For more official information, please see my CV
I've been teaching MIT 1200 for over ten years now -- it's the kind of course that I would have like to have taken as an undergraduate, a course that tries to put together central issues in the contemporary world: machines and humans; power and vision (mechanical and organic); the purposes and powers of culture; and most of all, the way we interpret things, altering ourselves and each other as we perform those interpretations. I've also been lucky enough to teach in my areas of fascination: war (MIT 3215), and machine-human-cultural interaction (MIT 4035). In the graduate programs (Media Studies and LIS), I teach a course on memory, trauma and technology, and a Popular Culture course. These courses follow on from my interest and approach in the undergraduate courses.
All of these courses are close to my heart because they discuss an issue I believe we cannot ignore: that we have fashioned a culture of speed that, without necessarily knowing much about how it works, we are simultaneously enthralled and horrified by. I love to look at things, so if you take a course with me, you'll be looking at film, comix, art, posters, propaganda, the web-- you name it, we'll do it. You'll also be reading and writing because nothing replaces sharp analytical ability. The best thing about teaching is the conversations I have with students, those particular moments when everyone is suddenly alight, and the world seems suddenly more possible. There's never enough time for curiosity, I'm finding, so talking to people is a quick way of finding out a lot about the world.
My major research interests continue to be focused on the ways that
culture and cultural products revolve around each other. When I study
popular, mass, and folk culture (comix, art, film, bande dessinee,
fiction), I'm looking for the ways in which we tell stories to each
other. I study and write a great deal about war -- more about war
culturally than historically, although history must underpin all these kinds of discussions. My book about war technologies and the body in the 21stC (War X: Human Extensions in Battlespace, University of Toronto Press, 2005). 9/11 has brought neither military nor policy surprises when we look at the last ten years of killer culture: the Revolution in Military Affairs is being televised (so you have to adjust your set). I am also interested in industrial culture, heavy industry, and the emotional costs of full throttle capitalism. When I study these things, it is almost always by looking at one or more cultural production(s). The more I work in these areas, the more I am convinced that art, art of all kinds, is the best thing humans do. .