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The Humanities Conference 2003

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Presentation Details

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Wre all on the same BANG: Junk Globalization and the Image of Resistance

Davis Schneiderman.

Despite the apparent effectiveness of cultural critiques of commodified resistance, it becomes difficult to ignore the increased impotency of such critiques themselves. The ghost in the machine, along with its degraded cultural kin, can just as easily be commodified.

My presentation offers an explication of this analytical trap as it applies to the junk globalization engendered by American cultural product. First, this model of meta-absorption reflects the addictive element false resistance, highlighting the linguistic barriers that preclude representation of the problem. My work looks to American artist William S. Burroughs for his ability to articulate the initial meta-critique, while simultaneously identifying the impossibility of an articulation that resists its own commodification. In an attempt at counter-hegemonic discourses, Burroughs diffuses his image through music, films, and shotgun art after he reached the end of what can be done with words. A short survey of his non-print work will dramatize the failure of the word to transcend even these limits.

Second, my work analyzes these failures in terms of the post-postmodern turn of the subject. This presentation will suggest that the meta-rebellion offered by proponents of cultural studies often functions as a type of picture-of-cameras falsely disruptive image-gathering complexes that scuttle any attempt to analyze the repression inherent in their methodology, unless the methodology can somehow exceed its own linguistically limited analysis.

Finally, against the addictive image of rebellion the harbinger of junk globalization in the political arena arises the necessity of resistance mechanisms capable of thinking beyond, simply, the next meta-level of critique mentioned above. Images of representation must assume violent new forms that eschew mimesis while also pushing for the death of the recently enthroned redemptive image *as well as* the image that critiques such easy revelation.


Davis Schneiderman  (United States)
Chair of American Studies/ Assistant Professor
American Studies/English
Lake Forest College

Davis Schneiderman is Chair of American Studies/Assistant Professor of English at Lake Forest College. He is currently co-editing the collection William S. Burroughs and the Global Order (Pluto Press). His critical work has been published in such places as Revista Canaria de Estudios Ingleses, The Iowa Review, and the volume Literary Modernism and Photography. His creative work was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and he is also the co-founder/editor of the media studies journal to the QUICK.

  • William S. Burroughs
  • Globalization
  • Commodification
  • Capitalism
  • Resistance
Person as Subject
  • Burroughs, William S.

(30 min Conference Paper, English)