Margaret Farrar's article, "Spectacular Resistance: The Billionaires for Bush and the Art of Political Culture Jamming" has been accepted for publication in the journal Polity. Her work on the article was supported by a 2007 Presidential Research Fellowship. The article is co-authored with Jamie Warner of Marshall University.
Abstract: Political theorists and pundits frequently bemoan the perpetual malaise that they argue hangs over U.S. politics. Part of this malaise is often attributed to the omnipresence of political spectacle, where participants are reduced to spectator-voters rather than engaged as active citizens in the political process. The result, many conclude, is widespread cynicism that stymies collective action.
We argue, however, that "spectacle" is not necessarily opposed to political participation, and indeed that the "actor-audience" dichotomy so often employed by political theorists is much too simplistic to describe political activism. In fact, groups such as the Billionaires for Bush use spectacle to advance their message(s) and to inspire political change. These groups have much in common with what various media scholars call “culture jammers,” or activists who deliberately subvert spectacular images in order to reclaim them.
In this paper, we explore how groups we label political culture jammers combat cynicism by replacing the dominant images of politics with provocative counter-images. Through their use of ironic self-presentation and humor, political culture jammers offer an appealing alternative means of invigorating political praxis by complicating the citizen/spectator binary that so many critics invoke.
Margaret also had a panel and paper accepted for presentation at the Western Political Science Association ( San Diego, 2008). The panel, which she put together with Simon Stow at the College of William and Mary, is titled " The Politics of Place: Space, Memory, Language, and Resistance." Her paper is titled "Amnesia, Nostalgia, and the Politics of Memory."
While she is on sabbatical this fall, Margaret is working at the University of Iowa as a visting scholar at the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies.
In October, Doug Tschopp served his fifth year as program chair for the High Ed Web Dev Conference. The conference for higher education web professionals had over 500 attendees this year and the 5 tracks of presentations were selected from a record 145 submitted proposals. Doug also presented a half-day workshop on content development and research techniques as well as a short presentation on card sort research.
Two Augustana students also attended and both had poster presentations accepted for the conference. Tim Shearouse presented, "Improving Web Usability: A New Card Sort" and Shaun Callighan presented, "Comparative Web Analysis... It's Where to Start". For more conference information: click here
Peter Xiao will have his show, "Selves and Otherwise" with sculptor Tom Lyle at Gallery West, 1629 2nd Avenue, Rock Island, November through December. He welcomes all to their reception held at the gallery on November 16, 7–9 p.m. His painting is also included in the current studio school faculty show at the Figge Art Museum. Reception for that show is November 3rd, 3:30–5 p.m.
Peter is the juror by invitation for Quincy Art Center's "Mary S. Oakley Area Artists Showcase Juried Exhibition" in Quincy, Illinois. In June and August this year he had one-person shows through competitive selection at the Black Rock Art Center in Germantown, Maryland and Rosewood Gallery at Kettering, Ohio.