Centro de Estudos de Comunicação e Cultura
Critique of Singularity
A Critique of singularity: the catastrophic event and the rhetoric of representation
"A Critique of Singularity: the Catastrophic Event and the Rhetoric of Representation" is an international project based at CECC in cooperation with the Institute for Historical Anthropology at the Free University of Berlin and the Kokoro Research Centre at the University of Kyoto, with an interdisciplinary scope in the humanities and social sciences. The project is sponsored by FCT (Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology) and will be carried out over a period of three years, ending in 2013.
The critique of singularity wishes to challenge the narrative of exceptionality at the roots of national figurations of disaster and understand the role played by representation in the processing of catastrophe in modernity. Notwithstanding the time-space contingency of the event, the specific materiality of the medium of the representation and the creative uniqueness of the author or medium, the hypothesis is that there are rhetorical figurations that may be validated across different historical and cultural locations and tested in representative case studies. Catastrophic singularity on the representational level is connected to complex power structures that link, amongst others, nationhood, identity, class, religion and is indeed a hoax.
Research will be done using qualitative methodologies, from heuristic research to empirical-deductive approaches and critical discourse analysis. The research team from the Free University of Berlin will further add direct participant observation.
Project Leaders: Isabel Capeloa Gil and Christoph Wulf
Catholic University of Portugal
Isabel Capeloa Gil (Bio)
Fernando Ilharco (Bio)
Eduardo Cintra Torres (Bio)
Inês Espada Vieira (Bio)
Tânia Ganito (Bio)
Daniela Agostinho (Bio)
Diana Gonçalves (Bio)
Elsa Alves (Bio)
Free University of Berlin
Christoph Wulf (Bio)
Gabriele Brandstetter (Bio)
Manfred Zaumseil (Bio)
University of Kyoto
Shoko Suzuki (Bio)
Toshio Kawai (Bio)
Arjun Appadurai is a social-cultural anthropologist. He is currently a Goddard Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University and he is a Distinguished Professor as the John Dewey Professor in the Social Sciences at the New School for Social Research. He has authored numerous books and scholarly articles including Fear of Small Numbers: An Essay on the Geography of Anger (2006, Duke University Press) and Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization, (1996, University of Minnesota Press; 1997, Oxford University Press, Delhi).
Academic homepage: www.arjunappadurai.org
Construction of a virtual archive, "Disrupting Singularity", containing textual and visual representations of natural disasters from 1800 to the present. It is a work in progress.
Past: First graduate conference in cultural studies, "Panic and Mourning", at Catholic University in Lisbon, held on 28th and 29th October 2010.
Future: The project's International Symposium, "Hazardous Future Conference", will be held on 10-12th November 2011 at Fundação Oriente in the Arrábida Convent.
Seminar "Critique of Singularity: On the Iteration of Catastrophe" in the American Comparative Literature Association, March 29-April 1 2012
"Critique of Singularity" research assistant: Elsa Alves
"A Critique of Singularity: the Catastrophic Event and the Rhetoric of Representation"
CECC - Research Centre for Communication and Culture
Faculty of Human Sciences
Catholic University of Portugal
Palma de Cima, 1649-023 Lisboa
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