One can find an increasing number of videotaped lectures online by today’s better known cultural theorists. But lectures are lectures, and the best audio-visual teaching tools remain full-fledged documentaries like Manufacturing Consent, An Examined Life, or Slavoj Zizek’s Pervert’s Guide to Cinema, and these remain all too rare. Somewhere in between the two are small-budget, self-produced videos like Donna Haraway Reads the National Geographies of Primates, which I still find to be one of the best introductions to Haraway’s thinking.

But there’s a growing assortment of video mashups — mixtures of lectures or clips with excerpts from relevant found materials — uploaded to the internet by enthusiastic theoryheads, and some of these can be surprisingly useful. I learned about the mysterious Bruno Latour piece, A Film About Modernity, from Himanshu Damle (it’s mysterious to me, since I can’t find any more information about its production). Its use of video clips is pretty effective.

Others, like Andy Robinson’s short video lecture on Lacan, Deleuze, and Reich and Liquid Theory TV’s video illustrating, contextualizing, and debating GIlles Deleuze’s Postscript on the Societies of Control, are a bit more professionally produced, but still only partially successful. The narration in both is a bit too incessant and monotonous (essentially a single voice reading an essay), but each of them covers a lot of material.

It would be useful for someone to catalogue and review these kinds of videos and clips. Is anyone doing that already?

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