An attempt at a new format to complement or further wreak havoc with any semblance of order here (not that interminable silence is a particularly attractive blog aesthetic). I’ve been mulling some variant of this over the past week—about catastrophe and our collective fascination with it. At the same time, I’ve been curious about the relationship between Don DeLillo’s treatment of it in popular culture perspective and Walter Benjamin’s conviction that violence is a central component to the human condition and that we should reflect on catastrophe, not as a punctuated moment in a progressive historical narrative, but rather as a central narrative thread of the human condition.
There didn’t seem to be any obvious place to write this, but it also occurred to me that as a part of the foundation for my upcoming course on natural and technological disasters, maybe it was worth hatching it in film format. Maybe a series of these shorter musings become the “lectures” for the class so that we can devote more class time to student discovery.
In any case, new course to be taught in January 2017 for the first time. HIST 3CH3—Catastrophic History: Natural and Technological Disasters. The video below offers a glimpse of the kinds of things I’m thinking about.