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Brown Bag Lecture "'Strange and Unexplainable Fits’: On Network Fevers”

Tuesday, November 8, 2011
12:00 AM
202 S. Thayer St, Room 1022, Ann Arbor, MI

Featuring the Digital Humanities <br>Tung-Hui Hu, English &amp; screen arts

Network structures—formless, cloudlike, decentralized—seem to be everywhere. The Occupy Wall Street protests are described as a form of "cloud protesting" that, like the Internet, resists the "hierarchical centralization of 'the mob.'" At the same time, global terror movements, such as al-Qaeda, also seem to be rhizomic, cellular, emergent. But how did power come to take the shape of the network? And what are the eventual consequences of network fever?

This talk approaches these questions through one widely held belief: that the Internet took on a decentralized shape in order to resist a Soviet nuclear strike. Using the lens of American politics from May to July 1961, this talk offers a critical re-reading of one of the founding myths of network culture.

A co-organizer of the Digital Environments Cluster, Tung-Hui Hu is assistant professor of English and screen arts at the University of Michigan. His research focuses on experimental film and media and, more generally, the intersection of politics and visibility. After working as a network architect, Hu received his PhD in rhetoric and film studies at UC Berkeley. He is also the author of three books of poetry, most recently Greenhouses, Lighthouses, forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press.