This seminar is one the four core courses developed by the Textual Studies Program. Course credit will count toward the Textual Studies Ph. D. track in Comparative Literature and may count toward the Critical Theory concentration.
This class will examine the intersection between new media studies and textual theory. Its first part will be retrospective: we will examine the rise and fall of "hypertext" as a key concept in new media theory. Why was it such a buzz word, and why does it now sound "so 1990s"? Next, we will consider the phenomenological turn in recent discussions of new media, and we will inquire into the challenges to textual theory presented (1) by hybrid visual-verbal genres such as computer games, digital video, and e-poetry and (2) by the contemporary "convergence culture" in which everything from fan fiction to cosplay to "transmediation" has newly destabilized the boundaries of "the text." Finally, we will take a practical turn. Searchable archival databases have clearly been a godsend for literary scholarship (though, it must be admitted, text-encoding protocols and meta-data do continue to present profound problems). What other kinds of projects have been successful? Where and how have digital environments proved congenial to literature, and to the study of literature? Are the "digitial humanities" going to save us all?