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Face in Trouble – From Physiognomics to Facebook


Olga Szmidt and Katarzyna Trzeciak

This book analyzes unobvious relations between historical definitions of the face and its contemporary usage in popular culture and social media, like Facebook or Instagram. Bringing together a wide range of methodologies, it includes essays from manifold disciplines of the humanities such as philosophy, literary and art criticism, media and television studies, game studies, sociology and anthropology. The authors focus on both metaphorical and material meanings of the face. They grapple with crucial questions about modernity, modern and postmodern subjectivity, as well as with origins of certain linguistic terms and popular, colloquial phrases based on the concept of the face.

Face – Subjectivity – Authenticity – Facialization – Physiognomics – De-facing philosophy: Negativity, the government of ethics and the concept of the ethical – Face 2.0. A philosophical approach to Facebook’s semiotic facialization – The physiognomic lie of hysteria – The significance of the face in John of Głogów’s «Phisionomia hicinde ex illustris scriptoribus» (1518) – White sculpted faces: Between the Medusa’s gaze and prosopopeic blindness in Irving Feldman’s «All of Us Here» - Me, myself and my face: Pirandello meets Gombrowicz – Hybrid creatures and uncanny faces in digital cinema – The videotaped confession: Authenticity and the suicidal spectacle of the face. A study of a fragment of the «Homeland» TV series – Face, selfie, belfie – A new chapter in the history of the human body? Instagram as a body-centric product of «the infinity of lists» – Presence and agency: Narratives of representation in modern computer role-playing games