The Face of God: A Historiographic Fugue on Performance and Flight

October 18, 2019 - 2:00pm

Professor Scott Magelssen's talk The Face of God: A Historiographic Fugue on Performance and Flight, is excerpted from his book-length study about the cultural and political significance of aviation and space flight in the United States. Here is what he would like to share with prospective listeners:

"I draw the title of this talk from the last line of pilot-poet John Gillespie Magee, Jr.’s poem “High Flight,” which describes the sublime experience of the aviator in divine terms. A rendition of “High Flight” accompanied a short Air Force film (with an F-15 fighter jet conducting aerobatic maneuvers against the backdrop of heavens) that played every morning on network television as I grew up in the 1980s, immediately following the National Anthem that began the broadcast day. For kids of my age, in the late Cold War’s most angstful years of doomsday rhetoric, our televisions delivered such performative montages of poetry, patriotism and the jingoistic sublime as a daily ritual of indoctrination of Americanness. Yet the idea that airplanes could be weaponized in September, 2001, as spectacular divine tools to bring down skyscrapers and rewrite the narratives of American history and experience still came as a shock. Taking up Heather Nathan’s invitation to compose “fugue histories,” this talk seeks to brings together several Deleuzean “lines of flight” into a meditation on the stakes of performing aviation, war, and space travel."

The Coffee and Concepts Series considers research about performance, broadly defined. We look forward to having you at the School of Drama. Coffee and cookies will be provided.

The interdisciplinary conversation series Coffee and Concepts is coming back this fall with a talk by School of Drama professor Scott Magelssen. Coffee and Concepts is a series of colloquium-style, informal gatherings where scholars from across campus who work in the field of performance (broadly conceived) will be presenting new work and work in progress. Come and share the pleasure to be their first listeners and readers.

coffee and concepts

Welcome to the Center for Performance Studies

The Center for Performance Studies represents a consortium of programs, faculty, and graduate students engaged in the study of performance culture across the disciplines.

CPS is an inter-disciplinary consortium of graduate programs at the University of Washington. Our collaborators are involved in scholarship that deals with any aspect of performance culture. The center is comprised of a wide range of faculty and graduate students across the campus and across fields who have joined together to support the study of performance in a variety of forms and cultures. The Center is not a degree granting program, but rather a commons for the sharing and pooling of the diverse strengths and resources of the University of Washington community.

This website is designed to be a resource for the campus-wide study of performance. Here you will be able to access information about the faculty that comprise the Center, graduate courses that are focused on the study of performance, upcoming lectures, events and conferences, and opportunities for funding.

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