Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Better Cities, Better Lives: World’s Fairs and New Urban Design (1851-2010)

This Sunday I'm giving my second talk at the First Congregational Church of San Jose, United Church of Christ. Here's the abstract:

Having explored omnitopia as a framework for understanding public life - studying its early 19th and 20th century origins, analyzing its practices in airports, shopping malls, hotels, and casinos, and contemplating its implications for human communication - this follow-up presentation concentrates on world's fairs as exemplars of omnitopia.

Dr. Wood presents a tour of the great international expos in world history, including the 1851 London Exposition, the 1893 Chicago Fair, and the 1939-40 World's Fair in New York, showing how these sites of cultural production inspired transformations in public life that resonate today, change-agents that include television, suburbanization, and globalization.

This talk will also highlight the current world's fair in Shanghai - the largest international exposition in history - and invite analysis about California's hopes to mount Expo 2020 in Silicon Valley. Additionally, throughout, the role of church in these phantasmagoria of commerce and technology, both then and now, will be a site for vibrant conversation.

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