Charisma in the Age of Digital Reproduction

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Albin O. Kuhn Library Gallery

Raphael Falco, 2012-13 Lipitz Professor and Professor of English, UMBC

Charismatic authority, the most fluid form of leadership, should thrive in the new media environment of digital reproduction, emerging amid swiftly forming groups and capitalizing on unrestricted, private access to the bearers of charisma. Yet, the status quo of charismatic groups dependent on digital reproduction is systematically undermined by reproducibility itself—the driving force of new media.  My talk explores how this inescapable conflict destroys charismatic authority and abandons logged-on group members to isolation.

Raphael Falco received his B.A. and his Masters degrees from Columbia University and his Ph.D. from New York University.

In his latest book, Charisma and Myth (Continuum Publishing), Professor Falco has explored areas beyond his usual precincts of early modern literature. He hopes to engage intellectuals of all stripes by introducing a completely new element to the study of myth—the idea that myth and myth systems operate in the same way as charismatic groups.

Professor Falco’s earlier books included Charismatic Authority in Early Modern English Tragedy (Johns Hopkins University Press 2000) and Conceived Presences: Literary Genealogy in Renaissance England (University of Massachusetts Press). His articles have appeared in a wide range of journals, such as Modern Philology, Shakespeare Studies, Criticism, Soundings, Theory, Culture, Society, Max Weber Studies, and English Literary Renaissance.

He is on the editorial board of the on-line journal APPOSITIONS, he is a member of the Central Executive Committee of the Folger Institute, and he is a peer reviewer for the American Council of Learned Societies.


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