Saturday, April 28, 2018

English 220.06 @ SDSU Fall 2018 An Epic General Education Experiment: ROBOTIC EROTIC ELECTRIC | Professor William A. Nericcio

Robotic Erotic Electric or "I"/Eye Robot

English 220.06 Fall 2018,  Professor William Nericcio

Tuesdays and Thursday @11am in GMCS 333

Our utterly experimental and improvisational Fall 2018 section of "Introduction to Literature" (Engl 220.3—schedule # 21066) will be a veritable wonderland filled with bizarre, alluring fictional bodies. From the remarkable and haunting nightmares of Ira Levin's THE STEPFORD WIVES to the irreverent and haunting hallucinations of Franz Kafka (and Kafka's life as revisioned by underground comic book icon Robert Crumb), from the dark, sensual nightmare of a 21st century Siggy Freud in the mad prose of Lidia Yuknavitch, to the (slightly demented) exotic borderlands in the writings of yours truly in Tex[t]-Mex, our catalogue of textual and screened delights has enough controversy, outrage, and mystery to keep us busy for a lifetime. But as we have only 15 weeks to introduce ourselves to the range of artifacts that pass as literature at the dawn of the 21st Century, so things will zip along at an amphetamine-laced pace!
Make no mistake about it: this is NOT a survey of long, white-haired, sedate, upper-crust, high literature folks--we will be as obsessed with film, photography, and the internet, as we will the trappings of traditional literature. More an introduction to Cultural Studies than a long-in-the-tooth worship festival of the old classics (sorry Shakespeare, get-out th'way Milton, adios Edmund Spenser), our multi-media exercise in fictional fetishism will try to set itself apart with vivacious books, paintings, and film filled with tortured, robotic, broken imaginations. We will be strive to be eccentric (ex-centric, outside the circle) as we explore the world of alternative subjectivities, "televisual" constructions (think Facebook) where individuals make and remake themselves on a daily basis.  Robotic Erotic Electric will drive our curiousity as we try to understand why our species creates versions of itself that it then re-markets (to itself) in various media: books, film, photography, the web, etc. It turns out that the seductive fantasies, grotesque nightmares, and alluring hallucinations that our creative writers, directors, photographers, artists, philosophers make (shamans of fiction, all) form a key part of what we call our psyche: the psychology or soul that passes for the person you tell people you are. The class is open to all majors and minors and presumes no prior love or experience with literature and cultural studies.



LOGISTICS? Hit the link!


Section Details:

Schedule #21340



Full TitleIntroduction to Literature
DescriptionInquiry into basic nature of literature. What prompts humankind to creation of imaginative literature? What purposes does literature serve in cultural life of humanity? What are its social, philosophical, spiritual, and esthetic values? Some consideration may be given to techniques and major critical theories, but focus will be on practical criticism for nonspecialists. Specific works studied will be representative of several genres, cultures, and periods of literature.
PrerequisiteA grade of C (2.0) or better in English 100, Africana Studies 120, American Indian Studies 120, or Chicana and Chicano Studies 111B or Linguistics 100B or Rhetoric and Writing Studies 105B. Proof of completion of prerequisite required: Copy of transcript.

Proof of prerequisite required.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Eyegiene vs Eyegasm Lecture Coming to Rome, Italy | Tuesday 10, April 2018


I am finally putting the finishing touches to my my book-length study of 20th and 21st century visual culture--the original working title was Eyegiene: Permutations of Subjectivity in the Televisual Age of Sex and Race, but I am toying with adding the term "Eyegasm," inspired by successful classes I have taught at SDSU and UCSD.

Some of my graphic adaptations and thefts (semiotic transmogrification!) appear below--more on my lecture shortly, but here's the facts:
 Between Eyegiene and Eyegasm: Permutations of Subjectivity in the Televisual Age of Sex and Race
10 april, 15h-16.30
Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma (Faculty of Arts)
Aula Magna  | via di Ripetta, 2 ROME ITALY
Discussant: Antonio Rafele (Université Lille 3), Federico Tarquini (Università della Tuscia), Tito Vagni (IULM, Milano)

Friday, April 7, 2017

Monday, January 30, 2017

The Eyegiene Chapter on Mandingo and Blaxploitation: A Work in Progress

I am in the middle of composing and revising a brief chapter on blaxploitation movies and paperbacks for the Eyegiene book with UT Press.  In the process of spelunking the internets for material on the 1975 film "classic" Mandingo directed by Richard Fleischer--which itself derives from the novel Mandingo by Kyle Onstott and a stage version of the book by Jack Kirkland--I chanced across these screaming semiotic, pulp wonders.  Let's see how many of these I can squeeze into the book!  The source for the images is an Etsy vendor.  I love that the book is an "uncensored" abridgment, meaning, I imagine that bulky scenes of description and dialogue have been excised in the interest of featuring the delights of "scandalous" miscegenation in the old South.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Eyegiene and Pulp Fiction: Saucy Detective Stories, v1 #5, August 1937 | Norman Saunders Cover Art

Norman Saunders cover, below, will have its day in Eyegiene: Permutations of Subjectivity in the Televisual Age of Sex and Race. Saunders' clever semiotic deconstruction (the pinup woman, object of the magazine purchaser's eye, is, herself, a camera operator, her cutting edge film camera--for then--more prominent in a way than either her shadowy pursuer or her own naked torso) signals a pre-post-structuralist understanding of the technology / representation / subjectivity matrix.  The image, contemporary with Walter Benjamin's The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (actually Benjamin's opus comes out a year previous) augurs ideas that will see full development in Michael Powell's Peeping Tom.

  • Saucy Detective Stories [v1 #5, August 1937] (25¢, 1-96+65b-128b, pulp, cover by Norman Saunders
  • Title page reads Saucy Stories. Details taken from a scan of a (partial) Table of Contents, supplemented by information from Nichole Rounds.
{source: William G. Contento's Homeville Fiction Magazine, main:   ||| specific issue info: index:}

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes) & Stephen Pastis (Pearls Before Swine) Collaboration, June 2-June 7, 2014

No one working today in daily comic strips captures the depth, range, and pure semiotic joy of the medium more than Stephen Pastis in Pearls Before Swine--before him came Bill Watterson (and before either of them, way back in the day, Winsor McCay).  So it was magic in 2014 when Watterson and Pastis teamed up for a week of Pearls strips; here they are in all their glory (a higher resolution jpg lives here) :

click to enlarge

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

UCSD Fall 2016 | CAT 125 | I/EYEgasm Mutations of the Broadcasted Self in the Chaotic Digital Age of Sex & Race | Dr. William A. Nericcio

Click me, I get bigger!

CAT 125
Mutations of the Broadcasted Self 
in the Chaotic Digital Age of Sex & Race

Dr. William Anthony Nericcio
phone: 619.594.1524
Office Hours: Mondays & Wednesdays,
before class at The Loft, 11:30am to 12:40pm

“I couldn't decide whether I was writing the characters, or whether the characters were writing me, or whether we were all one and the same.”

--David Bowie, musing on the last night he
performed as Ziggy Stardust with the Spiders from Mars

our UCSD course catalogue refers to this class as “Public Rhetoric and Practical Communication” and, indeed, we will, in the course of the Fall quarter, explore the spheres of rhetoric, communication, and—brace for it—the joys of “writing a resume.” But we will also be embarked on other, related perhaps more profound missions!

Together, we will explore the following questions: What is “self” and what goes into its manufacture?  In order to answer those questions (and to keep our adventure timely and of value for undergraduates from across the disciplines) we will be grappling with contemporary debates that impact on our construction and “branding” of our self in worlds analog and digital.  Other questions we will work with this semester include: What is a memoir? What is a self-portrait? Why does it feel so good to have our pictures liked by unseen entities, the digitized shadows of others, connected to us by the bizarre electronic network that is the internet? What is the relationship of our Facebook page to our Self?  Are living through a paradigm shift?—a watershed epoch where something as basic as the “I” is totally being rewritten by our obsession with digitized eyes! 

In our class I will speak of hygiene’s cousin, “Eyegiene,” and of something I call “I/EYEgasm”—where the addictive hedonizing pleasure of the visually digitized world evolves into the virtual equivalent of crystal meth.  I/EYEgasm is a made-up word, a neologism, that attempts to speak to our common experiences with mass media today—is it possible that the mesh of our minds with technology, our daily ritural of touching/seeing screens (computer screens, smartphone screens, television screens) comes to infect/dominate our lives? Eyes wide open, so to speak, these screens become electric, naked mirrors, concealing nothing, revealing all.

The various works we encounter this term will teach us to rethink, rewrite, and reimagine what it is we call to consciousness when we picture the contours of the human mind--in the process, we will learn to tell stories of our selves, share representations of ourselves that just might move someone else (and get you a job, career, future!).

During the semester we will hang out with a wide-ranging and eclectic group of characters including Banksy, the epic #streetart maven cum moviemaker with Exit Through the Gift Shop; Frida Kahlo, who basically rewrites the notion of the self-portrait in oil painting and beyond; Nathanael West, American novelist and arch satirist cynic whose Miss Lonelyhearts will singe your existential synapses; and Dan Clowes, infamous graphic narrative guru whose Ghost World redefines notions of being for a 21st century audience—also making cameos? Marshall McLuhan, Siggy Freud, John Berger, and LA Playwright Oliver Mayer.

{Please note that you must have the old school PRINT version of the books for our class as electronic versions are to be avoided.}

Sections/Teaching Assistants
CAT 125A

click to enlarge

Required Books:

1. The Medium is the Massage 9th Edition by Marshall McLuhan  (Author), Quentin Fiore (Author), Shepard Fairey  (Illustrator)
Publisher: Gingko Press; 9th edition (August 1, 2001)
ISBN-10: 1584230703
ISBN-13: 978-1584230700

2. Freud for Beginners Paperback –by Richard Appignanesi  (Author), Oscar Zarate
Publisher: Pantheon (July 15, 2003)
ISBN-10: 037571460X
ISBN-13: 978-0375714603

3. Ways of Seeing: Based on the BBC Television Series Paperback – by John Berger  (Author)
Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (December 1, 1990)
ISBN-10: 0140135154
ISBN-13: 978-0140135152

4. Kahlo–by Andrea Kettenmann (Author)
Publisher: Taschen (September 1, 2015)
ISBN-10: 383650085X
ISBN-13: 978-3836500852

5. Ghost World– by Daniel Clowes (Author)
Publisher: Fantagraphics (April 1, 2001)
ISBN-10: 1560974273
ISBN-13: 978-1560974277

6. Miss Lonelyhearts Paperback –by Nathanael West (Author), Harold Bloom (Introduction)
Publisher: New Directions; Reprint edition (July 17, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0811220931
ISBN-13: 978-0811220934

The Hurt Business: Oliver Mayer's Early Works [+] PLUS Paperback –
by Oliver Mayer, William Nericcio, Editor
Publisher: Hyperbole Books, San Diego State University Press; 1st edition
ISBN-10: 1879691841
ISBN-13: 978-1879691841