Articles & Planned Projects
"A TRADEMARK ON IRONY"
Contemporary Literature, vol 59 issue 2
This essay interprets J.M. Coetzee’s Diary of a Bad Year (2007) in light of several moments in modern legal-aesthetic history. By discussing the positions that proprietors took during the eighteenth-century debates on intellectual property and the late-twentieth-century debates on digital copyright, I show that elements of Diary resonate with their arguments to advance the rights of ownership. I conclude that Coetzee’s career-long avowal of art’s autonomy is based on a formalism that we inherit from a legalistic framework ascribing ownership to expression—a formalism that, when considered alongside a proprietary culture recently energized by an expansion of rights, participates in the dominant trend to defend proprietorship.
"MORE ON THE MISSING HALF SECOND"
This review essay compares two early and two recent texts by N. Katherine Hayles and Mark B.N. Hansen. Considering their recent work in the context of Ruth Leys’s critique of the turn to affect, I argue that Hayles and Hansen use neuroscientific conclusions on a “missing ½ second” to propose theories of technology’s impact. These critics neglect to provide explanations of a social or political kind, a trend that appears to be related to the lesser importance accorded to intention.