The 12th session of the conference series hold by The UNESCO Chair
The 12th session of the conference series hold by The UNESCO Chair on Culture and Cyberspace: Dual Spacization of the World titled “Digital Turn in the Literary Discourse: The Digitalization Experience of Persian Literature and Its Future Outlook in the Light of the Dual-Spacization Paradigm” will be presented by Dr. Abdollah Karimzadeh , PhD in “Cultural Studies in Literary Interzones”& a Researcher on Cyberspace Studies, on 22nd Khordad in the Iran hall, Faculty of World Studies.
Sociologists have coined different terms for describing & analyzing the current state of the modern society including: network society, information society, consumer society, individualized society, panoptic society, industrialized society, knowledge-based society, post-modern society, mediatized society and so forth. In reaction to these discursive constructs, “literary studies” has undergone various discursive turns including 1) Linguistic Turn, 2) Cultural Turn, 3) Historical Turn, 4) Narrative Turn, 5) Ethical Turn, 6) Spatial Turn 7) Cybernetic Turn, 8) Digital Turn.
Since literary theory and criticism deals with the cycle of production, distribution and consumption of meanings, it has interdisciplinary interactions with many discourses in humanities including “Cultural Studies”. The reason is that the innate task of literature is to explore culture and thus, the literary theory cannot be indifferent to modernism, modernity and their consequences for culture. That is why literature underwent a dramatic change both in form and content following the dual-spacization paradigm. As a consequence, new literary genres and mainstreams came into being to represent the experience of the digitalization of culture in an artistic language in a bid to critically read that experience.
“Cyberpunk” was among the earliest emerging genres following the paradigm of the cyberneticization of sciences that lead to the emergence of “cybernetic Literature”. Drawing on Foucault’s theory of panopticon, this genre critically discusses such topics as “anxiety from cybernetics”, “fear of being controlled”, the discourse of “the cyberneticization and digitalization of culture” and the paranoia originating from the digitalized culture.
“Cyborg writing” is another literary genre that emerged after the cybernetic turn. In this newly-emerging genre, the heroes and main characters are cyborgs which have been produced via hybridizing men and machines. Domination of machines and digital technologies over men constitutes the main theme of this genre.
“Digital turn” in literary discourse is an epistemological and ontological reaction to the paradigm of dual-spacization as a result of which the content of literature underwent a conceptual leap and literature focused on representing the constructed identities of online communities, digital divide, reproduction of the ideological hegemony of dominants over the dominated, reproduction of dominated subjects in the light of modern digital technologies and so forth. Furthermore, the consequences of the digitalization of cultures were artistically depicted with postcolonial, feminist and psychoanalytical approaches. In a critical reaction to these developments, the form of literature also changed and “digital literature” came into being.
Within the framework of digital literature, such genres as “flash fiction”, “parody”, “hyperfiction”, etc. emerged to deconstruct the classical literature in the digital context. In the would-be presentation, all the above-mentioned developments will be discussed and then the experience of the digitalization of the contemporary Persian fiction and poetry will be explored. Because recently, a bulk of novels and poems have been produced within the body of Persian literature which are performable just on the web space through digital technologies. In this sort of literature, the readers themselves decide the fate of the characters and the plot of the stories through clicking on hyperlinks. In conclusion, the future and the challenges of the digitalized culture will be criticized from the perspective of the digital turn in literary discourse.