A Parallax Reading of Roethke’s “My Papa’s Waltz”
On Abuse and Close and Distant Readings

Are you sick of parallax scrolling yet? You know, the way the foreground and background on a web page, iPhone screen, or Super Mario Brothers move at different speeds, giving the illusion of depth? Parallax scrolling is a gimmick. Take it away and not much changes. Your videogame might be a tad less immersive, but come on, how immersive was it in the first place? Turn off parallax scrolling on your phone and your battery life might actually improve. Parallax scrolling is ornamental, a hallmark of what will eventually be known as the Baroque Digital Age.

So it’s with hesitation that I’m attempting to recuperate the word parallax here. In my defense I’m using the word metaphorically, to describe a certain kind of hermeneutical approach to textual material.

Here it is: parallax reading, an interpretive maneuver that keeps both close and distant reading in focus at the same time.

If you’re just tuning in to the digital humanities, there’s a pretty much bogus IMHO tension between close and distant reading. Close reading is that thing we were all taught to do in high school English, paying attention to individual words and the subtle nuances of a text. Distant reading zooms out to look at a text—or even better, a massive body of texts—from a distance. In Franco Moretti’s memorable words, distance is “not an obstacle, but a specific form of knowledge: fewer elements, hence a sharper sense of their overall interconnection. Shapes, relations, structures. Patterns.”1

Cool, patterns.

“Parallax reading” is a fancy way of saying why not combine close and distant reading. And to be clear, no one is saying you can’t. Again, it’s a bogus tension, a straw man. I’m not proposing anything new here. I’m just giving it a name. And in a bit, a demo.

A parallax reading is the opposite of the “lenticular logic” that, as Tara McPherson explains, separates the two images on a 3D postcard, making it impossible to see them simultaneously. Whereas lenticular vision flips between two distinct representations, parallax reading holds multiple distances in view at once. Like its visual counterpart, parallax reading conveys a sense of depth. Unlike parallax scrolling, though, this is depth that actually matters, a depth that complicates our understanding of texts.

What would a parallax reading look like?

As a case study let’s look at Theodore Roethke’s poem “My Papa’s Waltz.” Written from the perspective of a young boy, the sixteen line poem captures a possibly tender, possibly terrifying moment, as his boozy father mock waltzes him “off to bed.” The whiskey on his father’s breath makes the boy “dizzy.” His mother looks on, barely tolerating the nonsense. The boy is so small he only comes up to his father’s waist; his dad’s belt buckle scrapes his ear with “every step.” As the boy goes to bed “still clinging” to his father’s shirt it’s not clear whether he’s clinging out of fear or love, or maybe both.

“My Papa’s Waltz” was published in 1942 and by the mid-50s was already widely anthologized. It’s a great poem, and I love teaching it. And so do other people. There’s a lot going on under its deceptively simple surface. In The Literature Workshop  (a book every teacher of literature should study), Sheridan Blau uses “My Papa’s Waltz” to confront two questions that often arise in literature classes: where does meaning come from, and how the hell do we know which meaning is the right one?

Blau observes that for twenty years or so he taught “My Papa’s Waltz” and students overwhelmingly read it as nostalgic, the fond recollection of a grown man of his gruff but loving father. Then, sometime in mid-80s, Blau’s students began to read the poem more darkly, a vivid childhood memory about abuse and a dysfunctional family.

What happened? How can the poem mean both things? At this point you might be thinking, ah, so a parallax reading is simply holding two opposing meanings of the poem in place at the same time. This is what sophisticated readers and writers do all the time. For example, Sherman Alexie describes “My Papa’s Waltz” as

incredibly sad and violent, and its sadness and violence is underscored by its gentle rhymes and rhythms. It’s Mother Goose on acid, maybe. I think that its gentle music is a form of denial about the terror contained in the poem, or maybe it’s the way kids think, huh?

A love poem about, as Alexie says later on, “the unpredictability of the alcoholic father.” Two seemingly incompatible interpretations—incompatible, that is, to a naive reader. Is this what I mean by parallax reading? Are two competing perspectives we keep in simultaneous focus what parallax reading is all about?

No!

Embracing ambivalent or contradictory interpretations is nothing new. Hopefully, literary scholars practice this—and teach it—all the time. (If anything, we celebrate ambiguity a little too much, when what the world needs now is some rock solid truth, right?) Anyway, a parallax reading is not about the interpretative outcomes, it’s about the methodological process. It’s about simultaneously negotiating close and distant readings.

Think about “My Papa’s Waltz” from a close reading perspective (the foreground of the parallax). An array of historical evidence might suggest which interpretation of his poem Roethke himself preferred. For example, we could look at drafts of the poem, which indicate several significant revisions. In one draft, the small boy is a girl and the “right ear” scraping a buckle is the less particular “forehead.”

Draft manuscript of Roethke's "My Papa's Waltz," showing that "small boy" was originally "small girl."
Roethke’s draft of “My Papa’s Waltz.” Courtesy of the Theodore Roethke Manuscripts Collection at the University of Washington in Seattle

Changing the gender of the speaker recasts the the father-son relationship as a father-daughter relationship. We might be less likely to read biographical details of Roethke’s own life into the poem: his father ran a gigantic greenhouse, worked with his hands, and died of cancer when Roethke was 14-years-old. Would any of that matter if the speaker is a girl? Would any of it matter either way?

We could also listen to Roethke’s own delivery of the poem. At least two recordings are available online. One features Roethke reading in a sing-song voice that bears no trace of fear or resentment. Another Roethke reading is somber, the accent on the words “you” in the third stanza and “beat” in the fourth stanza possibly ominous, possibly not.

Or—and this is novel—we could actually read the poem. Here’s what I did last time I taught “My Papa’s Waltz.” (I wasn’t teaching Roethke’s poem per se, I was teaching Blau’s book, in a grad class on the pedagogy of teaching literature.) I’m a fan of reading aloud in class, and that’s what we did. As we read, I asked students to point—literally, point with their index finger—to the words that were most freighted with abuse. “Scraped” and “beat” drew some attention from the students, but invariably the word with the strongest connotation of abuse for the students was “battered.” Roethke uses “battered” to describe the father’s hand—it was “battered on one knuckle”—but students couldn’t help displacing the word onto the small boy himself. It’s as if by metonymical extension the boy too was battered and bruised.

With “battered” coming into focus during our close reading as a key marker of abuse, let’s shift to a distant reading of “My Papa’s Waltz”—the background of the parallax. But how can we zoom out from a single poem? From a distance, what’s there to look at? If one poem is a drop of water, what’s the ocean of words that contains it?

One possible ocean is Google Books. Google ngrams offers a snazzy interface for tracking word frequency over time, based on Google Books’ dataset, a staggering 155 billion words in American English. Since my students found “battered” to be the center of traumatic gravity of “My Papa’s Waltz” I plugged that word into Google ngrams:

Which is honestly not that useful. Ngrams can show the rise and fall of certain terms, but they’re inadequate for more nuanced inquires. There are at least three reasons the Google ngram viewer fails here: (1) Google ngrams limits searches by collocates, that is, immediately preceding and succeeding words; (2) Google ngrams can’t search for parts of speech; and most significantly (3) Google ngrams provides no context for the words—no sentence context, no source context, nothing.

This is where the Corpus of Historical American English (COHA) comes in. COHA is a dataset of 400 million words from 1810 through 2009. Established by Mark Davies at Brigham Young University, COHA includes fiction (including texts from Project Gutenberg, scanned books, and scanned movie scripts) and nonfiction (including scanned newspapers and magazines). COHA is a smaller dataset than Google Books, but it holds several critical advantages over Google Books. You can search for phrases that aren’t necessarily collocated right next to each other. You can specify what part of speech you want to search for. That’s really important if you’re looking for a word like, oh, I don’t know, “trump,” which can be a verb, noun, proper noun, and a few other things. Finally, COHA provides context for its searches.

For the time period of the 1950s, when “My Papa’s Waltz” had already been widely anthologized, COHA includes nearly 12 million words from fiction sources, 5.7 millions words from popular magazines, 3.5 million words from newspapers, and just over 3 million words from nonfiction books. That’s a total of 24 million words from the 1950s, which gives us a representative view of how language was being used across a number of domains at the time. This is the ocean of words that surrounds “My Papa’s Waltz.”

Let’s check out “battered” in COHA, to see how the word was being used during Roethke’s time and afterward.

Here are our search parameters, which tell COHA to find any occurrence of “battered” followed within five words by a noun (that’s the [nn*] in the Collocates box). This search acknowledges that the frequency of “battered” isn’t as important as its context.

Search Window for COHA
Search Window for COHA

The results are immediately striking. We have the kind of patterns Moretti seeks in distant reading.

The use of "battered" in printed works, 1930-2000
“battered” with nn* 0/5

The second most common noun following “battered” is women, as in “battered women.” This frequency would appear to support the idea that “battered” in “My Papa’s Waltz” is an indicator of abuse. At the very least, its appearance is ominous.

Yet dig deeper and notice that the variants of “battered…women” do not become prevalent until 1980 (with 16 occurrences) and peak in the 1990s with 46 occurrences. Prior to 1970, “battered” is rarely used in the context of physical abuse against women.

So what does “battered” typically describe when Roethke published the poem in 1942 and in the years immediately afterward? In the 1940s the most common collocate was “hat”: “a battered black stovepipe hat,” “a battered greasy hat,” “his battered hat,” “a disreputable, battered hat”—all uses that suggest a knocked-about, down-on-one’s-luck man. Here’s the KWIC (Keyword In Context) display for “battered…hat” in the 1950s:

"hat" KWIC in COHA
“battered…hat” Keyword in Context

And look at the third most common noun associated with “battered.” It’s “face,” peaking in the 1950s. This detail might appear to support the negative interpretation of “My Papa’s Waltz.” But again, look at the keyword in context.

"battered...face" in the 1950s KWIC
“battered…face” in the 1950s KWIC

The battered face here is predominantly a male face, battered by wind, hard living, and frequently, war. This is likely the kind of “battered” Roethke had in mind when he described the rough hands of the boy’s father in the poem.

Contrast this with how battered appears in the 1990s, when it is associated most frequently with “women”:

"Battered...women" in the 1990s Keyword in Context
“battered…women” in the 1990s Keyword in Context

Here we find “battered” being used the way today’s students would understand the word, associated with the physical abuse of women by men. (Grammar fun: “battered” is technically a participial adjective. It’s an adjective that started out as a participial phrase, but was shortened. Like “there were no shelters for battered women in Michigan” (the first example from the KWIC above) really means “there were no shelters for women who were battered by men in Michigan.” The agent—the men inflicting the battering—drops out of the sentence and we’re left with inexplicably battered women, and no party to take responsibility. Basically it’s passive voice in disguise, a way for abusive men to get off scott-free, linguistically speaking.)

So, a theory: “battered” is what I would call a cusp word—a word teetering on the cusp between two opposing meanings. On one side, the word suggests strength and resilience. It’s gendered masculine in this context. On the other side it suggests helplessness and victimization. It’s gendered female in this case. In other words, once associated with men at the mercy of the elements or men who have endured hardship, “battered” is now associated with women who have suffered—though this part is kept hidden by the participial adjective—at the hands of men.

We still occasionally encounter the older meaning of the word. A line from Leonard Cohen’s “Democracy” (1992) comes to mind:

From the brave, the bold, the battered heart of Chevrolet
Democracy is coming to the USA

Here “the battered heart of Chevrolet” is a stand-in for Rust Belt America, the industrial wasteland that left blue collar working men out of work. Or “stiffed,” as Susan Faludi put it in her eponymous diagnosis of 20th century masculinity.2 I’m no sociologist, but it’s not difficult to imagine that “the battered heart of Chevrolet” contributed to a sense of helplessness in men that found expression in violence against women. Emasculated men beating their way to empowerment. Thus battered souls lead to battered bodies.

We can’t know for certain, of course, but it makes sense that Roethke’s description of the father’s hands as “battered” is a kind of tribute to the man. An acknowledgment of hard work and sacrifice. Roethke’s vocabulary was shaped by the Great Depression and World Wars, an era of stoic endurance (even if that stoicism was a myth). People reading the poem today, however, see in “battered” the ugly side of human nature. Desperation, rage, brutality.

In his explanation of his students’ changing interpretation of “My Papa’s Waltz”: Blau suggests that “a change in the culture made a particular reading available that had not been culturally available before.”3 Blau’s exactly right. That shift in meaning began in the 1980s, concomitant with growing social awareness of domestic abuse. What Blau doesn’t say—because the tools weren’t culturally available to him at the time—is that thanks to a distant reading, we can find evidence of that shift within a single word of Roethke’s poem.

What’s important for a parallax reading is that neither foreground nor background disappear entirely. In fact, they only make sense when considered together. That’s where the sense of depth comes from. Armed with knowledge gleaned from distant reading we can go back to the poem and read it again. And maybe, recursively, find other words to track across time, or to contextualize historically. But we always return to the poem.

Will a parallax reading definitively answer the question, what’s “My Papa’s Waltz” about? No. The beauty of literature and language more generally is its ambiguity (argh, though again, maybe we tolerate a little too much ambiguity). But, I have discovered evidence that complicates our interpretation of the poem. At the very least, it should shock us out of our presentist approach to language, assuming the way we use words is the way those words have always been used. And even more importantly, it’s not that I have found answers about the poem. It’s that I found a new way to ask questions.

Notes

Digital Humanities at MLA 2013

Boys Picking Over Garbage, Boston 1909What follows is a comprehensive list of digital humanities sessions at the 2013 Modern Language Association Conference in Boston.

These are sessions that in some way address the influence and impact of digital materials and tools upon language, literary, textual, and media studies, as well as upon online pedagogy and scholarly communication. The 2013 list stands at 66 sessions, a slight increase from 58 sessions in 2012 (and 44 in 2011, and only 27 the year before). Perhaps the incremental increase this year means that the digital humanities presence at the convention is topping out, leveling out at 8% of the 795 total sessions. Or maybe it’s an indicator of growing resistance to what some see as the hegemony of digital humanities. Or it could be that I simply missed some sessions—if so, please correct me in the comments and I’ll add the session to the list.

In addition to events on the official program, there’s also a pre-convention workshop, Getting Started in the Digital Humanities with DHCommons (registration is now closed for this, alas) and a Technology and Humanities “unconference” (registration still open). And I’ll also highly recommend the Electronic Literature Exhibit, in the Exhibit Hall.

One final note: the title of each panel links back to its official description in the convention program, which occasionally includes supplemental material uploaded by panel participants.

[Photo credit: Lewis Hine, Boys picking over garbage on "the Dumps," Boston, 1909 / Courtesy of the Library of Congress]


2. Digital Pedagogy: An Unconference Workshop

Thursday, 3 January, 8:30–11:30 a.m., Republic B, Sheraton  

Presiding: Brian Croxall, Emory Univ.; Adeline Koh, Richard Stockton Coll. of New Jersey

This workshop is an "unconference" on digital pedagogy. Unconferences are participant-driven gatherings where attendees spontaneously generate the itinerary. Participants will propose discussion topics in advance on our Web site, voting on final sessions at the workshop’s start. Attendees will consider what they would like to learn and instruct others about teaching with technology. Preregistration required.

3. Evaluating Digital Work for Tenure and Promotion: A Workshop for Evaluators and Candidates

Thursday, 3 January, 8:30–11:30 a.m., Republic A, Sheraton

Presiding: Alison Byerly, Middlebury Coll.; Kathleen Fitzpatrick, MLA; Katherine A. Rowe, Bryn Mawr Coll.

Facilitated discussion about evaluating work in digital media (e.g., scholarly editions, databases, digital mapping projects, born-digital creative or scholarly work). Designed for both creators of digital materials and administrators or colleagues who evaluate those materials, the workshop will propose strategies for documenting, presenting, and evaluating such work. Preregistration required.

18. Old Wine in New Wineskins: The Collected Works Project in the Digital Age

Thursday, 3 January, 12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., Jefferson, Sheraton

Presiding: Jude V. Nixon, Salem State Univ.

  1. "The Collected Works of Elizabeth Barrett Browning: Print Editions, Digital Surrounds, and Preservation," Sandra M. Donaldson, Univ. of North Dakota; Marjorie I. Stone, Dalhousie Univ.
  2. "A Virtual Edition of William Morris’s Collected Works," Florence S. Boos, Univ. of Iowa
  3. "The Novels of Sutton E. Griggs: A Critical Edition," Tess Chakkalakal, Bowdoin Coll.
  4. "Editing Henry James in the Digital Age," Pierre A. Walker, Salem State Univ.

22. Expanding Access: Building Bridges within Digital Humanities

Thursday, 3 January, 12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., 205, Hynes

Presiding: Trent M. Kays, Univ. of Minnesota, Twin Cities; Lee Skallerup Bessette, Morehead State Univ.

Speakers: Marc Fortin, Queen’s Univ.; Alexander Gil, Univ. of Virginia; Brian Larson, Univ. of Minnesota, Twin Cities; Sophie Marcotte, Concordia Univ.; Ernesto Priego, London, England

Digital humanities are often seen to be a monolith, as shown in recent publications that focus almost exclusively on the United States and English-language projects. This roundtable will bring together digital humanities scholars from seemingly disparate disciplines to show how bridges can be built among languages, cultures, and geographic regions in and through digital humanities.

39. Contemporary Novels and the Twenty-First-Century Media Ecology

Thursday, 3 January, 12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., The Fens, Sheraton

  1. "From Text to Work: Douglas Coupland’s Digital Interruptions and the Labor of Form," Paul Benzon, Temple Univ., Philadelphia
  2. "The Mediated Geographies of Miéville’s The City and the City," Richard Menke, Univ. of Georgia
  3. "Tom McCarthy’s Prehistory of Media," Aaron S. Worth, Boston Univ.

59. Francophonies numérisées / Digital Francophonies

Thursday, 3 January, 1:45–3:00 p.m., 301, Hynes

Presiding: Eileen Lohka, Univ. of Calgary; Catherine Perry, Univ. of Notre Dame

  1. "The Internet Poetics of Patrick Chamoiseau and Édouard Glissant," Roxanna Curto, Univ. of Iowa
  2. "Toussaint en Amérique: Collaborations, dialogues et créations multi-disciplinaires," Alain-Philippe Durand, Univ. of Arizona
  3. "Bandes dessinées téléchargeables: Un nouveau moyen de mesurer la diffusion de la langue française au 21ème siècle," Henri-Simon Blanc-Hoang, Defense Lang. Inst.

60. Learning Outcomes in Online Second-Language Environments

Thursday, 3 January, 1:45–3:00 p.m., 206, Hynes

Presiding: Sébastien Dubreil, Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville

  1. "Teaching Language and Culture through Social Media and Networks," Edward M. Dixon, Univ. of Pennsylvania
  2. "Developing Pronunciation Skills at the Introductory Level: Motivating Students through Interpersonal Audio Discussions," Cindy Lepore, Univ. of Alabama, Tuscaloosa
  3. "Español Two Hundred: Bridging Medium, Collaboration, and Communities of Practice," Adolfo Carrillo Cabello, Iowa State Univ.; Cristina Pardo Ballester, Iowa State Univ.

71. A More Capacious Conception: Digital Scholarship and Tenure

Thursday, 3 January, 1:45–3:00 p.m., Public Garden, Sheraton

Presiding: Nate Kreuter, Western Carolina Univ.

  1. "Metathesiophobia and the Impossible Math of the Scholarly Monograph," Patricia Roberts-Miller, Univ. of Texas, Austin
  2. "Hope and Habit(u)s?" Victor J. Vitanza, Clemson Univ.
  3. "Publishing Long-Form Multimedia Scholarship: Thinking about Bookness," Gail E. Hawisher, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana; Cynthia L. Selfe, Ohio State Univ., Columbus

88. Age, Obsolescence, and New Media

Thursday, 3 January, 3:30–4:45 p.m., Hampton, Sheraton

Presiding: Cynthia R. Port, Coastal Carolina Univ.

  1. "Aging as Obsolescence: Remediating Old Narratives in a New Age," Erin Lamb, Hiram Coll.
  2. "Typewriters to Tweeters: Women, Aging, and Technological Literacy," Lauren Marshall Bowen, Michigan Technological Univ.
  3. "The New Obsolescence of New Media: Political Affect and Retrotechnologies," Jen Boyle, Coastal Carolina Univ.

102. Digital Diasporas

Thursday, 3 January, 3:30–4:45 p.m., Public Garden, Sheraton

Presiding: Shelley Fisher Fishkin, Stanford Univ.

  1. "Living Word," Corrie Claiborne, Morehouse Coll.
  2. "Digital Griots," Adam Banks, Univ. of Kentucky
  3. "Hip-Hop Archives," Marcyliena Morgan, Harvard Univ.

129. Teaching in the Shallows: Reading, Writing, and Teaching in the Digital Age

Thursday, 3 January, 5:15–6:30 p.m., Berkeley, Sheraton

Presiding: Robert R. Bleil, Coll. of Coastal Georgia; Jennifer Gray, Coll. of Coastal Georgia

Speakers: Susan Cook, Southern New Hampshire Univ.; Christopher Dickman, Saint Louis Univ.; T. Geiger, Syracuse Univ.; Jennifer Gray; Matthew Parfitt, Boston Univ.; James Sanchez, Texas Christian Univ.

Responding: Robert R. Bleil

Nicholas Carr’s 2008 article "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" and his 2010 book The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains argue that the paradigms of our digital lives have shifted significantly in two decades of living life online. This roundtable unites teachers of composition and literature to explore cultural, psychological, and developmental changes for students and teachers.

130. Archive Fever: New Methodologies and New Questions for United States Literary and Cultural Studies

Thursday, 3 January, 5:15–6:30 p.m., Fairfax B, Sheraton

Presiding: Tim Cassedy, Southern Methodist Univ.

Speakers: Robin Bernstein, Harvard Univ.; Lindsay DiCuirci, Univ. of Maryland Baltimore County; Laura Fisher, New York Univ.; Laurie Lambert, New York Univ.; Janice A. Radway, Northwestern Univ.; Joseph Rezek, Boston Univ.

Archivally driven research is changing the methodologies with which we approach the past, the types of questions that we can ask and answer, and the historical voices that are heard and suppressed. The session will address the role of archives, both digital and material, in literary and cultural studies. What risks and rewards do we need to be aware of when we use them?

133. Reading the Invisible and Unwanted in Old and New Media

Thursday, 3 January, 5:15–6:30 p.m., The Fens, Sheraton

Presiding: Lori A. Emerson, Univ. of Colorado, Boulder

  1. "Apple Macintosh and the Ideology of the User-Friendly," Lori A. Emerson
  2. "OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and the Vestigial Aesthetics of Machine Vision," Zach Whalen, Univ. of Mary Washington
  3. "Lost in Plain Sight: Microdot Technology and the Compression of Reading," Paul Benzon, Temple Univ., Philadelphia
  4. "An Account of Randomness in Literary Computing," Mark Sample, George Mason Univ.

137. Printing Science

Thursday, 3 January, 5:15–6:30 p.m., Beacon F, Sheraton

Presiding: Greg Barnhisel, Duquesne Univ.

  1. "Printing the Third Dimension in the Renaissance," Travis D. Williams, Univ. of Rhode Island
  2. "Mediating Power in American Editions of Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea," Matthew Lavin, Univ. of Iowa
  3. "Printed Books, Digital Poetics, and the Aesthetic of Bookishness," Jessica Pressman, Yale Univ.

Responding: Stephanie Ann Smith, Univ. of Florida

147. Theories and Practices of the Literary Lab

Thursday, 3 January, 5:15–6:30 p.m., Liberty C, Sheraton

Presiding: Andrew Piper, McGill Univ.

Speakers: Mark Algee-Hewitt, Stanford Univ.; Lindsey Eckert, Univ. of Toronto; Neil Fraistat, Univ. of Maryland, College Park; Matthew Jockers, Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln; Laura C. Mandell, Texas A&M Univ., College Station; Jeffrey Thompson Schnapp, Harvard Univ.

As part of the ongoing debate about the impact and efficacy of the digital humanities, this roundtable will explore the theoretical, practical, and political implications of the rise of the literary lab. How will changes in the materiality and spatiality of our research and writing change the nature of that research? How will the literary lab impact the way we work?

163. Tweeting the Revolution: Networked Media, the Rhetorics of Activism, and Practices of the Everyday

Thursday, 3 January, 7:00–8:15 p.m., Gardner, Sheraton

  1. "Occupy Theory: Tahrir and Global Occupy Two Years After," Nicholas Mirzoeff, New York Univ.
  2. "Tweeting the Revolution: Activism, Risk, and Mediated Copresence," Beth M. Coleman, Univ. of Waterloo

165. Beyond the PDF: Experiments in Open-Access Scholarly Publishing

Thursday, 3 January, 7:00–8:15 p.m., Hampton, Sheraton

Speakers: Douglas M. Armato, Univ. of Minnesota Press; Jamie Skye Bianco, Univ. of Pittsburgh; Matthew K. Gold, New York City Coll. of Tech., City Univ. of New York; Jennifer Laherty, Indiana Univ., Bloomington; Monica McCormick, New York Univ.; Katie Rawson, Emory Univ.

As open-access scholarly publishing matures and movements such as the Elsevier boycott continue to grow, open-access publications have begun to move beyond the simple (but crucial) principle of openness toward an ideal of interactivity. This session will explore innovative examples of open-access scholarly publishing that showcase new types of social, interactive, mixed-media texts.

167. Digital Humanities and Theory

Thursday, 3 January, 7:00–8:15 p.m., Riverway, Sheraton

Presiding: Stefano Franchi, Texas A&M Univ., College Station

  1. "Theoretical Things for the Humanities," Geoffrey Rockwell, Univ. of Alberta
  2. "From Artificial Intelligence to Artistic Practices: A New Theoretical Model for the Digital Humanities," Stefano Franchi
  3. "Object-Oriented Ontology: Escaping the Title of the Book," David Washington, Loyola Univ., New Orleans

198. Convergent Histories of the Book: From Manuscript to Digital

Friday, 4 January, 8:30–9:45 a.m., Hampton, Sheraton

Presiding: Alex Mueller, Univ. of Massachusetts, Boston

Speakers: Kathleen Fitzpatrick, MLA; Martin Foys, Drew Univ.; Matthew Kirschenbaum, Univ. of Maryland, College Park; Stephen G. Nichols, Johns Hopkins Univ., MD; Kathleen A. Tonry, Univ. of Connecticut, Storrs; Sarah Werner, Folger Shakespeare Library

In this roundtable, scholars of manuscripts, print, and digital media will discuss how contemporary forms of textuality intersect with, duplicate, extend, or draw on manuscript technologies. Panelists seek to push the discussion beyond traditional notions of supersession or remediation to consider the relevance of past textual practices in our analyses of emergent ones.

209. Humanities in the Twenty-First Century: Innovation in Research and Practice

Friday, 4 January, 8:30–9:45 a.m., Commonwealth, Sheraton

Presiding: Christine Henseler, Union Coll., NY

  1. "The Promise of Humanities Practice," Lynn Pasquerella, Mount Holyoke Coll.
  2. "Making the Humanities ‘Count,’" David Theo Goldberg, Univ. of California, Irvine
  3. "The National Endowment for the Humanities," Jane Aikin, National Endowment for the Humanities
  4. "The Humanities in the Digital Age," Christine Henseler

220. Image, Voice, Text: Canadian Literature

Friday, 4 January, 8:30–9:45 a.m., Beacon D, Sheraton

Presiding: Sophie McCall, Simon Fraser Univ., Burnaby

  1. "AvantGarde.ca: Toward a Canadian Alienethnic Poetics of the Internet," Sunny Chan, Univ. of British Columbia
  2. "Intermedial Witnessing in Karen Connelly’s Burmese Lessons," Hannah McGregor, Univ. of Guelph
  3. "Aboriginal New Media: Alternative Forms of Storytelling," Sarah Henzi, Univ. of Montreal

239. Representing Race: Silence in the Digital Humanities

Friday, 4 January, 10:15–11:30 a.m., Gardner, Sheraton

Presiding: Adeline Koh, Richard Stockton Coll. of New Jersey

Speakers: Moya Bailey, Emory Univ.; Anne Cong-Huyen, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara; Hussein Keshani, Univ. of British Columbia; Maria Velazquez, Univ. of Maryland, College Park

Responding: Alondra Nelson, Columbia Univ.

This panel examines the politics of race, ethnicity, and silence in the digital humanities. How has the digital humanities remained silent on issues of race and ethnicity? How does this silence reinforce unspoken assumptions and doxa? What is the function of racialized silences in digital archival projects?

260. Open Sesame: Interoperability in Digital Literary Studies

Friday, 4 January, 12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., Berkeley, Sheraton

Presiding: Susan Brown, Univ. of Guelph

Speakers: Travis Brown, Univ. of Maryland, College Park; Johanna Drucker, Univ. of California, Los Angeles; Eric Rochester, Univ. of Virginia; Geoffrey Rockwell, Univ. of Alberta; Jentery Sayers, Univ. of Victoria; Susan Schreibman, Trinity Coll. Dublin

Working only with set texts limits the use of many digital tools. What most advances literary research: aiming applications at scholarly primitives or at more culturally embedded activities that may resist generalization? Panelists’ reflections on the challenges of interoperability in a methodologically diverse field will include project snapshots evaluating the potential or perils of such aims.

295. Getting Funded in the Humanities: An NEH Workshop

Friday, 4 January, 1:30–3:30 p.m., 210, Hynes

Presiding: Jason C. Rhody, National Endowment for the Humanities

 

This workshop will highlight recent awards and outline current funding opportunities. In addition to emphasizing grant programs that support individual and collaborative research and education, the workshop will include information on the NEH’s Office of Digital Humanities. A question-and-answer period will follow.

307. The Dark Side of Digital Humanities

Friday, 4 January, 1:45–3:00 p.m., Back Bay D, Sheraton

Presiding: Richard A. Grusin, Univ. of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

Speakers: Wendy H. Chun, Brown Univ.; Richard A. Grusin; Patrick Jagoda, Univ. of Chicago; Tara McPherson, Univ. of Southern California; Rita Raley, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara

This roundtable explores the impact of digital humanities on research and teaching in higher education and the question of how digital humanities will affect the future of the humanities in general. Speakers will offer models of digital humanities that are not rooted in technocratic rationality or neoliberal economic calculus but that emerge from and inform traditional practices of humanist inquiry.

321. Digital and Analogue Critical Editions of Continental Literature? Pros, Cons, Discussion

Friday, 4 January, 1:45–3:00 p.m., Fairfax A, Sheraton

Presiding: Stephen G. Nichols, Johns Hopkins Univ., MD

Speakers: Karen L. Fresco, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana; Albert Lloret, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst; Jacques Neefs, Johns Hopkins Univ., MD

Responding: Timothy L. Stinson, North Carolina State Univ.

This panel explores the resistance of editors to explore digital editions. Questions posed: Do scholarly protocols deliberately resist computational methodologies? Or are we still in a liminal period where print predominates for lack of training in the new technology? Does the problem lie with a failure to encourage digital research by younger scholars?

326. Digital Approaches to Renaissance Texts

Friday, 4 January, 1:45–3:00 p.m., Jefferson, Sheraton

Presiding: Michael Witmore, Folger Shakespeare Library

  1. "Touching Apocalypse: Influence and Influenza in the Digital Age," Daniel Allen Shore, Georgetown Univ.
  2. "The Social Network: Protestant Letter Networks in the Reign of Mary I," Ruth Ahnert, Queen Mary, Univ. of London
  3. "Credit and Temporal Consciousness in Early Modern English Drama," Mattie Burkert, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison

339. Sovereignty and the Archive

Friday, 4 January, 3:30–4:45 p.m., Berkeley, Sheraton

Presiding: James H. Cox, Univ. of Texas, Austin

  1. "Occom, Archives, and the Digital Humanities," Ivy Schweitzer, Dartmouth Coll.
  2. "To Look through Red-Colored Glasses: Native Studies and a Revisioning of the Early American Archive," Caroline Wigginton, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick
  3. "The Early Native Archive and United States National Identity," Angela Calcaterra, Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

353. Avenues of Access: Digital Humanities and the Future of Scholarly Communication

Friday, 4 January, 3:30–4:45 p.m., Republic Ballroom, Sheraton

Presiding: Michael Bérubé, Penn State Univ., University Park

  1. "The Mirror and the LAMP," Matthew Kirschenbaum, Univ. of Maryland, College Park
  2. "Access Demands a Paradigm Shift," Cathy N. Davidson, Duke Univ.
  3. "Resistance in the Materials," Bethany Nowviskie, Univ. of Virginia

The news that digital humanities are the next big thing must come as a pleasant surprise to people who have been working in the field for decades. Yet only recently has the scholarly community at large realized that developments in new media have implications not only for the form but also for the content of scholarly communication. This session will explore some of those implications—for scholars, for libraries, for journals, and for the idea of intellectual property.

361. Video Games

Friday, 4 January, 3:30–4:45 p.m., Hampton, Sheraton

Presiding: Hillary L. Chute, Univ. of Chicago

  1. "Playful Aesthetics," Mary Flanagan, Dartmouth Coll.
  2. "Losing the Game: Gamification and the Procedural Aesthetics of Systemic Failure," Patrick Jagoda, Univ. of Chicago
  3. "Acoustemologies of the Closet: The Wizard, the Troll, and the Fortress," William Cheng, Harvard Univ.

391. Networked Chicanas/os

Friday, 4 January, 5:15–6:30 p.m., Fairfax A, Sheraton

Presiding: Domino Renee Perez, Univ. of Texas, Austin

  1. "’Machete Don’t Text’: Robert Rodriguez’s Media Ecologies," William Orchard, Colby Coll.
  2. "Convergence Cultura? Reevaluating New Media Scholarship through a Latina/o Literary Blog, La Bloga," Jennifer Lozano, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana
  3. "César Chávez’s Video Library; or, Farm Workers and the Secret History of New Media," Curtis Frank Márez, Univ. of California, San Diego

394. Reforming Doctoral Study

Friday, 4 January, 5:15–6:30 p.m., Back Bay D, Sheraton

Presiding: Russell A. Berman, Stanford Univ.

Speakers: Carlos J. Alonso, Columbia Univ.; Lanisa Kitchiner, Howard Univ.; David Laurence, MLA; Bethany Nowviskie, Univ. of Virginia; Elizabeth M. Schwartz, San Joaquin Delta Coll., CA; Sidonie Ann Smith, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Kathleen Woodward, Univ. of Washington, Seattle

Doctoral study faces multiple pressures, including profound transformations in higher education and the academic job market, changing conditions for new faculty members, the new media of scholarly communication, and placements in nonfaculty positions. These and other factors question the viability of conventional assumptions regarding doctoral education.

401. Digital Archives and Their Margins

Friday, 4 January, 5:15–6:30 p.m., Berkeley, Sheraton

Presiding: Alan Galey, Univ. of Toronto; Katherine D. Harris, San José State Univ.

  1. "Echoes at Our Peril: Small Feminist Archives in Big Digital Humanities," Katherine D. Harris
  2. "The Archipelagic Archive: Caribbean Studies on a Diff Key," Alexander Gil, Univ. of Virginia
  3. "Universal Design and Disability in the Digital Archive," Karen Bourrier, Univ. of Western Ontario
  4. "Digital Humanities and the Separation of Access, Ownership, and Reading," Zachary Zimmer, Virginia Polytechnic Inst. and State Univ.

419. Global Shakespeares Open House

Friday, 4 January, 7:00–8:15 p.m., Back Bay D, Sheraton

 

Presiding: Peter S. Donaldson, Massachusetts Inst. of Tech.

Global Shakespeares (globalshakespeares.org/) is a participatory multicentric project providing free online access to performances of Shakespeare from many parts of the world. The session features presentations and free lab tours of the MIT HyperStudio.

425. Numbers and Letters: Empirical Method in Literary Studies

Saturday, 5 January, 8:30–9:45 a.m., Jefferson, Sheraton

Presiding: James F. English, Univ. of Pennsylvania

  1. "Enumerating and Visualizing Early English Print," Robin Valenza, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison
  2. "The Imaginative Use of Numbers," Ted Underwood, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana
  3. "Being and Time Management," Mark McGurl, Stanford Univ.

432. Aural Literature and Close Listening

Saturday, 5 January, 8:30–9:45 a.m., Beacon H, Sheraton

Presiding: Michelle Nancy Levy, Simon Fraser Univ., Burnaby

  1. "The Case against Audiobooks," Matthew Rubery, Univ. of London, Queen Mary Coll.
  2. "Aural Literacy in a Visual Era: Is Anyone Listening?" Cornelius Collins, Fordham Univ., Bronx
  3. "Novel Sound Tracks and the Future of Hybridized Reading," Justin St. Clair, Univ. of South Alabama
  4. "Poetry as MP3: PennSound, Poetry Recording, and the New Digital Archive," Lisa A. Hollenbach, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison

440. How I Got Started in Digital Humanities: New Digital Projects from DHCommons

Saturday, 5 January, 8:30–9:45 a.m., Commonwealth, Sheraton

Presiding: Ryan Cordell, Northeastern Univ.; Katherine Singer, Mount Holyoke Coll.

Speakers: Gert Buelens, Ghent Univ.; Sheila T. Cavanagh, Emory Univ.; Malcolm Alan Compitello, Univ. of Arizona; Gabriel Hankins, Univ. of Virginia; Alexander C. Y. Huang, George Washington Univ.; Kevin Quarmby, Emory Univ.; Lynn Ramey, Vanderbilt Univ.; Matthew Schultz, Vassar Coll.

This digital roundtable aims to give insight into challenges and opportunities for new digital humanists. Instead of presenting polished projects, panelists will share their experiences as developing DH practitioners working through research and pedagogical obstacles. Each participant will present lightning talks and then discuss the projects in more detail at individual tables.

449. Curated and Curating Lives

Saturday, 5 January, 8:30–9:45 a.m., Berkeley, Sheraton

Presiding: Julie Rak, Univ. of Alberta

  1. "Curating Lives: Museums, Archives, Online Sites," Alison Booth, Univ. of Virginia
  2. "Curating Confession: The Intersection of Communicative Capitalism and Autobiography Online," Anna Poletti, Monash Univ.
  3. "Digital Dioramas: Curating Life Narratives on the World Wide Web," Laurie McNeill, Univ. of British Columbia
  4. "Archive of Addiction: Augusten Burroughs’s Dry: In Pictures," Nicole M. Stamant, Agnes Scott Coll.

450. Archaic Returns: Alchemies of Old and New Media

Saturday, 5 January, 8:30–9:45 a.m., Fairfax A, Sheraton

Presiding: Elissa Marder, Emory Univ.

  1. "A Sub-sublibrarian for the Digital Archive," Jamie Jones, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  2. "Gangs of New York: Fetishizing the Archive, from Benjamin to Scorsese," Melissa Tuckman, Princeton Univ.
  3. "Pocket Wireless and the Shape of Media to Come, 1899–1920," Grant Wythoff, Princeton Univ.

451. Scholarly Journals: New Challenges and Opportunities

Saturday, 5 January, 8:30–9:45 a.m., Public Garden, Sheraton

Presiding: Ana-Maria Medina, Metropolitan State Coll. of Denver

Speakers: Lois Bacon, EBSCO; Marshall J. Brown, Univ. of Washington, Seattle; Stuart Alexander Day, Univ. of Kansas; Judy Luther, Informed Strategies; Dana D. Nelson, Vanderbilt Univ.; Joseph Paul Tabbi, Univ. of Illinois, Chicago; Bonnie Wheeler, Southern Methodist Univ.

Changes are happening to the scholarly journal, a fundamental institution of our professional life. New modes of communication open promising possibilities, even as financial challenges to print media and education make this time difficult. A panel of editors, publishers, and librarians will address these topics, carrying forward a discussion begun at the 2012 Delegate Assembly meeting.

486. Games for Teaching Language, Literature, and Writing

Saturday, 5 January, 10:15–11:30 a.m., Commonwealth, Sheraton

Presiding: Brian Croxall, Emory Univ.

Speakers: Evelyn Baldwin, Univ. of Arkansas, Fayetteville; Mikhail Gershovich, Baruch Coll., City Univ. of New York; Janice McCoy, Univ. of Virginia; Ilknur Oded, Defense Lang. Inst.; Amanda Phillips, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara; Anastasia Salter, Univ. of Baltimore; Elizabeth Swanstrom, Florida Atlantic Univ.

This electronic roundtable presents games not only as objects of study but also as methods for innovative pedagogy. Scholars will present on their use of board games, video games, authoring tools, and more for language acquisition, peer-to-peer relationship building, and exploring social justice. This hands-on, show-and-tell session highlights assignments attendees can implement.

488. Answering the Challenge: The New Variorum Shakespeare in the Digital Age

Saturday, 5 January, 10:15–11:30 a.m., Beacon F, Sheraton

Presiding: Paul Werstine, Univ. of Western Ontario

  1. "Having Your Semantics and Formatting It Too: XML and the NVS," Julia H. Flanders, Brown Univ.
  2. "Variant Stories: Digital Visualization and the Secret Lives of Shakespeare’s Texts," Alan Galey, Univ. of Toronto
  3. "Digital Alchemy: Transmuting the Electronic Comedy of Errors," Jon Bath, Univ. of Saskatchewan

507. New Archives, Renewed Access: Research Methodologies in Latin American Collections

Saturday, 5 January, 12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., 301, Hynes

Presiding: Claudia Cabello-Hutt, Univ. of North Carolina, Greensboro; Marcy Ellen Schwartz, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick

Speakers: Daniel Balderston, Univ. of Pittsburgh; Maria Laura Bocaz, Univ. of Mary Washington; Claudia Cabello-Hutt; Alejandro Herrero-Olaizola, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Veronica A. Salles-Reese, Georgetown Univ.; Marcy Ellen Schwartz; Vicky Unruh, Univ. of Kansas

 

This roundtable will explore renewed interest in Latin American archives—both traditional and digital—and the intellectual, political, and social implications for our research and teaching. Presenters will address how new technologies (digitalized collections, hypertext manuscripts, etc.) facilitate access to research and offer strategies for introducing students to a variety of materials.

522. Crossed Codes: Print’s Dream of the Digital Age, Digital’s Memory of the Age of Print

Saturday, 5 January, 12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., Liberty C, Sheraton

Presiding: Marta L. Werner, D’Youville Coll.

  1. "’Every Man His Own Publisher’: Extraillustration and the Dream of the Universal Library," Gabrielle Dean, Johns Hopkins Univ., MD
  2. "Interactivity and Randomization Processes in Printed and Electronic Experimental Poetry," Jonathan Baillehache, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick
  3. "Mirror World, Minus World: Glitching Nabokov’s Pale Fire," Andrew Ferguson, Univ. of Virginia
  4. "Designed Futures of the Book," Kari M. Kraus, Univ. of Maryland, College Park

527. MLArcade

Saturday, 5 January, 12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., Commonwealth, Sheraton

Speakers: Sarah J. Arroyo, California State Univ., Long Beach; R. Scot Barnett, Clemson Univ.; Ron C. Brooks, Oklahoma State Univ., Stillwater; Geoffrey V. Carter, Saginaw Valley State Univ.; Anthony Collamati, Clemson Univ.; Jason Helms, Univ. of Kentucky; Alexandra Hidalgo, Purdue Univ., West Lafayette; Robert Leston, New York City Coll. of Tech., City Univ. of New York

 

This roundtable will present separate, yet unified, digital writings on laptops. Instead of making a diachronic set of presentations, we will make available a synchronic set, in an art e-gallery format, arranged separately on tables as conceptual art installations. The purpose is to demonstrate how digital technologies can reshape our views of presentations and of what is now called writings.

540. The Third Degree: Joint Programs in Languages, Literature, and Libraries

Saturday, 5 January, 1:45–3:00 p.m., Back Bay D, Sheraton

Presiding: Paul Fyfe, Florida State Univ.; Robert H. Kieft, Occidental Coll.

Speakers: Tanya E. Clement, Univ. of Texas, Austin; Rachel Donahue, Univ. of Maryland, College Park; Kari M. Kraus, Univ. of Maryland, College Park; John Merritt Unsworth, Brandeis Univ.; John A. Walsh, Indiana Univ., Bloomington

 

This roundtable extends current conversations about reforming graduate training to a burgeoning field of disciplinary crossover and professionalization. Participants will introduce innovative training programs and collaborative projects at the intersections of modern language departments, digital humanities, and library schools or iSchools.

550. The Classroom as Interface

Saturday, 5 January, 1:45–3:00 p.m., Hampton, Sheraton

Presiding: Kathi Inman Berens, Univ. of Southern California

  1. "The Campus as Interface: Screening the University," Elizabeth Mathews Losh, Univ. of California, San Diego
  2. "Being Distracted in the Digital Age," Jason Farman, Univ. of Maryland, College Park
  3. "Virtual Classroom Software: A Medium-Specific Analysis," Kathi Inman Berens
  4. "The Multisensory Classroom," Leeann Hunter, Georgia Inst. of Tech.

562. Digital Dictionaries

Saturday, 5 January, 1:45–3:00 p.m., Public Garden, Sheraton

Presiding: Michael Hancher, Univ. of Minnesota, Twin Cities

  1. "Dictionaries in Electronic Form: The Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Experience," David Jost, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  2. "What We’ve Learned about Dictionary Use Online," Peter Sokolowski, Merriam-Webster
  3. "Lexicography 2.0: Reimagining Dictionaries and Thesauri for the Digital Age," Ben Zimmer, Visual Thesaurus

Responding: Lisa Berglund, State Univ. of New York, Buffalo State Coll.

565. What Is the Next Thing? Postmodern Pedagogies in the Composition Classroom

Saturday, 5 January, 1:45–3:00 p.m., Liberty A, Sheraton

Presiding: Elizabeth M. Schwartz, San Joaquin Delta Coll., CA

  1. "Peer Review 2.0: Using Digital Technologies to Transform Student Critiques," Elizabeth Harris McCormick, LaGuardia Community Coll., City Univ. of New York; Lykourgos Vasileiou, LaGuardia Community Coll., City Univ. of New York
  2. "How I Met Your Argument: Teaching through Television," Lanta Davis, Baylor Univ.
  3. "Writing Wikipedia as Postmodern Research Assignment," Matthew Parfitt, Boston Univ.
  4. "Weaning Isn’t Everything: Beyond Postformalism in Composition," Miles McCrimmon, J. Sargeant Reynolds Community Coll., VA

584. Accessing Race in the Digital Humanities: An E-roundtable

Saturday, 5 January, 3:30–4:45 p.m., Commonwealth, Sheraton

Presiding: Roger Whitson, Emory Univ.

Speakers: David Kim, Univ. of California, Los Angeles; Jennifer Sano-Franchini, Michigan State Univ.; Lee Skallerup Bessette, Morehead State Univ.

Responding: Tara McPherson, Univ. of Southern California

This roundtable addresses how applications and interfaces encode specific cultural assumptions about race and preclude certain groups of people from participating in the digital humanities. Participants present specific digital humanities projects that illustrate the impact of race on access to the programming, cultural, and funding structures in the digital humanities.

586. Scaling and Sharing: Data Management in the Humanities

Saturday, 5 January, 3:30–4:45 p.m., The Fens, Sheraton

Presiding: Korey Jackson, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Speakers: Matt Burton, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Korey Jackson; Spencer Keralis, Univ. of North Texas; Jason C. Rhody, National Endowment for the Humanities; Lisa Marie Rhody, Univ. of Maryland, College Park; Michael Ullyot, Univ. of Calgary

This roundtable seeks to query precisely what data can be and do in a humanities context. Charting the migration from individual project to scalable data set, we explore “big data” not simply as a matter of size or number but as a process of granting researchers and educators access to shared information resources.

621. Reading, Reading Machines, and Machine Reading

Saturday, 5 January, 5:15–6:30 p.m., Gardner, Sheraton

Presiding: Jessica Pressman, American Council of Learned Socs.

  1. "Phonographic Reading Machines," Matthew Rubery, Univ. of London, Queen Mary Coll.
  2. "Mechanical Mediations of Miniature Text: Reading Microform," Katherine Wilson, Adelphi Univ.
  3. "Between Human and Machine, a Printed Sheet: The Early History of OCR (Optical Character Recognition)," Mara Mills, New York Univ.

637. Open Access? ECCO, EEBO, and Digital Resources

Saturday, 5 January, 5:15–6:30 p.m., Commonwealth, Sheraton

Presiding: Catherine Elizabeth Ingrassia, Virginia Commonwealth Univ.

Speakers: Joshua Eckhardt, Virginia Commonwealth Univ.; Molly Hardy, Saint Bonaventure Univ.; Laura C. Mandell, Texas A&M Univ., College Station; James Raven, Univ. of Essex

Consistent with the theme of open access, this roundtable explores limitations of proprietary digital archives and emergent alternatives. It will provide an interactive, engaged demonstration of 18thConnect; a historian’s perspective; discussion of British Virginia; and scholarly digital editions of seventeenth-century documents.

639. Two Tools for Student-Generated Digital Projects: WordPress and Omeka in the Classroom

Saturday, 5 January, 5:15–6:30 p.m., Back Bay B, Sheraton

Presiding: Gabrielle Dean, Johns Hopkins Univ., MD

Speakers: Amanda L. French, George Mason Univ.; George Williams, Univ. of South Carolina, Spartanburg

This "master class" will focus on integrating two digital tools into the classroom to facilitate student-generated projects: Omeka, for the creation of archives and exhibits, and WordPress, for the creation of blogs and Web sites. We will discuss what kinds of assignments work with each tool, how to get started, and how to evaluate assignments. Bring a laptop (not a tablet) for hands-on work.

669. Social Media and Scholarship: The State of Middle-State Publishing

Sunday, 6 January, 8:30–9:45 a.m., Beacon A, Sheraton

Presiding: Alexander Reid, Univ. at Buffalo, State Univ. of New York

Speakers: Heather Duncan, Univ. at Buffalo, State Univ. of New York; Matthew K. Gold, New York City Coll. of Tech., City Univ. of New York; Eileen Joy, Southern Illinois Univ., Edwardsville; Richard E. Miller, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick; Daniel Schweitzer, Univ. at Buffalo, State Univ. of New York

Responding: Alexander Reid

As our profession seeks to understand electronic publishing, the emergence of middle-state publishing (e.g., blogs, Twitter) adds another layer of complexity to the issue. The roundtable participants will discuss their use of social media for scholarship and how middle-state publishing alters scholarly work and the ethical and professional concerns that arise.

670. Romantic Media Studies: Means of Reading and Reading for Means

Sunday, 6 January, 8:30–9:45 a.m., 203, Hynes

Presiding: Yohei Igarashi, Colgate Univ.; Lauren A. Neefe, Stony Brook Univ., State Univ. of New York

Speakers: Miranda Jane Burgess, Univ. of British Columbia; Mary Helen Dupree, Georgetown Univ.; Kevis Goodman, Univ. of California, Berkeley; Yohei Igarashi; Celeste G. Langan, Univ. of California, Berkeley; Maureen Noelle McLane, New York Univ.; Tom Mole, McGill Univ.

A roundtable of scholars discusses and defines “Romantic media studies,” one of the most vibrant approaches to Romantic literature today. Spanning British, German, and transatlantic Romanticisms, the exchange considers Romantic-era media while reflecting on methods of reading for media, mediations, and networks as well as on the relation between Romantic criticism and the digital humanities.

693. Theorizing Digital Practice, Practicing Digital Theory

Sunday, 6 January, 8:30–9:45 a.m., Liberty A, Sheraton

Presiding: Victoria E. Szabo, Duke Univ.

  1. "What Text Mining and Visualizations Have to Do with Feminist Scholarly Inquiries," Tanya E. Clement, Univ. of Texas, Austin
  2. "Building the Infrastructural Layer: Reading Data Visualization in the Digital Humanities," Dana Solomon, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara
  3. "What Should We Do with Our Games?" Stephanie Boluk, Vassar Coll.

Responding: Victoria E. Szabo

702. South Asian-izing the Digital Humanities

Sunday, 6 January, 10:15–11:30 a.m., 209, Hynes

Presiding: Rahul Gairola, Univ. of Washington, Seattle

  1. "Creating Alternate Voices: Exploring South Asian Cyberfeminism," Suchismita Banerjee, Univ. of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
  2. "Digitizing Pakistani Literary Forms; or, E/Merging the Transcultural," Waseem Anwar, Forman Christian Coll.
  3. "Reimagining Aesthetic Education: Digital Humanities in the Global South," Rashmi Bhatnagar, Univ. of Pittsburgh

Responding: Amritjit Singh, Ohio Univ., Athens

720. Henry James and New Media

Sunday, 6 January, 10:15–11:30 a.m., Jefferson, Sheraton

Presiding: John Carlos Rowe, Univ. of Southern California

  1. "Henry James, Propagandist," Harilaos Stecopoulos, Univ. of Iowa
  2. "The Art of Associating: Henry James, Network Theorist," Brad Evans, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick
  3. "What Would Strether Tweet? James’s Late Style as a New Media Ecology in The Ambassadors," Shawna Ross, Penn State Univ., University Park
  4. "Henry James and New Media," Ashley Barnes, Univ. of California, Berkeley

749. Rebooting Graduate Training: Collaboration, Computing, and the New Thesis

Sunday, 6 January, 12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., Hampton, Sheraton

Presiding: Paul Fyfe, Florida State Univ.

Speakers: Katherine E. Gossett, Iowa State Univ.; Erik Hanson, Loyola Univ., Chicago; Matthew Jockers, Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln; Steven E. Jones, Loyola Univ., Chicago; Bethany Nowviskie, Univ. of Virginia; Sarah Storti, Univ. of Virginia

 

This roundtable explores the urgent necessity of reforming graduate training in the humanities, particularly in the light of the opportunities afforded by digital platforms, collaborative work, and an expanded mission for graduates. Presenters include graduate students and faculty mentors who are creating the institutional and disciplinary conditions for renovated graduate curricula to succeed.

760. Bibliography in the Digital Age

Sunday, 6 January, 12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., Public Garden, Sheraton

Presiding: Maura Carey Ives, Texas A&M Univ., College Station

  1. "Analyzing Large Bibliographical Data Sets: A Case Study," David Lee Gants, Florida State Univ.
  2. "Descriptive Bibliography’s ‘Ideal Copy’ and the Encoding of a Born-Digital Scholarly Edition," Wesley Raabe, Kent State Univ., Kent
  3. "From the Archive to the Browser: Best Practices and Google Books," Sydney Bufkin, Univ. of Texas, Austin

763. Digital Technology, Environmental Aesthetics, Ecocritical Discourse

Sunday, 6 January, 1:45–3:00 p.m., Public Garden, Sheraton

Presiding: Elizabeth Swanstrom, Florida Atlantic Univ.

  1. "Decoding the Desert: Reading the Landscape through the Transborder Immigrant Tool," Mark C. Marino, Univ. of Southern California
  2. "Thoreau in Process: Reanimating Thoreau’s Environmental Practice in Digital Space," Kristen Case, Univ. of Maine, Farmington
  3. "Networks, Narratives, and Nature: Teaching Globally, Thinking Nodally," Melanie J. Doherty, Wesleyan Coll.

767. Rewards and Challenges of Serial Scholarship

Sunday, 6 January, 1:45–3:00 p.m., Liberty A, Sheraton

Presiding: Mark Sample, George Mason Univ.

Speakers: Douglas M. Armato, Univ. of Minnesota Press; Kathleen Fitzpatrick, MLA; Frank Kelleter, Univ. of Göttingen; Kirstyn Leuner, Univ. of Colorado, Boulder; Jason Mittell, Middlebury Coll.; Ted Underwood, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana

This roundtable considers the value and challenges of serial scholarship, that is, research published in serialized form online through a blog, forum, or other public venue. Each of the participants will give a lightning talk about his or her stance toward serial scholarship, while the bulk of the session time will be reserved for open discussion.

794. Professional Practices in Online Education

Sunday, 6 January, 1:45–3:00 p.m., Back Bay B, Sheraton

Presiding: Sandra K. Baringer, Univ. of California, Riverside

  1. "A Description of a Situation on the Nontenure Track: Teaching from the Insecure Trenches of a Contingent Online Instructor," Batya Susan Weinbaum, Empire State Coll., State Univ. of New York
  2. "Hybrid Composition Instruction," Joshua P. Fenton, Univ. of California, Riverside
  3. "Contract and Policy Language for Adjuncts Teaching Online in the SUNY Community Colleges: A State of the State Report," Cynthia Eaton, Suffolk Community Coll., State Univ. of New York
  4. "A Strategem for Using Online Courses to Deny Contingent Faculty Members Academic Freedom," Aaron Plasek, Colorado State Univ.

Responding: Maria Shine Stewart, John Carroll Univ.

795. Literature and Digital Pedagogies

Sunday, 6 January, 1:45–3:00 p.m., Fairfax A, Sheraton

Presiding: Anaïs Saint-Jude, Stanford Univ.

  1. "Teaching Modernism Traditionally and Digitally: What We May Learn from New Digital Tutoring Models by Khan Academy and Udacity," Petra Dierkes-Thrun, Stanford Univ.
  2. "Digital Resources and the Medieval-Literature Classroom," Robin Wharton, Georgia Inst. of Tech.
  3. "Toward a New Hybrid Pedagogy: Embodiment and Learning in the Classroom 2.0," Pete Rorabaugh, Georgia State Univ.; Jesse Stommel, Marylhurst Univ.

Digital Humanities Sessions at the 2012 MLA Conference in Seattle

Second and Columbia in Seattle, c. July 1914
Second and Columbia in Seattle, c. July 1914

This is a comprehensive list of digital humanities sessions scheduled for the 2012 Modern Language Association Conference in Seattle, Washington. The 2012 list stands at 58 sessions, up from 44 last year (and 27 the year before). If the trend continues, within the decade it will no longer make sense to compile this list; it’ll be easier to list the sessions that don’t in some way relate in to the influence and impact of digital materials and tools upon language, literary, textual, and media studies.

It’s possible I may have missed a session or two; if so, let me know in the comments and I’ll add the panel to the list. Note that there’s also a pre-convention Getting Started in the Digital Humanities with DHCommons workshop; but because this workshop is application-only, it does not appear in the official MLA program.

You may also want to follow the MLA Tweetup Twitter account for updates on various spontaneous and planned meet-ups in Seattle.

[UPDATE 13 January 2012: I’ve begun adding links to presentations and papers if they’ve been posted online.]

Thursday, January 5

Pre-Convention Digital Humanities Project Mixer

1-4 pm in Convention Center, rooms 3A & 3B

Projects looking for collaborators and collaborators looking for projects, come mix and mingle in this informal project poster session that offers a face-to-face DHCommons experience. Representatives from projects looking for collaborators or just wanting to get the word out will share information and materials about their projects. This forum will also offer great opportunities for one-on-one conversations about pursuing projects in the digital humanities. If you would like to share your project, please sign up here, but otherwise there is no need to register.

This event is open to all MLA participants.

1. Evaluating Digital Work for Tenure and Promotion: A Workshop for Evaluators and Candidates

8:30–11:30 a.m., Willow A, Sheraton

Presiding: Alison Byerly, Middlebury Coll.; Katherine A. Rowe, Bryn Mawr Coll.; Susan Schreibman, Trinity Coll. Dublin

The workshop will provide materials and facilitated discussion about evaluating work in digital media (e.g., scholarly editions, databases, digital mapping projects, born-digital creative or scholarly work). Designed for both creators of digital materials (candidates for tenure and promotion) and administrators or colleagues who evaluate those materials, the workshop will propose strategies for documenting, presenting, and evaluating such work. Preregistration required.

9. Large Digital Libraries: Beyond Google Books

12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., 611, WSCC

Presiding: Michael Hancher Univ. of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Speakers: Tanya E. Clement, Univ. of Maryland, College Park; Amanda L. French, George Mason Univ.; George Oates, Open Library; Glenn Roe, Univ. of Chicago; Andrew M. Stauffer, Univ. of Virginia; Jeremy York, HathiTrust Digital Library

For a prospectus, visit mh.cla.umn.edu/MLA2012.pdf.

Aside from Google Books, the two principal repositories for digitized books are Open Library and HathiTrust Digital Library; Digital Public Library of America is now in its planning stage. What are the merits and prospects of these three projects? How can they be improved? What role should scholars play in their improvement? These questions will be addressed by participants in each project and by others experienced in the digital humanities.

12. Transmedia Stories and Literary Games

12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., 615, WSCC

  1. “Hundred Thousand Billion Fingers: Oulipian Games and Serial Players,” Patrick LeMieux Duke Univ.
  2. “Make Love, Not Warcraft: Virtual Worlds and Utopia,” Stephanie Boluk Vassar Coll.
  3. “Oscillation: Transmedia Storytelling and Narrative Theory by Design,” Patrick Jagoda Univ. of Chicago

Responding: Victoria E. Szabo Duke Univ.

For abstracts, visit www.stephanieboluk.com/docs/MLA_2012_abstracts.pdf.

34. The Future of Peer Review

12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., Issaquah, Sheraton

Presiding: Sean Scanlan, New York City Coll. of Tech., City Univ. of New York

  1. “Making Online Peer Review Interactive: Sticky Notes and Highlighters,” Cheryl E. Ball, Illinois State Univ.
  2. “The Bearable Light of Openness: Renovating Obsolete Peer-Review Bottlenecks,” Aaron J. Barlow, New York City Coll. of Tech., City Univ. of New York
  3. “The Law Review Approach: What the Humanities Can Learn,” Allen Mendenhall, Auburn Univ., Auburn

41. Social Networks, Jewish Identity, and New Media

1:45–3:00 p.m. University, Sheraton

Presiding: Jonathan S. Skolnik Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst

  1. “Social Networking, Jewish Identity, and New Jewish Ritual: Tattooed Jews on Facebook,” Erika Meitner Virginia Polytechnic Inst. and State Univ.
  2. “Electronic Apikoros: Searching for the Nineteenth-Century Origins of Contemporary Satire in the Jewish Blogosphere,” Ashley Aronsen Passmore Texas A&M Univ., College Station
  3. “From MySpace to MyJewishSpace: The Role of the Internet in the Self-Definition of New Jews in Austria and Germany,” Andrea Reiter Univ. of Southampton

47. Old Books and New Tools

1:45–3:00 p.m. 606, WSCC

Presiding: Sarah Werner Folger Shakespeare Library

Speakers: Katherine D. Harris, San José State Univ.; Jeffrey Knight, Univ. of Washington, Seattle; Matt Thomas, Univ. of Iowa; Whitney Trettien, Duke Univ.; Meg Worley, Palo Alto, CA

This roundtable will consider how the categories of old books and new tools might illuminate each other. Speakers will provide individual reflections on their experiences with old books and new tools before opening up the conversation to the theoretical and practical concerns driving the use and interactions of the two.

For abstracts, see http://sarahwerner.net/blog/index.php/old-books-and-new-tools/.

52. Post-Operaismo, Techne, and the Common

1:45–3:00 p.m., 304, WSCC

Presiding: Robert A. Wilkie Univ. of Wisconsin, La Crosse

  1. “Biotechnical Ecologies: Common Life in Los Angeles,” Allison Schifani Univ. of California, Santa Barbara
  2. “Cyber Communism: Left Ethics and Right Theory,” Stephen C. Tumino Kingsborough Community Coll., City Univ. of New York
  3. “Copyleft as Training Ground: The Digital Horizons of Intellectual Property,” Zachary Zimmer Virginia Polytechnic Inst. and State Univ.
  4. “The Romance of Techne,” Kimberly DeFazio Univ. of Wisconsin, La Crosse

67. Race and Digital Humanities

1:45–3:00 p.m., 611, WSCC

Presiding: Howard Rambsy Southern Illinois Univ.

  1. “Digitizing the Past: The Technologies of Recovering Black Lives,” Kimberly D. Blockett Penn State Univ., Brandywine
  2. “Digital Africana Studies 3.0: Singularity, Performativity, and Technologizing the Field,” Bryan Carter Univ. of Central Missouri
  3. “The Project on the History of Black Writing and Digital Possibilities,” Maryemma Graham Univ. of Kansas

For abstracts, write to hrambsy@siue.edu.

69. The Future of Higher Education

3:30–5:15 p.m. Grand C, Sheraton

Presiding: Kathleen Woodward Univ. of Washington, Seattle

  1. “Emergent Projects, Processes, and Stories,” Sidonie Ann Smith Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  2. “Learning Collaboratories, Now and in the Future,” Curtis Wong Microsoft Research
  3. “It’s the Data, Stupid!,” Ed Lazowska Univ. of Washington, Seattle
  4. “How to Crowdsource Thinking,” Cathy N. Davidson Duke Univ.

Scholars from the human, natural, and computational sciences will address the future of higher education in a digital age. They will identify problems in higher education today and provide recommendations for what is needed as we go forward. What pressure does this information age exert on the current ways we think about higher education? How does a conversation across the computational sciences and the humanities address, ease, or exacerbate that pressure?

87. Digital Literary Studies: When Will It End?

3:30–4:45 p.m. 304, WSCC

Presiding: David A. Golumbia Virginia Commonwealth Univ.

  1. “Digital Birth, Digital Adoption, Digital Disownment: Reconceiving Computational Textuality,” John David Zuern Univ. of Hawai’i, Manoa
  2. “Digital Literary Studies circa 1954: Lacan’s Machines and Shannon’s Minds,” Bernard Dionysius Geoghegan Northwestern Univ.
  3. “Digital Anamnesis,” Benjamin J. Robertson Univ. of Colorado, Boulder

121. Writing the Jasmine Revolution and Tahrir Square: Graffiti, Film, Collage, Poetry

5:15–6:30 p.m., Cedar, Sheraton

Presiding: Kathryn Lachman Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst

  1. “Tagging the Jasmine Revolution: Social Media and Graffiti in the Tunisian Uprising,” David Fieni Cornell Univ.
  2. “Quand la révolution filmique anticipe la révolution populaire,” Mirvet Médini Kammoun Institut Supérieur des Beaux-Arts de Tunis
  3. “The Women’s Manifesto: Thinking Egypt 2011 Transnationally,” Basuli Deb Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln
  4. “Poetic Responses to the North African Revolutions,” Mahdia Benguesmia Univ. of Batna

For abstracts, write to klachman@llc.umass.edu.

125. What’s Still Missing? What Now? What Next? Digital Archives in American Literature

5:15–6:30 p.m., 608, WSCC

Presiding: Brad Evans, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick

Speakers: Donna M. Campbell, Washington State Univ., Pullman; Julia H. Flanders, Brown Univ.; Kenneth M. Price, Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln; Oya Rieger, Cornell Univ.; Robert Scholes, Brown Univ.; Jeremy York, HathiTrust Digital Library

This roundtable has two goals: (1) to provide a forum for reflection on the first twenty years of the digital archive, especially as it relates to American materials, which might include consideration of what is still missing and of methodologies for making use of what is there now, and (2) to offer an opportunity for researchers who have become dependent on the archive to talk with major players in its production, in the hope of fostering new avenues for cooperation.

150. Digital Humanities and Internet Research

7:00–8:15 p.m., 613, WSCC

Presiding: John Jones Univ. of Texas, Dallas

  1. “Creating a Conceptual Search Engine and Multimodal Corpus for Humanities Research,” Robin A. Reid Texas A&M Univ., Commerce
  2. “What the Digital Can’t Remember,” John Jones
  3. “Toward a Rhetoric of Collaboration: An Online Resource for Teaching and Learning Research,” Jennifer Sano-Franchini Michigan State Univ.

For abstracts, visit robin_anne_reid.dreamwidth.org.

161. The Webs We Weave: Online Pedagogy in Community Colleges

7:00–8:15 p.m., 615, WSCC

Presiding: Linda Weinhouse, Community Coll. of Baltimore County, MD

  1. “Blended Learning: The Best of Both Worlds?,” Pamela Sue Hardman, Cuyahoga Community Coll., Western Campus, OH
  2. “Magic in the Web,” Michael R. Best, Univ. of Victoria; Jeremy Ehrlich, Univ. of Victoria
  3. “The Digital-Dialogue Journal: Tool for Enhanced Classic Communication,” Bette G. Hirsch, Cabrillo Coll., CA
  4. “Delivering Literary Studies in the Twenty-First Century: The Relevance of Online Pedagogies,” Kristine Blair, Bowling Green State Univ.

Friday, January 6

187. Digital Humanities and Hispanism

8:30–9:45 a.m. Grand A, Sheraton

Presiding: Kyra A. Kietrys Davidson Coll.

Speakers: Mike Blum, Coll. of William and Mary; Francie Cate-Arries, Coll. of William and Mary; Kyra A. Kietrys; Kathy Korcheck, Central Coll.; William Anthony Nericcio, San Diego State Univ.; Rocío Quispe-Agnoli, Michigan State Univ.; Amaranta Saguar García, Univ. of Oxford, Lady Margaret Hall; David A. Wacks, Univ. of Oregon

For abstracts and Web links, write to kykietrys@davidson.edu.

Demonstrations by Hispanists who use technology in their scholarship and teaching. The presenters include a graduate student; junior and senior Latin American, Peninsular, and comparativist colleagues whose work spans medieval to contemporary times; and an academic technologist. After brief presentations of the different digital tools, the audience will circulate among the stations to participate in interactive demonstrations.

202. The Presidential Forum: Language, Literature, Learning

10:15 a.m.–12:00 noon, Metropolitan A, Sheraton

Presiding: Russell A. Berman, Stanford Univ.

  1. Networking the Field,” Kathleen Fitzpatrick, MLA
  2. “Of Degraded Tongues and Digital Talk: Race and the Politics of Language,” Imani Perry, Princeton Univ.
  3. “Learning to Unlearn,” Judith Halberstam, Univ. of Southern California
  4. “Borrowing Privileges: Dreaming in Foreign Tongues,” Bala Venkat Mani, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison
  5. “Teaching Literature and the Bitter Truth about Starbucks,” Christopher Freeburg, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana

The forum addresses three fundamental points of orientation for our profession: language, in its various materialities; literature, broadly understood; and learning, especially student learning and our educational missions. The language and literature classroom has to serve the needs of today’s students. How do changing understandings of identity, performance, and media translate into transformations in teaching and learning?

215. Digital South, Digital Futures

10:15–11:30 a.m. 606, WSCC

Presiding: Vincent J. Brewton Univ. of North Alabama

  1. “Documenting the American South,” Natalia Smith Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  2. “Space, Place, and Image: Mapping Farm Securities Administration (FSA) Photographs and the Photogrammar Project,” Lauren Tilton Yale Univ.
  3. “Southern Spaces: The Development of a Digital Southern Studies Journal,” Frances Abbott Emory Univ.
  4. “Mapping a New Deal for New Orleans Artists,” Michael Mizell-Nelson Univ. of New Orleans

For abstracts, visit http://ach.org/ach-sessions-2012-mla-convention after 20 Dec.

217. Reconfiguring the Scholarly Editor: Textual Studies at the University of Washington, Seattle

10:15–11:30 a.m., 613, WSCC

Presiding: Míceál Vaughan, Univ. of Washington, Seattle

  1. “Neither Editor nor Librarian: The Interventions Required in the New Context of Texts in the Digital World,” Joseph Tennis, Univ. of Washington, Seattle
  2. “Revealing a Coronation Tribute: Decoding the Hidden Aural and Visual Symbols,” JoAnn Taricani, Univ. of Washington, Seattle
  3. “Mapping Editors,” Meg Roland, Marylhurst Univ.
  4. “The Editor as Curator: Early Histories of Collected Works Editions in English,” Jeffrey Knight, Univ. of Washington, Seattle

249. Building Digital Humanities in the Undergraduate Classroom

12:00 noon–1:15 p.m. Grand A, Sheraton

Presiding: Kathi Inman Berens Univ. of Southern California

Speakers: Kathryn E. Crowther, Georgia Inst. of Tech.; Brian Croxall, Emory Univ.; Maureen Engel, Univ. of Alberta; Paul Fyfe, Florida State Univ.; Kathi Inman Berens; Janelle A. Jenstad, Univ. of Victoria; Charlotte Nunes, Univ. of Texas, Austin; Heather Zwicker, Univ. of Alberta

For abstracts, visit briancroxall.net/buildingDH after 1 Dec.

This electronic roundtable assumes that “building stuff” is foundational to the digital humanities and that the technical barriers to participation can be low. When teaching undergraduates digital humanities, simple tools allow students to focus on the simultaneous practices of building and interpreting. This show-and-tell presents projects of variable technical complexity that foster robust interpretation.

259. Representation in the Shadow of New Media Technologies

12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., 304, WSCC

Presiding: Lan Dong Univ. of Illinois, Springfield

  1. “Web Video and Ethnic Media: Linking Representation and Distribution,” Aymar Jean Christian Univ. of Pennsylvania
  2. “Among Friends: Comparing Social Networking Functions in the Baltimore Sun and Baltimore Afro-American in 1904 and 1933,” Daniel Greene Univ. of Maryland, College Park
  3. “Digital Trash Talk: The Rhetoric of Instrumental Racism as Procedural Strategy,” Lisa Nakamura Univ. of Illinois, Urbana

276. Getting Funded in the Humanities: An NEH Workshop

1:30–3:30 p.m. 3B, WSCC

Presiding: Jason C. Rhody National Endowment for the Humanities

This workshop will highlight recent awards and outline current funding opportunites. In addition to emphasizing grant programs that support individual and collaborative research and education, the workshop will include information on the NEH’s Office of Digital Humanities. A question-and-answer period will follow.

301. Reconfiguring Publishing

1:45–3:00 p.m., Grand A, Sheraton

Presiding: Carolyn Guertin Univ. of Texas, Arlington; William Thompson Western Illinois Univ.

Speakers: James Copeland, Ugly Duckling Presse; Gail E. Hawisher, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana; James MacGregor, Public Knowledge Project; Rita Raley, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara; Avi Santo, Old Dominion Univ.; Cynthia L. Selfe, Ohio State Univ., Columbus; Raymond G. Siemens, Univ. of Victoria

For abstracts, visit www.wiu.edu/users/wat100/2012_reconfigure/.

This session intends not to bury publishing but to raise awareness of its transformations and continuities as it reconfigures itself. New platforms are causing publishers to return to their roots as booksellers while booksellers are once again becoming publishers. Open-access models of publishing are creating new models for content creation and distribution as small print-focused presses are experiencing a renaissance. Come see!

315. The New Dissertation: Thinking outside the (Proto-)Book

3:30–4:45 p.m., 606, WSCC

Presiding: Kathleen Woodward, Univ. of Washington, Seattle

Speakers: David Damrosch, Harvard Univ.; Kathleen Fitzpatrick, MLA; Richard E. Miller, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick; Sidonie Ann Smith, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Kathleen Woodward

In 2010 the Executive Council appointed a working group to explore the state of the doctoral dissertation: How can it adapt to digital innovation, open access, new concepts of “authorship”? What counts as scholarship in the world today? How do we address the national problems of cost and time to degree? This roundtable will offer members of the working group an opportunity to make the case that as we shift the terminology from scholarly publication to scholarly communication we need to expand the forms of the dissertation and to reconceptualize what the dissertation is and how it can prepare graduates for academic careers in the coming decades.

332. Digital Narratives and Gaming for Teaching Language and Literature

3:30–4:45 p.m. Aspen, Sheraton

Presiding: Barbara Lafford Arizona State Univ.

  1. “Narrative Expression and Scientific Method in Online Gaming Worlds,” Steven Thorne Portland State Univ.
  2. “Designing Narratives: A Framework for Digital Game-Mediated L2 Literacies Development,” Jonathon Reinhardt Univ. of Arizona; Julie Sykes Univ. of New Mexico, Albuquerque
  3. “Close Playing, Paired Playing: A Practicum,” Edmond Chang Univ. of Washington, Seattle; Timothy Welsh Loyola Univ., New Orleans

Responding: Dave McAlpine Univ. of Arkansas, Little Rock

343. The Cultural Place of Nineteenth-Century Poetry

3:30–4:45 p.m., 611, WSCC

Presiding: Charles P. LaPorte, Univ. of Washington, Seattle

  1. “Lyric and Music at the Fin de Siècle: The Cultural Place of Song,” Emily M. Harrington, Penn State Univ., University Park
  2. What Can ‘Digital Reading’ Tell Us about the Material Places of Victorian Poetry?,” Natalie M. Houston, Univ. of Houston, University Park
  3. “Olympics 2012 and Victorian Poetry for All Time,” Margaret Linley, Simon Fraser Univ.

349. Digital Pedagogy

5:15–6:30 p.m., Grand A, Sheraton

Presiding: Katherine D. Harris San José State Univ.

Speakers: Sheila T. Cavanagh, Emory Univ.; Elizabeth Chang, Univ. of Missouri, Columbia; Lori A. Emerson, Univ. of Colorado, Boulder; Adeline Koh, Richard Stockton Coll. of New Jersey; John Lennon, Univ. of South Florida Polytechnic; Kevin Quarmby, Shakespeare’s Globe Trust; Katherine Singer, Mount Holyoke Coll.; Roger Whitson, Georgia Inst. of Tech.

Discussions about digital projects and digital tools often focus on research goals. For this electronic roundtable, we will instead demonstrate how these digital resources, tools, and projects have been integrated into undergraduate and graduate curricula.

378. Old Labor and New Media

5:15–6:30 p.m., 608, WSCC

Presiding: Alison Shonkwiler Rhode Island Coll.

  1. “America Needs Indians: Representations of Native Americans in Counterculture Narrative and the Roots of Digital Utopianism,” Lisa Nakamura Univ of Illinois, Urbana
  2. “The Eyes of Real Labor and the Illusions of Virtual Reality,” Matt Goodwin Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst
  3. “Digital Voices: Representations of Migrant Workers in Dubai and Los Angeles,” Anne Cong-Huyen Univ. of California, Santa Barbara

Responding: Seth Perlow Cornell Univ.

Saturday, January 7

410. Reconfiguring the Literary: Narratives, Methods, Theories

8:30–9:45 a.m. 608, WSCC

Presiding: Susan Schreibman Trinity Coll., Dublin

Speakers: Alison Booth, Univ. of Virginia; Mark Stephen, Byron Univ. of Sydney; Øyvind Eide, Univ. of Oslo; Alexander Gil, Univ. of Virginia; Rita Raley, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara

For abstracts, visit http://ach.org/ach-sessions-2012-mla-convention after 1 Dec.

This roundtable will include projects that show how notions of the literary (narrative, method, and theory) can be fundamentally reconfigured by digital (con)texts.

421. Rhetorical Historiography and the Digital Humanities

8:30–9:45 a.m., 611, WSCC

Presiding: Janice Fernheimer Univ. of Kentucky

  1. “Touch Memory Death Technology Argument: Reading Onscreen,” Anne Frances Wysocki Univ. of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
  2. “Digital Archives as Rhetoric: Emerging Opportunities for Research and Design,” William Hart-Davidson Michigan State Univ.; Jim Ridolfo Univ. of Cincinnati
  3. “Feminist Historiography and the Digital Humanities,” Jessica Enoch Univ. of Pittsburgh

422. Public Intellectuals and the Question of Media

8:30–9:45 a.m. 310, WSCC

Presiding: Brian J. Norman Loyola Univ., Baltimore

  1. “Debating Form: Enlightenment Serial Publishing as Prehistory?,” Richard Squibbs DePaul Univ.
  2. “Truth and Conviction: Going Public with the Archive of Mary Suratt,” Augusta Rohrbach Washington State Univ., Pullman
  3. “New Left versus New Media? Latin American Encounters with Social(ist) Media,” Russell St Clair Cobb Univ. of Alberta
  4. “Professors in Public,” Susan H. Lurie Rice Univ.

Responding: Hortense Jeanette Spillers Vanderbilt Univ.

425. Composing New Partnerships in the Digital Humanities

8:30–9:45 a.m., 606, WSCC

Presiding: Catherine Jean Prendergast Univ. of Illinois, Urbana

Speakers: Matthew K. Gold, New York City Coll. of Tech., City Univ. of New York; Catherine Jean Prendergast; Alexander Reid, Univ. at Buffalo, State Univ. of New York; Spencer Schaffner, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana; Annette Vee, Univ. of Pittsburgh

The objective of this roundtable is to facilitate interactions between digital humanists and writing studies scholars who, despite shared interests in digital authorship, intellectual property, peer review, classroom communication, and textual revision, have often failed to collaborate. An extended period for audience involvement has been designed to seed partnerships beyond the conference.

428. Technology and Chinese Literature and Language

10:15–11:30 a.m., Boren, Sheraton

Presiding: Xiaoping Song Norwich Univ.

  1. “Adaptation: Rewriting Modern Chinese Literary Masterpieces,” Paul Manfredi Pacific Lutheran Univ.
  2. “Technology in Chinese Instruction: A Web-Based Extensive Reading Program,” Helen Heling Shen Univ. of Iowa
  3. “Technology and Teaching Chinese Literature in Translation,” Keith Dede Lewis and Clark Coll.
  4. “Text-Image-Imagined Words: An Approach to Teaching Chinese Literature,” Xiaoping Song

For abstracts, write to xsong@norwich.edu.

429. New Directions in Earlier Tudor Drama

10:15–11:30 a.m., 306, WSCC

Presiding: Maura Giles Watson Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln; Erin E. Kelly Univ. of Victoria

  1. “‘They Make the Chronicles Themselves’: Paranoid History in John Bale’s King Johan,” Philip Schwyzer Univ. of Exeter
  2. “Theater as Politics, Theater as Art: William Briton, an Early Reader of Gorboduc,” Laura Estill Univ. of Victoria
  3. “Ecocritical Heywood and The Play of the Wether,” Jennifer L. Ailles Chicago, IL
  4. “‘To See the Playes of Theatre Newe Wrought’: Electronic Editions of Early Tudor Drama,” Brett Hirsch Univ. of Western Australia

442. New Media, New Pedagogies

10:15–11:30 a.m., 613, WSCC

Presiding: Rebecca L. Walkowitz Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick

  1. “Steampunk Wells: Game Design as Narrative Pedagogy,” Jay Clayton Vanderbilt Univ.
  2. “Technologies That Describe: Data Visualization and Contemporary Fiction,” Heather Houser Univ. of Texas, Austin
  3. “Better Looking, Close Reading: How Online Fiction Builds Literary-Critical Skills,” John David Zuern Univ. of Hawai’i, Manoa

444. Preservation Is (Not) Just Another Word for Nothing Left to Lose

10:15–11:30 a.m., 307, WSCC

Presiding: Robert H. Kieft, Occidental Coll.

Speakers: Rod Gauvin, ProQuest; John Kiplinger, JSTOR; Laura C. Mandell, Texas A&M Univ., College Station; John Wilkin, HathiTrust Digital Library

Responding: Joan Lippincott, Coalition for Networked Information

For abstracts, visit www.wiu.edu/users/wat100/2012/ after 1 Dec.

The speakers will discuss the preservation of texts as a core purpose of libraries, engaging questions regarding the tasks of deciding what materials to preserve and when and which to let go: best practices; institutional and collective roles for the preservation of materials in various formats; economics and governance structures of preserving materials; issues of tools, standards, and platforms for digital materials.

450. Digital Faulkner: William Faulkner and Digital Humanities

10:15–11:30 a.m. 615, WSCC

Presiding: Steven Knepper Univ. of Virginia

Speakers: Keith Goldsmith, Vintage Books; John B. Padgett Brevard, Coll.; Noel Earl Polk, Mississippi State Univ.; Stephen Railton, Univ. of Virginia; Peter Stoicheff, Univ. of Saskatchewan

For abstracts, visit faulknersociety.com/panels.htm after 15 Dec.

A roundtable on digital humanities and its implications for teaching and scholarship on the work of William Faulkner.

467. The Future of Teaching

12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., Grand C, Sheraton

Presiding: Priscilla B. Wald, Duke Univ.

  1. “Gaming the Humanities Classroom,” Patrick Jagoda, Univ. of Chicago
  2. “Intimacy in Three Acts,” Margaret Rhee, Univ. of California, Berkeley
  3. “One Course, One Project,” Jentery Sayers, Univ. of Victoria
  4. “The Meta Teacher,” Bulbul Tiwari, Stanford Univ.

This session features innovative advanced doctoral students and junior scholars who are making their mark as scholars and as teachers using new interactive, multimedia technologies of writing and publishing in their research and classrooms. The panelists cross the boundaries of the humanities, arts, sciences, and technology and are committed to new forms of scholarship and pedogogy. They practice the virtues of open, public, digitally accessible thinking and represent the vibrancy of our profession. Fiona Barnett, Duke Univ., will coordinate live Twitter feeds and other input during the session.

468. Networks, Maps, and Words: Digital-Humanities Approaches to the Archive of American Slavery

12:00 noon–1:15 p.m. 615, WSCC

Presiding: Lauren Klein Georgia Inst. of Tech.

  1. “‘A Report Has Come Here’: Social-Network Analysis in the Papers of Thomas Jefferson,” Lauren Klein
  2. “Slave Narratives in Space: Mapping the World of Venture Smith,” Cameron Blevins Stanford Univ.
  3. “Using Digital Tools to Explore Narrative Conventions in the North American Antebellum Slave Narratives,” Aditi Muralidharan Univ. of California, Berkeley

Responding: Amy Earhart Texas A&M Univ., College Station

479. Digital Humanities in the Italian Context

12:00 noon–1:15 p.m. Cedar, Sheraton

Presiding: Manuela Marchesini Texas A&M Univ., College Station

  1. “Digital Humanities in the Italian Culture Landscape,” Stefano Franchi Texas A&M Univ., College Station
  2. “Life and the Digital: On Esposito and Tarizzo’s Inventions of Life,” Alberto Moreiras Texas A&M Univ., College Station
  3. “Humanist Studies and the Digital Age,” Massimo Lollini Univ. of Oregon
  4. “Giacomo Leopardi’s Zibaldone: From Card Index to Hypertext,” Silvia Stoyanova Princeton Univ.

For abstracts, write to mmarchesini@tamu.edu after 19 Dec.

482. Of Kings’ Treasuries and the E-Protean Invasion: The Evolving Nature of Scholarly Research

12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., 613, WSCC

Presiding: Jude V. Nixon, Salem State Univ.

Speakers: Douglas M. Armato, Univ. of Minnesota Press; Harriett Green, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana; Dean J. Smith, Project MUSE; Pierre A. Walker, Salem State Univ.

This roundtable addresses the veritable explosion of emerging technologies (Google Books, Wikipedia, and e-readers) currently available to faculty members to enhance their scholarly research and how these resources are altering fundamentally the method of scholarly research. The session also wishes to examine access to these technologies and how they interact with the traditional research library and the still meaningful role, if any, it plays in scholarly research.

487. Context versus Convenience: Teaching Contemporary Business Communication through Digital Media

12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., 306, WSCC

Presiding: Mahli Xuan Mechenbier, Kent State Univ.

  1. “Reenvisioning and Renovating the Twenty-First-Century Business Communication Classroom,” Lara Smith-Sitton, Georgia State Univ.
  2. “Contextualizing Conventions: Technology in Business Writing Classrooms,” Suanna H. Davis, Houston Community Coll., Central Coll., TX
  3. “Teaching Business Communication through Simulation Games,” Katherine V. Wills, Indiana Univ.–Purdue Univ., Columbus

490. Reconfiguring the Scholarly Edition

12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., 611, WSCC

Presiding: Susan Schreibman, Trinity Coll. Dublin

Speakers: Michael R. Best, Univ. of Victoria; John Bryant, Hofstra Univ.; Alexander Gil, Univ. of Virginia; Elizabeth Grove-White, Univ. of Victoria; Grant Simpson, Indiana Univ., Bloomington; John A. Walsh, Indiana Univ., Bloomington

New theories of editing have broadened the approaches available to editors of scholarly editions. Noteworthy amongst these are the changes brought about by editing for digital publication. New methods for digital scholarship, forms of editions, theories informing digital publication, and tools offer exciting alternatives to traditional notions of the scholarly edition.

513. Principles of Exclusion: The Future of the Nineteenth-Century Archive

1:45–3:00 p.m., 611, WSCC

Presiding: Lloyd P. Pratt, Univ. of Oxford, Linacre Coll.

  1. “Missing Links; or, Girls of Today, Archives of Tomorrow,” William A. Gleason, Princeton Univ.
  2. “Anonymity, Authorship, and Digital Archives in American Literature,” Elizabeth Lorang, Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln
  3. “Dashed Hopes: Small-Scale Digital Archives of the 1990s,” Amy Earhart, Texas A&M Univ., College Station

532. Reading Writing Interfaces: Electronic Literature’s Past and Present

1:45–3:00 p.m. 613, WSCC

Presiding: Marjorie Luesebrink Irvine Valley Coll., CA

  1. “Early Authors of E-Literature, Platforms of the Past,” Dene M. Grigar Washington State Univ., Vancouver
  2. “Seven Types of Interface in the Electronic Literature Collection Volume Two,” Marjorie Luesebrink ; Stephanie Strickland New York, NY
  3. The Digital Poem against the Interface Free,” Lori A. Emerson Univ. of Colorado, Boulder
  4. “Strange Rain and the Poetics of Motion and Touch,” Mark L. Sample George Mason Univ.

For abstracts, visit http://loriemerson.net/2011/10/04/mla-2012-special-session/.

539. #alt-ac: Alternative Paths, Pitfalls, and Jobs in the Digital Humanities

3:30–4:45 p.m. 3B, WSCC

Presiding: Sara Steger Univ. of Georgia

Speakers: Brian Croxall, Emory Univ.; Julia H. Flanders, Brown Univ.; Jennifer Howard, Chronicle of Higher Education; Matthew Jockers, Stanford Univ.; Shana Kimball, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Bethany Nowviskie, Univ. of Virginia; Lisa Spiro, National Inst. for Tech. in Liberal Education

This roundtable brings together various perspectives on alternative academic careers from professionals in digital humanities centers, libraries, publishing, and humanities labs. Speakers will discuss how and whether digital humanities is especially suited to fostering non-tenure-track positions and how that translates to the role of alt-ac in digital humanities and the academy. Related session: “#alt-ac: The Future of ‘Alternative Academic’ Careers” (595).

566. Ending the Edition

3:30–4:45 p.m., 303, WSCC

Presiding: Carol DeBoer-Langworthy, Brown Univ.

  1. “Mary Moody Emerson’s Almanacks: Digital Editions and Imagined Endings,” Noelle A. Baker, Neenah, WI
  2. “Closing the Book on a Multigenerational Edition: Harvard’s The Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson,” Ronald A. Bosco, Univ. at Albany, State Univ. of New York; Joel Myerson, Univ. of South Carolina, Columbia
  3. “‘Letting Go’: The Final Volumes of the Cambridge Fitzgerald Edition,” James L. W. West, Penn State Univ., University Park

581. Digital Humanities versus New Media

5:15–6:30 p.m., 611, WSCC

  1. ” Everything Old Is New Again: The Digital Past and the Humanistic Future,” Alison Byerly Middlebury Coll.
  2. “As Study or as Paradigm? Humanities and the Uptake of Emerging Technologies,” Andrew Pilsch Penn State Univ., University Park
  3. “Digital Tunnel Vision: Defining a Rhetorical Situation,” David Robert Gruber North Carolina State Univ.
  4. “Digital Humanities Authorship as the Object of New Media Studies,” Victoria E. Szabo Duke Univ.

For abstracts, visit www.duke.edu/~ves4/mla2012.

595. #alt-ac: The Future of “Alternative Academic” Careers

5:15–6:30 p.m., 3B, WSCC

Presiding: Bethany Nowviskie, Univ. of Virginia

Speakers: Donald Brinkman, Microsoft Research; Neil Fraistat, Univ. of Maryland, College Park; Robert Gibbs, Univ. of Toronto; Charles Henry, Council on Library and Information Resources; Bethany Nowviskie; Jason C. Rhody, National Endowment for the Humanities; Elliott Shore, Bryn Mawr Coll.

In increasing numbers, scholars are pursuing careers as “alternative academics”—embracing hybrid and non-tenure-track positions in libraries, presses, humanities and cultural heritage organizations, and digital labs and centers. Speakers represent organizations helping to craft alternatives to the traditional academic career. Related session: “#alt-ac: Alternative Paths, Pitfalls, and Jobs in the Digital Humanities” (539).

603. Innovative Pedagogy and Research in Technical Communication

5:15–6:30 p.m., 615, WSCC

Presiding: William Klein Univ. of Missouri, St. Louis

1. “The New Normal of Public Health Research by Technical Communication Professionals,” Thomas Barker Texas Tech Univ.

2. “Teaching the New Paradigm: Social Media inside and outside the Classroom,” William Magrino Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick; Peter B. Sorrell Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick

3. “Technical and Rhetorical Communication through DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Digital Video,” Crystal VanKooten Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor

For abstracts, write to bill_klein@umsl.edu.

606. Text:Image Visual Studies in the English Major

5:15–6:30 p.m., 304, WSCC

Presiding: Meg Roland, Marylhurst Univ.

  1. “Aesthetic Literacy and Interdisciplinary Vocabularies,” M. Stephanie Murray, Carnegie Mellon Univ.
  2. “Curricular Challenges, Pedagogical Opportunities: Charting Modernism across Departmental Boundaries,” David M. Ball, Dickinson Coll.; Elizabeth Lee, Dickinson Coll.
  3. “Text:Image Visual Studies in the English Department,” Perrin Maurine Kerns, Marylhurst Univ.
  4. Mapping the Antebellum Culture of Reprinting,” Ryan Cordell, Saint Norbert Coll.

For abstracts, write to mroland@marylhurst.edu.

Sunday, January 8

636. Not What We Thought: Representations of the Digital Everyday

8:30–9:45 a.m., 307, WSCC

Presiding: Mark Bresnan New York Univ.

  1. “Enter eBay: Representations of the Digital Everyday in Jonathan Lethem’s Chronic City,” Zara Dinnen Univ. of London, Birkbeck Coll.
  2. “The Work of Viral Video in the Age of Networked Transmission,” Kimberly Knight Univ. of Texas, Dallas
  3. “@Margaret Atwood: Interactive Media and the Management of Literary Celebrity,” Lorraine M. York McMaster Univ.

658. The Literary Archive in an Age of Quantification: Evidence, Method, Imagination

10:15–11:30 a.m., 307, WSCC

Presiding: Justine S. Murison Univ. of Illinois, Urbana

  1. “Cause for Idealism? The Scientization of Literary Studies,” Jared Hickman Johns Hopkins Univ., MD
  2. “Can We Have Sex in the Archives?,” Jordan Alexander Stein Univ. of Colorado, Boulder
  3. “How to Build Tools That Foster the Kind of Brainstorming You Want,” Ted Underwood Univ. of Illinois, Urbana

Responding: Justine S. Murison

665. Debates in the Digital Humanities

10:15–11:30 a.m. 615, WSCC

Presiding: Alexander Reid Univ. at Buffalo, State Univ. of New York

  1. Whose Revolution? Toward a More Equitable Digital Humanities,” Matthew K. Gold New York City Coll. of Tech., City Univ. of New York
  2. Hacktivism and the Humanities: Programming Protest in the Era of the Digital University,” Elizabeth Mathews Losh Univ. of California, San Diego
  3. “Twenty-First-Century Literacy: Searching the Story of Billy the Kid,” Jeff Rice Univ. of Missouri, Columbia
  4. “Why the Digital Humanities Needs Theory,” Jentery Sayers Univ. of Victoria

For abstracts and discussion, visit dhdebatesmla12.wordpress.com/.

674. Giving It Away: Sharing and the Future of Scholarly Communication

10:15–11:30 a.m., Willow A, Sheraton

Presiding: Nicholas Birns, New School

Giving It Away: Sharing and the Future of Scholarly Communication,” Kathleen Fitzpatrick, MLA

691. Gertrude Stein and Music

12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., Cedar, Sheraton

Presiding: Jeff Dailey, Five Towns Coll.

  1. Sounding Stein’s Texts by Using Digital Tools for Distant Listening,” Tanya E. Clement, Univ. of Maryland, College Park
  2. “Gertrude’s Glee and Jazz Mislaid Jazz,” Judith A. Roof, Rice Univ.
  3. “‘This Is How They Do Not Like It’: Queer Abjection in Gertrude Stein and Virgil Thomson’s Four Saints in Three Acts,” Brandon Masterman, Univ. of Pittsburgh
  4. “‘Come to Paris Where You Can Be Looked After’: Paul Bowles Remediates Gertrude Stein,” Christopher Leslie, Polytechnic Inst. of New York Univ.

For abstracts, visit www.lyricasociety.org.

716. Digital Material

12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., 613, WSCC

Presiding: Charles M. Tung Seattle Univ.; Benjamin Widiss Princeton Univ.

Speakers: Paul Benzon, Temple Univ., Philadelphia; Cara Elisabeth, Ogburn Univ. of Wisconsin, Milwaukee; Charles M. Tung; Benjamin Widiss; Zachary Zimmer, Virginia Polytechnic Inst. and State Univ.

For abstracts, write to bwidiss@princeton.edu.

Is there gravity in digital worlds? Moving beyond both lamentations and celebrations of the putatively free-floating informatic empyrean, this roundtable will explore the ways in which representations in myriad digital platforms—verbal, visual, musical, cinematic—might bear the weight of materiality, presence, and history and the ways in which bodies—both human and hardware—might be recruited for or implicated in the effort.

730. New Media Narratives and Old Prose Fiction

1:45–3:00 p.m., 310, WSCC

Presiding: Amy J. Elias Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville

  1. “New Media: Its Use and Abuse for Literature and for Life,” Joseph Paul Tabbi Univ. of Illinois, Chicago
  2. “Contrasts and Convergences of Electronic Literature,” Dene M. Grigar Washington State Univ., Vancouver
  3. “Computing Language and Poetry,” Nick Montfort Massachusetts Inst. of Tech.

736. Close Playing: Literary Methods and Video Game Studies

1:45–3:00 p.m., University, Sheraton

Presiding: Mark L. Sample George Mason Univ.

Speakers: Edmond Chang, Univ. of Washington, Seattle; Steven E. Jones, Loyola Univ., Chicago; Jason C. Rhody, National Eudowment for the Humanities; Anastasia Salter, Univ. of Baltimore; Timothy Welsh, Loyola Univ., New Orleans; Zach Whalen, Univ. of Mary Washington

For abstracts, visit www.samplereality.com/mla12 after December 1.

This roundtable moves beyond the games-versus-stories dichotomy to explore the full range of possible literary approaches to video games. These approaches include the theoretical and methodological contributions of reception studies, reader-response theory, narrative theory, critical race and gender theory, disability studies, and textual scholarship.

738. Textual Remediation in the Digital Age

1:45–3:00 p.m., 307, WSCC

Presiding: Andrew M. Stauffer, Univ. of Virginia

Speakers: Mark Algee-Hewitt, McGill Univ.; Alison Booth, Univ. of Virginia; Amanda Gailey, Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln; Laura C. Mandell, Texas A&M Univ., College Station

Roundtable on the theoretical, practical, and institutional issues surrounding the transformation of print-era texts into digital forms for scholarly use. What forms of editing need to be done, and by whom? What new research questions are becoming possible? How will the global digital library change professional communication? What is the future of the academic research library? How can we make sustainable digital textual resources for literary studies?

Second and Columbia, c. July 1914 photograph courtesy of Rob Ketcherside, Creative Commons Licensed

Renetworking House of Leaves in the Digital Humanities

House Of LeavesMark Z. Danielewski’s debut novel House of Leaves (2000) presents a paradox to the literary scholar working within the digital humanities. On one hand the massive, labyrinthine novel offers so many ambiguities and playful metaleptic moments that it would seem to be a literary critic’s dream text, endlessly interpretable, boundlessly intertextual. On the other hand, with its layers of footnotes, metacommentary, and self-conscious invocation of literary theory, the novel seems to preemptively foreclose any and all possible interpretative moves.

Indeed, as Danielewski himself has said, “I have yet to hear an interpretation of House of Leaves that I had not anticipated”[1. McCaffery, Larry, and Sinda Gregory. “Haunted House—An Interview with Mark Z. Danielewksi.” Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction 44.2 (2003) : 106.] While we should take Danielewski’s proclamation as a kind of reverse echo of Warhol’s disingenuous denial of any intention in his artwork, the fact remains that the novel’s hyperconscious awareness of itself, combined with the important scholarly criticism from the likes of Katherine Hayles and Mark Hansen, as well as the continuing exegetical flood generated by legions of fans online—take all this together and it seems impossible that there is anything new to say about House of Leaves.

What do you say about a book that attempts to say everything about itself?

How do you say something new about a text that has been discussed, dissected, and picked over by thousands of persistent and incisive minds?

And how might a digital humanities sensibility reinvigorate a thoroughly worked-over literary text?

Jessica Pressman has convincingly argued that House of Leaves is a “networked” novel in at least two senses: the novel is acutely aware of digital networks and the circulation of knowledge online; and ideal readers will adapt a “networked reading strategy” as they make sense of the book, encountering companion works such as the album Haunted by Poe (aka Danielewski’s sister) and Danielewski’s own The Whalestoe Letters.[2. Pressman, Jessica. “House of Leaves: Reading the Networked Novel.” Studies in American Fiction 34.1 (2006) : 107-128.] To these two forms of the networked novel, my ProfHacker colleague Brian Croxall recently suggested another: reading the novel as part of a network. That is, Brian wants his upcoming undergraduate class at Emory University to read House of Leaves alongside of other classes at other institutions.

After some wrangling of syllabi and schedules, Brian Croxall has gathered a group of us who are teaching House of Leaves at the same time toward the end of October: Paul Benzon (Temple University), Erin Templeton (Converse College), Zach Whalen (University of Mary Washington), and myself at George Mason. The context for each of our classes is different: Paul’s class is a capstone course on literature, media, and the archive; Erin’s is an honors course on the contemporary novel; Zach’s is a senior seminar; Brian’s is a digital humanities class; and my own course is post-print fiction. Because of the varied courses involved (not to mention diverse institutional contexts), we see great value in reading House of Leaves as a network.

Networked Assignments

Right now we are in the process of determining what kind of assignments our five classes can share. They range from the simple to the complex, including the following:

  • Blog Commenting. If we’re all using course blogs, we can have each class read and comment on the posts of the other classes. This is the easiest assignment to implement and has the benefit of being asynchronous.
  • A Group Blog/Tumble Log. All of our students (which will likely add up to 50-60 students) join one massive group blog or tumble log for the three weeks that we’re reading House of Leaves. There’s some flexibility in how dialogic this group effort would be. Students could use Tumblr simply to post quotes and images related to the book, or we could have a full-fledged blog, with layers of comments.
  • Constructive Class projects. I suggested converting my mapping House of Leaves assignment into a studio-type project, in which one class presents two or three group projects to the other classes, and those classes “critique” them. This assignment requires more overhead than the other options, and involves a greater commitment from the students (versus commenting on blogs, where the stakes are lower).

In addition to these fairly predictable shared assignments, I’ve been thinking about a more radical one, which tackles head-on the challenge any teacher of House of Leaves faces: the forum. The House of Leave forum is a massive discussion board of tens of thousands of posts, ranging from the puerile to the brilliant. And, since this is House of Leaves, sometimes both at once. Nearly every puzzle, every ambiguity, every nuance of House of Leaves has had a discussion thread devoted to it. The forum is so overwhelming that it can easily suck the air out of a literary reading of House of Leaves. And, as Rita Raley noted in a message to Richard Grusin and myself, the forum has an unassailable authority about it:[blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/#!/ritaraley/status/37364736030941184″]

Just as House of Leaves presents a paradox to the literary scholar, so too does the forum present a dilemma to the digital humanist. On one hand, the forum is a vast crowd-sourced literary interpretation, complete with user-generated concordances, digitizations, and transcriptions—all of the familiar tools of digital humanists. On the other hand, this work is produced by non-scholars. By fans. Amateurs. It’s not vetted in a way recognizable to most academics (though it’s foolish to believe that the forum does not have its own system of peer review and prestige ranking).

Different professors have different ways of dealing with the forum. Some ban their students from reading it outright. Others acknowledge the forum in an offhand way, hoping that their students never investigate for themselves the breadth and depth of the discussions. In either of these cases, I think the tiptoeing around the forum is due to pedagogical expediencies rather than a high-brow dismissal of low-brow work.

There is a third option, of course, which is to face the forum head-on and incorporate the discussion threads into the class (which certainly fits the networked reading strategy Pressman describes).

And now, I want to propose a fourth option.

Renetworking the Novel

Let’s bring the forum to the fore by starting it anew.

That is, I propose starting the forum from scratch. In our classes we’ll explicitly (and temporarily) forbid students from reading the House of Leave forum. Instead, we create an alternate forum of our own, seeded with a few initial threads that appeared in the original forum. The idea is to recreate the forum, and see how its trajectory would play out ten years later, in the context of a literature class. The 50-60 students from the five classes seems a manageable number to launch a new iteration of the forum; enough to generate a sense of “there” there, but not such an overwhelming number that keeping up with the forum becomes unmanageable (though that would in fact replicate the feel of the original forum).

After three weeks of intensive cross-class use of the renetworked forum, the final step would be to lift the ban on reading the official forum, giving students the opportunity to compare the alternate forum with the original, and draw some conclusions from that comparison.

The five of us haven’t decided yet what kind of shared assignment we’ll use. And my post here is not meant to sway anybody; it’s more of a thought experiment. What would happen if we truly renetworked an already networked novel? And do so using the same modes that made the novel networked in the first place? What would we learn? About House of Leaves? About networks? About crowdsourcing? About the blurry lines between academics and fans?

[Creative Commons photo credit: Simon Scott ]

Reading List for Science Fiction Course (ENGL 451)

Prosthesis' Oświęcim/AuschwitzAfter much deliberation—and with your feedback, both here and twice on Twitter—I have finalized the reading list for my upcoming Science Fiction class. Actually, I finalized it months ago, but I haven’t had a chance to post it here until now.

This list isn’t everything we’re reading; there’ll be short stories, critical essays, other nonfiction works, as well as some experimental writing and film. But the novels below are the texts officially available at the university bookstore or Amazon.

Students: you need not buy the paper versions of these books. You can purchase e-book versions for your Kindle, Nook, or iWhatever. In the case of We3, you can purchase digital copies of the three issues that make up Morrison and Quitely’s graphic novel from Comixology.

I’m excited for the class, and I hope my students are too. All of these novels stick to my original goal of exploring and challenging what counts as “human” in our increasingly inhuman world. And all of them are excellent, provocative reads.

[ Creative Commons photo credit: CxOxS ]

Post-Print Fiction Reading List (the print stuff, at least)

A Shredded Book
{a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/stml/4114011563/in/photostream/"}Ex-Book{/a} by James Bridle

I’m excited to announce the print side of my post-print fiction reading list:

Each of these works offers a meditation upon the act of reading or writing, the power of stories, the role of storytellers, and the materiality of books themselves as physical objects. In addition to these printed and (mostly) bound texts, my English Honors Seminar students will encounter a range of other unconventional narrative forms, from Jonathan Blow’s Braid to Kate Pullinger’s Inanimate Alice, from Christopher Strachey’s machine-generated love letters to Robert Coover’s deck of storytelling playing cards. Along the way we’ll also consider mash-ups, databased stories, role-playing games, interactive fiction, and a host of other narrative forms. We’ll also (a heads-up to my students) create some of our own post-print beasties…

•    Italo Calvino, If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler (Harvest Books, ISBN 0156439611)
•    Don DeLillo, Mao II (Penguin, ISBN 978-0140152746)
•    Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves (Pantheon, ISBN 978-0375703768)
•    Salvador Plascencia, The People of Paper (Mariner, ISBN 978-0156032117)
•    Anne Carson, Nox (New Directions, ISBN 978-0811218702)

Close Playing: Literary Methods and Videogame Studies (MLA 2012 Roundtable)

Pac ManI recently received word that my proposal for a roundtable on videogame studies was accepted for the annual Modern Language Association Convention, to be held next January in Seattle, Washington. I’m very excited for myself and my fellow participants: Ed Chang, Steve Jones, Jason Rhody, Anastasia Salter, Tim Welsh, and Zach Whalen. (Updated with links to talks below)

This roundtable is particularly noteworthy in two ways. First, it’s a departure from the typical conference model in the humanities, namely three speakers each reading twenty-minute essays at an audience, followed by ten minutes of posturing and self-aggrandizement thinly disguised as Q&A. Instead, each speaker on the “Close Playing” roundtable will briefly (no more than six minutes each) lay out opening remarks or provocations, and then we’ll invite the audience to a long open discussion. Last year’s Open Professoriate roundtable followed a similar model, and the level of collegial dialogue between the panelists and the audience was inspiring (and even newsworthy)—and I hope the “Close Playing” roundtable can emulate that success.

The second noteworthy feature of the roundtable is the topic itself. Videogames—an incredibly rich form of cultural expression—have been historically unrepresented, if not entirely absent from the MLA. I noted this silence in the midst of the 2011 convention in Los Angeles: [blackbirdpie url=”http://twitter.com/samplereality/statuses/2177777654571008″]

This is not to say there isn’t an interest in videogames at the MLA; indeed, I am convinced from the conversations I’ve had at the conference that there’s a real hunger to discuss games and other media forms that draw from the same cultural well as storytelling. Partly in the interest of promoting the critical study of videogames, and partly to serve as a successful model for future roundtable proposals (which I can assure you, the MLA Program Committee wants to see more of), I’m posting the “Close Playing” session proposal here (see also the original CFP).

We hope to see you in Seattle in January!


CLOSE PLAYING: LITERARY METHODS AND VIDEOGAME STUDIES

(As submitted to the MLA Program Committee
for the 2012 conference in Seattle, Washington)

Nearly fifteen years ago a contentious debate erupted in the emerging field of videogame studies between self-proclaimed ludologists and the more loosely-defined narratologists. At stake—or so it seemed at the time—was the very soul of videogame studies. Would the field treat games as a distinct cultural form, which demanded its own theory and methodology? Or were videogames to be considered “texts,” which could be analyzed using the same approaches literary scholars took to poetry, drama, and fiction? Were games mainly about rules, structure, and play? Or did games tell stories and channel allegories? Ludologists argued for the former, while many others defended the latter. The debate played out in conferences, blogs, and the early issues of scholarly e-journals such as Game Studies and Electronic Book Review.

In the ensuing years the debate has dissipated, as both sides have come to recognize that no single approach can adequately explore the rich and diverse world of videogames. The best scholarship in the field is equally attune to both the formal and thematic elements of games, as well as to the complex interplay between them. Furthermore, it’s become clear that ludologists mischaracterized literary studies as a strictly New Critical endeavor, a view that woefully overlooks the many insights contemporary literary scholarship can offer to this interdisciplinary field.

In the past few years scholars have begun exploring the whole range of possible literary approaches to games. Methodologies adopted from reception studies, reader-response theory, narrative theory, critical race and gender theory, queer studies, disability studies, rhetoric and composition, and textual studies have all contributed in substantive ways to videogames studies. This roundtable will focus on these contributions, demonstrating how various methods of literary studies can help us understand narrative-based games as well as abstract, non-narrative games (for example, Tetris). And as Jameson’s famous mantra “always historicize” reminds us, the roundtable will also address the wider social and historical context that surrounds games.

This topic is ideally suited for a roundtable format (rather than a panel of three papers) precisely because of the diversity of approaches, which are well-represented by the roundtable participants. Moreover, each presenter will limit his or her opening remarks to a nonnegotiable six minutes, focusing on the possibilities of one or two specific methodologies for close-reading videogames, rather than a comprehensive close reading of a single game. With six presenters, this means the bulk of the session time (roughly thirty-five minutes) will be devoted to an open discussion, involving both the panel and the audience.

“Close Playing: Literary Methods and Videogame Studies” will appeal to a broad swath of the MLA community. While many will find subject of videogames studies compelling enough by itself, the discussion will be relevant to those working in textual studies, media studies, and more broadly, the digital humanities. The need for this roundtable is clear: as we move toward the second decade of videogames studies, the field can no longer claim to be an emerging discipline; the distinguished participants on this panel—with the help of the audience—will survey the current lay of the land in videogame studies, but more importantly, point the way forward.

Moderator
Mark Sample, George Mason University

Participants (updated with links to talks)

 

[Pac Man photo courtesy of Flick user joyrex / Creative Commons Licensed]