Blog Post

Introduction

 

Hello all! I am really excited to learn about everyone’s research as a HASTAC Scholar. I am a second-year PhD student of English Literature at Emory University, but I usually try to meander outside the program to build on some of my more interdisciplinary interests. Some of these interests include Critical Code Studies, which –I am happy to find- HASTAC scholars seem to have a large interest in as well. I’ve been exploring the HASTAC Code Critique forum http://hastac.org/forums/hastac-scholars-discussions/code-critiques, and I think it will be extremely valuable once I myself learn how to code. If anyone out there has any ideas of where to start with basic coding, that would be amazing.

I’m also interested in the evolution of technology in the 20th and 21st centuries. More broadly, I am interested in the genealogy of mechanical reproduction –and, to be sure, digital reproduction- in modern and postmodern avant-garde movements. Since literary and cultural theory is foundational to my studies, I consider the technology at one’s disposal in any given decade to be fundamental to reproductive representations of and inmodern and postmodern literature.

My current project focuses on ways in which dissemination and circulation of The Floating Bearnewsletter linked reader and writer to a common sense of place, a link that relied on the mimeograph machine to quickly and efficiently disperse avant-garde poetry and prose to an ever-growing audience. I argue that the ability to reproduce new material quickly allowed the Beat poets to build cross-country ties that were not previously possible, and, consequently, the rebellion against Cold War containment culture that emerged in the early 1960s sped up the process of civil revolution.

I’m not sure we can really understand the full weight of the digital age without understand the evolution of the printed word –from Classical Greece up to and through the 21st century- and responses to each technological shift. I realize the term “technological” may be quite broad in scope –not to mention the whole history of the printed word- but I think “technology” and the aural quality that is given to the term is worth thinking as a type of production –and indeed reproduction- as such, instead of thinking of it as a vessel through whichmeaning and the written word is produced.

In addition to my interest in technological movements, I work as the editorial assistant for nonsite.org, an online academic journal interested in themes of intentionality, aesthetics, and affect in literature and art. My work has included editing pieces for publication as well as working the “back end” of the site, where I format the pieces before they “go live.” This work is of particular interest to me, because of the collaborative nature over space and time that can happen in this particular format. Also, the nature of “revision” takes on a whole new meaning. Revising one’s own piece for publication can come at many different stages, even after the piece has been “published.” What does this shift mean for those of us who painstakingly run through papers line by line before someone else sees it? What sort of vulnerabilities are not only allowed but are indeed accepted in this format?

 

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