Studying Digital Culture through File Types

I am revamping "Introduction to Digital Studies," my program's overview of digital culture, creativity, and methodology. One approach is to partially organize the class around file types, the idea being that a close reading of certain file types can help us better understand contemporary culture, both online and off. It's a bit like Raymond William's… Continue reading Studying Digital Culture through File Types

Unthinking Television
Four Trends with our Screens

Digging through some old files I came across notes from a roundtable discussion I contributed to in 2009. The occasion was an "Unthinking Television" symposium held at my then-institution, George Mason University. If I remember correctly, the symposium was organized by Mason's Cultural Studies and Art and Visual Technology programs. Amazingly, the site for the… Continue reading Unthinking TelevisionFour Trends with our Screens

Electronic Literature Think Alouds
2015 ELO Conference, Bergen

I'm at the Electronic Literature Organization's annual conference in Bergen, Norway, where I hope to capture some "think aloud" readings of electronic literature (e-lit) by artists, writers, and scholars. I've mentioned this little project elsewhere, but it bears more explanation. The think aloud protocol is an important pedagogical tool, famously used by Sam Wineburg to… Continue reading Electronic Literature Think Alouds2015 ELO Conference, Bergen

The Poetics of Non-Consumptive Reading

“Non-consumptive research” is the term digital humanities scholars use to describe the large-scale analysis of a texts—say topic modeling millions of books or data-mining tens of thousands of court cases. In non-consumptive research, a text is not read by a scholar so much as it is processed by a machine. The phrase frequently appears in… Continue reading The Poetics of Non-Consumptive Reading

Electronic Literature after Flash (MLA14 Proposal)

I recently proposed a sequence of lightning talks for the next Modern Language Association convention in Chicago (January 2014). The participants are tackling a literary issue that is not at all theoretical: the future of electronic literature. I’ve also built in a substantial amount of time for an open discussion between the audience and my… Continue reading Electronic Literature after Flash (MLA14 Proposal)

CFP: Electronic Literature after Flash (MLA 2014, Chicago)

Another View of the Feeds Mode of Strange Rain

Attention artists, creators, theorists, teachers, curators, and archivists of electronic literature! I’m putting together an e-lit roundtable for the Modern Language Association Convention in Chicago next January. The panel will be “Electronic Literature after Flash” and I’m hoping to have a wide range of voices represented. See the full CFP for more details. Abstracts due… Continue reading CFP: Electronic Literature after Flash (MLA 2014, Chicago)

Strange Rain and the Poetics of Motion and Touch

Dramatic Clouds over the Fields

Here (finally) is the talk I gave at the 2012 MLA Convention in Seattle. I was on Lori Emerson's Reading Writing Interfaces: E-Literature's Past and Present panel, along with Dene Grigar, Stephanie Strickland, and Marjorie Luesebrink. Lori's talk on e-lit's stand against the interface-free aesthetic worked particularly well with my own talk, which focused on Erik Loyer's Strange Rain. I don't offer a reading of Strange Rain so much as I use the piece as an entry point to think about interfaces---and my larger goal of reframing our concept of interfaces.

The digital humanities is not about building, it’s about sharing

Every scholarly community has its disagreements, its tensions, its divides. One tension in the digital humanities that has received considerable attention is between those who build digital tools and media and those who study traditional humanities questions using digital tools and media. Variously framed as do vs. think, practice vs. theory, or hack vs. yack,… Continue reading The digital humanities is not about building, it’s about sharing

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

I 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… Continue reading Close Playing: Literary Methods and Videogame Studies (MLA 2012 Roundtable)

Gamifying Gamification by Making It Less Gamely

In a recent post on the group blog Play the Past, I wrote about the way torture-interrogation is often described by its proponents as a kind of game. I wrestled for a long time with the title of that post: "The Gamification of Interrogation." Why? Because I oppose the general trend toward "gamifying" real world… Continue reading Gamifying Gamification by Making It Less Gamely

The Poetics of Metadata and the Potential of Paradata (Revised)

[This is the text, more or less, of the talk I delivered at the 2011 biennial meeting of the Society for Textual Scholarship, which took place March 16-18 at Penn State University. I originally planned on talking about the role of metadata in two digital media projects—a topic that would have fit nicely with STS's… Continue reading The Poetics of Metadata and the Potential of Paradata (Revised)

CFP: Close Playing: Literary Methods and Videogame Studies (MLA 2012, Seattle)

A roundtable discussion of specific approaches and close playings that explore the methodological contribution of literary studies toward videogame studies. 300-word abstract and 1-page bio to Mark Sample (samplereality@gmail.com) by March 15. All participants must be MLA members by April 7. Also note that this is a proposed special session; the MLA Program Committee will… Continue reading CFP: Close Playing: Literary Methods and Videogame Studies (MLA 2012, Seattle)

CFP: Digital Humanities Quarterly Special Issue: The Literary

This special issue of DHQ invites essays that consider the study of literature and the category of the literary to be an essential part of the digital humanities. We welcome essays that consider how digital technologies affect our understanding of the literary— its aesthetics, its history, its production and dissemination processes, and also the traditional… Continue reading CFP: Digital Humanities Quarterly Special Issue: The Literary

Tactical Collaborations (2011 MLA Version)

[I was on a panel called "The Open Professoriat(e)" at the 2011 MLA Convention in Los Angeles, in which we focused on the dynamic between academia, social media, and the public. My talk was an abbreviated version of a post that appeared on samplereality in July. Here is the text of the talk as I… Continue reading Tactical Collaborations (2011 MLA Version)