The Centre for Popular Culture in the Humanities was proud to host Dr. Esther Peeren from the University of Amsterdam as a Visiting Scholar from April 11-13, 2016.
Dr. Esther Peeren is Associate Professor of Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam, Vice-Director of the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA) and Vice-Director of the Amsterdam Centre for Globalisation Studies (ACGS). With Jeroen de Kloet, she is also series editor of Palgrave Studies in Globalization, Culture and Society.
She is the author of The Spectral Metaphor: Living Ghosts and the Agency of Invisibility (Palgrave, 2014) and Intersubjectivities and Popular Culture: Bakhtin and Beyond (Stanford UP, 2008), and co-editor of The Shock of the Other: Situating Alterities (Rodopi, 2007),Representation Matters: (Re)Articulating Collective Identities in a Postcolonial World (Rodopi, 2010), Popular Ghosts: The Haunted Spaces of Everyday Culture (Continuum, 2010) and The Spectralities Reader (Bloomsbury, 2013).
Her research on globalisation focuses on how processes of globalisation influence the formation and representation (in literature, film, and television) of marginal subjectivities, on the underilluminated impact of globalisation on rural areas, and on the changing relationship between centres and peripheries.
During her visit, she offered three events that were open to both faculty and students:
(11 April) Workshop: How To Do Cultural Analysis
Date: 11.04.2016 (Mon)
Cultural analysis is an interdisciplinary approach that offers a way to analyse many types of cultural objects: from literature, film and television to music, theater, advertisements, news reports, billboards, official documents, festivals, etc. It approaches these objects according to four main principles:
1) always look closely;
2) do not think that you already know what your object is or how you will interpret it, but allow the object to surprise you;
3) be aware of the assumptions you bring to the object because of your background and the context in which you analyze it;
4) when using a theory or concept in your analysis, do not just ask what the theory/concept says about the object, but also ask whether the object teaches you something new about the theory/concept.
(12 April) Lecture: Peripheral Visions in the Globalizing Present
Respondent: Dr. Heidi Huang, Department of English, Hong Kong Baptist University
Does it still make sense to speak of centers and peripheries? Globalization discourses, whether proposing a flattened world or one traversed by disjunctive flows, tend to stress the inadequacy of center-periphery models. Yet it seems impossible to understand the globalizing present without making some distinction between what is (becoming) central and what is (becoming) peripheral in geographical, political, economic, social and/or cultural terms. This lecture shifts the focus from the central and ask how today’s peripheries are lived, imagined and mobilized in strategic ways, arguing that peripheries are invaluable for creating alternative perspectives on the globalizing present and also impact what is central by its interconnected realms of revelation, innovation and futurity.
(13 April) Workshop: Spectrality and Literature
Date: 13.04.2016 (Wed)
The “spectral turn” of the 1990s put ghosts and haunting center stage as conceptual metaphors able to illuminate various phenomena involving a sense of simultaneous absence and presence, materiality and immateriality. Much of the force of the spectral metaphor was derived from literary accounts featuring literal ghosts, including Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Toni Morrison’s Beloved. In turn, Julian Wolfreys has applied the spectral metaphor to literature in order to argue that it is itself an inevitably haunted realm. This workshop aims to explore the close relationship between spectrality and literature as well as the benefits, risks and potential of such an approach.
Esther Peeren will provide an introduction to her book The Spectral Metaphor: Living Ghosts and the Agency of Invisibility, which deals with these questions, leading into a discussion based on three readings distributed in advance of the workshop:
- María del Pilar Blanco and Esther Peeren, “Introduction: Conceptualizing Spectralities.” The Spectralities Reader: Ghosts and Haunting in Contemporary Cultural Theory. New York: Bloomsbury, 2013. 1-27.
- Jacques Derrida, “Injunctions of Marx” (excerpt). Specters of Marx: The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning, & the New International. 1993. Trans. Peggy Kamuf. London and New York: Routledge, 1994. 3-12.
- Julian Wolfreys, “Preface: On Textual Haunting.” The Spectralities Reader: Ghosts and Haunting in Contemporary Cultural Theory. Ed. María del Pilar Blanco and Esther Peeren. New York: Bloomsbury, 2013. 69-74.