Background

Background

Before moving to Southern Mississippi, I received my Ph.D. from the University of Iowa, where I specialized in 19th century American literature and media history, with broader interests in material culture, book history, and new media. My dissertation at Iowa, which I’m currently revising into a book, explored the relationship between technology and authorship in the Age of Edison, the founding age of technological media in the U.S. between 1870 and 1920.

Before receiving my Ph.D., I studied English and Film at Syracuse University; received my M.A. in the Humanities at the University of Chicago; and taught three years of high school English, earning an additional M.A. in English Education from Brooklyn College with fellowship support from the New York Teaching Fellows program.  In the intervals, I traveled through Central and South America and lived for a year in Mexico, where I taught English at the Universidad Regional del Sureste.

It was during my tenure as a high school teacher that I began to develop my ongoing interest in digital pedagogy and alternative models of education.  While I do not consider myself a “digital humanist,” my teaching shares common ground with developments in the digital humanities insofar as it infuses the study of literature with notions of media literacy and technical proficiency. I work hard to reimagine the humanities for my students as both a cultural and technical project, one that requires new multimedia literacies in conjunction with technical skills in reading, writing, editing, and design.  To pursue these goals, my teaching and research draw on a range of histories and literacies engaged by and promoted by different media forms, from inscriptions on ancient tablets to 19th newspapers to the digital interfaces of Twitter and social media.

I’m especially interested in the history and future of writing and getting students to self-consciously think about digital forms of writing in the context of pre-digital techniques for writing, markup, and notation. Above all, I am drawn to questions of practice and technique; in both my research and teaching, I pursue literary and cultural matters as they find themselves encoded and embedded by technologies and techniques. In line with the material and technical turn in the humanities, I engage cultural objects on equal footing with material things and techniques, reframing the world of literature and culture by re-marking and re-mixing how we study it.

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