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The theoretical essay aims to explain some of the larger and more complexstructures of cinema. Its target audience consists often of advancedstudents or people who teach film studies.

James Baldwin and Toni Morrison: Comparative Critical and Theoretical Essays

Such theory buzz, like the current spate of what I call Big Name Collage the large theoretical essay or even poem that is no more than a collage of nuggets by Big Names Agamben and Heidegger, Cixous and Wittgenstein, Deleuze and Adorno without any real analysis of what the philosophers in question are actually arguing, is problematic because this particular form of "innovative" writing may well alienate the very readership it hopes to capture. That readership is, I think, more attuned to specific issues, as when Mullen tries to walk the minefield between the particular idiolects or, as Jeff Derksen has called them, "communolects" of our increasingly multilingual society. For those "communolects" now have everything to do with the one revolution that really has occurred in our own time-- namely, the habitation of cyberspace. I don't have time here to discuss the poetic experiments and many of these really are experiments in that they fail as often as they succeed and are replaced by more adequate models-- on sites like Kenneth Goldsmith's , but clearly, two important things are happening. The first is the visualization of poetic text a visualization which is again a time-honored mode, as in George Herbert's or Mallarmé's but reconfigured in important semantic ways in Johanna Drucker's or Susan Howe's . The second is a form which I call, for want of a better name, "differential poetry," that is poetry that does not exist in a single fixed state but can vary according to the medium of presentation: printed book, cyberspace, installation, or oral rendition.


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James Baldwin and Toni Morrison: Comparative Critical and Theoretical Essays

Select, research, and respond to a piece of theoretical writing that is relevant to tactical media. You may respond to an assigned reading; you may select a supplementary essay (something linked from the class page but not assigned); or you may respond to an essay not linked from the class page (subject to my approval). Take and defend a critical position in response to the theoretical essay, particularly as it relates to tactical media. Your response should show evidence of original thinking.