Andrew F. Wood

Andrew F. Wood: The Rhetoric of Ruins

Recorded September 8, 2021


Feel the crunch of broken glass under your feet, run your fingers across dusty shelves, and contemplate the persuasive power of modern ruins whose spectral geographies conjure strange and unsettling pleasures.

Join San José State University professor Andrew F. Wood for a survey of temporary, obsolete, abandoned, and derelict spaces, the topic of his next book. Visit the desolate factories of Detroit, the radioactive badlands of Chernobyl, the forest-engulfed streets of Pripyat, the silent neighborhoods of Fukushima, and an industrial disaster site in Turkmenistan called the “Door to Hell.” Our journey summons the oddly enticing delights of retrofuturism as we wander the forgotten remnants of yesterday’s tomorrows.

Packed with stories, images, and music, this presentation examines the motivations of so-called Dark Tourists, the legal and practical dimensions of urban exploration, and the potential value of ruins to unmoor the promises of neoliberal ideology. This virtual event invites you to join the search for semiotic ghosts and contribute to an ongoing conversation about the lessons (and warnings) that ruins whisper about contemporary life.

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