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Resonance of Unseen Things

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ISBN: 9780472900657 9780472072941 Year: Pages: 193 DOI: 10.26530/OAPEN_608301 Language: English
Publisher: University of Michigan Press Grant: Knowledge Unlatched
Subject: Ethnology
Added to DOAB on : 2016-05-22 11:01:24
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The Resonance of Unseen Things offers an ethnographic meditation on the “uncanny” persistence and cultural freight of conspiracy theory. The project is a reading of conspiracy theory as an index of a certain strain of late 20th-century American despondency and malaise, especially as understood by people experiencing downward social mobility. Written by a cultural anthropologist with a literary background, this deeply interdisciplinary book focuses on the enduring American preoccupation with captivity in a rapidly transforming world. Captivity is a trope that appears in both ordinary and fantastic iterations here, and Susan Lepselter shows how multiple troubled histories—of race, class, gender, and power—become compressed into stories of uncanny memory. “We really don’t have anything like this in terms of a focused, sympathetic, open-minded ethnographic study of UFO experiencers. . . . The author’s semiotic approach to the paranormal is immensely productive, positive, and, above all, resonant with what actually happens in history.”
—Jeffrey J. Kripal, J. Newton Rayzor Professor of Religion, Rice University

“Lepselter relates a weave of intimate alien sensibilities in out-off-the-way places which are surprisingly, profoundly, close to home. Readers can expect to share her experience of contact with complex logics of feeling, and to do so in a contemporary America they may have thought they understood.”
—Debbora Battaglia, Mount Holyoke College

“An original and beautifully written study of contemporary American cultural poetics. . . . The book convincingly brings into relief the anxieties of those at the margins of American economic and civic life, their perceptions of state power, and the narrative continuities that bond them to histories of violence and expansion in the American West.”
—Deirdre de la Cruz, University of Michigan

My Life as a Night Elf Priest: An Anthropological Account of World of Warcraft

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Book Series: Technologies of the Imagination ISBN: 9780472070985 9780472050987 9780472026715 Year: Language: English
Publisher: University of Michigan Press
Subject: Ethnology
Added to DOAB on : 2012-04-06 14:29:55
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World of Warcraft rapidly became one of the most popular online world games on the planet, amassing 11.5 million subscribers—officially making it an online community of gamers that had more inhabitants than the state of Ohio and was almost twice as populous as Scotland. It's a massively multiplayer online game, or MMO in gamer jargon, where each person controls a single character inside a virtual world, interacting with other people's characters and computer-controlled monsters, quest-givers, and merchants. In My Life as a Night Elf Priest, Bonnie Nardi, a well-known ethnographer who has published extensively on how theories of what we do intersect with how we adopt and use technology, compiles more than three years of participatory research in Warcraft play and culture in the United States and China into this field study of player behavior and activity. She introduces us to her research strategy and the history, structure, and culture of Warcraft; argues for applying activity theory and theories of aesthetic experience to the study of gaming and play; and educates us on issues of gender, culture, and addiction as part of the play experience. Nardi paints a compelling portrait of what drives online gamers both in this country and in China, where she spent a month studying players in Internet cafes. Bonnie Nardi has given us a fresh look not only at World of Warcraft but at the field of game studies as a whole. One of the first in-depth studies of a game that has become an icon of digital culture, My Life as a Night Elf Priest will capture the interest of both the gamer and the ethnographer.

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