Searching for the Self in an Age of Simulation

Join Stephen G. Adubato, the host of the Cracks in Postmodernity, in a series of discussions on the ways mass media and popular culture shape our sense of selfhood and of reality. Follow Stephen on X and Cracks in Postmodernity.

“The media,” wrote Jean Baudrillard in 1981, “represent a world that is more real than the reality that we can experience.” The pervasive presence of technology, mass media, and popular culture has woven its way into the fabric of our daily realities. So much so, claims Baudrillard, that “people lose the ability to distinguish between reality and fantasy… They seek happiness and fulfillment through the simulacra of reality.” One may be inclined to take Baudrillard’s cues and lament the extent to which these phenomena have come to skew our sense of reality and self. But perhaps a closer–and more critical–look may unveil some light shining through the cracks of our postmodern culture.

Beginning in late July, ET time zone evenings (dates TBA)

Already have a membership? Sign in to get your series ticket!

In addition to series tickets, you will get access to our community Discord (with a channel for this series to chat between events)—as well as free salon tickets each month, discounts, free members-only events, and more.

July TBD, 2024The Cult of Celebrity.

Why do certain celebrities have such a hold over the public’s attention? What is it about singers like Taylor Swift and Beyonce that incite a quasi-religious devotion in their fans? Tara Isabella Burton and David Odyssey will discuss what’s behind today’s fandom’s and celebrity obsessions.
TBD, 2024Reel-y Holy

This discussion will explore the proliferation of TikTok reels and other social media content about New Age spirituality. Speakers TBA.
TBD, 2024Behind Body Positivity

The Body Positivity movement has aimed to counter the harm caused by eating disorders and negative self-image. But why do eating orders exist in the first place? Abigail Favale and Nina Power will discuss why eating disorders are so widespread, and who or what determines what constitutes real beauty.
TBD, 2024Faith in a Globalized World

The expansion of globalization provides religious believers with both new opportunities to share their beliefs as well as obstacles to maintaining their local communities. John Milbank and William T. Cavanaugh will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of being believers in a globalized world.
TBD, 2024Selling Ourselves

It’s not secret that advertisers aim to appeal to consumers’ aspiration to take on a certain kind of identity. But how has the dawn of social media, which has radically altered the trajectory of advertising, come to shape the effect ads have on our sense of self? Speakers TBA.

Already have a membership? Sign in to get your series ticket!