The Spatial Turn in Literary and Cultural Studies
Julia Faisst: The Spatial Turn in Literary and Cultural Studies: Space, Place, and the Urban Imagination of Los Angeles
With the rise of global, local, and ‘glocal’ movements, the question of space has increasingly gained significance. Accordingly, in American literary and cultural studies the ’spatial turn’ has marked a major shift towards location, topography, and mobility. This lecture looks at the sprawling urban landscape of Los Angeles as a paradigmatic example of a contemporary global city. I will introduce you to various theoretical approaches to the study of space and place, while exemplifying the new spatial paradigm across literary and cultural studies. Through close readings of photographs, films, novels, and architectures, we map the space of this equally glamorous and disorienting city. Variably termed an artificial dreamscape or an apocalyptic desert, LA is particularly suited to a tracing of spatial thinking and practices: it shows us that space is as much a construction of the media and a virtual place of the imagination as it is an actual, geographical location.
Julia Faisst received her PhD from Harvard University in 2009. After working as Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Wake Forest University, she is now Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture at Giessen University. Her main research and teaching interests include modern and contemporary American and US ethnic literatures, visual and material culture, and comparative media studies. She is working on her second book project, on literary and visual representations of American ethnic architectures.