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Seminar 2023/2024

VOICE: Sound, Technology, and Performance
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Center for Cultural Analysis (CCA)

Profane Illuminations: Digital Passages within Walter Benjamin's Arcades Project


From: Friday, March 01, 2019, 12:00pm

To: Friday, March 01, 2019, 02:00pm

Profane Illuminations: Digital Passages within Walter Benjamin's Arcades Project with Sarah DeMott (NYU)


Sponsored by the Urban Humanities Working Group.


Walter Benjamin's The Arcades Project has long been applied as a text to interrogate the city through the architectural structure of the arcades as a symbolic space of the public life happening within the interior of the city, a site for comparative urban existence linking Paris, Naples, and Moscow, and a reference for the evolution of contemporary commercial centers and shopping malls. In addition to referencing architecture and urban design, The Arcades Project has become a lexicon for use when considering how urban life is defined. Benjamin's thirty-six convolutes represent key terms in the study of urbanization. This paper performs a computational analysis of The Arcades Project as a way to read Benjamin's critique of modernization, labor, and urbanization in 19th-century Paris. Through the green lens of the computer terminal, the city emerges as a digital passageway allowing us—Benjamin's readers—to approximate our existences to those populating the phantasmagorical city that his Passagenwerk animates. 


Academic Bldg West Wing, Room 4052
15 Seminary Place
New Brunswick, New Jersey, 08901

Events sponsored by the Center for Cultural Analysis are free and open to the public, unless specifically noted



The Center for Cultural Analysis
A Year in Review
2020 - 2021

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