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dc.contributor.advisor Judith, Roof
dc.creatorMorton, Seth Aaron
dc.date.accessioned 2020-07-31T13:21:02Z
dc.date.available 2020-07-31T13:21:02Z
dc.date.created 2019-05
dc.date.issued 2020-07-29
dc.date.submitted May 2019
dc.identifier.citation Morton, Seth Aaron. "Modernist Interference: Inhuman Frequencies between Modernism and Media." (2020) Diss., Rice University. https://hdl.handle.net/1911/109124.
dc.identifier.urihttps://hdl.handle.net/1911/109124
dc.description.abstract This project argues for the existence and role of an idiosyncratic tradition of media theory within modernist aesthetic practice over the course of the twentieth century. This tradition in modernism and media theory is organized around the concept of interference. Modernism and media theory interfere with each other in ways that amplify or diminish each other across high and low culture and across the twentieth and twenty first centuries. Mainstream media theory focuses on the ways media and technology either enhance or diminish our human capacity, while the new tradition I am calling “modernist media inhumanism” highlights how the modernist interpretation of media and technology engenders modes of analysis that challenge this dialectic entirely. Instead of doubling down on the debate over the human, these idiosyncratic engagements call for new modes of reading and gesture toward the need to revise media studies’ continuation of the Cartesian enlightenment project of the human subject as such. This dissertation thus moves away from accounts of media and media theory that follow or imply enlightenment technologies of progress and betterment and it treats modernist writers as media thinkers, whose aesthetics are engaged in incorporating the challenges of media into their practice. Instead of offering aspirational stories of utopic possibilities, the media archive I explore here interrogate breakdowns, disruptions, noise, ephemera, failure, groundlessness, and the undead as ways that media frame ways of understanding. From the hybrid and transmedia possibilities explored in Virginia Woolf’s late prose to the dark horizon of mass communication as biopolitical horror presented in George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, this dissertation’s century-long engagement with new media offers a grim view on the possibilities of media and technology. This dark drift is not altogether nihilistic, but instead seeks to appropriate a set of media-informed concepts that expand and complicate our modes of analysis. This project considers moments of failure and breakdown as object-lessons that critique the expansive promise of new media. Further, this project charts a recursive relationship between modernism and the contemporary, through which modernist media thinkers offer ways of critiquing contemporary media theory, and contemporary concepts in media theory offer new vantages onto the modernist literary archive.
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language.iso eng
dc.subjectmodernism
media theory
woolf
pound
benjamin
Tom McCarthy
technology
media studies
modernity
aesthetics
dc.title Modernist Interference: Inhuman Frequencies between Modernism and Media
dc.type Thesis
dc.date.updated 2020-07-31T13:21:02Z
dc.type.material Text
thesis.degree.department English
thesis.degree.discipline Humanities
thesis.degree.grantor Rice University
thesis.degree.level Doctoral
thesis.degree.name Doctor of Philosophy
thesis.degree.major Modernism and Critical Theory


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