Friday, February 23, 2018.  3:30 - 5:00 p.m.,
Gallery, Main Library (north entrance)

Presenter: Michael Gavin, Associate Professor, Department of English, University of South Carolina

Michael Gavin's current book project explores the spatial distribution of language. Alternating between large-scale data analysis drawn from geographical writing and small-scale data culled from novels, Gavin tells the
long history of how English has been used to organize knowledge about the planet, from the earliest printed atlases, through the meticulously detailed documents of Industrial Revolution, to Wikipedia, where millions of locales are described in more than 200 languages. The language of place is rich, varied, and tangled in a complex network of historical meaning. Against this background, Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games (2008-2010) narrates a spatially and lexically impoverished world where people are divided by stark boundaries and trapped in zones of terrifying experience. Using geographical information systems and natural language processing, Gavin explores the history of spatial description in novels, from Robinson Crusoe to The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, finding, in The Hunger Games, a powerful reflection of nationalism's twenty-first century contradictions.

Free and open to all.
TLC credit is available.