Predators on Screen: Cinematic Monsters in the New Century
Gillian Harkins (University of Washington)
This talk explores the emergence of the virtual predator across U.S. television and movie screens in the early 2000s. Predators have appeared on screens since the birth of modern cinema, repeatedly situated at the threshold of the visible world across the media revolutions of the twentieth century. Yet in the early twenty-first century, the familiar features of the predator underwent a significant transformation. A new kind of virtual predator began to dominate visual media, one whose potential criminality was linked to an invisible perversion that needed new technological interventions to be made visible to the naked eye. This talk examines the recent emergence of the virtual predator as an assemblage of potential, informational, and actuarial profiles whose visual economies create new linkages between regimes of state policing and vigilante common sense.
Gillian Harkins is Associate Professor of English and Adjunct in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies as well as the Comparative History of Ideas at the University of Washington in Seattle. She is the author of Everybody’s Family Romance: Reading Incest in Neoliberal America (University of Minnesota Press, 2009) and the co-editor of a Special Issue of Social Text on “Genres of Neoliberalism” (2013) and of Radical Teacher on “Teaching Inside Carceral Institutions” (2012). Her areas of specialization include twentieth and twenty-first century fiction, U.S. popular culture, contemporary cinema, law and literature, psychoanalysis, affect studies, policing and prisons, and higher education. She is currently completing a manuscript on sexual predators and the prison industrial complex entitled Virtual Pedophilia and Other Crimes Against Nature.