Berkeley Film & Media Seminar

Coral Reef Image for Melody Jue lecture

Wild Blue Media: Encountering the Bookshelf, Underwater

Thu, Nov 04, 2021, 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Zoom meeting

Melody Jue

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What would media and literary studies look like, underwater? In Wild Blue Media: Thinking Through Seawater (2020), I show how the ocean can be a science fictional environment for defamiliarizing concepts, offering cold and briny contexts in which to rethink what it means to store and organize information. After outlining how scuba diving can be a valuable method in the humanities and media studies, I present an analysis of an underwater structure nicknamed a “bookshelf reef” near UC Santa Barbara. The bookshelf is normally a terrestrial infrastructure of informatic organization; yet by displacing it underwater, I draw attention to the importance of gravity and buoyancy in defining interactions with the bookshelf as an archival infrastructure.


Melody Jue is Associate Professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is the author of Wild Blue Media: Thinking Through Seawater (Duke University Press, 2020), which won the 2020 Speculative Fictions and Cultures of Science book award. She is the co-editor with Rafico Ruiz of Saturation (Duke Press, 2021) and has published articles in journals including Grey Room, Configurations, Women’s Studies Quarterly, Resilience, and Media+Environment. Her new work explores the mediations of seaweeds in trans-Pacific contexts.