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Culture, Technology, and the Creation of America's National Parks

by Richard Grusin

Richard Grusin's innovative study investigates how the establishment of national parks participated in the production of American national identity after the Civil War. The creation of America's national parks is usually seen as an uncomplicated act of environmental preservation. Grusin argues, instead, that parks must be understood as complex cultural technologies for the reproduction of nature as landscape art. He explores the origins of America's three major parks--Yosemite, Yellowstone, and Grand Canyon--in relation to other forms of landscape representation including photography, mapping, travel writing, and fiction.

The Nonhuman Turn

by Richard Grusin

Edited by Richard Grusin of the Center for 21st Century Studies, this is the first book to name and characterize--and therefore consolidate--a wide array of current critical, theoretical, and philosophical approaches to the humanities and social sciences under the concept of the nonhuman turn. Each of these approaches is engaged in decentering the human in favor of a concern for the nonhuman, understood by contributors in a variety of ways--in terms of animals, affectivity, bodies, materiality, technologies, and organic and geophysical systems.The nonhuman turn in twenty-first-century studies can be traced to multiple intellectual and theoretical developments from the last decades of the twentieth century: actor-network theory, affect theory, animal studies, assemblage theory, cognitive sciences, new materialism, new media theory, speculative realism, and systems theory. Such varied analytical and theoretical formations obviously diverge and disagree in many of their assumptions, objects, and methodologies. However, they all take up aspects of the nonhuman as critical to the future of twenty-first-century studies in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.Unlike the posthuman turn, the nonhuman turn does not make a claim about teleology or progress in which we begin with the human and see a transformation from the human to the posthuman. Rather, the nonhuman turn insists (paraphrasing Bruno Latour) that "we have never been human," that the human has always coevolved, coexisted, or collaborated with the nonhuman--and that the human is identified precisely by this indistinction from the nonhuman. Contributors: Jane Bennett, Johns Hopkins U; Ian Bogost, Georgia Institute of Technology; Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Brown U; Mark B. N. Hansen, Duke U; Erin Manning, Concordia U, Montreal; Brian Massumi, U of Montreal; Timothy Morton, Rice U; Steven Shaviro, Wayne State U; Rebekah Sheldon, Indiana U.

Remediation: Understanding New Media

by Jay David Bolter Richard Grusin

Media critics remain captivated by the modernist myth of the new: they assume that digital technologies such as the World Wide Web, virtual reality, and computer graphics must divorce themselves from earlier media for a new set of aesthetic and cultural principles. In this richly illustrated study, Jay David Bolter and Richard Grusin offer a theory of mediation for our digital age that challenges this assumption. They argue that new visual media achieve their cultural significance precisely by paying homage to, rivaling, and refashioning such earlier media as perspective painting, photography, film, and television. They call this process of refashioning "remediation", and they note that earlier media have also refashioned one another: photography remediated painting, film remediated stage production and photography, and television remediated film, vaudeville, and radio. <P>In chapters devoted to individual media or genres (such as computer games, digital photography, virtual reality, film, and television), Bolter and Grusin illustrate the process of remediation and its two principal styles or strategies: transparent immediacy and hypermediacy. Each of these strategies has a long and complicated history. A painting by the seventeenth-century artist Pieter Saenredam, a photograph by Edward Weston, and a computer system for virtual reality are all attempts to achieve transparent immediacy by ignoring or denying the presence of the medium.

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