Criminal Code: The Procedural Logic of Crime in Videogames

[This is the text of my second talk at the 2011 MLA convention in Los Angeles, for a panel on "Close Reading the Digital." My talk was accompanied by a Prezi "Zooming" presentation, which I have replicated here with still images (the original slideshow is at the end of this post). In 15 minutes I… Continue reading Criminal Code: The Procedural Logic of Crime in Videogames

Twitter is a Happening, to which I am Returning

I quit Twitter. Or, more accurately, I quit twittering. Nearly three weeks ago with no warning to myself or others, I stopped posting on Twitter. I stopped updating Facebook, stopped checking in on Gowalla, stopped being present. I went underground, as far underground as somebody whose whole life is online can go underground. In three… Continue reading Twitter is a Happening, to which I am Returning

Initial Thought on Archiving Social Media

My head is buzzing from the one-day Archiving Social Media workshop organized by the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University and our close neighbor, the University of Mary Washington. The workshop wrapped upon only a few hours ago, but I'm already feeling a need to synthesize some thoughts about archives, social… Continue reading Initial Thought on Archiving Social Media

One Week, One Tool, Many Anthologies

Many of you have already heard about Anthologize, the blog-to-book publishing tool created in one week by a crack team of twelve digital humanists, funded by the NEH's Office of Digital Humanities, and shepherded by George Mason University's Center for History and New Media. Until the moment of the tool's unveiling on Tuesday, August 3,… Continue reading One Week, One Tool, Many Anthologies

Tactical Collaboration: or, Skilfull in both parts of War, Tactick and Stratagematick

[Note: See also the MLA 2011 version of this post, which I gave at panel discussion on "The Open Professoriat(e)"] "Skilfull in both parts of War, Tactick and Stratagematick." From Herodians of Alexandria: his imperiall history of twenty Roman cæsars & emperours of his time. First writ in Greek, and now converted into an heroick… Continue reading Tactical Collaboration: or, Skilfull in both parts of War, Tactick and Stratagematick

Fight Club Soap, Sold by SD-6

Bethany Nowviskie has aptly summed up the current standoff between the University of California system and the Nature Publishing Group as a case of fight club soap. Bethany explains the metaphor much better than I can (I urge you to read her post), and she boils it down with even more economy on Twitter: "Fight… Continue reading Fight Club Soap, Sold by SD-6

Haunts: Place, Play, and Trauma

Foursquare and its brethren (Gowalla, Brightkite, Loopt, and so on) are the latest social media darlings, but honestly, are they really all that useful? Sharing your location with your friends is not very compelling when you spend your life in the same four places (home, office, classroom, coffee shop). Are these apps really even fun?… Continue reading Haunts: Place, Play, and Trauma

Forget Unconferences, Let’s Think about Underconferences

In a few days the latest iteration of THATCamp will convene on the campus of George Mason University, hosted by the Center for History and New Media. Except "convene" really isn't the right word. Most of my readers will already know that The Technology and Humanities Camp is an "unconference," which as Ethan Watrall explains… Continue reading Forget Unconferences, Let’s Think about Underconferences

On the Death of the Digital Humanities Center

Two or three years ago it'd be difficult to imagine a university shuttering an internationally recognized program, one of the leading such programs in the country. Oh, wait. Never mind. That happens all the time. My own experience tells me that it's usually a marginalized field, using new methodologies, producing hard-to-classify work, heavily interdisciplinary, challenging… Continue reading On the Death of the Digital Humanities Center

The Archive or the Trace: Cultural Permanence and the Fugitive Text

We in the humanities are in love with the archive. My readers already know that I am obsessed with archiving otherwise ephemeral social media. I've got multiple redundant systems for preserving my Twitter activity. I rely on the Firefox plugins Scrapbook and Zotero to capture any online document that poses even the slightest flight risk.… Continue reading The Archive or the Trace: Cultural Permanence and the Fugitive Text

MLA Word Cloud for 28 December 2009

Today the Modern Language Association Conference goes into its second full day of meetings in Philadelphia. What's the conference been like so far? You can be the judge of whether the conference backchannel on Twitter captures the conference or not. Here's a word cloud of all #MLA09 tweets from Monday, December (minus the hashtag itself)… Continue reading MLA Word Cloud for 28 December 2009

The Modern Language Association Wishes Away Digital Différance

This is the first academic semester in which students have been using the revised 7th edition of the MLA Handbook (you know, that painfully organized book that prescribes the proper citation method for material like "an article in a microform collection of articles"). From the moment I got my copy of the handbook in May… Continue reading The Modern Language Association Wishes Away Digital Différance

Digital Humanities Sessions at the 2009 MLA

Below are all of the upcoming 2009 MLA sessions related to new media and the digital humanities. Am I missing something? Let me know in the comments and I'll add it to the list. You may also be interested in following the Digital Humanities/MLA list on Twitter. (And if you are on Twitter and going… Continue reading Digital Humanities Sessions at the 2009 MLA

The Uncanny Valley of Action in Videogames

The agility afforded by blogging means nothing if you sit on your ideas for months or let half-written posts rot in your draft folder. That's a lesson I learned today when I discovered a host of recent references to Masahiro Mori's famous graph of the uncanny valley, mostly in reference to zombies (see posts by… Continue reading The Uncanny Valley of Action in Videogames