Patrick Jagoda, University of Chicago

Associate Professor Chicago, Illinois pjagoda@uchicago.edu Office: (773) 702-4840

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Bio/Research

Broadly speaking, I work on the fields of new media and twentieth and twenty-first century American literature and culture. Within these areas, my teaching and research focus on digital games, electronic literature, virtual worlds, television, cinema, the novel, and media theory.

My firs...


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Bio/Research

Broadly speaking, I work on the fields of new media and twentieth and twenty-first century American literature and culture. Within these areas, my teaching and research focus on digital games, electronic literature, virtual worlds, television, cinema, the novel, and media theory.

My first book, Network Aesthetics (University of Chicago Press, 2016), examines American narrative, visual, and interactive artworks that encourage a critical and even transformative engagement with the network as a dominant category of life since the mid-twentieth century. With the rise of complexity science, which promoted the interdisciplinary study of complex systems in the 1970s, networks became both the principal architecture and metaphor of a globalizing world. The language of networks now describes the Internet, the global economy, the human brain, and terrorist organizations. Though networks seem more appropriate to fields such as computer science and mathematics, they have also occupied a central place in the humanities. My book undertakes a comparative media analysis of the way that popular cultural forms, including the novel, film, television serial, videogame, and transmedia narrative have kept pace with science and mediated our experience of networks. The first half, turns to linear narrative forms, including maximalist novels from the late 1990s such as Don DeLillo’s Underworld, multiprotagonist films such as Stephen Gaghan’s Syriana, and complex serial television shows such as David Simon’s The Wire. Through experiments with network form, these works examine the American situation of domestic and transnational crisis. In the second half of the book, I turn from predominantly representational and narrative texts to digital media and videogames such as thatgamecompany's Journey that are interactive, nonlinear, and dependent on networked audiences. Network aesthetics, I argue, are not simply the qualities of a new genre that is available across contemporary fiction, film, and digital media. More substantively, the diverse cultural works that I study use aesthetic strategies to render, intensify, and influence the way we understand the network imaginary and our embeddedness within it.


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