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Weather as a Test Case for Media Theory

Committee for Film Studies and the Humanities Council's David A. Gardner '69 Magic Project Yale University

February 15, 2018 · 4:30 pm6:00 pm · 010 East Pyne

photo of John Durham Peters

On Thursday, February 15, the Committee for Film Studies will host the fourth lecture in its seven-part, year-long Thinking Cinema series, which structures vibrant encounters between leading film scholars and the Princeton community. John Durham Peters, Yale University, will present Weather as a Test Case for Media Theory.

This talk meditates on weather and its media. Weather has been a prime resource for narrative from Genesis to King Lear, from The Canterbury Tales to The Waste Land. The treatment of weather is one of the clearest features for revealing how different media, such as the novel, news, and film, handle time. One of the more remarkable inventions of modernity is that of banal weather. For moderns, weather provides a double experience of time: banal and dramatic, empty and revolutionary, homogeneous and stormy.

John Durham Peters is the María Rosa Menocal Professor of English and of Film and Media Studies at Yale University. A media historian and social theorist, he has authored a number of noted scholarly works. His first book, Speaking into the Air: A History of the Idea of Communication, traces out broad historical, philosophical, religious, cultural, legal, and technological contexts for the study of communication. His second book, Courting the Abyss: Free Speech and the Liberal Tradition, updates the philosophy of free expression with a history of liberal thought since Paul of Tarsus. His most recent book, The Marvelous Clouds: Toward a Philosophy of Elemental Media, radically rethinks how media are environments and environments are also media.

Sponsored by the Committee for Film Studies and the Humanities Council’s David A. Gardner ’69 Magic Project

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