Digital Humanities Sessions at the 2011 MLA

Harbor FreewayRevised: This is a comprehensive list of digital humanities sessions at the 2011 MLA in Los Angeles. Many of the speakers posted the text of their talks online, and you’ll find links here to those online versions. If yours isn’t linked yet, please reply in the comments with the URL of your presentation, and I’ll add it here for archival purposes.

Thursday, 06 January

12. Labor in the Digital Humanities

12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., 407, LA Convention Center

Presiding: William Thompson, Western Illinois Univ.

Speakers: Mark Childs, Coventry Univ.; Tanya E. Clement, Univ. of Maryland, College Park; Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Pomona Coll.; Amanda L. French, George Mason Univ.; Carl Stahmer, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara

Members of this roundtable will address the professional and ethical issues raised by labor in and of the digital humanities. Questions open for discussion: the problem of authorship; the levels and kinds of recognition for contributions made to a project; issues regarding rights holding; problems raised by the differing institutional status of persons working on the same project; potential problems raised around distance education; and the complex questions raised by compensation, in the form of pay and in the form of accumulated symbolic capital.

For abstracts, visit http://fabtimes.net/citcafprrlabor/.

19. Digging into Data: Computational Methods of Literary Research

12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., Platinum Salon F, J. W. Marriott

Presiding: Maura Carey Ives, Texas A&M Univ., College Station

1. “The Dangers and Delights of Data Mining,” Glenn H. Roe, Univ. of Chicago

2. “The Meandering through Textuality Challenge: Perspectives on the Humane Archive,” Stephen J. Ramsay, Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln

3. “Exploring the Underpinnings of the Social Edition,” Raymond G. Siemens, Univ. of Victoria

29. The Brave New World of Scholarly Books: Publishing in Tempestuous Times

12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., 410, LA Convention Center

Presiding: Alan Rauch, Univ. of North Carolina, Charlotte

Speakers: James J. Bono, Univ. at Buffalo, State Univ. of New York; Gregory M. Britton, Getty Publications; Jennifer Crewe, Columbia Univ. Press; Leslie Mitchner, Rutgers Univ. Press; Eric Zinner, New York Univ. Press

The current status of scholarly book publishing is confusing, troubling, and yet, from some perspectives, about to embrace a new and potentially exciting digital future.  How can scholars who don’t have regular access to editors and publishers begin to sort this out? This roundtable opens up some of the questions inherent in the “crisis” in scholarly publishing and explores the very real changes, digital and fiscal, that are altering the world of scholarly books.

For online information and handouts, write to arauch@uncc.edu.

45. Getting Funded in the Humanities: A National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Workshop

1:30–3:30 p.m., 403B, LA Convention Center

Presiding: Brett Bobley, NEH; Rebecca Boggs, NEH; Sonia Feigenbaum, NEH

This workshop will highlight recent awards and outline current funding opportunities. In addition to emphasizing grant programs that support teaching, research, and public programs in the humanities, the workshop will include information on new developments, such as digital initiatives and Bridging Cultures. A question-and-answer period will follow.

48. Hacking the Profession: Academic Self-Help in an Age of Crisis

1:45–3:00 p.m., 407, LA Convention Center

Presiding: Jason B. Jones, Central Connecticut State Univ.

Speakers: Brian Croxall, Emory Univ.; Natalie M. Houston, Univ. of Houston; George H. Williams, Univ. of South Carolina, Spartanburg

This roundtable discusses how we narrate our academic lives online, whether in blogs or on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or in any other format. In particular, we are interested in how we talk about failure or, more gently, about the common problems that plague any academic life: the class that doesn’t quite work, the committee that’s driving us crazy, or the article that can’t quite find a home.

For background reading and preliminary discussion, visit www.profhacker.com after 1 Dec.

52. E-Books as Bibliographical Objects

1:45–3:00 p.m., Platinum Salon C, J. W. Marriott

Presiding: Matthew Gary Kirschenbaum, Univ. of Maryland, College Park

1. “The Enkindling Reciter: Performing Reading and Concealing Texts in the E-Book Demo,” Alan Galey, Univ. of Toronto

2. “Open Objects: From Book to Nook,” Andrew Piper, McGill Univ.

3. “The Kindle Advertiser: E-Books, Advertising, and the Evanescent Edition,” Zahr Said Stauffer, Univ. of Virginia

4. “Virtual Reading on Amazon.com,” Yung-Hsing Wu, Univ. of Louisiana, Lafayette

91. Meeting in the Library: Academic Labor at the Interface

3:30–4:45 p.m., 410, LA Convention Center

Presiding: Lauren Coats, Louisiana State Univ., Baton Rouge; Gabrielle Dean, Johns Hopkins Univ., MD

Speakers: Anne Bruder, Bryn Mawr Coll.; Lauren Coats; Gabrielle Dean; Patricia M. Hswe, Penn State Univ., University Park; Kevin Mulroy, Univ. of California, Los Angeles; Timothy L. Stinson, North Carolina State Univ.

This roundtable will show how practices of communication, cooperation, and exchange between the traditionally segregated roles of librarian and scholar can strengthen jobs, institutions, and knowledge production. Faculty members and librarians share at least two arenas of labor, both central to academia. First, scholars and librarians need to work together to shape the methods and forms of humanities research. Second, librarians and instructors must collaborate on curricula that help students navigate, analyze, and build pathways of knowledge. Focusing on these two issues, the roundtable will consider how the library can serve as the interface where collaboration occurs and where academic labor can be productively transformed.

125. Literary Research in/and Digital Humanities

3:30–4:45 p.m., Diamond Salon 1, J. W. Marriott

Program arranged by the Discussion Group on Libraries and Research in Languages and Literatures

Speakers: Heather Bowlby, Univ. of Virginia; Marija Dalbello, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick; Amy Earhart, Texas A&M Univ., College Station; Manuel M. Martin-Rodriguez, Univ. of California, Merced; Susanne Woods, Wheaton Coll., MA; Abby Yochelson, Library of Congress

Respondent: Robert H. Kieft, Occidental Coll.

This session is the inaugural meeting of a new interdisciplinary MLA discussion group formed by librarians in the association for the discussion of matters of mutual interest with scholars. Panelists will present current work, and the group will discuss its future and how it can promote the creation and curation of scholarly collections and archives, publications, research data, and teaching and study tools through professional associations and on their own campuses.

For abstracts, visit http://guides.library.umass.edu/MLA2011.

140. What Is “College Level Writing” in the Twenty-First Century?

5:15–6:30 p.m., 410, LA Convention Center

Presiding: Les Perelman, Massachusetts Inst. of Tech.

1. “Local Values, Global Perspectives: College Writing at Hispanic-Serving Institutions,” Jolivette Mecenas, Univ. of La Verne

2. “Writing in the Era of the Shadow Elite: The Twilight of the Professions and the Rebirth of the Public Sphere,” Kurt Spellmeyer, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick

3. “Negotiating College-Level Writing in New Media in the Writing Center,” Kate Pantelides, Univ. of South Florida

141. New Thresholds of Interpretation? Paratexts in the Digital Age

5:15–6:30 p.m., Platinum Salon F, J. W. Marriott

Presiding: Dorothee Birke, Freiburg Inst. for Advanced Studies

1. “Bootleg Paratextuality and Media Aesthetics: Decay and Distortion in the Borat DVD,” Paul Benzon, Temple Univ., Philadelphia

2. “The Amazon Phenomenon: New Contextual Paratexts of Historiographic Narratives,” Julia Lippert, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

3. “Peritexts and Epitexts in Transitional Electronic Literature: Readers and Paratextual Engagement on Kindles, iPods, and Netbooks,” Ellen M. McCracken, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara

150. New Tools, Hard Times: Social Networking and the Academic Crisis

5:15–6:30 p.m., 406A, LA Convention Center

Presiding: Meredith L. McGill, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick

Speakers: Rosemary G. Feal, MLA

Marc Bousquet, Santa Clara Univ.

Brian Croxall, Emory Univ.

Christopher John Newfield, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara

Marilee Lindemann, Univ. of Maryland, College Park

This roundtable will examine what role the tools of social networking (e.g., blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube) have played in organizing and communicating about the economic crisis in higher education. One of the goals of the panel will be practical: to share tips and strategies about what works and what doesn’t (and to think critically about how we judge the effectiveness of any particular tool or strategy). Another will be reflective: to provide an opportunity for weighing the benefits and the risks of scholars using these tools to perform work that is often more in the mode of public or professional advocacy than scholarship in the traditional sense.

Friday, 07 January

185. Planet Wiki? Postcolonial Theory, Social Media, and Web 2.0

8:30–9:45 a.m., 406A, LA Convention Center

Presiding: Amit Ray, Rochester Inst. of Tech.

1. “Border Politics on YouTube: Heriberto Yépez’s ‘Voice Exchange Rates’ (or the Bodies That Antimatter),” Tomás Urayoán Noel, Univ. at Albany, State Univ. of New York

2. “Truths of Times to Come: Deleuze, Media, India,” Amitabh Rai, Florida State Univ.

3. “Remapping the Space In-Between: Social Networks of Race, Class, and Digital Media in the Brazilian City,” Justin Andrew Read, Univ. at Buffalo, State Univ. of New York

193. New (and Renewed) Work in Digital Literary Studies: An Electronic Roundtable

8:30–9:45 a.m., Plaza I, J. W. Marriott

Presiding: Bethany Nowviskie, Univ. of Virginia

Speakers: Ernest Cole, Hope Coll.; Randall Cream, Univ. of South Carolina, Columbia; Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Pomona Coll.; Joseph Gilbert, Univ. of Virginia; Laura C. Mandell, Miami Univ., Oxford; William Albert Pannapacker, Hope Coll.; Douglas Reside, Univ. of Maryland, College Park; Andrew M. Stauffer, Univ. of Virginia; John A. Walsh, Indiana Univ., Bloomington; Matthew Wilkens, Rice Univ.

Projects, groups, and initiatives highlighted in this session build on the editorial and archival roots of humanities scholarship to offer new, explicitly methodological and interpretive contributions to the digital literary scene or to intervene in established patterns of scholarly communication and pedagogical practice. Brief introductions will be followed by simultaneous demonstrations of the presenters’ work at eight computer stations.

For project links and abstracts, visit http://ach.org/mla/mla11/.

218. Analog and Digital: Texts, Contexts, and Networks

10:15–11:30 a.m., Atrium I, J. W. Marriott

Presiding: Victoria E. Szabo, Duke Univ.

1. “Digital Networks and Horizontal Textuality,” David S. Roh, Old Dominion Univ.

2. “The Work of the Text in Haggard’s She: Full-Text Searching and Networks of Association,” Robert Steele, George Washington Univ.

3. “Taken Possession Of: What Digital Archives Can Teach Us about Nathaniel Hawthorne, Religious Readers, and Antebellum Reprinting Culture,” Ryan C. Cordell, Univ. of Virginia

For abstracts, visit www.duke.edu/~ves4/mla2011.

233. Transmedia Activism

10:15–11:30 a.m., Diamond Salon 6, J. W. Marriott

Presiding: Anna Everett, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara

Speakers: Anne Balsamo, Univ. of Southern California; Ben Caldwell, Los Angeles, CA; Radhika Gajjala, Bowling Green State Univ.; Henry Jenkins, Univ. of Southern California; Toby Miller, Univ. of California, Riverside

This roundtable considers how transmedia practices advance activism around matters of social justice, critical literacy, and responsible artistic expressions. All the panelists are involved in current media activism and pedagogy projects.

235. Old Media

10:15–11:30 a.m., Olympic III, J. W. Marriott

Presiding: Kate Flint, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick

1. “(Post)Imperial Media,” Aaron S. Worth, Boston Univ.

2. “Hieroglyphics and the Writing/Media Divide,” Jesse Schotter, Yale Univ.

3. “Aldous Huxley and the Hazards of Writing Technologies,” Emily James, Univ. of Washington, Seattle

4. “The Tachistoscope and Digital Literature,” Jessica Pressman, Yale Univ.

248. The Dictionary in Print and in the Cloud

12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., Olympic I, J. W. Marriott

Presiding: Michael Hancher, Univ. of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Speakers: Tim Cassedy, New York Univ.; David L. Porter, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Glenn H. Roe, Univ. of Chicago; Robert Steele, George Washington Univ. For abstracts, visit http://mh.cla.umn.edu/MLA.pdf.

282. Paper as Platform or Interface

12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., Olympic III, J. W. Marriott

Presiding: Lisa Gitelman, New York Univ.

1. “The Word Made Flax: Cheap Bibles, Textual Corruption, and the Poetics of Paper,” Joshua Calhoun, Univ. of Delaware, Newark

2. “The Theory of Paper: Hume, Beattie, Derrida,” Christina Lupton, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor

3. “The Wordsworths’ Daffodils: On the Page, upon the Inward Eye,” Richard Menke, Univ. of Georgia

296. Technology-Enhanced Delivery Models in Foreign Language Learning and Teaching

1:45–3:00 p.m., Platinum Salon A, J. W. Marriott

Presiding: Fernando Rubio, Univ. of Utah; Joshua Thoms, Louisiana State Univ., Baton Rouge

1. “Options in Instructional Modeling: Meeting the Demand for Spanish in Demanding Times,” Diane Musumeci, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana

2. “What CALL (Computer-Assisted Language Learning) Offers for the L2 Curriculum,” Robert James Blake, Univ. of California, Davis

For abstracts, visit www.aausc.org/Default.aspx?pageId=236781.

305. Silent Night: The Archives of the Deaf and Blind

1:45–3:00 p.m., Atrium I, J. W. Marriott

Presiding: Marta L. Werner, D’Youville Coll.

1. “Entering the Light: Deaf Studies Digital Journal and the Archives of Sign Language Poetics,” H-Dirksen Bauman, Gallaudet Univ.

2. “Blindness and Exile in the ‘Dark Blue World’ of Jaroslav Jezek,” Michael Beckerman, New York Univ.

3. “Accessioning Helen Keller: Disability, History, and the Politics of the Archive,” David Serlin, Univ. of California, San Diego

309. The History and Future of the Digital Humanities

1:45–3:00 p.m., Plaza I, J. W. Marriott

Presiding: Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Pomona Coll.

Speakers: Brett Bobley, NEH; Katherine D. Harris, San José State Univ.; Alan Liu, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara; Tara McPherson, Univ. of Southern California; Bethany Nowviskie, Univ. of Virginia; Stephen J. Ramsay, Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln; Susana Ruiz, Univ. of Southern California

This roundtable will bring together many different perspectives, from humanities computing to digital media studies, including senior and junior scholars, research and teaching institutions, and faculty and staff members, so that we might explore the overlap, diffusion, and multiplicity of views of the digital humanities that result.

331. The Open Professoriat: Public Intellectuals on the Social Web

3:30–4:45 p.m., Plaza I, J. W. Marriott

Presiding: Matthew K. Gold, New York City Coll. of Tech., City Univ. of New York

Speakers: Samuel Cohen, Univ. of Missouri, Columbia; Amanda L. French, George Mason Univ. on Open Source and Readership; David Parry, Univ. of Texas, Dallas; Mark L. Sample, George Mason Univ. on Tactical Collaboration; Erin Templeton, Converse Coll. on Public Intellectuals and the Social Web; Elizabeth Vincelette, Old Dominion Univ.

This panel will explore the range of possibilities surrounding the use of social media in many aspects of academic life, with particular attention to the ways in which they can help broaden the audience for academic work at a time of economic and institutional crisis in the academy.

349. From N-Town to YouTube: Medieval Drama on Film, Video, and the Web

3:30–4:45 p.m., 306A, LA Convention Center

Presiding: Victor Ivan Scherb, Univ. of Texas, Tyler

1. “Queer Desire in the York Cycle and the York Festival Trust Plays,” Mary Hayes, Univ. of Mississippi

2. “Page to Stage: Film Footage and the Teaching of Medieval Drama,” Maren Clegg Hyer, Valdosta State Univ.

3. “Making a Magnyfycent Film: Representing Medieval Drama in a Digital Age,” Maria Sachiko Cecire, Bard Coll.

For abstracts, visit http://mrds.eserver.org/.

385. Endangered Languages, Language Documentation, and Digital Humanities

5:15–6:30 p.m., 404A, LA Convention Center

Presiding: Marnie Jo Petray, California Polytechnic State Univ., San Luis Obispo

1. “Predicting the Syntactic Complexity of Newly Recognized Yipho-Ngwi Languages,” Eric Drewry, Azusa Pacific Univ.

2. “Eliciting Phonetic Data in the Field for Language Documentation,” Seunghun J. Lee, Central Connecticut State Univ.

3. “From Data Collection to Data Organization: A Brief Overview of the Challenges of Doing Fieldwork in Linguistics,” Jose Alberto Elias-Ulloa, Stony Brook Univ., State Univ. of New York

For abstracts, write to leeseu@ccsu.edu.

397. The Lives That Digital Archives Write

5:15–6:30 p.m., Plaza I, J. W. Marriott

Presiding: Ruth E. Mack, Univ. at Buffalo, State Univ. of New York

1. “Social Networking in the Enlightenment,” Dan M. Edelstein, Stanford Univ.

2. “Working Lives from Digital Sources: London 1690–1800,” Tim Hitchcock, Univ. of Hertfordshire; Robert Shoemaker, Univ. of Sheffield

3. “Mapping the Social Text: Topography, Letters, and Alexander Pope,” Allison Muri, Univ. of Saskatchewan

Saturday, 08 January

431. Textual Scholarship and New Media

8:30–9:45 a.m., Diamond Salon 8, J. W. Marriott

Presiding: Michael Eberle-Sinatra, Université de Montréal

1. “Comic Book Markup Language: An Introduction and Rationale,” John A. Walsh, Indiana Univ., Bloomington

2. “Crowdspeak: Mobile Telephony and TXTual Practice,” Rita Raley, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara

3. “Alternate Reality Games and Transmedia Textuality: Interpretive Play and the Immaterial Archive,” Zach Whalen, Univ. of Mary Washington

436. The Institution(alization) of Digital Humanities

8:30–9:45 a.m., Atrium III, J. W. Marriott

Presiding: David Lee Gants, Florida State Univ.

1. “A Media Ecological Approach to Digital Humanities; or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love This Dynamic Field,” Kimberly Knight, Univ. of Texas, Dallas

2. “Power, Prestige, and Profession: Digital Humanities in the Age of Academic Anxiety,” Amy Earhart, Texas A&M Univ., College Station

3. “Emerging Dialogue: Librarians and Digital Humanists,” Johanna Drucker, Univ. of California, Los Angeles

462. Foreign Language Cultural Literacy and Web 2.0

10:15–11:30 a.m., 304C, LA Convention Center

Presiding: Charlotte Ann Melin, Univ. of Minnesota, Twin Cities

1. “Translingual and Transcultural Hospitality: On Derridean Dilemmas of Pedagogy and Digital Practices, and Some Solutions,” Glenn S. Levine, Univ. of California, Irvine

2. “The Stanford Nonnative Rapper Contest: Showcasing Transcultural Competences Using Collaborative Social Media Frameworks,” Joseph Kautz, Stanford Univ.; Per Urlaub, Univ. of Texas, Austin

3. “In the Favela with Web 2.0: A Collaborative Web-Based Language and Culture Exchange Project,” Evan Rubin, San Diego State Univ.

474. Social Networking: Web 2.0 Applications for the Teaching of Languages and Literatures

10:15–11:30 a.m., Diamond Salon 2, J. W. Marriott

Presiding: Barbara Lafford, Arizona State Univ. West

1. “Writing for Nonprofits in Social-Media Environments,” Sean McCarthy, Univ. of Texas, Austin

2. “The Macaulay Eportfolio Collection: A Case Study in the Uses of Social Networking for Learning,” Lauren Klein, Graduate Center, City Univ. of New York

3. “Social Media, Digital Vernaculars, and Language Education,” Steven Thorne, Portland State Univ.

For abstracts, write to blafford@asu.edu.

493. The Archive and the Aesthetic: Methodologies of American Literary Studies

10:15–11:30 a.m., Diamond Salon 8, J. W. Marriott

Presiding: Elizabeth Maddock Dillon, Northeastern Univ.

1. “Archive Anxieties and Print Culture,” Nancy Glazener, Univ. of Pittsburgh

2. “The New New Historicism: Electronic Archives and Aesthetic Judgment,” Maurice Sherwood Lee, Boston Univ.

3. “Historical Oversights: Ambivalence and Judgment in the Age of Archival Reproducibility,” John Funchion, Univ. of Miami

505. Lives and Archives in Graphic and Digital Modes

12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., Platinum Salon C, J. W. Marriott

Presiding: Julia Watson, Ohio State Univ., Columbus

1. “Comics Form and Narrating Lives,” Hillary L. Chute, Harvard Univ.

2. “Automedial Ghosts,” Brian Rotman, Ohio State Univ., Columbus

3. “What Is Worth Saving? The Salvage Work of Comics,” Theresa Tensuan, Haverford Coll.

521. Close Reading the Digital

12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., Atrium I, J. W. Marriott

Presiding: Jeremy Douglass, Univ. of California, San Diego

1. “The Code of Hacktavism: A Critical Code Study Case Study,” Mark Marino, Univ. of Southern California

2. “Close Reading Campaign Rhetorics: Procedurality and MyBarackObama.com,” James J. Brown, Wayne State Univ.

3. “Criminal Code: The Procedural Logic of Crime in Video Games,” Mark L. Sample, George Mason Univ.

Respondent: Matthew Gary Kirschenbaum, Univ. of Maryland, College Park

For abstracts, visit http://criticalcodestudies.com/mla2011 after 1 Dec.

532. Electronic Lives

12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., Plaza III, J. W. Marriott

Presiding: Alison Booth, Univ. of Virginia

1. “Autotweetography: Producing and Consuming Identity on Social-Network Sites,” Laurie McNeill, Univ. of British Columbia

2. “Invisible Syndromes: Virtual Biomedical Communities, Self-Monitoring, and Narratives of the Self,” Olivia Banner, Rice Univ.

3. “The Child as Pornographer,” Ellis Hanson, Cornell Univ.

541. Electronic Literature: Off the Screen

1:45–3:00 p.m., Plaza II, J. W. Marriott

Presiding: Jessica Pressman, Yale Univ.

1. “A Pixel or a Grain of Sand: Jenny Holzer’s Projections,” Leisha J. Jones, Penn State Univ., University Park

2. “Locative Narrative: Reorganizing Space in Mobile E-Literature,” Mark Marino, Univ. of Southern California

3. “E-Literature as Event: Seeing Space and Time in Kinetic Typography,” Jeremy Douglass, Univ. of California, San Diego

For abstracts, write to jessica.pressman@yale.edu.

577. Print Culture and Undergraduate Literary Study

1:45–3:00 p.m., Platinum Salon A, J. W. Marriott

Presiding: Lisa Gitelman, New York Univ.

1. “Using Early English Books Online in the Undergraduate Classroom,” Joanne Diaz, Illinois Wesleyan Univ.

2. “Benjamin Franklin’s Compositions,” Jonathan Senchyne, Cornell Univ.

3. “Not Necessarily Natives: Teaching Digital Media with Book Technology (and Vice Versa),” Lisa Marie Maruca, Wayne State Univ.

Respondent: David Lee Gants, Florida State Univ.

For abstracts, visit www.sharpweb.org/ after 15 Dec.

596. Will Publications Perish? The Paradigm Shift in Scholarly Communication

3:30–4:45 p.m., Plaza I, J. W. Marriott

Presiding: Alan Rauch, Univ. of North Carolina, Charlotte

Speakers: Cheryl E. Ball, Illinois State Univ.; Leslie Kreiner Wilson, Pepperdine Univ.; Laurence D. Roth, Susquehanna Univ.; Andrew M. Stauffer, Univ. of Virginia

The scholarly essay, once the coin of the realm in academia, is being transformed by digital technologies. Questions about the future viability of learned journals, to say nothing of practices such as peer review, confront us all. This session is an effort to deal with those questions directly and initiate a dialogue about how various branches of the scholarly community can respond to ongoing and inevitable challenges.

For talking points, visit www.alanrauch.com/perish.html.

606. Methods of Research in New Media

3:30–4:45 p.m., Platinum Salon J, J. W. Marriott

Presiding: Maura Carey Ives, Texas A&M Univ., College Station

1. “Be Online or Be Irrelevant,” David Parry, Univ. of Texas, Dallas

2. “Applied Media Theory: Where Digital Art Meets Humanities Research,” Marcel O’Gorman, Univ. of Waterloo

3. “Augmenting Fiction: Storytelling, Locative Media, and the New Media Lab,” Carolyn Guertin, Univ. of Texas, Arlington

617. Implementing New Knowledge Environments (INKE) and the Scholarly Edition

5:15–6:30 p.m., Diamond Salon 8, J. W. Marriott

Presiding: Paul Werstine, Univ. of Western Ontario

Speakers: Michael Choi, Univ. of Western Ontario; Stan Ruecker, Univ. of Alberta; Raymond G. Siemens, Univ. of Victoria

Topics for discussion will include bringing architectures of the book into the digital age, introducing the dynamic table of contexts for the online scholarly edition, and supporting the scholarly edition in electronic form.

619. Ecocriticism beyond Literature

5:15–6:30 p.m., 410, LA Convention Center

Presiding: Allison Carruth, Univ. of Oregon

1. “Postcolonial Ecologies: Alterity and the Genealogies of Ecocriticism,” Elizabeth M. DeLoughrey, Univ. of California, Los Angeles

2. “Ecocriticism and the Database Aesthetic,” Ursula K. Heise, Stanford Univ.

3. “Out of Our Depths: Oceanic Challenges to Environmental Theory and Animal Studies,” Stacy Alaimo, Univ. of Texas, Arlington

4. “Computer-Aided Design and the Future Green City,” Allison Carruth

For abstracts, visit www.uoregon.edu/~acarruth/ after 2 Jan.

639. Where’s the Pedagogy in Digital Pedagogy?

5:15–6:30 p.m., Platinum Salon F, J. W. Marriott

Presiding: Nirmal H. Trivedi, Georgia Inst. of Tech.

Speakers: Danielle Barrios, Univ. of Ulster; Kristine Blair, Bowling Green State Univ.; Joy Bracewell, Univ. of Georgia; Andrew Famiglietti, Georgia Inst. of Tech.; Antero Garcia, Univ. of California, Los Angeles; Jill Marie Parrott, Univ. of Georgia; Christine Tulley, Univ. of Findlay

This session will share the great number of practical and philosophical questions surrounding what it means to “teach digitally” today. We want to focus attention away from “toolism”—a preoccupation with new technologies for the sake of newness and technical power—and direct attention toward the pedagogy that technology and collaboration can unveil.

For abstracts, write to nirmal.trivedi@lcc.gatech.edu.

THATCamp LA Gathering

8:00-10 p.m., Olympic 1, J.W. Marriott

Sunday, 09 January

743. What the Digital Does to Reading

10:15–11:30 a.m., Diamond Salon 8, J. W. Marriott

Presiding: Laura C. Mandell, Miami Univ., Oxford

1. “What Would Jesus Google? Plural Reading in the Digital Archive,” Daniel Allen Shore, Grinnell Coll.

2. “Social Book Catalogs and Reading: Shifting Paradigms, Humanizing Databases,” Renee Hudson, Univ. of California, Los Angeles; Kimberly Knight, Univ. of Texas, Dallas

3. “Illuminating Hidden Paths: Reading and Annotating Texts in Many Dimensions,” Julie Meloni, Washington State Univ., Pullman

For abstracts, visit www.users.muohio.edu/mandellc/digRdg.html after 15 Nov.

752. Literature and/as New Media

12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., 309, LA Convention Center

Presiding: Jon McKenzie, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison

Speakers: Sarah Allison, Stanford Univ.; N. Katherine Hayles, Duke Univ.; Richard E. Miller, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick; Todd Samuel Presner, Univ. of California, Los Angeles; Craig J. Saper, Univ. of Central Florida; Holly Willis, Univ. of Southern California; Michael L. Witmore, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison

This session engages the nexus of literature and new media from several perspectives, ranging from emerging forms of electronic literature to computer-enabled modes of literary analysis to the broader implications of IT and new media for literary and cultural study. In an age of digital poetry, graphic novels, and iPhone “appisodes,” how useful is the notion of distinct media? In what ways do quantitative methods of “distant reading” and “counting literature” extend traditional forms of analysis, and in what ways do they threaten or simply sidestep them? And what’s at stake in recent calls to critically mash up new media forms and processes in order to reboot the humanities as “new humanities,” “Big Humanities,” and “Humanities 2.0”?

753. Sustainable Publishing

12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., Plaza III, J. W. Marriott

Presiding: Uppinder Mehan, Univ. of Houston, Victoria

1. “New Stationary States,” Brian Lennon, Penn State Univ., University Park

2. “Sustainable Publishing: The Dead-End of the Print/Digital Binary,” Robert Philip Marzec, Purdue Univ., West Lafayette

3. “The Publishing Junkyard,” Jeffrey R. Di Leo, Univ. of Houston, Victoria

For papers, visit http://societyforcriticalexchange.org.

792. Sound Reproduction and the Literary

1:45–3:00 p.m., Diamond Salon 6, J. W. Marriott

Presiding: Jentery Sayers, Univ. of Washington, Seattle

1. “Sound as Sensory Modality in Electronic Literature,” Dene M. Grigar, Washington State Univ., Vancouver

2. “‘Cause That’s the Way the World Turns’: John Edgar Wideman’s Sent for You Yesterday and the Mnemonic Jukebox,” Jürgen E. Grandt, Gainesville State Coll., GA

3. “Analog History: Kevin Young’s To Repel Ghosts and the Textuality of the Turntable,” Paul Benzon, Temple Univ., Philadelphia

For abstracts, examples, and biographies, visit www.hastac.org/ after 1 Dec.

Following the MLA Conference

THATCamp SoCal

January 11-12 at Chapman University in Orange, California

Forget Unconferences, Let’s Think about Underconferences

In a few days the latest iteration of THATCamp will convene on the campus of George Mason University, hosted by the Center for History and New Media. Except “convene” really isn’t the right word. Most of my readers will already know that The Technology and Humanities Camp is an “unconference,” which as Ethan Watrall explains on ProfHacker, is “a lightly organized conference in which the attendees themselves determine the schedule.” You can’t really convene such a self-emergent event. But 75 or so participants will nonetheless be there on Saturday morning, and we will indeed get started, figuring out the sessions democratically and then sharing ideas and conversation. This format takes the place of “sharing” (by which I mean dully reading) 20-minute papers that through a bizarre rift in the space-time continuum take 30 minutes to read, leaving little time for discussion.

[pullquote align=”left”]If you go into a panel knowing exactly what you’re going to say or what you’ve already said, there’s little room for exploration or discovery.[/pullquote]

The unconference obviously stands in contrast to the top-down, largely monologic model of the traditional conference. Most THATCamp attendees rave about the experience, and they find themselves craving similar open-ended panels at the more staid academic conferences in their respective fields. Change is slow to come, of course. What happens for the most part are slight tweaks to the existing model. Instead of four people reading 20-minute papers during a session, four people might share 20-minute papers beforehand, with the session time dedicated to talking about those 20-minute papers. Yet this model still relies on the sharing of prepared material. If you go into a panel knowing exactly what you’re going to say or what you’ve already said, there’s very little room for actual exploration or discovery. It reminds me of Nietzsche’s line that finding “truth” is like someone hiding an object in a bush and later being astonished to find it there. That’s the shape of disingenuous discovery at academic conferences.

So what’s a poor idealistic professor to do?

Let’s forget about unconferences, even as they gain momentum, and start thinking about underconferences.

What’s an underconference?

Before I answer that, let’s run through some other promising alternative conference models:

The Virtual Conference: This is the conference held entirely online, in which the time and space limitations of the real world can be broken at will. The recent Critical Code Studies Working Group, held over six weeks this spring, was a good example, though the conference was, unfortunately, only open to actual participants. The proceedings will be published on Electronic Book Review, however, and at least one research idea seeded at the virtual conference may see the light of the day in a more traditional publishing venue. HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory) has had success with its virtual conference as well.

The Simulated Conference: Like Baudrillard’s simulacrum, this is the simulation of a conference for which there is no original, the conference for which there is no conference. This sounds impossible, but in fact I hosted an entirely simulated conference one weekend in February 2010. It was a particularly conference-heavy weekend for the digital humanities, and since I couldn’t attend any of them, I created one of my own: MarksDH2010. Spurred on at first by Ian Bogost and Matt Gold, the simulated conference turned into a weekend affair, hosted entirely on Twitter, and catered by Halliburton. Dozens of participants spontaneously joined in the fun, and in the very act of lampooning traditional conferences (e.g. see my notes on the fictional Henri Jenquin’s keynote), I humbly suggest we advanced forward the humanities by at least a few virtual inches. As I later explained, MarksDH2010 “was a folie à deux and then some.” You can read the complete archives, in chronological order, and decide for yourself about that characterization.

The Unconference: Do I need to say more about the unconference? Read about the idea in theory, or see it in practice by following the upcoming THATCamp Prime on Twitter.

The Underconference: The virtual conference and the simulated conference are both made possible by technology. They take place at a distance, mediated by screens. The final model I wish to consider is the opposite, rooted in physical space, requiring actual—not virtual—bodies. This is not the unconference, but the underconference. The prerequisite of the underconference is the conference. There is the official conference—say, the MLA—and at the very same time there is an entirely parallel conference, running alongside—no, under—the official conference. Think of it as the Trystero of academia. Inspired by the Situationists, Happenings, flash mobs, Bakhtin, ARGs, and the absurdist political theater of the Yippies, the underconference is the carnival in the churchyard. Transgressive play at the very doorstep of institutional order. And like most manifestations of the carnivalesque, the underconference is at its heart very serious business.

[pullquote align=”right”]The participants of the underconference are also participants in the conference. They are not enemies, they are co-conspirators.[/pullquote]

Let me be clear, though. The underconference is not a chaotic free-for-all. Just as carnival reinforces many of the ideas it seems to make fun of, the underconference ultimately supports the goals of the conference itself: sharing ideas, discovering new texts and new approaches, contributing to the production of knowledge, and even that tawdry business of networking. The participants of the underconference are also participants in the conference. They are not enemies, they are co-conspirators. The underconference is not mean-spirited; in fact, it seeks to overcome the petty nitpicking that counts as conversation in the conference rooms.

The Underconference is:

  1. Playful, exploring the boundaries of an existing structure;
  2. Collaborative, rather than antagonistic; and
  3. Eruptive, not disruptive.

What might an underconference actually look like?

  • Whereas the work of the conference takes place in meeting rooms and exhibit halls, the underconference takes place in “the streets” of the conference: the hallways and stairwells, the lobbies and bars.
  • The underconference begins with a few “seed” shadow sessions, planned and coordinated events that occur in the public spaces of the conference venue: an unannounced poetry reading in a lobby, an impromptu Pecha Kucha projected inside an elevator, a panel discussion in the fitness room.
  • As the underconference builds momentum, bystanders who find themselves in the midst of an unevent are encouraged to recruit others and to hold their own improvised sessions.
  • The underconference has much to learn from alternate reality games (ARGs), and should incorporate scavenger hunts, geolocation, environmental puzzles, and even a reward or badge system that parodies the official system of awards and prizes.
  • I have reason to believe that at least a few of the major academic conferences would look the other way if they were to find themselves paired with an underconference, if not openly sanction a parallel conference. Support might eventually take the form of dedicated space, perhaps the academic equivalent of Harry Potter’s Room of Requirement.

Do you get the idea? It’s a bold and ambitious plan, and I don’t expect many to think it’s doable, let alone worthwhile. Which is exactly why I want to do it. My experiences with virtual conferences, simulated conferences, and unconferences have convinced me that good things come from challenging the conventions of academic discourse. For every institutionalized practice we must develop a counter-practice. For every preordained discussion there should be an infusion of unpredictability and surprise. For every conference there should be an underconference.

On the Death of the Digital Humanities Center

Two or three years ago it’d be difficult to imagine a university shuttering an internationally recognized program, one of the leading such programs in the country.

Oh, wait. Never mind.

That happens all the time.

My own experience tells me that it’s usually a marginalized field, using new methodologies, producing hard-to-classify work, heavily interdisciplinary, challenging many entrenched institutional forces, and subject to an endless number of brutal personal and professional territorial battles. American Studies, Cultural Studies, Folklore Studies. It’s happened to them all.

Sometimes the programs die a slow death, downsized from a department to a program, then to a center, and finally to a URL. They’re dismantled one esteemed professor at a time, their budgets and their space shrinking ever smaller, their funding for graduate students dwindling to nothing. Sometimes the programs die spectacularly fast but no less ignobly, the executioner’s axe visible only in the instant replay. The recession makes this quick death easy to rationalize from a state legislator’s or university administrator’s perspective. Today’s cutting edge initiative is tomorrow’s expendable expenditure.

Indeed, financial considerations seem to have driven a provost-appointed task force’s recommendation that the renowned film studies program at the University of Iowa be eliminated. Such drastic cutbacks make me wonder about innovative programs at my own university, where the state is sharply curtailing public funding. (The state has funded up to 70% of George Mason University’s budget in the recent past, but now Virginia only provides 25%, a figure that is certain to fall even lower in the years ahead.) And then I wonder about innovative programs and initiatives at other colleges and universities.

And then I fear for the digital humanities center.

There is no single model for the digital humanities center. Some focus on pedagogy. Others on research. Some build things. Others host things. Some do it all. Regardless, in most cases the digital humanities center is institutionally supported, grant dependent, physically situated, and powered by vision and personnel. A sudden change in any one of these underpinnings can threaten the existence of the entire structure.

Despite the noise at last year’s MLA Convention that the digital humanities were an emerging recession-proof, bubble-proof, bullet-proof field in academia, I fear for this awkward new hybrid. Funding is tight and it’s only going to get tighter. Sustainability is the biggest issue facing digital humanities centers across the country. Of course, digital humanities centers are often separate from standard academic units. I don’t know whether this auxiliary position will help or hurt them. In either case, it’s not unreasonable to assume that some of the digital humanities centers around today will ultimately disappear.

The death of the digital humanities center. It’s not inevitable everywhere, but it will happen somewhere.

Let me be clear: I am a true believer in the value of the digital humanities center, a space where faculty, students, and researchers can collaborate and design across disciplines, across technologies, across communities. I cut my own chops in the nineties working on the American Studies Crossroads Project, one of the only groups at the time seriously looking at how digital tools were transforming research and learning. I’m grateful to have friends in several of the most impressive digital humanities outfits on the East Coast. I have the feeling that the Center for History and New Media will always be around. The Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities is not going anywhere. The Scholars’ Lab will continue to be a gem at the University of Virginia.

There will always be some digital humanities center. But not for most us.

Most of us working in the digital humanities will never have the opportunity to collaborate with a dedicated center or institute. We’ll never have the chance to work with programmers who speak the language of the humanities as well as Perl, Python, or PHP. We’ll never be able to turn to colleagues who routinely navigate grant applications and budget deadlines, who are paid to know about the latest digital tools and trends—but who’d know about them and share their knowledge even if they weren’t paid a dime. We’ll never have an institutional advocate on campus who can speak with a single voice to administrators, to students, to donors, to publishers, to communities about the value of the digital humanities.

There will always be digital humanities centers. But not for us.

Fortunately even digital humanities centers themselves realize this—as well as funders such as the NEH’s Office of Digital Humanities and the Mellon Foundation—and outreach has become a major mission for the digital humanities.

And fortunately too, a digital humanities center is not the digital humanities. The digital humanities—or I should say, digital humanists—are much more diverse, much more dispersed, and stunningly resourceful to boot.

So if you’re interested in the transformative power of technology upon your teaching and research, don’t sit around waiting for a digital humanities center to pop up on your campus or make you a primary investigator on a grant.

Act as if there’s no such thing as a digital humanities center.

Instead, create your own network of possible collaborators. Don’t hope for or rely upon institutional support or recognition. To survive and thrive, digital humanists must be agile, mobile, insurgent. Decentralized and nonhierarchical.

Stop forming committees and begin creating coalitions. Seek affinities over affiliations, networks over institutes.

Centers, no. Camps, yes.

A Tale of Two MLA Bibliographies

Last month I questioned the Modern Language Association’s decision, handed down in the 7th edition of the MLA Handbook, to exclude URLs (i.e. web addresses) from bibliographies and Works Cited lists. My readers seemed to be divided, and Rosemary Feal, the Executive Director of the MLA, joined the conversation by outlining some of the reasons for the new style guidelines. I appreciated both Rosemary’s insider perspective and her levelheaded response to my rhetorical flourishes (I wrote with gleeful abandon that the new guidelines represented nothing less than “historiographic homicide”).

The fact is, as Rosemary pointed out, you can still include URLs, they’re just not there by default. I can live with that. I’m reasonably attuned to both my sources and my audience. I can figure out when I should include web addresses for my audience’s benefit and when I shouldn’t.

But the problem isn’t me. It’s computers.

What happens when ProCite or EndNote or Zotero generates your bibliography? What happens when novice scholars — as most of our undergraduates and even our graduate students are — use a machine-made bibliography, formatted automatically without any insight or intervention?

Or, what happens when you’re just in a hurry and you let the software finalize your research for you? This is what happened to me, in fact. Just a few days ago.

The problem isn’t me. It’s computers.

I had presented a paper at the MLA’s annual convention in late December, and several people asked me to send them a copy. It was a decent paper. Not overly ambitious, just me tackling a question I had about the unorthodox use of cut scenes in the PS2 game Shadow of the Colossus. I certainly didn’t mind sending out copies to friendly audience members. As I was looking over the document in Word before emailing it, though, I noticed something very strange about my bibliography. The list of sources seemed too bare somehow. Frail. Skeletal. Impoverished.

And of course I realized what was wrong. I had formatted the bibliography through Zotero, using the new MLA style guidelines. URLs were gone, vanished, kaput! The effect was quite dramatic, since many of my sources were digital born, published in online journals with no print equivalent.

Luckily, Zotero developers extraordinaire Simon Kornblith, Christian Werthschulte, and Sebastian Karcher have created several branches of the MLA citation style for Zotero, one of them being the “MLA Style for purposes where the URL is still required.” I promptly installed the style (and you can too, if you have the Zotero plugin). I reformatted my bibliography, and finally I saw what I wanted to see: direct links to whatever sources my readers would want to follow up on.

You know which bibliographic style I prefer, but what about you?

Here’s a little experiment.

I am including below the two different bibliographies from my paper “Playing the Cut Scene: Agency and Vision in Shadow of the Colossus. Both were automatically generated by Zotero. The first version of the bibliography follows the new MLA citation guidelines and excludes URLs. The second version follows older MLA practices and includes URLs. Which one do you prefer? Look them over and answer the poll at the bottom of the post.

MLA BIBLIOGRAPHY #1 (FOLLOWS NEW GUIDELINES)

  • Bogost, Ian. “Persuasive Games: The Proceduralist Style.” Gamesutra 21 Jan 2009. Web. 1 Feb 2009.
  • Ciccoricco, David. “’Play, Memory’: Shadow of the Colossus and Cognitive Workouts.” Dichtung-Digital 2007. Web. 14 Mar 2009.
  • Fortugno, Nick. “Losing Your Grip: Futility and Dramatic Necessity in Shadow of the Colossus.” Well Played: Video Games, Value and Meaning. ETC Press (Beta). Web. 21 Jun 2009.
  • Galloway, Alexander R. Gaming: Essays on Algorithmic Culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2006. Print.
  • Juul, Jesper. Half-Real: Video Games between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2005. Print.
  • Newman, James. “The Myth of the Ergodic Videogame: Some Thoughts on Player-Character Relationships in Videogames.” Game Studies 2.1 (2002): n. pag. Web. 25 Dec 2009.
  • —. Videogames. London: Routledge, 2004. Print.
  • Poole, Steven. Trigger Happy: Videogames and the Entertainment Revolution. New York: Arcade, 2000. Print.
  • Salen, Katie, and Eric Zimmerman. Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2004. Print.
  • Sherman, Ben. “Story Mechanics as Game Mechanics in Shadow of the Colossus.” Gamesutra 28 Mar 2006. Web. 14 Mar 2009.
  • Squire, Kurt, and Henry Jenkins. “The Art of Contested Spaces.” Publications. Web. 15 Dec 2009.
  • Wolf, Mark J. P. The Medium of the Video Game. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2002. Print.

MLA BIBLIOGRAPHY #2 (FOLLOWS OLD GUIDELINES)

  • Bogost, Ian. “Persuasive Games: The Proceduralist Style.” Gamesutra 21 Jan 2009. Web. 1 Feb 2009. <http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/3909/persuasive_games_the_.php?print=1>.
  • Ciccoricco, David. “’Play, Memory’: Shadow of the Colossus and Cognitive Workouts.” Dichtung-Digital 2007. Web. 14 Mar 2009. <http://www.brown.edu/Research/dichtung-digital/2007/Ciccoricco/ciccoricco.htm>.
  • Fortugno, Nick. “Losing Your Grip: Futility and Dramatic Necessity in Shadow of the Colossus.” Well Played: Video Games, Value and Meaning. ETC Press (Beta). Web. 21 Jun 2009. <http://www.etc.cmu.edu/etcpress/node/278>.
  • Galloway, Alexander R. Gaming: Essays on Algorithmic Culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2006. Print.
  • Juul, Jesper. Half-Real: Video Games between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2005. Print.
  • Newman, James. “The Myth of the Ergodic Videogame: Some Thoughts on Player-Character Relationships in Videogames.” Game Studies 2.1 (2002): n. pag. Web. 25 Dec 2009. <http://www.gamestudies.org/0102/newman/>.
  • —. Videogames. London: Routledge, 2004. Print.
  • Poole, Steven. Trigger Happy: Videogames and the Entertainment Revolution. New York: Arcade, 2000. Print.
  • Salen, Katie, and Eric Zimmerman. Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2004. Print.
  • Sherman, Ben. “Story Mechanics as Game Mechanics in Shadow of the Colossus.” Gamesutra 28 Mar 2006. Web. 14 Mar 2009. <http://gamasutra.com/features/20060328/sherman_01.shtml>.
  • Squire, Kurt, and Henry Jenkins. “The Art of Contested Spaces.” Publications. Web. 15 Dec 2009. <http://web.mit.edu/cms/People/henry3/contestedspaces.html>.
  • Wolf, Mark J. P. The Medium of the Video Game. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2002. Print.
[polldaddy poll=2485235]

The MLA in Tweets

I’ve learned from following several digital humanities conferences from afar the past year (including Digital Humanties 2009 and THATcamp 2009) that the Twitter archive of a conference back-channel can be unreliable. Twitter’s default search stream for any hashtag is extremely ephemeral, and that impermanence poses a problem for conference participants and observers, as well as future scholars, students, and journalists who might want to browse, search, extract, and data-mine what can be a rich, though niche, historical record.

So in anticipation of the Modern Language Association’s 2009 conference in Philadelphia, I set up a TwapperKeeper archive of all posts on Twitter marked with the hashtag #MLA09. I also began archiving the material on my own computer, using a program called The Archivist. (I’m into redundancy, especially when it comes to backing up data.) Anybody can export the collected tweets from Twapperkeeper as a compressed file, but I’m also posting here my own archives.

The first is an XML file of the over 1,600 tweets marked with the #MLA09 hashtag, dating from November 28, 2009 all the way to just about midnight on December 31, 2009: #MLA09 (I’ve zipped the xml file for easier downloading).

Second is an Excel version of the file, which has stripped away some of the XML tags, but is a more reader-friendly document: MLA09.xls

There is also a Google Docs version of the file:

I hope people find these archives useful. You can easily create some superficial data visualizations, such as the word cloud pictured above [larger version], but I imagine some more sophisticated analysis can be done as well. Even a simple pie chart [larger version] can reveal user activity at a glance:

My own high visibility is mostly due to the satirical “tips” about the MLA I posted in the days running up to the conference. And notice that two of the most active Twitterers were only virtually present at the conference: Brian Croxall and Amanda French, who both made substantial contributions to the intellectual discourse of the conference even with — or, more accurately, because — of their absences.

Pairing Brian’s bleak analysis of what the profession is now euphemistically calling “contingent” faculty with Amanda’s vision of a grassroots movement to amplify scholarly communication through social networking suggests that the MLA conference has the potential to be more diffuse, more rhizomatic, more meaning making in the future, something I’ll be proposing a few ideas about soon.

Tips for the Modern Language Association

In the spirit of my fake advice for National Novel Writing Month, last month I began posting “tips” on Twitter for the upcoming Modern Language Association conference, an annual exercise in masochism for literature professors and graduate students the world over. This year’s conference was held in Philadelphia, from December 27 to December 30, and it was most notable for the bleak prospects of job candidates, hoping to score interviews at a time when English Departments were hiring for fewer positions than ever before. My tips — and I imagine the tips from the others who joined in — were all attempts to lighten the mood and make fun of something we usually take far too seriously: ourselves.

Here are the complete tips, in chronological order:

  1. #MLA09 tip for novices: Upon arrival, locate the following: coffeeshop, drugstore, liquor store. Acquire supplies. Repeat as necessary. Posted at 11:38 AM on 12/8/2009 by profsyn
  2. #MLA09 Tip: Always preface your question to a panelist with “I know your paper was about X, but let me tell you about MY work…” Posted at 1:20 PM on 12/13/2009 by samplereality
  3. #MLA09 Tip: Be sure to rewatch Sharon Stone in “Basic Instinct” for interview tips on poise and posture. Posted at 3:04 PM on 12/13/2009 by samplereality
  4. #MLA09 tip for novices: The cool kids will always be outside smoking. At the *other* entrance to the hotel. Posted at 9:37 AM on 12/15/2009 by profsyn
  5. #MLA09 tip for novices: No one at the convention is as glad to see each other as they pretend to be. Posted at 12:03 PM on 12/20/2009 by profsyn
  6. #MLA09 tip: MLA is in the City of Brotherly Love this year, so you may recline fraternally on the hotel room bed during your job interview. Posted at 2:42 PM on 12/21/2009 by amandafrench
  7. #MLA09 tip: Watch http://9interviews.com. Watch and learn. Posted at 2:51 PM on 12/21/2009 by briancroxall
  8. #MLA09 Tip: Nothing says “promising job candidate” like an acappella performance of “She Bangs” in the interview suite. Posted at 4:12 PM on 12/21/2009 by samplereality
  9. #MLA09 Tip: Figure out which of your interviewers is the Paula Abdul of the bunch, and get her drunk alone. Posted at 4:15 PM on 12/21/2009 by briancroxall
  10. #MLA09 Tip: Jargon. No one understood Derrida, and he had a job. Impenetrability is your best defense. Posted at 4:17 PM on 12/21/2009 by briancroxall
  11. #MLA09 Tip: Failing impenetrable jargon in your interview, speak with a heavy foreign accent, preferably Slovenian. Posted at 4:23 PM on 12/21/2009 by samplereality
  12. #MLA09 Tip: Speakers used to say “quote” & “end quote” to indicate a quotation. In the digital age, you need merely spell out the URL. Posted at 4:31 PM on 12/21/2009 by amandafrench
  13. #MLA09 Tip: Drink big glass of water right before interview. You write better w/deadline pressure.Your mind works better w/bladder pressure. Posted at 4:32 PM on 12/21/2009 by briancroxall
  14. #MLA09 Tip: An accent will not work for Comp Lit positions. Comp Litters should smoke during the interview, punctuating points with exhales. Posted at 4:34 PM on 12/21/2009 by samplereality
  15. #MLA09 Tip: Make deliberate use of split infinitives during your presentation to edgily show your edginess. Posted at 4:48 PM on 12/21/2009 by amandafrench
  16. #MLA09 Tip: If you see your interview committee later, ideally in the elevator, ask them if they have made a decision yet. Follow up is key. Posted at 4:50 PM on 12/21/2009 by academicdave
  17. #MLA09 Tip: In your job interview, argue that you’d make a really good literature Professor because you really, really, really love to read. Posted at 5:04 PM on 12/21/2009 by amandafrench
  18. #MLA09 Tip: Be sure to seek out journal editors who’ve rejected your essays. Explaining their mistake in person = badass networking skillz. Posted at 5:05 PM on 12/21/2009 by seabright
  19. #MLA09 Tip: Explain you’re going “carbon neutral” and insist the hiring committee pay for carbon offsets before you answer their questions. Posted at 5:14 PM on 12/21/2009 by samplereality
  20. #MLA09 Tip:If you should run into a candidate exiting an interview as you walk in,offer to settle the matter via a duel.Pistols at 30 paces. Posted at 5:15 PM on 12/21/2009 by academicdave
  21. #MLA09 Tip: Registration, $125. Hotel, $300. Dinner and drinks, $65. Finding Stanley Fish’s room and stealing his dry cleaning, priceless. Posted at 5:19 PM on 12/21/2009 by briancroxall
  22. #MLA09 Tip: Every time you pass up an open bar at a public reception, a puppy dies. Posted at 5:29 PM on 12/21/2009 by samplereality
  23. #MLA09 Tip: There’ll be a whole salmon at the Princeton cash bar. Put it down your pants. They’ll know it’s an allusion to The Corrections. Posted at 5:33 PM on 12/21/2009 by amandafrench
  24. #MLA09 Tip: What to say when job search committee asks if you have questions: “How strict a policy on sleeping with students do you have?” Posted at 8:26 PM on 12/21/2009 by georgeonline
  25. #MLA09 Tip: During your job interview always use air quotes when using the words “service” or “teaching.” Posted at 8:28 PM on 12/21/2009 by georgeonline
  26. #MLA09 Tip: First time at MLA? Understand that you shd begin every post-panel question with “This is more of a comment than a question…” Posted at 8:31 PM on 12/21/2009 by georgeonline
  27. #MLA09 Tip: Pay homage to Benjamin Franklin while in Philadelphia by sneaking your bastard children into MLA governance committees. Posted at 9:02 PM on 12/21/2009 by samplereality
  28. #MLA09 Tip: Interview committees find it endearing if you giggle every time you say “phallus.” Posted at 9:15 PM on 12/21/2009 by samplereality
  29. #MLA09 Tip: Everyone knows Philly is famous for its cheesesteaks. But be sure to sample our fab cornhole ballers du jour too. Posted at 10:16 PM on 12/21/2009 by samplereality
  30. #MLA09 Tip: In the hotel lobby will be seated many nervous, dowdy people in black suits looking at papers or laptops. These are FBI agents. Posted at 9:00 AM on 12/22/2009 by amandafrench
  31. #MLA09 Tip: Dude, they’re TOTALLY gonna ask you to define “clinamen.” Seriously. Yes way. Posted at 9:10 AM on 12/22/2009 by amandafrench
  32. #MLA09 Tip: It’s considered bad form to live tweet the annual cage match between Terry Eagleton and Gayatri Spivak. Wagers are fine though. Posted at 10:02 AM on 12/22/2009 by samplereality
  33. #MLA09 Tip: If you can find an outfit in a color darker than black, wear it. Posted at 10:23 AM on 12/22/2009 by mlaconvention
  34. #MLA09 Tip: If the panelist keeps not quite answering your question in Q&A, keep pressing. They must be made to submit. Posted at 12:24 PM on 12/22/2009 by briancroxall
  35. #MLA09 Tip: Make your research and pedagogy sound more impressive by adding “e-” and “cyber-” prefixes to everything you say. Posted at 12:34 PM on 12/22/2009 by georgeonline
  36. #MLA09 Tip: There won’t be wifi connectivity in the panels. Unless you bring that 30-foot antenna with you. Posted at 12:41 PM on 12/22/2009 by briancroxall
  37. #MLA09 tip: if you’re talking to someone more junior/less famous than you, keep scanning the room over her head – someone better’s coming! Posted at 12:41 PM on 12/22/2009 by kfitz
  38. #MLA09 Tip: if you’re talking to someone more senior/more famous than you, don’t look them in the eye. Aim for the lapel. Try to blush. Posted at 12:43 PM on 12/22/2009 by briancroxall
  39. #MLA09 Tip: Don’t acknowledge the presence of “colleagues” from schools with a 4/4 (or higher!) course load. It just encourages ’em. Posted at 12:50 PM on 12/22/2009 by jbj
  40. #MLA09 Tip: why drink coffee from the beverage stations? You’ll make a much stronger impression if you whip out a flask & take a few belts. Posted at 12:50 PM on 12/22/2009 by seabright
  41. #MLA09 Tip: conferences are an alternate dimension where time behaves differently. No need to cut that talk from 40 minutes down to 20. Posted at 12:52 PM on 12/22/2009 by amndw2
  42. #MLA09 Tip: When grabbing handsful of free chocolate at booths (insidehighered is known for the cocoa stash), pretend to look @ offerings. Posted at 12:53 PM on 12/22/2009 by mlaconvention
  43. #MLA09 Tip: If you see interview candidates, beam them a silent meditation (“may you do well, may you interview with ease”). Posted at 12:55 PM on 12/22/2009 by mlaconvention
  44. #MLA09 Tip: If you see other interview candidates, HUG IT OUT, BITCH! Posted at 12:56 PM on 12/22/2009 by briancroxall
  45. #MLA09 Tip: If you see search cte mbrs, beam them a silent meditation (“may you be kind to all, may you convince dean to hire 3 candidates”) Posted at 12:57 PM on 12/22/2009 by mlaconvention
  46. #MLA09 Tip: Be sure your author name adjectives are correct, e.g., Kafkaesque, Dickensian, Shakespearean, Yeatsy, Austeniferous, DeLilloid. Posted at 1:36 PM on 12/22/2009 by amandafrench
  47. #MLA09 Tip: French maid outfits are almost never appropriate attire for job interviews. Take it from someone who knows. Posted at 1:39 PM on 12/22/2009 by samplereality
  48. #MLA09 Tip: If your interview doesn’t begin with hugs all around, leave the room. You wouldn’t want to work with people like that anyway. Posted at 1:40 PM on 12/22/2009 by samplereality
  49. #MLA09 Tip: Don’t take it personally if nobody shows up at your 8:30am panel. It just means nobody finds your life’s work interesting. Posted at 1:41 PM on 12/22/2009 by samplereality
  50. #MLA09 Tip: Everyone knows that academics are critical thinkers. Not bound by convention. That’s why you should *only* use Apple products. Posted at 1:44 PM on 12/22/2009 by briancroxall
  51. #MLA09 Tip: Happily, the 20-minute paper limit doesn’t apply to the formulation of a question from an audience member. Posted at 1:45 PM on 12/22/2009 by samplereality
  52. #MLA09 Tip: If the audience outnumbers your panel, your session is “well-attended.” (A moderator counts as half a panelist.) Posted at 1:45 PM on 12/22/2009 by RichardMenke
  53. #MLA09 Tip: Everything you say on your flight or train to and from Philly will be overheard by someone who knows who you are talking about. Posted at 1:49 PM on 12/22/2009 by mlaconvention
  54. #MLA09 Tip: You’ll be able to spot me at the convention because I look just like my @mlaconvention avatar. Posted at 2:04 PM on 12/22/2009 by mlaconvention
  55. #MLA09 Tip: If people appear to be tweeting during your presentation, don’t worry, most of them are playing Bejeweled. Posted at 2:18 PM on 12/22/2009 by warnick
  56. #MLA09 Tip: Need guidance? Every year, the Gideons’ Bibles in all convention hotels are replaced with copies of *Of Grammatology*. Posted at 2:18 PM on 12/22/2009 by RichardMenke
  57. #MLA09 Tip (for real): You should still tip your server even if it’s an open bar. Posted at 2:24 PM on 12/22/2009 by georgeonline
  58. #MLA09 Tip: nail, cigar, pen, Q, stock, cue, of the hat, O’neill, (per) Gore… enough tips for ya? Posted at 2:59 PM on 12/22/2009 by mlaconvention
  59. #MLA09 Tip: Hang out with ODH’s @jasonrhody. He’s a real mensch & can tell you tales of the internets. Posted at 3:49 PM on 12/22/2009 by brettbobley
  60. #MLA09 Tip: Try to work a few “whatevs” into any conversation you have, especially with prominent scholars and or hiring committee members. Posted at 4:27 PM on 12/22/2009 by georgeonline
  61. #MLA09 Tip: Good, cheap, Chinese BYOB restaurant? Ask me Lee HOW fook. http://www.leehowfook.com/ Posted at 4:58 PM on 12/22/2009 by mlaconvention
  62. #MLA09 Tip: Insomnia? Forgot to eat during the day? Little Pete’s, 219 S. 17th St is open around the clock. It’s a greasy spoon, nttawwt. Posted at 5:03 PM on 12/22/2009 by mlaconvention
  63. #MLA09 Tip for panelists: Don’t know how to answer aud. member’s question? Respond with “That’s what *she* said!” and hi-5 fellow panelists. Posted at 5:05 PM on 12/22/2009 by georgeonline
  64. #MLA09 Tip: Mention this tip during your interview for a free campus visit. Guaranteed! (Disclaimer: Not Guaranteed) Posted at 8:45 PM on 12/22/2009 by samplereality
  65. #MLA09 Tip: To get away from it all, pretend the #MLA09 hashtag is actually for the Medical Library Association ’09 meeting in Honolulu. Posted at 9:11 PM on 12/22/2009 by dancohen
  66. #MLA09 Tip: Scooter rentals are only for people with disabilities. Being on the job market inexplicably does not count as a disability. Posted at 9:42 PM on 12/22/2009 by samplereality
  67. #MLA09 Tip: Don’t be fooled by the smiles and bonhomie. People are devastated about leaving behind their families for all that free booze. Posted at 12:30 AM on 12/23/2009 by samplereality
  68. #MLA09 Tip: Your field is French medieval lyric. His is the postmodern novel in English. I don’t care how cute he is: IT’LL NEVER WORK OUT. Posted at 8:55 AM on 12/23/2009 by amandafrench
  69. #MLA09 Tip: Don’t even joke in the interview about calling a lifeline. That reference from 2000 will be too current for committees to get. Posted at 9:12 AM on 12/23/2009 by samplereality
  70. #MLA09 Tip: The theme of Judith Butler’s annual cosplay event is “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Yeah, I know. We were disappointed too. Posted at 10:23 AM on 12/23/2009 by samplereality
  71. #MLA09 Tip: MLA guidelines state that candidates should not have to sit on a bed during interviews. But come on, you know you want to. Posted at 12:27 PM on 12/23/2009 by samplereality
  72. #MLA09 Tip: It’s considered rude to leave the room after the “star” speaker has talked. Instead, stay and heckle the other panelists. Posted at 12:32 PM on 12/23/2009 by samplereality
  73. #MLA09 Tip: Search committees are always flattered to hear you’ve been stalking them. Be sure to mention that pic of their kid on Facebook. Posted at 1:54 PM on 12/23/2009 by samplereality
  74. #MLA09 Tip: Every year the work of a new theorist dominates the conference: Agamben, Badiou, Hardt & Negri. This year make it Tom Colicchio. Posted at 7:45 PM on 12/23/2009 by samplereality
  75. #MLA09 Tip: If you’re not spending Christmas Eve either practicing your talk or rehearsing for interviews, you really are a Scrooge. Posted at 11:42 AM on 12/24/2009 by samplereality
  76. #MLA09 Tip: Mix family and work on Christmas Day. Tell dear old Aunt Stella how Moby Dick signifies both a phallus AND a vagina dentata. Posted at 7:24 AM on 12/25/2009 by samplereality
  77. #MLA09 Tip: An interview is the perfect time for Modernists to admit they think the last lines of “The Dead” are pure and utter bullshit. Posted at 9:00 AM on 12/25/2009 by samplereality
  78. #MLA09 tip: Find free conference parking on the street! Look for trash cans/lawn chairs in shoveled-out spots. All yours! http://is.gd/5Bqcu Posted at 4:39 PM on 12/25/2009 by mkgold
  79. #MLA09 tip: If you find yourself “interviewing” on a bed at the Marriott, just close your eyes and think of tenure. Posted at 4:53 PM on 12/25/2009 by DrGnosis
  80. #MLA09 Tip: Let the search committee know how technogically sophisticated you are by texting during the interview. Posted at 8:48 PM on 12/25/2009 by samplereality
  81. #MLA09 Tip: It is considered good luck in Philly to run up the “Rocky Steps” just minutes before any endeavor, like a talk or interview. Posted at 8:51 PM on 12/25/2009 by samplereality
  82. #MLA09 Tip: Don’t forget that a prize for “Best Zombie Costume” will be awarded at Monday night’s Presidential Address. Posted at 9:56 PM on 12/25/2009 by samplereality
  83. #MLA09 Tip: Bring leftover Xmas cookies, rum cake, and bûche de Noël to give your interviewers. Also eggnog. And whiskey. Posted at 7:57 AM on 12/26/2009 by amandafrench
  84. #MLA09 Tip: Always begin your talk by thanking “The Academy.” Sure it’s a cliché, but everyone expects you to say it. Posted at 1:34 PM on 12/26/2009 by samplereality
  85. #MLA09 Tip: Not enough room on your credit card to pay the hotel bill? Your advisor will happily expiate survivor guilt by lending you $$. Posted at 2:04 PM on 12/26/2009 by amandafrench
  86. #MLA09 Tip: Not enough room on your credit card to pay the hotel bill? Your advisees will happily curry favor by lending you $$. Posted at 2:05 PM on 12/26/2009 by amandafrench
  87. #MLA09 Tip: Bentham’s Panopticon inspired Philly’s Eastern State Penitentiary. Dante’s Inferno inspired the Convention Center’s Ballroom B. Posted at 3:07 PM on 12/26/2009 by samplereality
  88. #MLA09 tip: if a speaker goes over the allowed time it is perfectly acceptable to tackle them. Terry Tate Office Linebacker style. Posted at 6:23 PM on 12/26/2009 by academicdave
  89. #MLA09 Tip: Afraid the theorist whose work you’re criticizing is in the audience? Groucho glasses and mustaches are available in gift shop. Posted at 6:34 PM on 12/26/2009 by samplereality
  90. #MLA09 Tip: Forget Zizek. For real street/theory cred, tell the committee how you’ve been inspired by the work of Zinedine Zidane. Posted at 6:49 PM on 12/26/2009 by briancroxall
  91. #MLA09 Tip: Kate Hayles isn’t actually a robot. I know: I was disappointed too. Posted at 6:54 PM on 12/26/2009 by briancroxall
  92. #MLA09 Tip: Use the phrase “In conclusion” so that audiences know you only have 15 minutes left to go in your talk. Posted at 8:56 PM on 12/26/2009 by samplereality
  93. #MLA09 Tip: No pain, no gain! When the going gets tough, the tough get going! Take no prisoners! RRRAAWWGHHH!! Posted at 9:02 AM on 12/27/2009 by amandafrench
  94. #MLA09 Tip: You could do worse than drinking a Yuengling in Philly, and by Wednesday night, you probably will. Posted at 9:07 AM on 12/27/2009 by samplereality
  95. #MLA09 Tip: Nobody uses business cards to exchange contact info. Either use the Bump app or a cocktail napkin written in lipstick. Or both. Posted at 9:21 AM on 12/27/2009 by samplereality
  96. #MLA09 tip: when choosing a plane pcik one without a smoking cockpit. Posted at 12:24 PM on 12/27/2009 by academicdave
  97. #MLA09 Tip (Serious one): You are one block from awesome and cheap food. Scads of it at the Reading Terminal Market: http://bit.ly/8Whdt0. Posted at 4:22 PM on 12/27/2009 by briancroxall
  98. #MLA09 Tip: The horrible nightmare that you forgot your interview suit probably just means you forgot your interview suit. Posted at 5:15 PM on 12/27/2009 by samplereality
  99. #MLA09 Tip: Four 20-minute papers is too much for a single panel. Russian roulette is not a viable option until healthcare reform is passed. Posted at 5:33 PM on 12/27/2009 by samplereality
  100. #MLA09 Tip: Looking for your soul in the hotel lobby costs valuable hotel whirlpool time. Posted at 7:43 PM on 12/27/2009 by mirk79
  101. #MLA09 Tip: For all happiness and that eternity promised by our ever-living poet, conclusively establish the identity of “Mr. W. H.”. Posted at 9:39 PM on 12/27/2009 by amandafrench
  102. #MLA09 Tip: Your goal for Monday morning: Achieve enlightenment. Failing that, settle for achieving consciousness. Posted at 10:34 PM on 12/27/2009 by samplereality
  103. #MLA09 Tip: It’s 1:30am. You’re in a bar. You have a necktie around your forehead. You can take off your MLA badge now. Posted at 1:30 AM on 12/28/2009 by samplereality
  104. #MLA09 Tip: That delightful dream about wood nymphs just means you’ve overslept your panel and will be blacklisted from the MLA forever. Posted at 7:14 AM on 12/28/2009 by samplereality
  105. #MLA09 Tip: Despite the practice of the high priests of our profession, death by PowerPoint is not a noble way to die. Posted at 10:03 AM on 12/28/2009 by samplereality
  106. #MLA09 Tip: Are your ideas too good to share with the rest of the room? Sit in the front row and ask your four-minute question sotto voce. Posted at 2:56 PM on 12/28/2009 by warnick
  107. #MLA09 Tip: The upside to the depressing job market is that blackmail and bribery are almost pointless anymore. Posted at 11:12 PM on 12/28/2009 by samplereality

It was great to see Rosemary Feal, the Executive Director of the MLA, join into the fun. And thanks especially to Amanda French and Brian Croxall, who contributed greatly to the list, even while absent from the conference itself (a true loss, by the way, and the conference — and profession — was poorer for it).

The Modern Language Association Wishes Away Digital Différance

This is the first academic semester in which students have been using the revised 7th edition of the MLA Handbook (you know, that painfully organized book that prescribes the proper citation method for material like “an article in a microform collection of articles”).

From the moment I got my copy of the handbook in May 2009, I have been skeptical of some of the “features” of the new guidelines, and I began voicing my concerns on Twitter:

But not only does the MLA seem unprepared for the new texts we in the humanities study, the association actually took a step backward when it comes to locating, citing, and cataloging digital resources. According to the new rules, URLs are gone, no longer “needed” in citations. How could one not see that these new guidelines were remarkably misguided?

To the many incredulous readers on Twitter who were likewise confused by the MLA’s insistence that URLs no longer matter, I responded, “I guess they think Google is a fine replacement.” Sure, e-journal articles can have cumbersome web addresses, three lines long, but as I argued at the time, “If there’s a persistent URL, cite it.”

Now, after reading a batch of undergraduate final papers that used the MLA’s new citation guidelines, I have to say that I hate them even more than I thought I would. Although “hate” isn’t quite the right word, because that verb implies a subjective reaction. In truth, objectively speaking, the new MLA system fails.

The MLA apparently believes that all texts are the same

In a strange move for a group of people who devote their lives to studying the unique properties of printed words and images, the Modern Language Association apparently believes that all texts are the same. That it doesn’t matter what digital archive or website a specific document came from. All that is necessary is to declare “Web” in the citation, and everyone will know exactly which version of which document you’re talking about, not to mention any relevant paratextual material surrounding the document, such as banner ads, comments, pingbacks, and so on.

The MLA turns out to be extremely shortsighted in its efforts to think “digitally.” The outwardly same document (same title, same author) may in fact be very different depending upon its source. Anyone working with text archives (think back to the days of FAQs on Gopher) knows that there can be multiple variations of the same “document.” (And I won’t even mention old timey archives like the Short Title Catalogue, where the same 15th century title may in fact reflect several different versions.)

The MLA’s new guidelines efface these nuances, suggesting that the contexts of an archive are irrelevant. It’s the Ghost of New Criticism, a war of words upon history, “simplification” in the name of historiographic homicide.

Digital Humanities Sessions at the 2009 MLA

Below are all of the upcoming 2009 MLA sessions related to new media and the digital humanities. Am I missing something? Let me know in the comments and I’ll add it to the list. You may also be interested in following the Digital Humanities/MLA list on Twitter. (And if you are on Twitter and going to the MLA, let Bethany Nowviskie know, and she’ll add you to the list.)

MONDAY, DECEMBER 28

116. Play the Movie: Computer Games and the Cinematic Turn

8:30–9:45 a.m., 411–412, Philadelphia Marriott

Presiding: Anna Everett, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara; Homay King, Bryn Mawr Coll.

  1. “The Flaneur and the Space Marine: Temporal Distention in First-Person Shooters,” Jeff Rush, Temple Univ., Philadelphia
  2. “Viral Play: Internet Humor, Viral Marketing, and the Ubiquitous Gaming of The Dark Knight,” Ethan Tussey, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara
  3. “Playing the Cut Scene: Agency and Vision in Shadow of the Colossus,” Mark L. Sample, George Mason Univ.
  4. “Suture and Play: Machinima as Critical Intimacy for Game Studies,” Aubrey Anable, Hamilton Coll.

120. Virtual Worlds and Pedagogy

8:30–9:45 a.m., Liberty Ballroom Salon C, Philadelphia Marriott

Presiding: Gloria B. Clark, Penn State Univ., Harrisburg

  1. “Rhetorical Peaks,” Matt King, Univ. of Texas, Austin
  2. “Virtual Theater History: Teaching with Theatron,” Mark Childs, Warwick Univ.; Katherine A. Rowe, Bryn Mawr Coll.
  3. “Realms of Possibility: Understanding the Role of Multiuser Virtual Environments in Foreign Language Curricula,” Julie M. Sykes, Univ. of New Mexico
  4. “Information versus Content: Second Life in the Literature Classroom,” Bola C. King, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara
  5. “Literature Alive,” Beth Ritter-Guth, Hotchkiss School
  6. “Virtual World Building as Collaborative Knowledge Production: The Online Crystal Palace,” Victoria E. Szabo, Duke Univ.
  7. “Teaching in Virtual Worlds: Re-Creating The House of Seven Gables in Second Life,” Mary McAleer Balkun, Seton Hall Univ.
  8. “3-D Interactive Multimodal Literacy and Avatar Chat in a College Writing Class,” Jerome Bump, Univ. of Texas, Austin

For abstracts and possibly video clips, visit www.fabtimes.net/virtpedagog/.

141. Locating the Literary in Digital Media

8:30–9:45 a.m., Liberty Ballroom Salon A, Philadelphia Marriott

  1. “‘A Breach, [and] an Expansion’: The Humanities and Digital Media,” Dene M. Grigar, Washington State Univ., Vancouver
  2. “Locating the Literary in New Media: From Key Words and Metatags to Network Recognition and Institutional Accreditation,” Joseph Paul Tabbi, Univ. of Illinois, Chicago
  3. “Digital, Banal, Residual, Experimental,” Paul Benzon, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick
  4. “Genre Discovery: Literature and Shared Data Exploration,” Jeremy Douglass, Univ. of California, San Diego

170. Value Added: The Shape of the E-Journal

10:15–11:30 a.m., Liberty Ballroom Salon C, Philadelphia Marriott

Speakers: Cheryl E. Ball, Kairos, Keith Dorwick, Technoculture, Andrew Fitch and Jon Cotner, Interval(le)s, Kevin Moberly, Technoculture, Julianne Newmark, Xchanges, Eric Dean Rasmussen and Joseph Paul Tabbi, Electronic Book Review

The journals represent a wide range of audiences and technologies. The speakers will display the work that can be done with electronic publications.

For summaries, visit www.ucs.louisiana.edu/~kxd4350/ejournal.

212. Language Theory and New Communications Technologies

12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., Jefferson, Loews

Presiding: David Herman, Ohio State Univ., Columbus

  1. “Learning around Place: Language Acquisition and Location-Based Technologies,” Armanda Lewis, New York Univ.
  2. “Constructing the Digital I: Subjectivity in New Media Composing,” Jill Belli, Graduate Center, City Univ. of New York
  3. “French and Spanish Second-Person Pronoun Use in Computer-Mediated Communication,” Lee B. Abraham, Villanova Univ.; Lawrence Williams, Univ. of North Texas

245. Old Media and Digital Culture

1:45–3:00 p.m., Washington C, Loews

Presiding: Reinaldo Carlos Laddaga, Univ. of Pennsylvania

  1. “Paper: The Twenty-First-Century Novel,” Jessica Pressman, Yale Univ.
  2. “First Publish, Then Write,” Craig Epplin, Reed Coll.
  3. “Digital Literature and the Brazilian Historic Avant-Garde: What Is Old in the New?” Eduardo Ledesma, Harvard Univ.

For abstracts, write to craig.epplin@gmail.com.

254. Web 2.0: What Every Student Knows That You Might Not

1:45–3:00 p.m., Liberty Ballroom Salon C, Philadelphia Marriott

Presiding: Laura C. Mandell, Miami Univ., Oxford

Speakers: Carolyn Guertin, Univ. of Texas, Arlington; Laura C. Mandell; William Aufderheide Thompson, Western Illinois Univ.

For workshop materials, visit www.mla.org/web20.

264. Media Studies and the Digital Scholarly Present

1:45–3:00 p.m., 411–412, Philadelphia Marriott

Presiding: Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Pomona Coll.

  1. “Blogging, Scholarship, and the Networked Public Sphere,” Chuck Tryon, Fayetteville State Univ.
  2. “The Decline of the Author, the Rise of the Janitor,” David Parry, Univ. of Texas, Dallas
  3. “Remixing Dada Poetry in MySpace: An Electronic Edition of Poetry by the Baronness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven in N-Dimensional Space,” Tanya Clement, Univ. of Maryland, College Park
  4. “Right Now: Media Studies Scholarship and the Quantitative Turn,” Jeremy Douglass, Univ. of California, San Diego

For abstracts, links, and related material, visit http://mediacommons.futureofthebook.org/mla2009 after 1 Dec.

265. Getting Funded in the Humanities: An NEH Workshop

1:45–3:45 p.m., Liberty Ballroom Salon A, Philadelphia Marriott

Presiding: John David Cox, National Endowment for the Humanities; 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, this workshop will include information on new developments such as the NEH’s Office of Digital Humanities. A question-and-answer period will follow.

268. Lives in New Media

3:30–4:45 p.m., 305–306, Philadelphia Marriott

Presiding: William Craig Howes, Univ. of Hawai‘i, Mānoa

  1. “Blogging the Pain: Disease and Grief on the Internet,” Bärbel Höttges, Univ. of Mainz
  2. “New Media and the Creation of Autistic Identities,” Ann Jurecic, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick
  3. “‘25 Random Things about Me’: Facebook and the Art of the Autobiographical List,” Theresa A. Kulbaga, Miami Univ., Hamilton

322. Looking for Whitman: A Cross-Campus Experiment in Digital Pedagogy

7:15–8:30 p.m., 410, Philadelphia Marriott

Presiding: Matthew K. Gold, New York City Coll. of Tech., City Univ. of New York

Speakers: D. Brady Earnhart, Univ. of Mary Washington; Matthew K. Gold; James Groom, Univ. of Mary Washington; Tyler Brent Hoffman, Rutgers Univ., Camden; Karen Karbiener, New York Univ.; Mara Noelle Scanlon, Univ. of Mary Washington; Carol J. Singley, Rutgers Univ., Camden

Visit the project Web site, http://lookingforwhitman.org.

338. Beyond the Author Principle

7:15–8:30 p.m., Liberty Ballroom Salon C, Philadelphia Marriott

Presiding: Bruce R. Smith, Univ. of Southern California

  1. “English Broadside Ballad Archive: A Digital Home for the Homeless Broadside Ballad,” Patricia Fumerton, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara; Carl Stahmer, Univ. of Maryland, College Park
  2. “The Total (Digital) Archive: Collecting Knowledge in Online Environments,” Katherine D. Harris, San José State Univ.
  3. “Displacing ‘Shakespeare’ in the World Shakespeare Encyclopedia,” Katherine A. Rowe, Bryn Mawr Coll.

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 29

361. Making Research: Limits and Barriers in the Age of Digital Reproduction

8:30–9:45 a.m., 411–412, Philadelphia Marriott

Presiding: Robin G. Schulze, Penn State Univ., University Park

  1. “The History and Limitations of Digitalization,” William Baker, Northern Illinois Univ.
  2. “Moving Past the Hype of Hypertext: Limits of Scholarly Digital Ventures,” Elizabeth Vincelette, Old Dominion Univ.
  3. “Transforming the Study of Australian Literature through a Collaborative eResearch Environment,” Kerry Kilner, Univ. of Queensland
  4. 4. “A Proposed Model for Peer Review of Online Publications,” Jan Pridmore, Boston Univ.

413. Has Comp Moved Away from the Humanities? What’s Lost? What’s Gained?

10:15–11:30 a.m., 411–412, Philadelphia Marriott

Presiding: Krista L. Ratcliffe, Marquette Univ.

  1. “Turning Composition toward Sovereignty,” John L. Schilb, Indiana Univ., Bloomington
  2. “Composition and the Preservation of Rhetorical Traditions in a Global Context,” Arabella Lyon, Univ. at Buffalo, State Univ. of New York
  3. “What Composition Can Learn from the Digital Humanities,” Olin Bjork, Georgia Inst. of Tech.; John Pedro Schwartz, American Univ. of Beirut

For abstracts, visit www.marquette.edu/english/ratcliffe.shtml.

420. Digital Scholarship and African American Traditions

10:15–11:30 a.m., 307, Philadelphia Marriott

Speaker: Anna Everett, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara

For abstracts, visit www.ach.org/mla/mla09/ after 1 Dec.

490. Links and Kinks in the Chain: Collaboration in the Digital Humanities

1:45–3:00 p.m., 410, Philadelphia Marriott

Presiding: Tanya Clement, Univ. of Maryland, College Park

Speakers: Jason B. Jones, Central Connecticut State Univ.; Laura C. Mandell, Miami Univ., Oxford; Bethany Nowviskie, Univ. of Virginia; Timothy B. Powell, Univ. of Pennsylvania; Jason C. Rhody, National Endowment for the Humanities

For abstracts, visit http://lenz.unl.edu/mla09 after 1 Dec.

512. Journal Ranking, Reviewing, and Promotion in the Age of New Media

3:30–4:45 p.m., Liberty Ballroom Salon C, Philadelphia Marriott

Presiding: Meta DuEwa Jones, Univ. of Texas, Austin

Speakers: Daniel Brewer, L’Esprit Créateur; Mária Minich Brewer, L’Esprit Créateur; Martha J. Cutter, MELUS; Mike King, New York Review of Books; Joycelyn K. Moody, African American Review; Bonnie Wheeler, Council of Editors of Learned Journals

560. (Re)Framing Transmedial Narratives

7:15–8:30 p.m., Congress A, Loews

Presiding: Marc Ruppel, Univ. of Maryland, College Park

  1. “From Narrative, Game, and Media Studies to Transmodiology,” Christy Dena, Univ. of Sydney
  2. “To See a Universe in the Spaces In Between: Migratory Cues and New Narrative Ontologies,” Marc Ruppel
  3. “Works as Sites of Struggle: Negotiating Narrative in Cross-Media Artifacts,” Burcu S. Bakioglu, Indiana Univ., Bloomington

For abstracts, visit www.glue.umd.edu/~mruppel/Ruppel_MLA2009_SpecialPanelAbstracts.docx.

575. Gaining a Public Voice: Alternative Genres of Publication for Graduate Students

7:15-8:30 p.m., Room 405, Philadelphia Marriott

Presiding:  Jens Kugele, Georgetown Univ.

  1. “Animating Audiences: Digital Publication Projects and Their Publics,” Jentery Sayers, Univ. of Washington, Seattle
  2. “Blogging Beowulf,” Mary Kate Hurley, Columbia Univ.
  3. “Hope Is Not a Husk but Persists in and as Us: A Proposal for Graduate Collaborative Publication,” Emily Carr, Univ. of Calgary
  4. “The Alternative as Mainstream: Building Bridges,” Katherine Marie Arens, Univ. of Texas, Austin

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 30

625. Making Research: Collaboration and Change in the Age of Digital Reproduction

8:30–9:45 a.m., Grand Ballroom Salon L, Philadelphia Marriott

Presiding: Maura Carey Ives, Texas A&M Univ., College Station

  1. “What Is Digital Scholarship? The Example of NINES,” Andrew M. Stauffer, Univ. of Virginia
  2. “Critical Text Mining; or, Reading Differently,” Matthew Wilkens, Rice Univ.
  3. “‘The Apex of Hipster XML GeekDOM’: Using a TEI-Encoded Dylan to Help Understand the Scope of an Evolving Community in Digital Literary Studies,” Lynne Siemens, Univ. of Victoria; Raymond G. Siemens, Univ. of Victoria

632. Quotation, Sampling, and Appropriation in Audiovisual Production

8:30–9:45 a.m., 406, Philadelphia Marriott

Presiding: Nora M. Alter, Univ. of Florida; Paul D. Young, Vanderbilt Univ.

  1. “‘We the People’: Imagining Communities in Dave Chappelle’s Block Party,” Badi Sahar Ahad, Loyola Univ., Chicago
  2. “Pinning Down the Pinup: The Revival of Vintage Sexuality in Film, Television, and New Media,” Mabel Rosenheck, Univ. of Texas, Austin
  3. “Playful Quotations,” Lin Zou, Indiana Univ., Bloomington
  4. “For the Record: The DJ Is a Critic, ‘Constructing a Sort of Argument,’” Mark McCutcheon, Athabasca Univ.

643. New Models of Authorship

8:30–9:45 a.m., Grand Ballroom Salon K, Philadelphia Marriott

Presiding: Carolyn Guertin, Univ. of Texas, Arlington

  1. “Authors for Hire: Branded Entertainment’s Challenges to Legal Doctrine and Literary Theory,” Zahr Said Stauffer, Univ. of Virginia
  2. “The Digital Archive in Motion: Data Mining as Authorship,” Paul Benzon, Temple Univ., Philadelphia
  3. “Scandalous Searches: Rhizomatic Authorship in America’s Online Unintentional Narratives,” Andrew Ferguson, Univ. of Tulsa

For abstracts, visit https://mavspace.uta.edu/guertin/mla-models-of-authorship.html.

655. Today’s Students, Today’s Teachers: Technology

10:15–11:30 a.m., 410, Philadelphia Marriott

Presiding: Christine Henseler, Union Coll., NY

  1. “Ning: Teaching Writing to the Net Generation,” Nathalie Ettzevoglou, Univ. of Connecticut, Storrs; Jessica McBride, Univ. of Connecticut, Storrs
  2. “Online Tutoring from the Ground Up,” William L. Magrino, Jr., Indiana Univ. of Pennsylvania; Peter B. Sorrell, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick
  3. “Using Facebook for Online Discussion in the Literature Classroom,” Emily Meyers, Univ. of Oregon

676. The Impact of Obama’s Rhetorical Strategies

12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., Grand Ballroom Salon K, Philadelphia Marriott

Presiding: Linda Adler-Kassner, Eastern Michigan Univ.

  1. “Keeping Pace with Obama’s Rhetoric: Digital Ecologies in the Writing Program and the White House,” Shawn Casey, Ohio State Univ., Columbus
  2. “Classroom 2.0 Connecting with the Digital Generation: Pedagogical Applications of Barack Obama’s Rhetorical Use of Twitter,” Jeff Swift, Brigham Young Univ., UT
  3. “Obama Online: Using the White House as an Exemplar for Writing Instruction,” Elizabeth Mathews Losh, Univ. of California, Irvine
  4. “Made Not Only in Words: The Politics and Rhetoric of Barack Obama’s New Media Presidency as a Moment for Uniting Civic Rhetoric and Civic Engagement,” Michael X. Delli Carpini, Univ. of Pennsylvania; Dominic DelliCarpini, York Coll. of Pennsylvania

Respondent: Linda Adler-Kassner

703. Teaching Literature by Integrating Technology

12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., Commonwealth Hall A1, Loews

Presiding: Peter Höyng, Emory Univ.

  1. “Tatort Technology: Teaching German Crime Novels,” Christina Frei, Univ. of Pennsylvania
  2. “Old Meets New: Teaching Fairy Tales by Using Technology,” Angelika N. Kraemer, Michigan State Univ.
  3. “The Role of E-Learning in Excellence Initiatives: Ideal Scenarios and Practical Limitations,” David James Prickett, Humboldt-Universität

Respondent: Caroline Schaumann, Emory Univ.

706. Digital Africana Studies: Creating Community and Bridging the Gap between Africana Studies and Other Disciplines

12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., Adams, Loews

Presiding: Zita Nunes, Univ. of Maryland, College Park

Speakers: Kalia Brooks, Inst. for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts; Bryan Carter, Univ. of Central Missouri; Kara Keeling, Univ. of Southern California

For abstracts, visit www.ach.org/mla/mla09/ after 1 Dec.

710. Frontiers in Business Writing Pedagogy: New Media and Literature Strategies

12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., 308, Philadelphia Marriott

Presiding: James K. Archibald, McGill Univ.

  1. “New Media and Business Writing,” Harold Henry Hellwig, Idaho State Univ.
  2. “Bringing Second Life to Business Writing Pedagogy,” R. Dirk Remley, Kent State Univ., Kent
  3. “The Literature of Business: An Approach to Teaching Literature-Based Writing-Intensive Courses,” Scott J. Warnock, Drexel Univ.

Respondent: Mahli Xuan Mechenbier, Kent State Univ., Kent

For abstracts, write to kwills@iupuc.edu.

Live Blogging at the MLA

I half-heartedly had wanted to live blog the MLA convention last week, but it just didn’t happen. The last time I live blogged was the 2004 presidential debate, and I guess, in comparison, the MLA just wasn’t worth the effort.

That, and the fact that less than 24 hours after my own MLA presentation I began the first leg of a journey which eventually brought me across the Atlantic to Madrid. So far, things are going better than my last trip to Spain, just sick six months ago.

To make up for the lack of live — blogging at the MLA (as if anyone would care), maybe I’ll try to squeeze in some mobile blogging here in Spain. Full-out Christmas isn’t celebrated here until King’s Day, on January 6, so there are a lot of festivities around worth taking in…