Digital Humanities at MLA 2014

This is a list of digitally-inflected sessions at the 2014 Modern Language Association Convention (Chicago, January 9-12). These sessions in some way address digital tools, objects, and practices in language, literary, textual, cultural, and media studies. The list also includes sessions about digital pedagogy and scholarly communication. The list stands at 78 entries, making up less than 10% of the total 810 convention slots. Please leave a comment if this list is missing any relevant sessions. Continue 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 participants—who are all key figures in the world of new media studies. And I’m thrilled that two of them—Dene Grigar and Stuart Moulthrop—just received an NEH grant dedicated to a similar question, which is documenting the experience of early electronic literature.

Electronic literature can be broadly conceived as literary works created for digital media that in some way take advantage of the unique affordances of those technological forms. Hallmarks of electronic literature (e-lit) include interactivity, immersiveness, fluidly kinetic text and images, and a reliance on the procedural and algorithmic capabilities of computers. Unlike the avant garde art and experimental poetry that is its direct forebear, e-lit has been dominated for much of its existence by a single, proprietary technology: Adobe’s Flash. For fifteen years, many e-lit authors have relied on Flash—and its earlier iteration, Macromedia Shockwave—to develop their multimedia works. And for fifteen years, readers of e-lit have relied on Flash running in their web browsers to engage with these works.

Flash is dying though. Apple does not allow Flash in its wildly popular iPhones and iPads. Android no longer supports Flash on its smartphones and tablets. Even Adobe itself has stopped throwing its weight behind Flash. Flash is dying. And with it, potentially an entire generation of e-lit work that cannot be accessed without Flash. The slow death of Flash also leaves a host of authors who can no longer create in their chosen medium. It’s as if a novelist were told that she could no longer use a word processor—indeed, no longer even use words. Continue reading

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

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 March 15, 2013.

An Account of Randomness in Literary Computing

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 about 12 minutes each. My presentation was therefore more evocative than comprehensive, more open-ended than conclusive. There are primary sources I’m still searching for and technical details I’m still sorting out. I welcome feedback, criticism, and leads.


An Account of Randomness in Literary Computing
Mark Sample
MLA 2013, Boston

There’s a very simple question I want to ask this evening:

Where does randomness come from?

Randomness has a rich history in arts and literature, which I don’t need to go into today. Suffice it to say that long before Tristan Tzara suggested writing a poem by pulling words out of a hat, artists, composers, and writers have used so-called “chance operations” to create unpredictable, provocative, and occasionally nonsensical work. John Cage famously used chance operations in his experimental compositions, relying on lists of random numbers from Bell Labs to determine elements like pitch, amplitude, and duration (Holmes 107–108). Jackson Mac Low similarly used random numbers to generate his poetry, in particular relying on a book called A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates to supply him with the random numbers (Zweig 85).

RAND-Million-Random-Digits-Open-Small

Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates

 

Published by the RAND Corporation in 1955 to supply Cold War scientists with random numbers to use in statistical modeling (Bennett 135), the book is still in print—and you should check out the parody reviews on Amazon.com. “With so many terrific random digits,” one reviewer jokes, “it’s a shame they didn’t sort them, to make it easier to find the one you’re looking for.”

This joke actually speaks to a key aspect of randomness: the need to reuse random numbers, so that, say you’re running a simulation of nuclear fission, you can repeat the simulation with the same random numbers—that is, the same probability—while testing some other variable. In fact, most of the early work on random number generation in the United States was funded by either the U.S. Atomic Commission or the U.S. Military (Montfort et al. 128). The RAND Corporation itself began as a research and development arm of the U.S. Air Force.

Now the thing with going down a list of random numbers in a book, or pulling words out of hat—a composition method, by the way, Thom Yorke used for Kid A after a frustrating bout of writer’s block—is that the process is visible. Randomness in these cases produces surprises, but the source itself of randomness is not a surprise. You can see how it’s done.

What I want to ask here today is, where does randomness come from when it’s invisible? What’s the digital equivalent of pulling words out of a hat? And what are the implications of chance operations performed by a machine?

To begin to answer these questions I am going to look at two early works of electronic literature that rely on chance operations. And when I say early works of electronic literature, I mean early, from fifty and sixty years ago. One of these works has been well studied and the other has been all but forgotten.

fer

My first case study is the Strachey Love Letter Generator. Programmed by Christopher Strachey, a close friend of Alan Turing, the Love Letter Generator is likely—as Noah Wardrip-Fruin argues—the first work of electronic literature, which is to say a digital work that somehow makes us more aware of language and meaning-making. Strachey’s program “wrote” a series of purplish prose love letters on the Ferranti Mark I Computer—the first commercially available computer—at Manchester University in 1952 (Wardrip-Fruin “Digital Media” 302):

DARLING SWEETHEART
YOU ARE MY AVID FELLOW FEELING. MY AFFECTION CURIOUSLY CLINGS TO YOUR PASSIONATE WISH. MY LIKING YEARNS FOR YOUR HEART. YOU ARE MY WISTFUL SYMPATHY: MY TENDER LIKING.
YOURS BEAUTIFULLY
M. U. C.

Affectionately known as M.U.C., the Manchester University Computer could produce these love letters at a pace of one per minute, for hours on end, without producing a duplicate.

The “trick,” as Strachey put it in a 1954 essay about the program (29-30), is its two template sentences (My adjective noun adverb verb your adjective noun and You are my adjective noun) in which the nouns, adjectives, and adverbs are randomly selected from a list of words Strachey had culled from a Roget’s thesaurus. Adverbs and adjectives randomly drop out of the sentence as well, and the computer randomly alternates the two sentences.

image008The Love Letter Generator has attracted—for a work of electronic literature—a great deal of scholarly attention. Using Strachey’s original notes and source code (see figure to the left), which are archived at the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford, David Link has built an emulator that runs Strachey’s program, and Noah Wardrip-Fruin has written a masterful study of both the generator and its historical context.

As Wardrip-Fruin calculates, given that there are 31 possible adjectives after the first sentence’s opening possessive pronoun “My” and then 20 possible nouns that could that could occupy the following slot, the first three words of this sentence alone have 899 possibilities. And the entire sentence has over 424 million combinations (424,305,525 to be precise) (“Digital Media” 311).

424millioncombos

A partial list of word combinations for a single sentence from the Strachey Love Letter Generator

On the whole, Strachey was publicly dismissive of his foray into the literary use of computers. In his 1954 essay, which appeared in the prestigious trans-Atlantic arts and culture journal Encounter (a journal, it would be revealed in the late 1960s, that was primarily funded by the CIA—see Berry, 1993), Strachey used the example of the love letters to illustrate his point that simple rules can generate diverse and unexpected results (Strachey 29-30). And indeed, the Love Letter Generator qualifies as an early example of what Wardrip-Fruin calls, referring to a different work entirely, the Tale-Spin effect: a surface illusion of simplicity which hides a much more complicated—and often more interesting—series of internal processes (Expressive Processing 122).

Wardrip-Fruin coined this term—the Tale-Spin effect—from Tale-Spin, an early story generation system designed by James Mehann at Yale University in 1976. Tale-Spin tended to produce flat, plodding narratives, though there was the occasional existential story:

Henry Ant was thirsty. He walked over to the river bank where his good friend Bill Bird was sitting. Henry slipped and fell in the river. He was unable to call for help. He drowned.

But even in these suggestive cases, the narratives give no sense of the process-intensive—to borrow from Chris Crawford—calculations and assumptions occurring behind the interface of Tale-Spin.

In a similar fashion, no single love letter reveals the combinatory procedures at work by the Mark I computer.

JEWEL MOPPET
MY AFFECTION LUSTS FOR YOUR TENDERNESS. YOU ARE MY PASSIONATE DEVOTION: MY WISTFUL TENDERNESS. MY LIKING WOOS YOUR DEVOTION. MY APPETITE ARDENTLY TREASURES YOUR FERVENT HUNGER.
YOURS WINNINGLY
M. U. C.

This Tale-Spin effect—the underlying processes obscured by the seemingly simplistic, even comical surface text—are what draw Wardrip-Fruin to the work. But I want to go deeper than the algorithmic process that can produce hundreds of millions of possible love letters. I want to know, what is the source of randomness in the algorithm? We know Strachey’s program employs randomness, but where does that randomness come from? This is something the program—the source code itself—cannot tell us, because randomness operates at a different level, not at the level of code or software, but in the machine itself, at the level of hardware.

In the case of Strachey’s Love Letter Generator, we must consider the computer it was designed for, the Mark I. One of the remarkable features of this computer was that it had a hardware-based random number generator. The random number generator pulled a string of random numbers from what Turing called “resistance noise”—that is, electrical signals produced by the physical functioning of the machine itself—and put the twenty least significant digits of this number into the Mark I’s accumulator—its primary mathematical engine (Turing). Alan Turing himself specifically requested this feature, having theorized with his earlier Turing Machine that a purely logical machine could not produce randomness (Shiner). And Turing knew—like his Cold War counterparts in the United States—that random numbers were crucial for any kind of statistical modeling of nuclear fission.

I have more to say about randomness in the Strachey Love Letter Generator, but before I do, I want to move to my second case study. This is an early, largely unheralded work called SAGA. SAGA was a script-writing program on the TX-0 computer. The TX-0 was the first computer to replace vacuum tubes with transistors and also the first to use interactive graphics—it even had a light pen.

The TX-0 was built at Lincoln Laboratory in 1956—a classified MIT facility in Bedford, Massachusetts chartered with the mission of designing the nation’s first air defense detection system. After TX-0 proved that transistors could out-perform and outlast vacuum tubes, the computer was transferred to MIT’s Research Laboratory of Electronics in 1958 (McKenzie), where it became a kind of playground for the first generation of hackers (Levy 29-30).

vlcsnap-2013-01-02-21h53m01s188In 1960, CBS broadcast an hour-long special about computers called “The Thinking Machine.” For the show MIT engineers Douglas Ross and Harrison Morse wrote a 13,000 line program in six weeks that generated a climactic shoot-out scene from a Western.

Several computer-generated variations of the script were performed on the CBS program. As Ross told the story years later, “The CBS director said, ‘Gee, Westerns are so cut and dried couldn’t you write a program for one?’ And I was talked into it.”

image

The TX-0’s large—for the time period—magnetic core memory was used “to keep track of everything down to the actors’ hands.” As Ross explained it, “The logic choreographed the movement of each object, hands, guns, glasses, doors, etc.” (“Highlights from the Computer Museum Report”).

And here, is the actual output from the TX-0, printed on the lab’s Flexowriter printer, where you can get a sense of the way SAGA generated the play:

TX-0 SAGA Output

In the CBS broadcast, Ross explained the narrative sequence as a series of forking paths.

image

Each “run” of SAGA was defined by sixteen initial state variables, with each state having several weighted branches (Ross 2). For example, one of the initial settings is who sees whom first. Does the sheriff see the robber first or is it the other way around? This variable will influence who shoots first as well.

There’s also a variable the programmers called the “inebriation factor,” which increases a bit with every shot of whiskey, and doubles for every swig straight from the bottle. The more the robber drinks, the less logical he will be. In short, every possibility has its own likely consequence, measured in terms of probability.

The MIT engineers had a mathematical formula for this probability (Ross 2):

image

But more revealing to us is the procedure itself of writing one of these Western playlets.

First, a random number was set; this number determined the probability of the various weighted branches. The programmers did this simply by typing a number following the RUN command when they launched SAGA; you can see this in the second slide above, where the random number is 51455. Next a timing number established how long the robber is alone before the sheriff arrives (the longer the robber is alone, the more likely he’ll drink). Finally each state variable is read, and the outcome—or branch—of each step is determined.

What I want to call your attention to is how the random number is not generated by the machine. It is entered in “by hand” when one “runs” the program. In fact, launching SAGA with the same random number and the same switch settings will reproduce a play exactly (Ross 2).

In a foundational work in 1996 called The Virtual Muse Charles Hartman observed that randomness “has always been the main contribution that computers have made to the writing of poetry”—and one might be tempted to add, to electronic literature in general (Hartman 30). Yet the two case studies I have presented today complicate this notion. The Strachey Love Letter Generator would appear to exemplify the use of randomness in electronic literature. But—and I didn’t say this earlier—the random numbers generated by the Mark I’s method tended not to be reliably random enough; remember, random numbers often need to be reused, so that the programs that run them can be repeated. This is called pseudo-randomness. This is why books like the RAND Corporation’s A Million Random Digits is so valuable.

But the Mark I’s random numbers were so unreliable that they made debugging programs difficult, because errors never occurred the same way twice. The random number instruction eventually fell out of use on the machine (Campbell-Kelly 136). Skip ahead 8 years to the TX-0 and we find a computer that doesn’t even have a random number generator. The random numbers must be entered manually.

The examples of the Love Letters and SAGA suggest at least two things about the source of randomness in literary computing. One, there is a social-historical source; wherever you look at randomness in early computing, the Cold War is there. The impact of the Cold War upon computing and videogames has been well-documented (see, for example Edwards, 1996 and Crogan, 2011), but few have studied how deeply embedded the Cold War is in the software algorithms and hardware processes themselves of modern computing.

Second, randomness does not have a progressive timeline. The story of randomness in computing—and especially in literary computing—is neither straightforward nor self-evident. Its history is uneven, contested, and mostly invisible. So that even when we understand the concept of randomness in electronic literature—and new media in general—we often misapprehend its source.

WORKS CITED

Bennett, Deborah. Randomness. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998. Print.

Berry, Neil. “Encounter.” Antioch Review 51.2 (1993): 194. Print.

Crogan, Patrick. Gameplay Mode: War, Simulation, and Technoculture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011. Print.

Edwards, Paul N. The Closed World: Computers and the Politics of Discourse in Cold War America. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1996. Print.

Hartman, Charles O. Virtual Muse: Experiments in Computer Poetry. Hanover, NH: Wesleyan University Press, 1996. Print.

“Highlights from the Computer Museum Report.” Spring 1984. Web. 23 Dec. 2012.

Holmes, Thomas B. Electronic and Experimental Music: A History of a New Sound. Psychology Press, 2002. Print.

Levy, Steven. Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly Media, 2010. Print.

McKenzie, John A. “TX-0 Computer History.” 1 Oct. 1974. Web. 20 Dec. 2012.

Montfort, Nick et al. 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2013. Print.

Ross, D.T. “Memorandum 8436-M-29: Preliminary Operating Notes for SAGA II.” 19 Oct. 1960. 20 Dec. 2012. <http://bitsavers.trailing-edge.com/pdf/mit/tx-0/memos/Morse_SAGAII_Oct60.pdf>.

Shiner, Jeff. “Alan Turing’s Contribution Can’t Be Computed.” Agile Blog. 29 Dec. 2012. <http://blog.agilebits.com/2012/12/08/alan-turings-contribution-cant-be-computed/>.

Strachey, Christopher. “The ‘Thinking’ Machine.” Encounter III.4 (1954) : 25–31. Print.

Turing, A.M. “Programmers’ Handbook for the Manchester Electronic Computer Mark II.” Oct. 1952. Web. 23 Dec. 2012.

Wardrip-Fruin, Noah. “Digital Media Archaeology: Interpreting Computational Processes.” Media Archaeology: Approaches, Applications, and Implications. Ed by. Erkki Huhtamo & Jussi Parikka. Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 2011. Print.

—. Expressive Processing: Digital Fictions, Computer Games, and Software Sudies. MIT Press, 2009. Print.

Zweig, Ellen. “Jackson Mac Low: The Limits of Formalism.” Poetics Today 3.3 (1982): 79–86. Web. 1 Jan. 2013.

IMAGE CREDITS (in order of appearance)

Being, On. Alan Turing and the Mark 1. 2010. 24 Dec. 2012. <http://www.flickr.com/photos/speakingoffaith/4422523721/>.

A Million Random Digits with 100,000 Normal Deviates. Courtesy of Casey Reas and10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1));: GOTO 10. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2013. 129.

“Ferranti Mark 1 Sales Literature.” 24 Dec. 2012. <http://www.computer50.org/kgill/mark1/sale.html>.

Image of Love Letter Source code courtesy of Link, David. “There Must Be an Angel: On the Beginnings of the Arithmetics of Rays.” 2006. 23 Dec. 2012. <http://alpha60.de/research/muc/DavidLink_RadarAngels_EN.htm>.

Still Image from “The Thinking Machine.” CBS, October 26, 1960. <http://techtv.mit.edu/videos/10268-the-thinking-machine-1961—mit-centennial-film>.

Western Drama Written by TX-0. 1960. Computer History Museum. Web. 20 Dec. 2012. <http://www.computerhistory.org/collections/accession/102631242>.

SAGA Printout from Pfeiffer, John E. The Thinking Machine. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1962. 132. Print.

Doug Ross Explaining TX-0 Program in the Film “The Thinking Machine.” 1960. Computer History Museum. Web. 20 Dec. 2012. <http://www.computerhistory.org/collections/accession/102631241>.

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.

Strange Rain and the Poetics of Motion and Touch

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.
Title Slide: Strange Rain and the Poetics of Touch and Motion

Today I want to talk about Strange Rain, an experiment in digital storytelling by the new media artist Erik Loyer.

The Menu to Strange Rain

Strange Rain came out in 2010 and runs on Apple iOS devices—the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. As Loyer describes the work, Strange Rain turns your iPad into a “skylight on a rainy day.” You can play Strange Rain in four different modes. In the wordless mode, dark storm clouds shroud the screen, and the player can touch and tap its surface, causing columns of rain to pitter patter down upon the player’s first-person perspective. The raindrops appear to splatter on the screen, streaking it for a moment, and then slowly fade away. Each tap also plays a note or two of a bell-like celesta.

The Wordless Mode of Strange Rain

The other modes build upon this core mechanic. In the “whispers” mode, each tap causes words as well as raindrops to fall from the sky.

The Whisper Mode of Strange Rain

The “story” mode is the heart of Strange Rain. Here the player triggers the thoughts of Alphonse, a man standing in the rain, pondering a family tragedy.

The Story Mode of Strange Rain

And finally, with the most recent update of the app, there’s a fourth mode, the “feeds” mode. This allows players to replace the text of the story with tweets from a Twitter search, say the #MLA12 hashtag.

The Feeds Mode of Strange Rain

Note that any authorial information—Twitter user name, time or date—is stripped from the tweet when it appears, as if the tweet were the player’s own thoughts, making the feed mode more intimate than you might expect.

Another View of the Feeds Mode of Strange Rain

Like many of the best works of electronic literature, there are a number of ways to talk about Strange Rain, a number of ways to frame it. Especially in the wordless mode, Strange Rain fits alongside the growing genre of meditation apps for mobile devices, apps meant to calm the mind and sooth the spirit—like Pocket Pond:

The Meditation App Pocket Pond

In Pocket Pond, every touch of the screen creates a rippling effect.

A Miniature Zen Garden

The digital equivalent of a miniature zen garden, these apps allow us to contemplate minimalistic nature scenes on devices built by women workers in a FoxConn factory in Chengdu, China.

Foxconn Factory Explosion

It’s appropriate that it’s the “wordless mode” that provides the seemingly most unmediated or direct experience of Strange Rain, when those workers who built the device upon which it runs are all but silent or silenced.

The “whispers” mode, meanwhile, with its words falling from the sky, recalls the trope in new media of falling letters—words that descend on the screen or even in large-scale multimedia installation pieces such as Camille Utterback and Romy Achituv’s Text Rain (1999).

Alison Clifford's The Sweet Old Etcetera Text Rain

 

And of course, the story mode even more directly situates Strange Rain as a work of electronic literature, allowing the reader to tap through “Convertible,” a short story by Loyer, which, not coincidentally I think, involves a car crash, another long-standing trope of electronic literature.

Michael Joyce's Afternoon

As early as 1994, in fact, Stuart Moulthrop asked the question, “Why are there so many car wrecks in hypertext fiction?” (Moulthrop, “Crash” 5). Moulthrop speculated that it’s because hypertext and car crashes share the same kind of “hyperkinetic hurtle” and “disintegrating sensory whirl” (8). Perhaps Moulthrop’s characterization of hypertext held up in 1994…

Injured driver & badly damaged vehicle from Kraftwagen Depot München, June 1915

…(though I’m not sure it did), but certainly today there are many more metaphors one can use to describe electronic literature than a car crash. And in fact I’d suggest that Strange Rain is intentionally playing with the car crash metaphor and even overturning it with its slow, meditative pace.

At the same time as this reflective component of Strange Rain, there are elements that make the work very much a game, featuring what any player of modern console or PC games would find familiar: achievements, unlocked by triggering particular moments in the story. Strange Rain even shows up on the iOS’s “Game Center.”

Slide16: iOS Game Center

The way users can tap through Alphonse’s thoughts in Strange Rain recalls one of Moulthrop’s own works, the post-9/11 Pax, which Moulthrop calls, using a term from John Cayley, a “textual instrument”—as if the piece were a musical instrument that produces text rather than music.

Pax

We could think of Strange Rain as a textual instrument, then, or to use Noah Wardrip-Fruin’s reformulation of Cayley’s idea, as “playable media.” Wardrip-Fruin suggests that thinking of electronic literature in terms of playable media replaces a rather uninteresting question—“Is this a game?”—with a more productive inquiry, “How is this played?”

There’s plenty to say about all of these framing elements of Strange Rain—as an artwork, a story, a game, an instrument—but I want to follow Wardrip-Fuin’s advice and think about the question, how is Strange Rain played? More specifically, what is its interface? What happens when we think about Strange Rain in terms of the poetics of motion and touch?

Let me show you a quick video of Erik Loyer demonstrating the interface of Strange Rain, because there are a few characteristics of the piece that are lost in my description of it.

A key element that I hope you can see from this video is that the dominant visual element of Strange Rain—the background photograph—is never entirely visible on the screen. The photograph was taken during a tornado watch in Paulding County in northwest Ohio in 2007 and posted as a Creative Commons image on the photo-sharing site Flickr. But we never see this entire image at once on the iPad or iPhone screen. The boundaries of the photograph exceed the dimensions of the screen, and Strange Rain uses the hardware accelerometer to detect your motion, your movements. So that when you tilt the iPad even slightly, the image tilts slightly in the opposite direction. It’s as if there’s a larger world inside the screen, or rather, behind the screen. And this world is broader and deeper than what’s seen on the surface. Loyer described it to me this way: it’s “like augmented reality, but without the annoying distraction of trying to actually see the real world through the display” (Loyer 1).

This kinetic screen is one of the most compelling features of Strange Rain. As soon as you pick up the iPad or iPhone with Strange Rain running, it reacts to you. The work interacts with you before you even realize you’re interacting with it. Strange Rain taps into a kind of “camcorder subjectivity”—the entirely naturalized practice we now have of viewing the world through devices that have cameras on one end and screens on the other. Think about older videocameras, which you held up to your eye, and you saw the world straight through the camera. And then think of Flip cams or smartphone cameras we hold out in front of us. We looked through older videocameras as we filmed. We look at smartphone cameras as we film.

flipcamface

So when we pick up Strange Rain we have already been trained to accept this camcorder model, but we’re momentarily taken aback, I think, to discover that it doesn’t work quite the way we think it should. That is, it’s as if we are shooting a handheld camcorder onto a scene we cannot really control.

This aspect of the interface plays out in interesting ways. Loyer has an illustrative story about the first public test of Strange Rain. As people began to play the piece, many of them held it up over their heads so that “it looked like the rain was falling on them from above—many people thought that was the intended way to play the piece” (Loyer 1).

That is, people wanted it to work like a camcorder, and when it didn’t, they themselves tried to match their exterior actions to the interior environment of the piece.

There’s more to say about the poetics of motion with Strange Rain but I want to move on to the idea of touch. We’ve seen how touch propels the narrative of Strange Rain. Originally Loyer had planned on having each tap generate a single word, though he found that to be too tedious, requiring too many taps to telegraph a single thought (Loyer 1). It was, oddly enough in a work of playable media that was meant to be intimate and contemplative, too slow. Or rather, it required too much action—too much tapping—on the part of reader. So much tapping destroyed the slow, recursive feeling of the piece. It becomes frantic instead of serene.

Loyer tweaked the mechanic then, making each tap produce a distinct thought. Nonetheless, from my own experience and from watching other readers, I know that there’s an urge to tap quickly. In the story mode of Strange Rain you sometimes get caught in narrative loops—which again is Loyer playing with the idea of recursivity found in early hypertext fiction rather than merely reproducing it. Given the repetitive nature of Strange Rain, I’ve seen people want to fight against the system and tap fast. You see the same thought five times in a row, and you start tapping faster, even drumming using multiple fingers. And the piece paradoxically encourages this, as the only way to bring about a conclusion is to provoke an intense moment of anxiety for Alphonse, which you do by tapping more frantically.

I’m fascinated by with this tension between slow tapping and fast tapping—what I call haptic density—because it reveals the outer edges of the interface of the system. Quite literally.

Move from three fingers to four—easy to do when you want to bring Alphonse to a crisis moment—and the iPad translates your gestures differently. Four fingers tells the iPad you want to swipe to another application, the Windows equivalent of ALT-TAB. The multi-touch interface of the iPad trumps the touch interface of Strange Rain. There’s a slipperiness of the screen. The text is precipitously and perilously fragile and inadvertently escapable. The immersive nature of new media that years ago Janet Murray highlighted as an essential element of the form is entirely an illusion.

I want to conclude then by asking a question: what happen when we begin to think differently about interfaces? We usually think of an interface as a shared contact point between two distinct objects. The focus is on what is common. But what if we begin thinking—and I think Strange Rain encourages this—what if we begin thinking about interfaces in terms of difference. Instead of interfaces, what about thresholds, liminal spaces between two distinct elements. How does Strange Rain or any piece of digital expressive culture have both an interface, and a threshold, or thresholds? What are the edges of the work? And what do we discover when we transgress them?

Works Cited

Dramatic Clouds over the Fields

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