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Catastrophe in Permanence: Benjamin's Natural History of Environmental Crisis

Description: Walter Benjamin warned in 1940 of a certain inconspicuous threat to political thinking, not least of all to materialism, that takes progress as an historical norm. Implicit in this conception is what he describes as an empty continuum of time along which the prevailing tradition chronicles its own mythic development and drains everyday life of genuine historical experience. The myth of progressive history advances insidiously today in consumeristic and technocratic attempts at reconciling cultural imagery with organic nature. In this dissertation, I pursue the contradictions of such images as they crystallize around the natural history of twenty-first century commodity society, where promises of ecological remediation, sustainable urban development, and climate change mitigation have yet to introduce a true crisis of historical experience to the ongoing environmental crisis of capitalism. A more radical way of seeing the cultural representation of nature would, I argue, penetrate its mythic determination by market forces and bear witness to the natural-historical ruins and traces that constitute, in Benjamin's terms, a single "catastrophe" where others perceive historical continuity. I argue that Benjamin's critique of progress is instructive to interpreting those utopian dreams, ablaze in consumer life and technological fantasy, that recent decades of growing environmental concern have channeled into the recovery of an experience of the natural world. His dialectics of nature and alienated history confront the wish-image of organic abundance with the transience of its appropriated expression in the commodity-form. Drawing together this confrontation with a varied literature on collective memory, nature, and the city, I suggest that our poverty of experience is more than simply a technical, economic, or even ecological problem, but rather follows from the commodification of history itself. The goal of this work is to reflect upon the potentiality of communal politics that subsist not in rushing headlong into a progressive ...
Date: May 2017
Creator: Bower, Matthew S
Partner: UNT Libraries

Dark Houses: Navigating Space and Negotiating Silence in the Novels of Faulkner, Warren and Morrison

Description: Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher," as early as 1839, reveals an uneasiness about the space of the house. Most literary scholars accept that this anxiety exists and causes some tension, since it seems antithetical to another dominant motif, that of the power of place and the home as sanctuary. My critical persona, like Poe's narrator in "The House of Usher," looks into a dark, silent tarn and shudders to see in it not only the reflection of the House of Usher, but perhaps the whole of what is "Southern" in Southern Literature. Many characters who inhabit the worlds of Southern stories also inhabit houses that, like the House of Usher, are built on the faulty foundation of an ideological system that divides the world into inside(r)/outside(r) and along numerous other binary lines. The task of constructing the self in spaces that house such ideologies poses a challenge to the characters in the works under consideration in this study, and their success in doing so is dependant on their ability to speak authentically in the language of silence and to dwell instead of to just inhabit interior spaces. In my reading of Faulkner and Warren, this ideology of division is clearly to be at fault in the collapse of houses, just as it is seen to be in the House of Usher. This emphasis is especially conspicuous in several works, beginning with Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom! and its (pre)text, "Evangeline." Warren carries the motif forward in his late novels, Flood and Meet Me in the Green Glen. I examine these works relative to spatial analysis and an aesthetic of absence, including an interpretation of silence as a mode of authentic saying. I then discuss these motifs as they are operating in Toni Morrison's Beloved, and finally take Song of ...
Date: December 2000
Creator: Berger, Aimee E.
Partner: UNT Libraries

An Analysis of the Integration of Interior and Exterior Space in Houses Designed by Richard Neutra

Description: The purpose of this study of Richard Neutra's houses is three-fold: 1. To analyze the spatial treatment of the interiors. 2. To analyze the spatial treatment of the exteriors. 3. To determine the spatial relationship of the interiors to exteriors and find out how it was achieved.
Date: August 1950
Creator: Deardorff, Donald D.
Partner: UNT Libraries

[Roofline]

Description: Photograph of a roofline in Prague, Czech Republic. In the foreground, two rooftops are visible. The dark building on the right contains three clocks spaced out among the top levels.
Date: July 22, 1980
Creator: Gough, Ray
Partner: UNT College of Visual Arts + Design

[Doorway]

Description: Photograph of a doorway in the Yu Garden of Shanghai, China. The doorway is seen at the end of a white hallway. A small vessel is visible in the foreground in front of the doorway.
Date: June 1984
Creator: Gough, Ray
Partner: UNT College of Visual Arts + Design

[Pagoda roof]

Description: Photograph of a pagoda roof in the Chinzan-so Garden in Tokyo, Japan. The roof line is comprised of wooden beams which fill the foreground.
Date: 1978
Creator: Gough, Ray
Partner: UNT College of Visual Arts + Design

[Bamboo roof]

Description: Photograph of the Chinzan-so Garden in Tokyo, Japan. In the foreground, a bamboo roof is visible. Trees are visible in the background.
Date: 1978
Creator: Gough, Ray
Partner: UNT College of Visual Arts + Design

[Pagoda]

Description: Photograph of a pagoda in the Chinzan-so Garden in Tokyo, Japan. The pagoda facade is visible in the foreground. Tree branches intersect the top of the image. Trees are visible in the background.
Date: 1978
Creator: Gough, Ray
Partner: UNT College of Visual Arts + Design

[Chinzan-so Garden]

Description: Photograph of the Chinzan-so Garden in Tokyo, Japan. A garden path is visible in the foreground. A wooden bench is visible on the path leading to a small building. The path and building are surrounded by greenery.
Date: 1978
Creator: Gough, Ray
Partner: UNT College of Visual Arts + Design

[Pagoda]

Description: Photograph of a pagoda in the Chinzan-so Garden in Tokyo, Japan. The pagoda is visible in the background at the end of a grass lawn. Trees are visible behind the pagoda.
Date: 1978
Creator: Gough, Ray
Partner: UNT College of Visual Arts + Design

[Tokyo]

Description: Photograph of Tokyo, Japan from the window of a train. Rows of buildings with different colored roofs span from foreground to background.
Date: 1978
Creator: Gough, Ray
Partner: UNT College of Visual Arts + Design

[Takamatsu Castle]

Description: Photograph of the Takamatsu Castle in Takamatsu, Japan. A stone wall intersects the left foreground. Two people are visible next to the wall. The castle is visible in the background.
Date: 1978
Creator: Gough, Ray
Partner: UNT College of Visual Arts + Design

[House]

Description: Photograph of a house in the city of Kyoto, Japan. The exterior wall of the house is visible in the foreground. The wall is made of wood and stone with a tile roof. A entrance is visible in the center of the wall.
Date: 1978
Creator: Gough, Ray
Partner: UNT College of Visual Arts + Design

[Construction site]

Description: Photograph of a house under construction in Shigaraki, Japan. The side of the house is visible in the foreground. A white truck and a pile of dirt sit in front of the house. The roof is complete but the walls are not finished on the house. A workman is visible on the second story through the house frame.
Date: 1978
Creator: Gough, Ray
Partner: UNT College of Visual Arts + Design

[House under construction]

Description: Photograph of a house under construction in Shigaraki, Japan. A portion of the house frame is visible in the foreground. There is a pile of wooden beams on the floor of the house. Other buildings are visible through the house frame and to the left of the image in the background.
Date: 1978
Creator: Gough, Ray
Partner: UNT College of Visual Arts + Design

[Gymnasium structure]

Description: Photograph of the Yoyogi National Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan. The structural architecture of the gymnasium is visible in the foreground. The gymnasium was designed by Kenzo Tange.
Date: 1978
Creator: Gough, Ray
Partner: UNT College of Visual Arts + Design

[Yoyogi National Gymnasium]

Description: Photograph of the Yoyogi National Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan. The side of the gymnasium is visible on a grassy slope in the foreground. More buildings are visible in the background. The gymnasium was designed by Kenzo Tange.
Date: 1978
Creator: Gough, Ray
Partner: UNT College of Visual Arts + Design

[Kenzo Tange building]

Description: Photograph of the Yoyogi National Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan. The side of the gymnasium is visible in the foreground. The building was designed by Kenzo Tange.
Date: 1978
Creator: Gough, Ray
Partner: UNT College of Visual Arts + Design

[Paris]

Description: Photograph of a building in Paris. The green building is visible in the middle ground with a red metal ramp leading up to the entrance. Other buildings are visible in the background.
Date: unknown
Creator: Gough, Ray
Partner: UNT College of Visual Arts + Design

[Köln]

Description: Photograph of a building in Köln, Germany. In the foreground, cars and people are covered in shadow. The building sits in the background next to other smaller buildings.
Date: unknown
Creator: Gough, Ray
Partner: UNT College of Visual Arts + Design

[White Building]

Description: Photograph of a tall white building in Köln, Germany. A small section of broken wall sits in shadow in front of the building in the foreground. One tree is visible in the background.
Date: unknown
Creator: Gough, Ray
Partner: UNT College of Visual Arts + Design