The Society for Critical Exchange
Current Projects

Globalization and the Image
This project, directed by Kurt Koenigsberger, seeks to explore the extent to which the image broadly conceived--verbal, visual, and iconic--promotes, resists, reflects, and indexes the complexities of globalization.

In the wake of our successful working conference at the 2001 MMLA, we sponsored programs for the 2002 MMLA and MLA conventions. Please see our program information by clicking above.

The first phase of this project has resulted in a special issue of Genre: Forms of Discourse and Culture (Fall/Winter 2003). The Table of Contents and cover image are now available; the original call for papers is archived here.

In 2005, we are sponsoring a pair of panels at the MLA meeting in Washington D.C. on the topic of "Globalization, Imperialism, and Cultures of Exhibition." In 2007, the project collaborated with the SCE's Cultures of Writing to mount a pair of programs on "Writing Empires." We welcome your suggestions about potential future directions for "Globalization and the Image."

If you have questions about the project, the conferences, or the special issue, or if you would like to be added to the Project mailing list, contact Kurt Koenigsberger.

Topics we have been considering over the past years include:
  • Images and Empires: Edward Said asserts that European imperialisms in effect "made the world one." To what extent were the global reaches of these empires enabled, sustained, and resisted by images (of, for example, exoticism or Western domesticity)? How does the image help to ground and structure narratives of expansionism and conquest? How have images served to confront or to resist the extension of these empires? Do particular images indicate lines of continuity or fracture between the machinations of the old empires and the new aims of global capitalism?
  • Affiliations of the Image: To what extent do images shape and deform narratives of globalization? The image is usually understood as describing a synchronic moment, but how does it establish, modify, and de-form relations with the diachronic, especially narratives of globalization, capitalism, and their others? Do images encourage us to explore models of narrative, social, and political affiliation other than direct causality, influence, or allegiance--for example, homologies, intertextualities, and networks?
  • Nationalism and Globalization: How does an increasing movement toward globalization in a range of institutions challenge or affirm the aims of various nationalisms? To what extent do specific images of globalization and/or of the nation serve as sites of mutual affirmation or contestation?
  • Corporate Images: How do images (logos, slogans, pictorial ads, Mickey Mouse, Michael Jordan) help market global capitalism? How does globalization modify marketing strategies aimed at national and regional audiences? How do images of the South enable the extension of Northern markets into the South? What kinds of images become battlegrounds for intellectual property disputes in a global market?
  • Images of Resistance: How do images (of impoverished children, of rainforests, or of trash, for instance) assist in local resistances to and manipulations of globalization? How do they enable threatened spaces, species, and communities--whether minority populations within and across national boundaries, traditional architectures, cities, and environments, or indigenous flora and fauna--to oppose or to turn to their advantage the march of global capitalism?
  • The Image as a Rhetoric of the Global: In the context of the Internet's transnational reach, how has the World Wide Web's emphasis on the image and the icon fostered or forced innovations in writing? Can a rhetoric of the image or the icon penetrate where traditional written texts cannot? How do imagistic strategies in various media (again, including the WWW) produce "the global" as a new kind of "imagined community," in Benedict Anderson's sense?


return to top