Sunday, December 2, 2007

For my final paper I’d like to look at the ways in which language conveys force/control, both in terms of Lyotard’s language games/performativity as well as online vocabulary and its borrowed connotations. How does language construct and damage identity (personal and communal)? How do language and force/violence function in the physical world vs. the virtual space of the Internet? I will also question what makes the former of these spheres seem more “real” than the latter (physicality? action? humanity?), and consider authenticity vs. truth in this context.

Some topics I may also touch on: Translation as a means of control or communicative freedom. Spoken language vs. written language vs. body language vs. computer code. Cosmos and cosmopolitanism, especially as it seeks to make the invisible visible. Cognitive mapping through language. Actual terrorism, virtual terrorism, and Lyotard’s take on terrorism. Appadurai’s scapes.

In untangling these various questions I plan to look at Lyotard on language games and performative utterances, Keenan on virtual war (and “war of perception”), Stephenson on language violence and personal identity creation, and Anderson on community identity creation.

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