The Secret City: A Tech-infused Real World Choose Your Own Adventure with Cross-disciplinary Ties
This proposal suggests a creative endeavor that weaves together multiple robust digital technologies, and utilizing them in service of a single branching narrative structure. The experience will infuse real-world places with mediated content to create a compelling fictional frame designed to awaken a sense of wonder in the participant akin to that which comes foreign travel, but which need take participants no further than the seldom seen edges of their own community. By casting participants as heroes in a narrative they themselves help to define, it will use technology to leverage participant’s human curiosity and imbue them with a lasting sense of empowerment, responsibility, and agency to affect change. We will create a multimodal, first-person game experience that uses ubiquitous technologies like mobile phones, tablets, as well as emergent wearable technology which casts the player as protagonist, and uses digital storytelling to facilitate interaction within the built environment. We also believe that it is critical to the success of the project that the use of technology be tempered with modes of mediation in an altogether different vein—interactions in real-time with physical objects, as well as actors leading participants through structured improvisatory moments within the narrative framework.
Allen Hahn's professional career ranges from standard repertoire and world premiere operas for major US and European opera companies to work with some of the country’s most well-regarded avant-garde directors at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and numerous companies and festivals in Europe, Asia and South America. He has served as a lighting consultant to artists for installations in Soho, The Metropolitan Museum in New York, and ARoS Kunstmuseum in Denmark. He was Lighting Design Curator for the US delegation to the 2011 Prague Quadrennial Exhibition of Stage Design, and his work from several productions was selected for the 2007 Quadrennial. His primary research concerns the intersection of place and narrative in the built environment, and the use of mobile technology to enhance and activate the audience's experience of theatrical storytelling outside of traditional performance venues.
The Noble Mark
The Noble Mark is an interdisciplinary, multimedia project that brings together African American business history, cultural history, and film & media history. Early studies of black film focused on questions of “negative” and “positive” representation onscreen. Recent scholarship has more closely attended to historical contingencies such as venues of film exhibition, the materiality of film, and censorship. But strangely, black film companies have received little attention as businesses. The Noble Mark will focus on a dynamic, interactive map of the relationships and distribution networks of the Lincoln Motion Picture Company, a business endeavor undertaken by actor and filmmaker Noble Johnson. While most histories of interwar black businesses focus on the local, the Lincoln’s participation in a global industry reveals a broader set of contingencies that shaped black entrepreneurship in an age of industrial and consumer capitalism. As the first study to consider the black film industry within the framework of business history, The Noble Mark's digital mapping component will provide a more complete understanding of the intricacies of racial capitalism during the interwar years.
Cara Caddoo is an historian of film, mass media, race, and African American history. Her first book, Envisioning Freedom: Cinema and the Building of Modern Black Life, is a history of early African American cinema from the 1890s to the 1930s. In the late nineteenth century, an era marked by mass migration and Jim Crow segregation, African Americans were pioneers of American cinema. They produced and exhibited their own motion pictures, often transforming black churches into motion picture theaters during off hours. These film exhibitions raised money for black institutions, created shared social experiences, and broadcast ideas about racial uplift. As African Americans integrated the moving pictures into their aspirations for black progress, a vibrant black cinema culture developed across the pathways of turn-of-the-century migration. These developments informed the first mass black protest movement of the twentieth century, which politicized the demand for visual self-representation and articulated the belief that mischaracterizations in film constituted "civil death" and a violation of "natural rights."
Professor Caddoo is a 2015 National Endowment for the Humanities' Faculty Fellow, and a recipient of the Vincent J. DeSantis Prize for the Best Book on the History of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era.
OVERREPRESENTED: Asian Americans in the Age of Affirmative Action
"OVERREPRESENTED" places Asian Americans at the center of the intersecting histories of race-making, policy, and democracy in age of affirmative action. Three burning questions animate this study. First, how and why has “Asian American” taken hold as a salient social, political, and legal identity from the 1960s onward? Second, how and why have Asian Americans been left out of the category of the “underrepresented minority” even as they have been treated by the state as a racial minority group? Third, what have been the consequences of this omission, both intended and unintended? Contemporaries have viewed Asian Americans as an “overrepresented” minority in a double sense: first, as an economically privileged minority racial group that has not needed new rights and programs to guarantee equal opportunity, and second, as too successful and therefore a threat to white privilege. In other words, Asian Americans have been thought of as ostensibly different than other “underrepresented” minorities. The peculiar standing of Asian Americans as “overrepresented” has much to teach us about the fundamental importance of Asian Americans and Asia to the recalibration of the nation’s racial order and political alignments since the 1960s.
The issues that animate my research grapple with problems of race, citizenship, and migration through the lens of Asian American history. My first book, The Color of Success: Asian Americans and the Origins of the Model Minority (Princeton, 2014), tells of the astonishing makeover of Asians in the United States from the “yellow peril” to “model minorities” in the middle decades of the twentieth century. It charts this transformation within the dual contexts of the United States’ global rise and the black freedom movement. The Color of Successreveals that this far-reaching, politically charged process continues to have profound implications for how Americans understand race, opportunity, and nationhood.
My current book project, Overrepresented, places Asian Americans at the center of the intersecting histories of race-making, policy, and democracy in the age of affirmative action. Overrepresented takes a multidisciplinary approach to examining the problem of Asian American social standing and opportunity in the face of sweeping changes over the past half-century: the rise of affirmative action and kindred policies intended to promote racial equality, large-scale immigration from Asia, and widening economic inequalities. Together, these challenges prompt a rethinking of what it means to be a “minority” in post-civil rights America.
Questions of relationships between the foreign and the domestic also fuel my work as a teacher. My courses explore such themes as the inextricable connections between migration and the race in the United States, Cold War America, and the United States' Pacific entanglements from multiple vantage points.
Beyond Obscenity Law: Digitization and Content Analysis of Banned Books, Images, and Legal Documents from the Kinsey Institute Library and Archive
In 1950, the U.S. Customs seized various materials that Alfred Kinsey was trying to import from Europe, a circumstance that led to the federal court case “United States v. 31 Photographs etc.” Among these controversial objects were books, engravings, and photographs that were deemed “obscene” according to the legal standard of the time. In 1957, thanks to the support of the IU President Herman B. Wells and a group of lawyers involved in civil liberties activities, the Kinsey Institute won the case and was able to recover the books and artworks, which are now part of its library. The verdict of this trial greatly contributed to redefine the notion of “obscenity” in legal terms, by creating an exception for the purpose of study and research, and thus consolidating academic freedom. This interdisciplinary project, at the crossroads of literary and legal studies, will develop a digital collection of books and artworks that were seized by U.S. Customs and then apply to this corpus tools of text mining and analysis meant to identify patterns that lead to the accusation of obscenity.
My primary research interests lie in the relationship between painting and literature, poetry and book history in 19th-century France.
My first book, Crise de plume et Souveraineté du pinceau. Écrire la peinture de Diderot à Proust (Classiques Garnier, 2013) explores the development of French art criticism as a literary genre, in light of the emerging paradigm of sovereignty of painting. The thesis at the core of the book is that the fall of the ut pictura poesis regime, which was governing the classical relationship between painting and literature until the second half of the 18th century, represents a critical moment in the discourse on art—corresponding to the birth of art criticism with Diderot—while causing a proliferation of new literary forms in the 19th century.
My second book, La Poésie délivrée (Droz, 2018), tries to answer a straightforward question: Why did some of the most influential French poets of the second half of the nineteenth century, from the masters of Parnassus to Mallarmé, struggle endlessly to publish books? Situated at the crossroads of literary analysis and book history, La Poésie délivrée examines the singular cases of certain poets, in particular Verlaine, Rimbaud and Mallarmé, in light of the publishing context of the period, characterized by the triumph of the novel at the expense of poetry. Faced with increasing difficulties, often made insurmountable, in their respective attempts to publish books, these poets were thus forced to find other mediums on the fringes of regular publishing (collective volumes, small literary journals, albums, artists’ books, etc.), in order to disseminate their works. The purpose of La Poésie délivrée is to show how such a proliferation of mediums significantly contributed to the renewal of poetic forms at the end of the nineteenth century and, ultimately, to the reinvention of the poetry book.