Media @ McGill

Justin Lutz | Southern Strategies: A Rapprochement of Gender, Space, and Transgression in the New World

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on

The twenty-first century is moving quickly. Revolutions are sparked in seconds, and tyrants are toppled by the Twittersphere as information proliferates virally to every corner of the Earth. Globalization and transnational communication are transforming the ways in which we as humans communicate, identify, and structure our lives on both an individual and collective level; media and information technologies are reshaping the fundamental structures of our relationships with each other and with ourselves. The ubiquity of networked communications, and the proliferation of new transnational spaces physically as well as virutally, leads me to a hypothesis that takes as its foundation the notion that humanity is currently on the precipice of developing a distinct global consciousness--an emergent transnational identity that is facilitated by mediated identities on all levels and across all borders. This revolution in media and communication carries with it personal, social, and political consequences that will come to define human history at the dawn of a century that seems, increasingly, to insist upon the dissolution of national identity and geographic boundaries in favor of a Post-Westhphalian networked identity that is sustained by mediated interactions and identities. Utilizing a feminist critique and queer methodology, I intend to pursue a new deconstruction of gender, power, and representation as they collide in the spaces between actors and networks. At the heart of my research will be questions of space, place, communication, gender, technology, identity, and society.

Beginning with the techno-industrial, I will analyze the global evolution of information and communication technologies (ICTs), as well as the structure and political economy of networked communications, international media institutions, and the transnational environment as it continues to redefine itself. I intend also to explore the affective, psycho-technical relationship between human and machine, drawing on theories from the fields of cybernetics and psychoanalysis to highlight the ways in which humans structure technology, and—conversely—are structured/defined by technology. From theories of the postcolonial to the posthuman, I will navigate the impact of technology on subjective identity and social consciousness, paying particular attention to the ongoing proliferation of information and communication technologies that seem to promise remote control and networked existence between disparate individuals and cultures. I hope to trace the modern evolution of the public sphere, re-imagining popular notions of private and public space(s) within cyberspace and the networked society. Space--whether virtual or physical--is at the center of my graduate research at McGill, and I am particularly concerned with the socio-historical construction of the American South, and the ways in which this region--the American South--parallels current debates surrounding the Global South and the larger local/global antagonism that is currently ushering our world into the twenty-first century.