Dark Affinities, Dark Imaginaries
A Mind's Odyssey
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A story of self, braided to a story of American culture.
Uniting personal history with cultural history, Dark Affinities, Dark Imaginaries tells a story of a mind, a time, and a culture. The vehicle or medium of this excursion is an overview and sampling of the author's work, and what is revealed are cautionary tales of a once-aspiring egalitarian democracy confronted with plutocracy's gentrification; of analog history and off-line life superseded by a rush toward virtualized, robotic, AI transformation of the human life-world; of everything social and public giving way to everything personal and opinionated. The vagaries of a lifetime of paths taken are woven together by a narrative that reveals in every piece a significance that was only partially present at its initial writing. Thus, the reader becomes involved in a developing story of a certain personal psyche working toward understanding its own development within a changing American culture. Sometimes angry, sometimes joyful, but always curious and wry, Joseph Natoli crosses the boundary lines of psychology, politics, literature, philosophy, education, and economics to show how we bring ourselves and our cultural imaginaries simultaneously into being through the processes and pleasures of thinking beyond the confines of the personal.
Now retired,Joseph Natoli spent more than four decades teaching at the university level and twenty years as the editor of the SUNY book series in Postmodern Culture. He is the author of many books, including Hauntings: Popular Film and American Culture 1990–1992; Speeding to the Millennium: Film and Culture 1993–1995; Postmodern Journeys: Film and Culture 1996–1998; Memory's Orbit: Film and Culture 1999–2000; and This Is a Picture and Not the World: Movies and a Post-9/11 America, all published by SUNY Press.
"…Dark Affinities, Dark Imaginaries is a captivating journey across mind and culture; a tracing of the American cultural imaginary that embraces the backwards gaze of self-reflexivity in search of post-truths within the personal and mass psyches. What results is an equally mesmerizing and unnerving cautionary tale that warns against the burgeoning reality of alienation and exploitation of the American people in an unbridled plutocratic regime. " — Popular Culture Studies Journal
"…Natoli grounds his work in lived experience, an awareness of realities … reading his essays … will help you better understand the world you live in and why it keeps deviating from the world you thought you knew. " — Voices in Italian Americana
"Reading Dark Affinities is a welcome break from the neoliberal buzzword-speak of politicians and university administrators. It reminds me why I entered academia, when it was a profession and not a business, and when modeling thinking actually mattered. " — Alison Lee, University of Western Ontario
"Natoli's Dark Affinities reads as a culminating work of scholarship, marshaling evidence from autobiography, literary analysis, critical theory, and everyday culture in support of its claims. Natoli presents his personal history in the same spirit that Raymond Williams did: as evidence for the ways that cultural forces shape individuals, and as grounds for the shaping of his intellectual and political practice. " — Jeff Karnicky, author of Contemporary Fiction and the Ethics of Modern Culture