A submission authored by two members of the Texas A&M International University faculty has been selected for inclusion in the prestigious electronic journal of the contemporary landscape, CTheory.
CTheory is the international journal of theory, technology and culture published under the aegis of Concordia University in Montreal, Canada.
"Ground Zero: Las Vegas' Luxor...An Imagined Archaeology of American Post-Civilization" was written by Dr. Jeffrey Cass, Associate Professor of English, and Dr. Dion Dennis, Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science at A&M International.
The selection offers an analysis of the latest destination tourism watering hole, the complex known as Luxor.
The authors cast a gimlet-eyed view of Vegas' newest sensation: a resort hotel that the authors depict as a "postmodern simulacrum of Egyptian monumentality and empire formed from raw economic logics and deeply etched into the American desert."
Looking from the desert floor up at this latest odd imposition on the Vegas landscape, the authors assess the impact of a new Egyptian Other that frames "glitzy, simulated fragments that have been exhumed, recombined, displayed, and marketed because they are easily digestible, portable, and chic."
The authors note that the sheer scale of Luxor begs entry into the Guinness Book of World Records: the atrium encloses 29 million cubic feet, the pseudo-River Nile Ride holds 275,000 gallons of water, an argon laser beam equivalent to 40 billion candle power sends piercing, coherent beams of light into space and the hotel's outer shell includes 11 acres of glass.
The authors maintain that Luxor's sheer scale of ostentation seems problematic and grossly at odds with the natural ecology that surrounds it, with no discernible "green" concerns or balances. The focus is clear, say the authors: Luxor is akin to illicit grave robbing - exhuming icons from the mythical detritus of a culture that is easily recognized, mined, and profitably commodified.
They conclude that the Luxor signifies a new impulse, a new ground zero in the post-Copernican revolution. It is not a revolution in science, but in the social construction of meaning.
Cass has been a member of the University's faculty since 1991. He holds the Ph.D.in Comparative Literature from the University of California, San Diego. His MA in English was also earned at UCSD. His BA with a double major in English and German is from the University of Dallas.
Dennis earned his interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Justice Studies from Arizona State University. His M.S. in Justice Studies was also earned at ASU and his BS in Psychology from Northeastern Illinois University. He has been a part of the University's faculty since 1993.
CTHEORY is an international journal of theory, technology and culture. Articles, interviews, and key book reviews in contemporary discourse are published weekly as well as theorizations of major "event- scenes" in the mediascape. It can be accessed at http://www.ctheory.com/.
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