The Century of the Fugitive and the Secret of the Detainee

Cops used a forward-looking infrared device (FLIR) to find traces of Tsarnaev’s heat signature.

The 21st century will be the century of the fugitive. Not because fugitives are proliferating, but because they are disappearing. And not disappearing in the way that fugitives like to disappear, but disappearing because they simply won’t exist. Technology won’t allow it. A manhunt summons forth the great machinery of the state: scores of armed… Continue reading The Century of the Fugitive and the Secret of the Detainee

Building Digital Studies at Davidson

I am thrilled to share the news that in August I will join the faculty of Davidson College, where I will be building a new interdisciplinary program in Digital Studies. This is a tremendous opportunity for me, and my immodest goal is to make Davidson College a model for other liberal arts colleges—and even research… Continue reading Building Digital Studies at Davidson

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)

When Does Service Become Scholarship?

When does service become scholarship? When does anything—service, teaching, editing, mentoring, coding—become scholarship? My answer is simply this: a creative or intellectual act becomes scholarship when it is public and circulates in a community of peers that evaluates and builds upon it. Now for some background behind the question and the rationale for my answer.… Continue reading When Does Service Become Scholarship?

From Fish to Print: My 2012 in Review

Like the pair of mice in Leo Lionni’s classic children’s book, I had a busy year in 2012. It was a great year, but an exhausting one. The year began last January with a surprise: I was mentioned by Stanley Fish in an anti-digital humanities screed in the New York Times. That’s something I can… Continue reading From Fish to Print: My 2012 in Review

An Account of Randomness in Literary Computing

Alan Turing and the Mark I

Below is the text of my presentation at the 2013 MLA Convention in Boston. The panel was Reading the Invisible and Unwanted in Old and New Media, and it was assembled by Lori Emerson, Paul Benzon, Zach Whalen, and myself. Seeking to have a rich discussion period—which we did indeed have—we limited our talks to… Continue reading An Account of Randomness in Literary Computing

Intrusive Scaffolding, Obstructed Learning (and MOOCs)

Sacred Heart Mission

My five-year-old son recently learned how to ride a bike. He mastered the essential components of cycling—balance, peddling, and steering—in roughly ten minutes. Without using training wheels, ever. That idyllic scene of a bent-over parent pushing an unsteady child on a bike, working up enough speed to let go? It never happened. At least not… Continue reading Intrusive Scaffolding, Obstructed Learning (and MOOCs)

Ready: 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10

I’m delighted to announce the publication of10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10 (MIT Press, 2013). My co-authors are Nick Montfort (who conceived the project), Patsy Baudoin, John Bell, Ian Bogost, Jeremy Douglass, Mark Marino, Michael Mateas, Casey Reas, and Noah Vawter. Published in MIT Press’s Software Studies series, 10 PRINT is about a single line… Continue reading Ready: 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10

Remarks on Social Pedagogy at Mason’s Future of Higher Education Forum

On November 2 and 3, George Mason University convened a forum on the Future of Higher Education. Alternating between plenary panels and keynote presentations, the forum brought together observers of higher education as well as faculty and administrators from Mason and beyond. I was invited to appear on a panel about student learning and technology.… Continue reading Remarks on Social Pedagogy at Mason’s Future of Higher Education Forum

Digital Humanities at MLA 2013

What 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… Continue reading Digital Humanities at MLA 2013

On the Predominance of Cupcakes as a Cultural Form

Crimson Velveteen Cupcake

One cannot help but observe the predominance of cupcakes in modern America. Why the cupcake, and why now, at this particular historical moment? What the fuck is up with all the cupcakes? Within five minutes of my home there are two bakeries specializing in cupcakes. Two bakeries two hundred yards from each other. They sell… Continue reading On the Predominance of Cupcakes as a Cultural Form

Reading List for 21st Century Literature (Fall 2012)

This fall at George Mason I’m teaching a special topics course called ENGLISH 442: 21st Century Literature. My department reserves the 442 course number for “American Literary Periods” and this usually means some recognizable—not to mention canonized—era of American literature, comprised of works that share certain stylistic and thematic characteristics. Nineteenth century naturalism. Twentieth century… Continue reading Reading List for 21st Century Literature (Fall 2012)

5 BASIC Statements on Computational Literacy

(This is the text of my five minute position statement on the role of computational literacy in computers and writing. I delivered this statement during a "town hall" meeting at the annual Computers and Writing Conference, hosted at North Carolina State University on May 19, 2012.) I want to briefly run through five basic statements… Continue reading 5 BASIC Statements on Computational Literacy