Category Archives: digital humanities

Science Fiction of Science (DH2013)

Below is the Prezi and some supplementary content for my Digital Humanities 2013 presentation on Project Hieroglyph.

You can learn more about the Center for Science and the Imagination at our website or by downloading our first Annual Report.

On the origins of Project Hieroglyph: you might want to read Neal Stephenson’s inital shot across the bow, Innovation Starvation, or some of the recent press about the project in Wired UK, CNN, the New York Times and elsewhere. You can also follow a site activity RSS feed here.

I’ll add more notes here based on feedback from the talk and any comments you’d like to leave.

You can follow the center at @imaginationASU on Twitter or on Facebook. I’m @zonal. And of course you should sign up for Project Hieroglyph yourself!

The Legacy of David Foster Wallace

Last week saw the arrival of The Legacy of David Foster Wallace, a wonderful collection of essays by Wallace critics, friends and colleagues. My piece in the collection, “Becoming Yourself: David Foster Wallace and the Afterlife of Reception,” considered Wallace’s legacy through his communities of readership on Amazon and I feel very lucky to be in such august company. For example, my essay is nestled between Dave Eggers and Jonathan Franzen!

Here’s the full list of contributors:

Samuel Cohen (co-editor)
Don DeLillo
Dave Eggers
Ed Finn
Kathleen Fitzpatrick
Jonathan Franzen
Paul Giles
Heather Houser
Lee Konstantinou (co-editor)
David Lipsky
Rick Moody
Ira B. Nadel
Michael Pietsch
Josh Roiland
George Saunders
Molly Schwartzburg

Thanks very much to Lee and Sam for including me!

American Networks, American Nerds

I’m very pleased to announce that I’ve been invited to speak at Emory University’s new Digital Scholarship Commons next week. If you find yourself in the vicinity you won’t want to miss it. Here are the details:

The Digital Scholarship Commons Presents Ed Finn, Ph.D.: “American Networks, American Nerds”
Wednesday, November 2, 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Research Commons, third Floor, Robert W. Woodruff Library

Ed Finn, a recent Stanford graduate and University Innovation Fellow at Arizona State University, will speak about his network analysis of Amazon consumer reviews of David Foster Wallace and Junot Díaz, explaining how these differ from literary critics’ assessments. You can read about Dr. Finn’s work in the New York Times.
 
This talk explores changing systems of literary reputation in contemporary American fiction through two case studies: Junot Díaz and David Foster Wallace. Long-established models of literary production are changing dramatically as the digital era continues to blur the divisions between authors, critics and readers. Millions of cultural consumers are now empowered to participate in previously closed literary conversations and to express forms of mass distinction through their purchases and reviews of books. The bookselling behemoth Amazon has been collecting such information from its users since 1996, assembling a rich ecology of cultural data. Drawing on Amazon’s archive and a set of professional book reviews, I analyze the literary networks that readers have created for Wallace and Díaz through their collective acts of distinction. Tracing contemporary shifts in critical and commercial reception, I argue that both writers use style as a way to reinvent authorship for a hyper-mediated age. By redrawing the boundaries of dialect and slang in American English, they promote radical revisions to contemporary concepts of literary identity and community.

Digital Humanities 2011

I’ll revise this post later. For now, here are the slides for my presentation in PowerPoint:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/5269957/Reading%2C%20Writing%20and%20Reputation.ppt

And a slightly modified PDF (without all the quote fly-ins):

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/5269957/Reading%2C%20Writing%20and%20Reputation.pdf

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I’ve finally returned to add to this post. I had a great time at Stanford’s Digital Humanities 2011, and the conference once again impressed me: quality work and a truly collaborative atmosphere. I was lucky enough to be on a panel organized by Franco Moretti and starring Zephyr Frank and Rhiannon Lewis. I thought it was a huge success and I was thrilled to see it written up in the Chronicle.

This was my third year at Digital Humanities and for the first time I really felt like part of a community where I had friends to see and news to catch up on. The effect was of course magnified because I was returning to my “home” institution, which I hardly saw in the last three years of grad school after I moved to Phoenix. I really enjoyed hanging out with the Stanford DH crew at the banquet and I even got a photo credit. I’m grateful to Franco for the panel, Matt Jockers and Glen Worthey for organizing the whole shebang, and the English department for very generously supporting my trip after I was technically no longer a student there.

As for my talk, I think I’ll let the slides and linked abstract speak for themselves. If someone is dying for the voice-over, let me know and I’ll try to find some time. For now, onwards and upwards.