Cultural Styles in the 21st Century, or the High Tech Debt to Africa

by Bill Benzon By the middle of the previous century anthropologists had come to argue that each culture has its own patterns and that those patterns pervaded its social practices, its practical arts, it’s beliefes and attitudes, and its expressive culture. The central expression of this conception can be found in Ruth Benedict's seminal study…

Evolving to the Future, the Web of Culture

by Bill Benzon “The interests of humanity may change, the present curiosities in science may cease, and entirely different things may occupy the human mind in the future.” One conversation centered on the ever accelerating progress of technology and changes in the mode of human life, which gives the appearance of approaching some essential singularity…

Macroanalysis and the Directional Evolution of Nineteenth Century English-Language Novels

by Bill Benzon In The Only Game in Town: Digital Criticism Comes of Age I argued that digital criticism was the most important development in contemporary literary studies because it is the only line of investigation that presents us with new objects of thought. I’m continuing that argument in this post, where I consider some…

Sing Me a Song of Hyperobjects: Starting over with Humans and Other Creatures in the 21st Century CE

by Bill Benzon Timothy Morton. Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World. University of Minnesota Press 2013. 229 pp. This is a strange book, for it is three. There is the book that is easy to praise for its range of topics – quantum mechanics, La Monte Young, global warming, The Matrix,…