April 7, 2014, by Tom Harding

(Postponed) CCT Visiting Speaker Series: Dr. David Cunningham

Realism and Abstraction: Representation and Media After Adorno.

This event has been postponed. We will announce a new date and time in the near future.


Theodor Adorno’s writings on the culture industry have long served as a negative image against which the democratic or populist aspirations of cultural studies and various forms of ‘postmodern’ theory have been able to define themselves. Yet the often crude reductions of Adorno’s actual arguments concerning mass culture that have resulted from such a definition have equally served to obscure some of the more significant questions about representation and form that these writings raise. This paper focuses, in particular, on what, in his essay The Schema of Mass Culture, Adorno defines has “the fact that decisive aspects of reality today elude representation through the aesthetic image”, and the consequences of this for our understandings of cinematic and televisual ‘realism’ in the wake of Adorno’s account.


Dr. David Cunningham is Principal Lecturer and Deputy Director of the Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture at the University of Westminster. He is co-editor of books on Adorno and on Photography and Literature, and has published widely on modernism, aesthetic theory and capitalist culture in numerous journals, including Angelaki, City, Journal of Visual Culture, New Formations, Novel, and SubStance. He is a long-standing member of the editorial collective of the journal Radical Philosophy.

All welcome.

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