Conference: Knowing Mass Culture / Mediating Knowledge
April 29-May 1, 1999

This conference was held April 29 - May 1, 1999, and it focused on the production of knowledge within global media culture. It considered not only how scholars have come to know media culture, but how media and mass cultural forms have themselves instituted various forms of knowledge. It also explored how print, film, television, and electronic cultures have generated particular ways of knowing, with their own epistemological and pedagogical practices, standards of evidence and authority, operations of perception and cognition, truths and blindspots.

Susan Courtney (University of South Carolina-Columbia)

Thursday, April 29  
1:30 pm

Kathleen Woodward

1:30 - 3:00 pm "Public Access": Intellectuals and International Media
Robert McChesney: "Intellectuals, Media, and the Crisis of US Democracy"
Constance Penley: "Melrose Space"
Chair: David Pritchard
3:00 - 3:30 pm Break
3:30 - 5:15 pm

Concurrent Sessions: Political and Cultural Knowledges

Law and Detection (Curtin 118)
Susan Burgess: "Who Killed Politics"? A Constitutional Mystery"
Elizabeth Coffman and Michelle Glaros: "Serial Logic: Profiles of the Gainesville Student Murders"
Chair: Robin Pickering-Iazzi

Transformationa and Translocal Performances (Curtin 175)
Lawrence Cohen: "Playing with Fire: Multiple Media, the Hindu Right, and the Making of Indian Homosexuality"
Roderick Coover: "Metaphors, Montage, and Worldmaking: An Ethnography of Ghanaian Performance"
Chair: Paul Brodwin

5:15 - 6:30 pm Reception
6:30 - 8:00 pm Pedagogies of Popular Music
Bernard Gendron: "Pop Aesthetics: The Very Idea"
John Di Stefano: "Sexuality and Its Discotheques"
Chair: Dick Blau

(l-r) Robin Pickering-Iazzi (UWM), Elizabeth Coffman (Tampa),
and Michelle Glaros (Emerson)

Friday, April 30  
9:00 - 10:30 am Cinema and Visual Perception
Mary Ann Doane: "The Representability of Time"
Susan Courtney: "Racial Knowledge, Visibility, and Cinematic Belief, or, How We See Pinky"
Chair: Jane Gallop
10:30 - 11:00 am Break
11:00 - 12:30 pm Women's Lives / Female Expertise
Patricia Mellencamp: "How I Learned to Read the Wall Street Journal: A Tale of Life and Death
Amelie Hastie: "'It's not what I know, it's the way that I know it': Star Discourse and Celebrity Expertise"
Chair: Kristie Hamilton
12:30 - 1:30 pm Lunch
1:30 - 3:15 pm

Concurrent Sessions: Space/Time Continuums

Televisual Time (Curtin 175)
Mimi White: "Television: Knowing History, Making History, Selling History"
Richard Dienst: "Entertaining Thoughts"
Chair: Karen Riggs

Geographies of Knowledge: Mapping Media Practices and Media Studies (Curtin 118)
John Caldwell: "Boy's Geography Lessons: Probe Technology, Push Programming, and the World"
James Hay: "Locating the Televisual"
Chair: Susanne Lummerding

John Caldwell

3:15 - 3:45 pm Break
3:45 - 5:45

Concurrent Sessions: Knowledge and Anxiety

"Machines That Think": Media in the 1950s (Curtin 175)
Mark Williams: "Wires and Machines: Knowledge/Anxiety via 1950s TV-Tech
Cheryl Knott Malone: "Big Brains on the Big Screen: Desk Set
James Schwoch: "Ambassador RAMAC: Media and Techno-Scientific Cold War Diplomacy
Chair: Max Yela

Knowledge Out of Control: Conspiracies and Paranoias (Curtin 118)
Jack Bratich: "Trust No-one (on the Internet): Official Journalism, New Media, and the Politics of Conspiracy Narratives"
Rachel Adams: "Consuming Anxieties: Narrating the Flesh-Eating Bacteria"
David Crane: "All the Facts: Paranoid Networks and Millenial Knowledge"
Chair: Brooke Thomas

6:00 - 7:30 pm Dinner
7:30 - 9:30 pm Screening of Velvet Goldmine with Todd Haynes (Union Theater)
Introduction: Jennifer Montgomery

Mark Williams (Dartmouth)

Saturday, May 1  
9:00 - 10:00 am Technology of Identity
Herman Gray: "Identities and New Technologies"
Ken Hillis: "Perfect Clarity, Fractured Flesh: Digital Queens and Informational Subjectivity"
Chair: Peter Sands
10:00 - 10:30 am Break
10:30 - 12:30 pm

Interactive Art: Affect and Information
Mark Hansen: "Towards an Affective Model of Cultural Agency: Video Installation Art as Physiological Mimesis"
Stephen Wilson: "Information Arts - Beyond Media"
Chair: Lane Hall

12:30 - 1:30 pm

Concurrent Sessions: History and Globality

Media Warfare (Curtin 175)
Jill Godmilow: "What Farocki Taught: What's Wrong with the Liberal Documentary"
Mehdi Semati: "The CNN Experience: Foreign Policy, CNN, and Democracy"
Chair: James Castonguay

Theorizing Commercial Diversity (Curtin 118)
Paula Amad: "Where on earth would like to be?: Benetton Advertising and the Reimagining of Academic Knowledge"
Gina Hausknecht: "Learning to be an American Girl: History, Culture, Dolls"
Chair: Gregory Jay

3:15 - 3:45 pm Break
3:45 - 5:15 pm Cyberculture and Virtual Worlds
Mark Amerika: "Network Congestion: Still-Life with Artificially Constructed Psychobabble"
M. Flanagan: "Knowing through Lara"
Chair: Campbell Tatham
5:15 - 5:30 pm Break
5:30 - 7:00 pm (Re)Producing Gay Identities
Lynne Joyrich: "The Epistemology of the Console"
Todd Haynes: "Risks of Identity"
Chair: Patricia White

Gina Hausknecht (Coe)

Discussants David Gunkel, Susanne Lummerding, Jennifer Montgomery, Megan Mullen, Patricia White, and Paul Young
Conference Organizer Lynne Joyrich
Conference Coordinator Carol Tennessen

Patricia Mellencamp (UWM)


1968: The Center's Founding

The 1970s: Film, Performance, Language and Technology

The 1980s: Feminism, Modernism and Culture

The 1990s: Culture, Aesthetics, Aging and Animals

2000 to present




Center for 21st Century Studies

Merry Wiesner-Hanks

Center for 21st Century Studies / University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
P.O. Box 413, Milwaukee, WI 53201 USA
tel: 414-229-4141; fax: 414-229-5964; email:



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