Everyday Nanowars – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Everyday Nanowars

After being animated by the “emergency thinking” of its first fall speaker, the Fisher Center Series furthers its theme of Animation by entering the digital world. The series’ second lecture, Everyday Nanowars, presented by University of California, Davis’ Assistant Professor of English Colin Milburn at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 8 in the Geneva Room asks probing questions that bend the line between virtual and real: When is war a science fiction? How do comic books and videogames animate military nanotechnologies?

In his highly regarded scholarly work, “Milburn discuss the digitally-animated worlds of nanowar videogames, focusing on how the playability of high-tech soldier avatars and ‘smart materials’ weaponry incarnates a logic of global politics turning nanowar into an everyday concern,” explained Professor of Women’s Studies and Fisher Center Director Betty Bayer.

“At the same, Milburn observes how such worlds challenge players to navigate the ‘crisis mode’ of the male warrior in the era of digital matter,” Bayer added.

Exposing the interplay present, “Milburn looks at how these technologies animate one another, from writings of military scientists and technological forecasters who present the notion of nanowar less in terms of a speculative risk than as a clear-and-present danger, a prophetic scenario rendered already inevitable, through to the more than three dozen recently issued videogames animated by military nanotechnology¹s hyperbolic rhetoric and imagery.”

An expert on a host of topics, from video-game technologies to comic books to Gothic horror, Milburn will host a roundtable discussion the following morning from 8:45-10:10 a.m. in the Fisher Center, Demarest 212, allowing HWS community members to ask questions and get more in-depth with this multifaceted scholar.

Milburn holds one Ph.D. in the History of Science and a second in English from the University of California, Davis. His recent works include “Nanovision: Engineering the Future,” a forthcoming book “Mondo Nano: Fun and Games in the World of Digital Matter” and the articles “Science from Hell: Jack the Ripper and Victorian Vivisection,” Nano/Splatter: Disintegrating the Postbiological Body,” “Syphilis in Faerie Land: Edmund Spenser and the Syphilography of Elizabethan England” and “Monsters in Eden: Darwin and Derrida.”