In the wake of the Snowden revelations, a public lecture with Associate Professor Peter Marks on 10th June at 17.15 will examine the literary and cinematic history of surveillance.
The rocketing US sales of Nineteen Eighty-Four after Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations underline its centrality to the public imagination. This paper situates Orwell’s classic text in a long history of utopian and dystopian texts, exploring what they have contributed individually and collectively to public and scholarly understanding of surveillance. Through literary and cinematic examples from Thomas More’s Utopia (1516) to Neil Blomkamp’s Elysium (2013), it explores what ‘utopian dreaming’ in the broad sense has to tell us about the past, present and future of surveillance.
Peter Marks is Associate Professor of English at the University of Sydney, researching on the interplay between literature, cinema and politics. He is the author of British Filmmakers: Terry Gilliam (2009) and George Orwell the Essayist: Literature, Politics and the Periodical Culture (2011). He is currently completing Monitoring the Future: Surveillance in Utopian and Dystopian Literature and Cinema for Edinburgh University Press.