on and re-evaluates our team’s working assumptions and outcomes: a necessary, ongoing, and sometimes discomfiting process by which one takes the measure of a wide range of research activities in relation to desired project outcomes.
“‘To skip or not to skip’: Shakespearean Romanticism and Curricular Genderpellation in Canadian Popular Culture.” Borrowers and Lenders 3.1 (2007).
Abstract: This essay investigates the Romantic effects of Shakespearean “touchstones” in popular cultural representations of Canadian curriculum to interpellate girls in the contested institutional space of public education. The essay’s genealogy of Shakespeare and gender-curricular politics opens with Lucy Maude Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, a popular literary text published shortly after the Victorian-imperial institution of public education. The development of Anne’s character in what Cecily Devereux dubs a Mutterroman (i.e. a novel that instructs girls how to be dutiful mothers and thus loyal daughters of Empire) draws repeatedly and intertextually on Shakespeare, constructed in this text as a prototypical Romantic, and hence a licensor and cultivator of Anne’s celebrated “scope for imagination.” The argument then juxtaposes Montgomery’s pedagogical and prescriptive adaptation of Shakespeare with Skye Sweetnam’s “Billy S.”, a popular song released in 2004. The song articulates a rebellious appeal to the imagination, not unlike Anne’s own, with the striking contrast that Shakespeare becomes a negative example of institutional oppression. The paper concludes by opening questions about how these contrasting uses of Shakespeare in popular representations of school and Romantic ideology address the gender-coded production of literary curriculum and students in English Canadian public education.
Abstract: This essay argues that the widespread but not widely recognised adaptation of Frankenstein in contemporary dance music problematises the ‘technological’ constitution of modern copyright law as an instrument wielded by corporations to exert increasing control over cultural production. The argument first surveys recent accounts of intellectual property law’s responses to sound recording technologies, then historicises the modern discourse of technology, which subtends such responses, as a fetish of industrial capitalism conditioned by Frankenstein. The increasing ubiquity of cinematic Frankenstein adaptations in the latter two decades of the twentieth century outlines the popular cultural milieu in which Detroit techno developed its futuristic aesthetic, and which provided subsequent dance music producers with samples that contributed to techno’s popularisation. These cultural and economic contexts intersect in an exemplary case study: the copyright infringement dispute in 1999 and 2000 between Detroit’s Underground Resistance (UR) techno label and the transnational majors Sony and BMG.
Che, Deborah. “Building the Beloved Community through Techno Music Production in Detroit.” Encounters and Engagements between Economic and Cultural Georgraphy. Ed. Barney Warf. Springer, 2012. 123-41.
Collins, Nick. “Trading Faures: Virtual Musicians and Machine Ethics.” Leonardo Music Journal 21 (2011): 35-40.
Gohn, Daniel M. Educação musical a distância: propostas para ensino e aprendizagem de percussão. Dissertation. Escola de Comunicações e Artes,
Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, 2009. [refereed status not confirmed]
Irlinger, Steffen. Copy/Right. Radio drama. Germany, 2008. [non-refereed]
Malone, Seamus. “m24 Starlight: Mapping Deep Space” n.d. [non-refereed]
Pope, Richard. “Hooked on an Affect: Detroit Techno and Dystopian Digital Culture.” Dancecult 2.1 (2011). 25, 30, 32, 44.
St. John, Graham and Eliot Bates, eds. Electronic Dance Music Culture Research Network. [non-refereed]
Tai, Kali, ed. Afrofuturism: Criticism [non-refereed].
van Elferen, Isabella. “‘And machine created music’: Cybergothic music and the phantom voices of the technological uncanny.” Digital Material: Tracing New Media in Everyday Life and Technology. Ed. Marianne van den Boomen et al. Amsterdam: Amsterdam UP, 2009. 127, 132.
Abstract: This essay counters the literary critical consensus whereby William Hazlitt’s representations of the woman he arguably libeled in Liber Amoris have been taken at face value. The essay first historicizes Hazlitt’s professional life and canonical marginality in relation to his widely remarked traffic with prostitutes, then contextualizes Liber Amoris in relation to both the politically charged modes of literary production in Hazlitt’s time and the gender-polarized criticism that has gathered around the text. These contextual considerations enable a close reading of Liber Amoris itself that reveals the consistently “whorish” characterization of his subject, and the essay concludes with consequent speculations on the sexual politics of literature and literary canon formation.
Hagglund, Betty. Tourists and Travellers: Women’s Non-fictional Writing About Scotland, 1770-1830. Bristol: Channel View Publications, 2009.
Hofkosh, Sonia. “Broken Images.” Nineteenth Century Prose 36.1 (2009): 35.
Rummel, Andrea. “Delusive beauty”: femmes fatales in English Romanticism. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht Unipress GmbH, 2008.
Turley, Richard Marggraf. Bright Stars: John Keats, Barry Cornwall and Romantic Literary Culture. Liverpool UP, 2010.
Whale, John. “Liber Amoris: Unmanning the Man of Letters.” Nineteenth Century Prose 36.1 (2009): 74.
“A Midsummer Night’s Mash-Up: Adapting Shakespeare as a Canada Day Dance Party.” Canadian Theatre Review 111 (2002): 33-42.
Abstract: This essay, some of which was incorporated into my dissertation, analyzes the production and performance of a version of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Toronto on Canada Day, July 1st, 2000. I first survey some prior intertextual relays between Shakespeare and dance culture, then elaborate the controversy and “moral panic” in which dance parties in Toronto became embroiled immediately prior to the event in question. These contexts establish the analytic framework for reading details of set design, promotion, mise en scène, and music performance, as a nationalist multimedia narrative structured by the images, scenes, and characters of Shakespeare’s pastoral fantasy.
Rozina. Andrea. Komunikacijski Problemi v Kulturi Elektronske Plesne Glasbe. Univerza v Ljubljani, 2004: 28. [refereed status not confirmed]
“She skin black as water: The Movement of liquid imagery in Dionne Brand’s In Another Place, Not Here.” Post Identity 3.2 (2002): 133-52.
This essay reads the imagery of liquids and fluids in strategies of character development in Dionne Brand’s first novel, and connects this imagery to a Canadian tradition in literary Romanticism, to French feminist theory, and, most importantly, to the author’s own radical democratic politics. The essay quotes from this novel, other works by Brand, and contemporary criticism on her work to argue that her commitment as an artist to radical politics is inextricably tied to defamiliarizing representations of black lesbian sexuality and subjectivity, such as those afforded in this novel.
Brydon, Diana. “Dionne Brand’s Global Intimacies: Practising Affective Citizenship.” University of Toronto Quarterly 76.3 (2007): 998 n. 7.
Dalleo, Raphael. Caribbean Literature and the Public Sphere: From the Plantation to the Postcolonial. U of Virginia P, 2011.
—. “Post-Grenada, Post-Cuba, Postcolonial: Rethinking Revolutionary Discourse in Dionne Brand’s In Another Place, Not Here.” Interventions 12.1 (2010): 67 n. 4.
Steines, Dirk. “‘Third world people going to the white man country’: Forms and functions of the representation of caribbean immigrants in Dionne Brand’s In Another Place, Not Here.” Universität zu Köln: GRIN Verlag, 2007. [refereed status not confirmed]