Prof Jani Scandura
Jani Scandura was a magazine writer before returning to graduate school and maintains an interest both in mass culture and writing more generally (though more often recently in the aesthetics of theoretical writing). She is also Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Space & Place Collective. Her primary research and teaching interests are in North American and European modernisms and modernities and North American fiction, poetry, film, material and mass culture. She has subspecialties in African-American literature, cultural studies, critical theory and an outsider's view of cultural geography. Overall, her research centers on developing the tools and theoretical models for rethinking the way we understand and theorize modern subjectivity, representation, and materiality. Her current research includes engagements with 19th century science, contemporary musicology and sound theory, French modernism, and Holocaust and Japanese American internment memory. Her book, Down in the Dumps: Place, Modernity and American Depression, is in press at Duke University Press. It investigates Depression-era productions of four places“”Reno, Key West, Harlem, Hollywood“”which functioned as discursive, material, and affective “dumps“ within American modernity. Through an analysis of these places, and the texts that produced them, she charts the trajectory of what she calls depressive modernity“”which she defines as modernity in place. This book extends from work she began in Modernism, Inc: Body, Memory, Capital (New York University Press, 2001), co-edited with Michael Thurston, an interdisciplinary anthology that explores the multiple meanings of incorporation“”embodiment, repressed memory, advanced capitalism“”in order to rethink American modernism and modernity. She is working on two current projects: Suitcase: Fragments on Memory and Motion is a short fragmentary work that literalizes the quest to extend a metaphor at its most extreme. Situating the ordinary suitcase as a central object and trope in modernist art, literature and memorial practices, this project meditates on the significance and consequences of how and under what circumstances matter becomes metaphor. A second, more long-term project, Dead Air: Affect and the Acoustic Subject, analyzes the relationships between sound, emotion, and subject-formation in modern Euro-American cultures. She has also published work on Victorian medicine.