Thomas Myers

Penn Humanities Forum Undergraduate Fellow

20162017 Forum on Translation

Thomas Myers


College, 2018

Thomas Myers is an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania studying Art History and English with a concentration in Cinema Studies. His primary areas of interest include American literature after WWII, contemporary cinema and new media, late 20th-century theory, 18th-century French portraiture, mysticism, and queer theory. Recently he has conducted research into the early writings of Walter Benjamin, the Rococo painter Francois Boucher, and the films of the Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky. In his free time, he enjoys gardening, creative writing, and long-distance running.

Translating the Event: Aesthetics of the Post-9/11 Disaster Genre

This project will explore the ways in which the un-constructed signifying networks traumatically introduced in moments of Event (Event as theorized in contemporary philosophy) are assimilated via translation into coherently constructed semiotic systems. My research will focus specifically on the disaster movie genre, examining it as as a system of signification engaged in an obsessive translation of the terrorist attacks of 9/11. The questions to address are: How does this traumatic Event construct, deconstruct, and ultimately translate the codes, signs, metaphors, symbols, and spaces that constitute the disaster genre? And, then, how is un-constructed, disastrous reality translated into a palatably constructed representational form?