The 12th professional meeting of “UNESCO Chairs Program at University of Tehran”: Digital Turn in Literary Discourse
May 26, 2014
The 12th professional meeting of “UNESCO Chairs Program in Culture and Cyberspace: Dual Speciation of the World” was held by Dr. Abdullah Karimzadeh, scholar of cultural studies in literature and researcher in cyberspace studies, on Monday, June 12, 2017, in Iran Hall of the Faculty of World Studies.
Scholars and professionals of cyberspace attended the meeting where Dr. Karimzadeh discussed the digital turn in literary discourse. “Social theorists have called the contemporary society by many names to describe and analyze the current social status and the modern human being. Network society, communicative society, informational society, consumer society, individualized society, panoptic society, industrial society, knowledge-based society, postmodern society, globalized society, and mediated society are some examples. In reaction to these discursive structures, literary studies has witnessed various turns, including linguistic, cultural, historical, narrative, moral, spatial, cybernetic, and digital.”
Commenting on the role of literary theory in reacting to modernism and modernity and their outcomes for society, he argued that literature has changed in form and content and new genres have emerged to respond to digitalized experiences with culture. “Cyberpunk is one these new genres which gave birth to a new literary wave known as “Cybernetic Literature”. It is a reaction to fear of being controlled and is rooted in Foucault’s Panopticism theory.”
Dr. Karimzadeh also mentioned the concept of Cyborg Writing as one of the other literary genres which emerged after the cybernetic turn. “In this new genre, the protagonists are new creatures, “Cyborgs”. They are hybrids of humans and machines.”
He continued that, “an outcome of the evolutions in the contemporary society is the changes in cultures and digitization of cultures. In a critical response to these evolutions, literature also changed and digital literature was born. We have “Flash Fiction”, “Parody”, and “Hyperfiction” in this new form.
The session continued by a comprehensive discussion on various forms of digital influences on literature and the role of cyberspace in defining the writers and readers in the contemporary literary world.