Wednesday, April 26, 2006

IBM Research presentation--tomorrow

Don Aldridge, GM, Higher Education and Research, IBM Canada, will be coming to SFU to provide a high-level overview of the IBM Research division, as well as describing programs to support academic researchers in Canada.

All members of the academic research community are invited to attend.
RSVPs are not required.

DATE: Thursday, April 27
TIME: 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.
LOCATION: IRMACS Presentation Studio, Applied Sciences Building
10900, SFU Burnaby

Further information about this event, visit

Play Between Worlds--TL Taylor

TL Taylor's book: Play Between Worlds is out.
Read more about it, and some reviews>>

TL has published widely on her ethnography of EverQuest and is a great speaker. Some of the ideas she presents in her work really resonate with me (being a gamer who is not a teenage boy in his mother's basement!... not that that's a bad thing.... necessarily...) and shows the possibilities of fieldwork insights of online (and offline) games ethnography. Definitely a fave of mine. Kudos to TL!

Original post from Jonas Heide Smith's blog.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

The Gift of Play - PUBLIC LECTURE

The Gift of Play: the gesture of performance

Dr. Andrew Quick
Theatre Studies at Lancaster University,United Kingdom

May 9, Tuesday
Room K8652
School of Communication Simon Fraser University
Burnaby Campus, Applied Science Wing

Taking Walter Benjamin's discussions of play as the starting point, this paper examines the concept of play as a moment of radical disruption with specific reference to Josse de Pauw's (Belgium) performance work with children and the performances pieces of Forced Entertainment (UK). According to Benjamin, the child's 'gesture' disturbs adult conceptualisations of the world. This paper attempts to locate such moments of rupture in contemporary performance and assesses their cultural and political relevance.

Performance Practice: Co-director of the Centre for the Advanced Study of Contemporary Performance Practice; Performance company: “imitating the dog” Recent Publications: The Wooster Group Book (Routledge 2007); The Event of Performance (Palgrave Macmillan 2007); editor, Five Miles and Falling: a document by imitating the dog (2002 - produced as a
CD-ROM); Hotel Methuselah: a catalogue by imitating the dog (2006); co-editor, On Memory (Routledge, 2000), Time and Value (Blackwell,1998); Shattered Anatomies (Bristol Arnolfini, 1997)
Sponsored by Simon Fraser University’s Counter Culture Lecture Series, School of Communication; School of Contemporary Arts; and the Department of English
For more information email

Monday, April 17, 2006

Attempts to bridge the digital chasm in India

Interesting story from this morning's BBC Technology report, which includes the statistic that while the population in India is "becoming younger and more affluent," little more than 5% have been touched at all by the 'digital age.'
Factors to consider are not just cost, but primarily literacy. People know what to do with a TV, but a PC is much more of an enigma.
The story also mentions the Intel Community PC, which is able to withstand the dust and humid conditions of rural India. Now I think that is truly an innovation (and I'm betting it took -someone- going there and reporting that not everyone lives in server room conditions!)
Read the story>>

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Job posting: Brock U Assistant Professor

Department of Communications, Popular Culture and Film

The Department of Communications, Popular Culture and Film at Brock University invites applications for a Limited Term Appointment in Popular Culture at the rank of Assistant Professor, effective July 1, 2006. The position is subject to final budgetary approval. A thriving interdisciplinary unit with more than 750 majors, the department offers undergraduate degrees in Communications Studies, Film Studies and Popular Culture (for more information see our website: A PhD in a discipline relevant to Popular Culture is required, together with evidence of successful teaching experience and research potential. Applicants should be prepared to teach four half-credit courses in Popular Culture drawn from the following list:

PCUL 1F92 Introduction to Popular Culture
PCUL 2F92 Popular Narrative
PCUL 2P21 Canadian Popular Culture
PCUL 2P30 Popular Entertainment
PCUL 2P70 Popular Music and Society
FILM 2P94 Popular Cinema
PCUL 3P96 Issues in Popular Culture
PCUL 4P23 Research on Media & Popular Culture
PCUL 4P40 Popular Culture and Local Identity
PCUL 4P70 Advanced Studies in Popular Music

Applicants should submit by April 21, 2006 a letter of application accompanied by a curriculum vitae, summaries of teaching evaluations, selected reprints and preprints of published work, and should arrange for three letters of reference to be sent to:

Prof. Nick Baxter-Moore, Appointments Committee Chair, Department of Communications, Popular Culture and Film, Brock University, St. Catharines, ON L2S 3A1.

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority. Brock University is committed to a positive action policy aimed at reducing a gender imbalance among faculty; qualified female and male candidates are equally encouraged to apply. More information on Brock University can be found on the University's website

Monday, April 10, 2006

Hera or Empathy

William (Bill) Leiss gave a talk at a book launch for his novel Hera or Empathy. This was the first time I have been able to see him in person.

Bill writes on the back cover:

"My objective is to draw a line in the sand between religion and science - in order to protect both. The coming of molecular biology and the science of DNA is the signal for a final rupture between science and monotheistic religion. Each is now a constant danger to the other; in each other's presence they compose an explosive mixture, like the gases hydrogen and oxygen. Both can only survive and endure on the same planet if they carefully avoid each other. This is the meaning of the appearance on earch of our kind and its fate, which we have accepted: To enable this mutual avoidance strategy to succeed."

You can get it at Chapters. Because I got mine in person, Bill signed my copy. (grin)

An interesting factoid: Richard Smith (my Senior Supervisor) and Roman Onufrijchuk (Supervisor) were both students of Bill Leiss, who studied with Marcuse, who studied with Heidegger. Andrew Feenberg (Supervisor) also studied with Marcuse, knows Bill from "the old days" and has published many works on his theories. I feel very privileged to be able to work so closely with such extraordinary people with a Frankfurt School lineage right here in Vancouver.