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Thesis defences

PhD Oral Exam - Norman James Hogg, Humanities (Fine Arts)

The Panarchy of pan-pan: Para-normal Investigations in the Neomedieval Cosmology

Date & time
Monday, April 27, 2020
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

This event is free


School of Graduate Studies


Dolly Grewal



When studying for a doctoral degree (PhD), candidates submit a thesis that provides a critical review of the current state of knowledge of the thesis subject as well as the student’s own contributions to the subject. The distinguishing criterion of doctoral graduate research is a significant and original contribution to knowledge.

Once accepted, the candidate presents the thesis orally. This oral exam is open to the public.


Alongside documentation of the neomedieval exhibition and bookwork pan-pan, this paper advances a theory-fictional, para-academic methodology that speculates on the ‘modern’ and ‘medieval’ as mutually constitutive, temporally entangled worlds (a pancosmia) rather than developmental cultural stages set within an evolutionary timeframe. While much media attention has recently been given to the modern world’s apparent regression into a ‘post-truth’ condition, neomedievalism challenges the linear, bifurcating historicism that positions ‘the medieval’ as the primitive, base condition of ‘pre-truth’ from which a secular ‘age of reason’ evolved. If Eurocentric ‘enlightened’ modernity is taken to be the universally black-boxed ‘normal’ — wherein it is accepted that claims to objective ‘reality’ belong only to the domains of science-based reason — this paper speculates on the persistence of the ‘para-normal’ as a para-situated and multi-temporal ‘middle space’ wherein reality coalesces as oscillating, hyphenated assemblages of quasi-subjective and quasi-objective practicing entities (fiction-facts, thought-matters, medieval-modernities, person-objects etc.).

The hyphen of research-creation is evoked throughout, not just as a linguistic device signifying an translation interface between two conceptual categories, but also as a material prosthesis, (an explorers stick, flagellum, probe or bridging tool) that enables the corporeal navigation and affective habituation of onto-generative spaces that exist in-between habitats — habitats hitherto regarded, under the modern classificatory episteme, as mutually excluding. Thus it is my non-bifurcating intention, not just to elucidate the academic reasoning behind the artistic creation of pan-pan’s speculative pancosmia, but to actively perform the hybridizing process of world-making through the actual making and hosting of alternate and alternating para-site worlds.

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