Monday, November 22, 2010 [please note new date]
2:00 – 3:15 pm
Skybox, Williams Building 4th floor conference room
Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination
For the next meeting of the Digital Scholars reading group, we will convene to discuss Matt Kirschenbaum’s recent and much-lauded work on writing and textuality in an era of new media. Having won prizes from the Modern Language Association (MLA), the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading & Publishing (SHARP), and the Society for Textual Scholarship (STS), his book should interest a wide spectrum of constituencies in English, History of Text Technologies, and media studies. (And we welcome everyone else, too.)
Kirschenbaum is an associate professor in the University of Maryland English department as well as the associate director of the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities. His book Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination explores the “contemporary conditions of electronic textuality and the digital literary” with particular attention to the materiality of the digital realm. As he argues (and as we will discuss):
new media cannot be studied apart from individual instances of inscription, object, and code as they propagate on, across, and through specific storage devices, operating systems, software environments, and network protocols; yet the forensic imagination [is also] a deeply humanistic way of knowing, one that assigns value to time, history, and social or material circumstance—even trauma and wear—as part of our thinking about new media. (23)
We will read the first two sections of the book (Preface, Introduction) which are freely available from the MIT Press, and also accessible on the Digital Scholars Blackboard site.