John Durham Peters Lecture: “Projection and Protection: On the Deep Optical and Ballistical Intersections of Screens”

May 2, 2017 - 5:00pm to 7:00pm

Location and Address

501 Cathedral of Learning 


Speaker: John Durham Peters (Yale University) 


The ubiquity of screens today invites us to recast the ways we think about the history of media.  In particular, the dual optical and environmental aspects of the screen concept since the early nineteenth century invite reflection on a longer genealogy of media practices that both project and protect, that both show and shield.  In this paper, I outline a lineage of the screen concept that emphasizes the intertwined history of optics and ballistics. I do this first via a sketch of historical convergences between cultural practices of targeting and visualizing in western history and second via a more focused look at postwar practices that combine detonation and image-making in photography, film, and television, especially around the atomic bomb.


This public lecture by John Durham Peters is part of the Humanities Center Spring Faculty Seminar "Atmospheres and Inscriptions".