Avatar Emergency

SKU: 978-1-60235-289-6

Gregory L. Ulmer

New Media Theory
Series Editor, Byron Hawk

Information and Pricing
978-1-60235-289-6 (paperback, $32); 978-1-60235-290-2 (hardcover, $65); 978-1-60235-291-9 (Adobe ebook on CD, $20) © 2012 by Parlor Press. 326 pages, with notes, illustrations, bibliography, and index.

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A new experience of identity is emerging within the digital apparatus under the rubric of “avatar.” This study develops “concept avatar” as an opportunity to invent a practice of citizenship native to the Internet that simulates the functionality of measure dramatized in the traditions of “descent” (“avatar”) or “incarnation,” including the original usage in the Bhagavad Gita, and the Western evolution of the virtue of prudence from the Ancient daimon, through genius and character, to the contemporary sinthome.

What people are saying . . .

Avatar Emergency is Gregory L. Ulmer's fourth book featuring the EmerAgency, an online virtual consultancy for the digital age. This time his point of departure is Paul Virilio's Generalized Accident from which he develops and theorizes the new concepts of Flash Reason, and specifically Avatar, which serves as the site for electrate identity formation in the twenty-first century. I have taught Ulmer's work on electracy for years, and his theoretical sophistication as well as the practical ambition and applicability of his work never ceases to amaze me. With Avatar Emergency, Ulmer shows once again that he is at the top of his game; I am positively thrilled to share this new and very timely treasure trove of a book with my students. —Jan Rune Holmevik, author of Inter/Vention: Free Play in the Age of Electracy

Ulmer advances a ratio: "Avatar is to electracy what 'self' is to literacy, or 'spirit' to orality." He explores this "emergent logic through the invention of concept avatar." He begins, urgently, by asking: "What might wisdom be today, upon what authority might it be grounded, . . . what vision of well-being?" Perpetually asking the questions, Ulmer searches for "a vital anecdote" as an antidote to the "internet accident" by way of "flash reason." He claims, "Within this frame I present, in the genre of Mystory [Internet Invention], what I have come to understand about living, my decision to become a professor of the Humanities and the lifestyle embraced as part of that choice." He invites his readers, thereby, to discover their own Mystory (mystery). Their own wisdom. After all, he explains: "Concept avatar must be not only understood, but undergone." My advice: Undergo the book! —Victor J. Vitanza, author of Negation, Subjectivity, and the History of Rhetoric and Sexual Violence in Western Thought and Writing: Chaste Rape

About the Author

Gregory L. Ulmer is Professor of English and Media Studies at the University of Florida, where he teaches courses in Hypermedia, E-Lit, and Heuretics.  He is also the Joseph Bueys Chair in the European Graduate School, Saas-Fee, Switzerland. Ulmer’s books include Applied Grammatology (1985), Teletheory (1989), Heuretics (1994), Internet Invention (2003),  Electronic Monuments (2005), and Miami Virtue (2011).


1. Prudence
2. Concept
3. Joke
4. Descent
5. Moment
6. Memory
7. Measure
8. Enjoyment
9. Letter
10. Frog
11. Hegemony
12. Counsel
13. Wisdom
Afterword: Class Portrait With Daimon (A Remix)
Works Cited

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