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Bibliography by Alston D'Silva

Page history last edited by Alston 7 years, 9 months ago

Williams, Raymond. Television: Technology And Cultural Form. New York: Schocken Books, 1975.


            Television: Technology and Cultural Form is Raymond Williams’ classic treatment on television where he brings to bear his socio-historical and critical analysis to the medium. Here Williams critiques technological deterministic notions of television, attends to generic issues of television programming and introduces the influential notion of ‘flow.’


            While Williams’s thinking may inform how we conceptualize television, it occurs to me that it is our work of deformance that require we revisit his notion of ‘flow.’ Williams observes that the content of television should not be approached as discrete text but rather a segmented body interrupted and organized into a continuance sequence. He shifts from a treatment of this phenomenon across programming, observing the sequence diverse types of shows, to examining television in the minute scale of scenes within a show and between commercials. Flow, therefore, excavates an organizing principle of television content—as Williams suggests, the disparate texts come together and “become[…] a mode of definition of an internal method” (93). Flow also implicates a spectator, describing that experience of fragmentary engagement and mean-making. Our work of deformance, formalistic as it may be, will likely involve a similar approach of explaining the reassemble of fragmentary texts.


Gandhi, Leela. Affective Communities: Anticolonial Thought and the Politics of Friendship. Delhi: Permanent Black, 2006.


            Leela Gandhi’s Affective Communities is an examination of the politics of friendship as a vector that ruptures and bridges typical modes of associations, insisting that “affective gestures… refuse alignment along secure axes of filiation to seek expression outside, if not against, possessive communities of belong” (10). Gandhi is concerned here with charting the congruence of radical anti-imperial sentiment in Late Victorian England in individuals with their counterparts on the other side of the colonial encounter mounting similarly aligned cultural projects. However, Gandhi’s theorization might inform our own grappling with affective relationships across categorizations of normative relations, especially as it affords us new ways of understanding difference.


The Internet Movie Database (IMDb), http://www.imdb.com/


The Internet Movie Database (IMDb), currently a subsidiary of Amazon, is something like an almanac of cinema and television. Its offering on television shows are surprisingly extensive and comprehensive. It operates as a heavily edited wiki, where users who in addition to contributing to ratings and discussion forums are also allowed to submit information on cast and crew credits that are apparently verified by staff. IMDb While not exhaustive (but seemingly close to it), most television shows have entries (i.e. dedicated pages) on most individual episodes. While IMDb once had extensive plot summaries, individual episodes are now available for rent via Amazon’s Prime service and consequently, these entries are more truncated. However, their information on each episode in terms of talent involved are incredibly detailed, listing even uncredited cast and crew. In addition, not only does IMDb have individual pages for actors, but curiously for the somewhat commercial platform, also has individual pages for the characters in the television shows.


IMDb offers dense, comprehensive, well-organized data on television shows. Most tantalizingly, IMDb also provides its database in pure text format for personal, non-commercial use (http://www.imdb.com/interfaces#plain). There have been some promising resources developed to exploit this feature.


Gephi – Data Visualization Tool http://gephi.org/


Gephi is an open source graph and data visualizing program coded in Java. It is a tool for network analysis which allows for nodes to be grouped according to user-defined properties. Users can also program Gephi to run through simulations where data changes or reorganizing. As well as being able to define and organize “node” data, Gephi appears to offer ways to define and elaborate “edges” as well, indicating for instance qualities such as directionality. Users may also upload .csv worksheets to import data sets


So far I found Gephi to be equally promising and frustrating. Some of its features do not seem intuitive and online tutorial support is quite limited. It is currently in its beta phase. I have been unsuccessful in uploading data and had difficulty saving work, but as a data visualizing tool, it seems to exceed other programs such as Y-ed Graph Editor in certain respects, especially as it describes and makes legible complex networks. The screenshot captures a very preliminary attempt to map the most romantic relationships between the most frequently appearing characters in Lost. I should soon be able to visually disaggregate the cast according to categories I define such as gender, race and national origin.



Jenkins, Henry. “ ‘Infinite diversity in infinite combinations’: Genre and authorship in Star Trek. Science Fiction Audiences: Watching Doctor Who And Star Trek. Co-authors, Tulloch, John, and Henry JenkinsLondon: Routledge, 1995.


             This chapter sits in a co-authored book on Science Fiction audiences, specifically the fan cultures following the Star Trek and Dr. Who franchises. Henry Jenkins and John Tulloch mostly write individually investigating specific fan formations and generally expanding on the project of Fan Cultures research. Chapter 9 is particularly useful for our project, however, because it grapples with issues of authorship and genre that are implicated in the formalist approach our method represents. Jenkins describes the somewhat curious ascription of authorship of the Star Trek franchise by its fan to its creator Gene Roddenbery even as it acknowledges “the collaborative aspects of the production process” (188), let alone the fan productions he refers to.


            Authorship, genre and other formal aspects of the work are crucial concerns for our project. And as it we plan to extend our investigation to the credited labor our writers and directors in our mappings, Jenkins maneuverings here might prove useful in conceptualizing our justifications.



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