Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Of Of Bumpy Flows and Distorted Networks: Dynamics of “Global-Local” Information in Contemporary Spanish Narrative and Film

Monika A Szumilak.

The paper analyzes two contemporary Spanish novels (Juan Bonilla’s "Nadie conoce a nadie" and "Los príncipes nubios") and one film (Fernando León de Aranoa’s "Barrio",) and it asks how these works of popular fiction speak of complex logics of information flows. It has become a cliché to perceive the contemporary world as a network, where information, which circulates thanks to new information and communication technologies, links distinct remote locations and contributes to the homogenization of subject-formation around the globe. Spain, a country that is presently affected by migratory flows and is being integrated into larger geopolitical entities, can illustrate this dynamics of globalization. Based off contributions of Actor Network Theory (e.g. works by John Law and Annemarie Mol) I argue, nonetheless, that information is transformed, if not distorted, as it travels between distinct networked localities. Images produced in the technological media networks are effects of a dialog between universal signifiers and their local interpretations. A specific contribution of works of fiction in helping us envision the dialogic relationship between local subjective experience and the widespread work of communication links, my argument goes on, is their attention to concrete examples of human life-stories. Artistic texts creatively take on issues of technology’s impact on human identities --individual and collective alike--, and, hence, they enable their audiences to interrogate with more sophistication the status of locally anchored subjects connected to global flows of signifiers.


Monika A Szumilak  (United States)
Graduate Student/ Ph Candidate
Department of Romance Languages and Literatures
University of Michigan

I am a PhD candidate in Spanish (Peninsular) cultural studies at the U of Michigan, Ann Arbor. I am interested in information and communication technologies and their impact on the cultural production in Spain of the last two decades. In my work I analyze diverse cultural texts, such as novels, films, web sites and online environments. My particular interests are in the area of national and individual subject-formation in the context of media-technological environment, network theory, globalization, and human-technological interaction. I also participate in projects in the School Information at the University of Michigan. I work on projects related to internet governance and enhancing civil society's participation in global policy-making processes.

  • Technology
  • Spain
  • Fiction
  • Literarature
  • Film
  • Migrations
  • Information flows
  • Communication
  • Globalization
  • Local
  • Global

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)