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

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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

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

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

A Digital Hornbook for the Digital Humanities?

The hornbook was not a book, but a small wooden board with a handle. A sheet of vellum inscribed with a lesson—typically the alphabet and the Lord’s Prayer—was attached to one side and covered by a thin, transparent layer of horn or mica. Historians don’t know much about hornbooks, other than they were important tools… Continue reading A Digital Hornbook for the Digital Humanities?

Notes towards a Deformed Humanities

I've gone on record as saying that the digital humanities is not about building. It's about sharing. I stand by that declaration. But I’ve also been thinking about a complementary mode of learning and research that is precisely the opposite of building things. It is destroying things. I want to propose a theory and practice… Continue reading Notes towards a Deformed Humanities

Serial Concentration is Deep Concentration

A Chronicle of Higher Ed column by the former Idaho State University provost and official Stanley Fish biographer Gary Olson has been making waves this weekend. Entitled “How Not to Reform Humanities Scholarship,” Olson’s column is really about scholarly publishing, not scholarship itself. Or maybe not. I don’t know. Olson conflates so many issues and misrepresents so many points of view that it’s difficult to tease out a single coherent argument, other than a misplaced resistance to technological and institutional change. Nonetheless, I want to call attention to a troubling generalization that Olson is certainly not the first to make.

Building and Sharing (When You’re Supposed to be Teaching)

These are my notes "Building and Sharing (When You're Supposed to be Teaching," a lightning talk I gave on Tuesday as part of CUNY's Digital Humanities Initiative. Shannon Mattern (The New School) and I were on a panel called "DH in the Classroom." Shannon's enormously inspirational lightning talk was titled Beyond the Seminar Paper, and… Continue reading Building and Sharing (When You’re Supposed to be Teaching)

Digital Humanities Sessions at the 2012 MLA Conference in Seattle

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… Continue reading Digital Humanities Sessions at the 2012 MLA Conference in Seattle

Hacking the Academy: The Ebook Volume

On September 8, the DigitalCultureBooks imprint of the University of Michigan Library and University Michigan Press released the online edition of Hacking the Academy. Conceived of by Dan Cohen and Tom Scheinfeldt at GMU's Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, Hacking the Academy is an experiment in publishing. It's a crowdsourced book, in… Continue reading Hacking the Academy: The Ebook Volume

Renetworking House of Leaves in the Digital Humanities

Mark 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,… Continue reading Renetworking House of Leaves in the Digital Humanities

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

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: 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