In Malicious Deceivers, Ioana B. Jucan traces a genealogy of post-truth intimately tied to globalizing modernity and connects the production of repeatable fakeness with capitalism and Cartesian metaphysics. Through case studies that cross times and geographies, the book unpacks the notion of fakeness through the related logics of dissimulation (deception) and simulation (performativity) as seen with software/AI, television, plastics, and the internet. Specifically, Jucan shows how these (dis)simulation machines and performative objects construct impoverished pictures of the world, ensuring a repeatable sameness through processes of hollowing out embodied histories and lived experience.
Through both its methodology and its subjects-objects of study, the book further seeks ways to counter the abstracting mode of thinking and the processes of voiding performed by the twinning of Cartesian metaphysics and global capitalism. Enacting a model of creative scholarship rooted in the tradition of writing as performance, Jucan, a multimedia performance-maker and theatre director, uses the embodied "I" as a framing and situating device for the book and its sites of investigation. In this way, she aims to counter the Cartesian voiding of the thinking "I" and to enact a different kind of relationship between self and world from the one posited by Descartes and replayed in much Western philosophical and — more broadly — academic writing: a relationship of separation that situates the "I" on a pedestal of abstraction that voids it of its embodied histories and fails to account for its positionality within a socio-historical context and the operations of power that define it.
About the author
Ioana B. Jucan is Assistant Professor of Social and Cultural Inquiry, Emerson College.
"Beautifully argued and judiciously organized, Malicious Deceivers moves seamlessly from philosophical exegesis to haunting personal reflection to elegant close readings. This book makes an exciting and critical intervention in philosophy, media studies, performance studies, and critical internet studies."
—Alexandra Juhasz, Brooklyn College, CUNY
"Expertly synthesizing debates shared by philosophy, performance studies, and media theory, Malicious Deceivers advances a provocative reframing of the age-old problem of simulation. Jucan offers new insight into a contemporary era profoundly shaped by the anxieties and challenges of separating true from false, real from fake, human from machine—from the ethics of AI to the 'post-truth' media environment."
—Anna Watkins Fisher, University of Michigan