A selection of projects authored with Scalar.
New Media and American Literature Curtis Marez, Jeffrey Shandler, Steve Anderson and Jentery Sayers
This special issue of American Literature pairs two terms, new media and American literature, which are rarely put in the same sentence, except as opposites. Essays, which include four authored in Scalar (below), explore the insights that emerge when we consider their conjoining by examining mediation in general and digital technologies more specifically in the context of American literary history and cultural production.
|Curtis Marez, Cesar Chavez’s Video Collection
“Cesar Chavez’s Video Collection” finds in Chavez’s store of graphics, photos, films, and videos from the 1940s to the 1990s evidence of farm workers’ appropriation of visual technologies to project social alternatives to the patriarchal white capitalism of agribusiness corporations.
|Jeffrey Shandler, Holocaust Survivors on Schindler’s List
“Holocaust Survivors on Schindler’s List; or, Reading a Digital Archive against the Grain” Examinins references to the 1993 film Schindler’s List in videotaped interviews with Holocaust survivors at the USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Archive, the project’s “against-the-grain” reading demonstrates how mediation inheres in the processes of creating, archiving, and accessing these works of remembrance and, moreover, of remembering itself.
|Steve Anderson, Chaos and Control
“Chaos and Control: The Critique of Computation in American Commercial Media (1950-1980)” examines the critiques of computing culture posed by TV and movies during the mainframe computer age by looking closely at the substance of these critiques rather than reducing them to reflections of developments in the socioeconomic world.
|Jentery Sayers, Making the Perfect Record
“Making the Perfect Record” unpacks the often ignored, pre-1940s history of magnetic recording, with particular attention to how—through an interweaving of print fiction, sound transduction, storage media, audio playback, and visual culture—early magnetic recording materialized. In so doing, the essay offers scholars of both new and old media a sense of how we might better historicize the ostensible permanence and immateriality of contemporary data cultures and their digital economies.