Review of Reading Project

An incredible review of our new book, Reading Project: A Collaborative Analysis of William Poundstone’s Project for Tachistoscope {Bottomless Pit}, by the incomparable Alan Liu (UCSB):

To my knowledge, it is the only work to date in the new media
studies/digital humanities area that provides a full methodological
paradigm (and case example) for how to "read" contemporary creative works
of digital media through interwoven analysis of all the levels of digital
phenomena from code (source and compiled) through interface to
traditionally interpretable textual/visual "meaning" or "narrative."  *Reading
Project* pursues each of these types of analysis with a degree of rigor and
invention that makes it state-of-the-art in the field. For instance, the
analysis through visual modeling techniques (for which Jeremy is
principally responsible) marks the leading edge of digital visualization
methods....  Similarly, the code analysis of the decompiled Flash code
animating William Poundstone's *Project for Tachistocope* (the specific
work of electronic literature that Reading Project takes as its case study)
is state of the art because its principal contributor, Mark Marino, was one
of the original innovators in the field of "critical code studies."  And in
the same vein, the "traditional" analysis of textual and visual meaning in
Poundstone's avant-garde work led principally by Jessica Pressman rivals
the very best of so-called "close reading" in modern literary
interpretation, but in a new key informed by the hermeneutics of
visualization data-mining and code analysis.  There simply is no other
extant work that combines these reading methods in one organic paradigm,
let alone demonstrates them with detail, rigor, and brilliance in the
reading of a specific digital work.
       In general, I note, much recent debate among literary scholars (and
other humanists) confronted with digital new media and the digital
humanities has bruited the supposed contrast between an older mode of
"close reading" and the new digitally-enabled "distant reading"
(data-mining and text-analysis modeling of datasets rather than individual
works).  Through explicit methodological argument and also by example, *Reading
Project* persuasively shows that the binary terms of the debate are false.
As the authors argue, their variety of analytical reading methods adapted
to new media allows them to "zoom in" and "zoom out" so as to inextricably
bind close reading to distant reading.  *Reading Project* is an original,
substantial, and important contribution to the study of creative digital
works in the humanities. The book makes a compelling case for how all
digital work--creative or not, in the humanities or not--must henceforth be

Upcoming talk at USC

I’m excited about the following event… a long time in coming.

Book talk and roundtable with me, Mark Marino (USC), and Jeremy Douglass (UCSB)–my two friends and co-writers– about  our recently-published co-written book of digital humanities literary criticism, Reading Project: A Collaborative Analysis of William Poundstone’s Project for Tachistoscope {Bottomless Pit} (Iowa UP 2015)

William Poundstone, author of Project for Tachistoscope {Bottomless Pit} (the work of digital literature that we analyze in our book) and author of fourteen print books of nonfiction who has been twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, will join us.

Hope you will too!

USC talk

NEH-sponsored Workshops tomorrow!

Finally, the workshops I have been planning (with generous support from The Office of Digital Humanities at the National Endowment for the Humanities) are here!

Tomorrow, 30 faculty members from 7 institutions in San Diego will meet at SDSU to  build a regional network of support for teaching digital humanities.

Check out our website and watch us go/grow!

sddh header

Update on the Digital Humanities Initiative at SDSU

“Digital Humanities” describes efforts to study digital technologies and culture, employ computational practices in research and teaching, and reflect upon the impact of the digital. The Digital Humanities Initiative at SDSU seeks to promote such critical engagement by providing a hub for strategic innovation and collaboration across campus.

In its first year (2014-2015) the Digital Humanities Initiative accomplished a great deal:-We held a THATCamp: Diving into Digital Humanities (October 2014), which welcomed 150 participants from 6 UCs, 5 CSUs, and 6 private colleges.
-We stimulated faculty interest by facilitating a faculty research group and a faculty working group in innovating with digital technologies
-We held tools workshops, scholarly lectures, and digital literature reading events
—And, you can see more about all of this on our website:

We were awarded an NEH Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant to build and strengthen digital humanities teaching through the development of a San Diego regional network.

We were awarded an Area of Excellence, which means that “Digital Humanities and Global Diversity” will now be a center of research at SDSU.

So… we did a lot! I am thrilled, proud, and exhausted! Bring on the summer!

Area of Excellence in Digital Humanities at SDSU

We are now (we won!) an Area of Excellence at SDSU! So proud to be part of this collective and important effort:

May 20, 2015

Dear colleagues and friends:

As many of you already are aware, Dr. Stephen Welter (Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate Division) has announced that one of SDSU’s new areas of excellence will be centered on Digital Humanities and Diversity.  This extraordinary achievement was spearheaded by our own Jessica Pressman, and it serves as testament to the excellent work being done on campus in this area of research.

Several additional faculty were named as supporting faculty on the proposal, including Joanna Brooks and Bill Nericcio (who will also serve as one of the core faculty members for the area).
Congratulations to all!

Michael Borgstrom, PhD
Chair and Associate Professor
Department of English and Comparative Literature

San Diego State University

NEH Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant

We (Joanna Brooks and I), on the behalf of SDSU’s Digital Humanities Initiative,  got an NEH ODH start-up grant to build up our regional cross-campus collaboration in Digital Humanities pedagogy. Titled “Building and Broadening the Digital Humanities Through A Regional Network,” we will work with UCSD, USD, CSUSM, and Mesa Community College to bring smart strategies for teaching digital humanities in higher education classrooms across San Diego.

More soon!

neh tweet