School of Individualized Study
Daniel Worden works on the intersections of culture and material realities— how contemporary art offers new ways of imagining our changing climate; how comics represent corporate exploitation; how memoirs conjure the possibilities of renewed life from within the wreckage of poverty and social neglect in contemporary America.
In 2019, Daniel’s essay “Cibopathic” was published in An Ecotopian Lexicon, a book that speculates about new terms that may prove to be useful in the latter years of the Anthropocene. Reviewed in the New Yorker magazine, the book offers a series of meditations on new ways of being in the world, and Daniel’s essay draws on the comics series Chew to explore what it would be like to have a unique superpower: the ability to taste a food’s history of growth, production, and packaging, instead of its flavor. Would we still eat the things we eat, if we experienced their histories?
Daniel also continued to write and speak about his recent research interests. His current research project explores how 19th and early 20th-century cartoons represent the petroleum industry and its increasing stranglehold on American society, and the connections between comics storytelling and the outsized speeds afforded to us through fossil fuels.
He continued his work on documentary arts. He has analyzed how documentary across media sought to represent the gradual and often opaque processes by which the global economy was transformed through financialization, and the ways in which the neoliberal thinking that has enforced austerity, privatization, and entrepreneurship as norms has strategically undone our ability to think systematically about our economy and our society. A version of this work will be published as a book, Neoliberal Nonfictions: The Documentary Aesthetic from Joan Didion to Jay-Z, in Spring 2020.
RIT School of Individualized Study and Department of English