Digital Humanities Sessions at the 2012 MLA Conference in Seattle

Second and Columbia in Seattle, c. July 1914
Second and Columbia in Seattle, c. July 1914

This is a comprehensive list of digital humanities sessions scheduled for the 2012 Modern Language Association Conference in Seattle, Washington. The 2012 list stands at 58 sessions, up from 44 last year (and 27 the year before). If the trend continues, within the decade it will no longer make sense to compile this list; it’ll be easier to list the sessions that don’t in some way relate in to the influence and impact of digital materials and tools upon language, literary, textual, and media studies.

It’s possible I may have missed a session or two; if so, let me know in the comments and I’ll add the panel to the list. Note that there’s also a pre-convention Getting Started in the Digital Humanities with DHCommons workshop; but because this workshop is application-only, it does not appear in the official MLA program.

You may also want to follow the MLA Tweetup Twitter account for updates on various spontaneous and planned meet-ups in Seattle.

[UPDATE 13 January 2012: I’ve begun adding links to presentations and papers if they’ve been posted online.]

Thursday, January 5

Pre-Convention Digital Humanities Project Mixer

1-4 pm in Convention Center, rooms 3A & 3B

Projects looking for collaborators and collaborators looking for projects, come mix and mingle in this informal project poster session that offers a face-to-face DHCommons experience. Representatives from projects looking for collaborators or just wanting to get the word out will share information and materials about their projects. This forum will also offer great opportunities for one-on-one conversations about pursuing projects in the digital humanities. If you would like to share your project, please sign up here, but otherwise there is no need to register.

This event is open to all MLA participants.

1. Evaluating Digital Work for Tenure and Promotion: A Workshop for Evaluators and Candidates

8:30–11:30 a.m., Willow A, Sheraton

Presiding: Alison Byerly, Middlebury Coll.; Katherine A. Rowe, Bryn Mawr Coll.; Susan Schreibman, Trinity Coll. Dublin

The workshop will provide materials and facilitated discussion about evaluating work in digital media (e.g., scholarly editions, databases, digital mapping projects, born-digital creative or scholarly work). Designed for both creators of digital materials (candidates for tenure and promotion) and administrators or colleagues who evaluate those materials, the workshop will propose strategies for documenting, presenting, and evaluating such work. Preregistration required.

9. Large Digital Libraries: Beyond Google Books

12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., 611, WSCC

Presiding: Michael Hancher Univ. of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Speakers: Tanya E. Clement, Univ. of Maryland, College Park; Amanda L. French, George Mason Univ.; George Oates, Open Library; Glenn Roe, Univ. of Chicago; Andrew M. Stauffer, Univ. of Virginia; Jeremy York, HathiTrust Digital Library

For a prospectus, visit

Aside from Google Books, the two principal repositories for digitized books are Open Library and HathiTrust Digital Library; Digital Public Library of America is now in its planning stage. What are the merits and prospects of these three projects? How can they be improved? What role should scholars play in their improvement? These questions will be addressed by participants in each project and by others experienced in the digital humanities.

12. Transmedia Stories and Literary Games

12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., 615, WSCC

  1. “Hundred Thousand Billion Fingers: Oulipian Games and Serial Players,” Patrick LeMieux Duke Univ.
  2. “Make Love, Not Warcraft: Virtual Worlds and Utopia,” Stephanie Boluk Vassar Coll.
  3. “Oscillation: Transmedia Storytelling and Narrative Theory by Design,” Patrick Jagoda Univ. of Chicago

Responding: Victoria E. Szabo Duke Univ.

For abstracts, visit

34. The Future of Peer Review

12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., Issaquah, Sheraton

Presiding: Sean Scanlan, New York City Coll. of Tech., City Univ. of New York

  1. “Making Online Peer Review Interactive: Sticky Notes and Highlighters,” Cheryl E. Ball, Illinois State Univ.
  2. “The Bearable Light of Openness: Renovating Obsolete Peer-Review Bottlenecks,” Aaron J. Barlow, New York City Coll. of Tech., City Univ. of New York
  3. “The Law Review Approach: What the Humanities Can Learn,” Allen Mendenhall, Auburn Univ., Auburn

41. Social Networks, Jewish Identity, and New Media

1:45–3:00 p.m. University, Sheraton

Presiding: Jonathan S. Skolnik Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst

  1. “Social Networking, Jewish Identity, and New Jewish Ritual: Tattooed Jews on Facebook,” Erika Meitner Virginia Polytechnic Inst. and State Univ.
  2. “Electronic Apikoros: Searching for the Nineteenth-Century Origins of Contemporary Satire in the Jewish Blogosphere,” Ashley Aronsen Passmore Texas A&M Univ., College Station
  3. “From MySpace to MyJewishSpace: The Role of the Internet in the Self-Definition of New Jews in Austria and Germany,” Andrea Reiter Univ. of Southampton

47. Old Books and New Tools

1:45–3:00 p.m. 606, WSCC

Presiding: Sarah Werner Folger Shakespeare Library

Speakers: Katherine D. Harris, San José State Univ.; Jeffrey Knight, Univ. of Washington, Seattle; Matt Thomas, Univ. of Iowa; Whitney Trettien, Duke Univ.; Meg Worley, Palo Alto, CA

This roundtable will consider how the categories of old books and new tools might illuminate each other. Speakers will provide individual reflections on their experiences with old books and new tools before opening up the conversation to the theoretical and practical concerns driving the use and interactions of the two.

For abstracts, see

52. Post-Operaismo, Techne, and the Common

1:45–3:00 p.m., 304, WSCC

Presiding: Robert A. Wilkie Univ. of Wisconsin, La Crosse

  1. “Biotechnical Ecologies: Common Life in Los Angeles,” Allison Schifani Univ. of California, Santa Barbara
  2. “Cyber Communism: Left Ethics and Right Theory,” Stephen C. Tumino Kingsborough Community Coll., City Univ. of New York
  3. “Copyleft as Training Ground: The Digital Horizons of Intellectual Property,” Zachary Zimmer Virginia Polytechnic Inst. and State Univ.
  4. “The Romance of Techne,” Kimberly DeFazio Univ. of Wisconsin, La Crosse

67. Race and Digital Humanities

1:45–3:00 p.m., 611, WSCC

Presiding: Howard Rambsy Southern Illinois Univ.

  1. “Digitizing the Past: The Technologies of Recovering Black Lives,” Kimberly D. Blockett Penn State Univ., Brandywine
  2. “Digital Africana Studies 3.0: Singularity, Performativity, and Technologizing the Field,” Bryan Carter Univ. of Central Missouri
  3. “The Project on the History of Black Writing and Digital Possibilities,” Maryemma Graham Univ. of Kansas

For abstracts, write to

69. The Future of Higher Education

3:30–5:15 p.m. Grand C, Sheraton

Presiding: Kathleen Woodward Univ. of Washington, Seattle

  1. “Emergent Projects, Processes, and Stories,” Sidonie Ann Smith Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  2. “Learning Collaboratories, Now and in the Future,” Curtis Wong Microsoft Research
  3. “It’s the Data, Stupid!,” Ed Lazowska Univ. of Washington, Seattle
  4. “How to Crowdsource Thinking,” Cathy N. Davidson Duke Univ.

Scholars from the human, natural, and computational sciences will address the future of higher education in a digital age. They will identify problems in higher education today and provide recommendations for what is needed as we go forward. What pressure does this information age exert on the current ways we think about higher education? How does a conversation across the computational sciences and the humanities address, ease, or exacerbate that pressure?

87. Digital Literary Studies: When Will It End?

3:30–4:45 p.m. 304, WSCC

Presiding: David A. Golumbia Virginia Commonwealth Univ.

  1. “Digital Birth, Digital Adoption, Digital Disownment: Reconceiving Computational Textuality,” John David Zuern Univ. of Hawai’i, Manoa
  2. “Digital Literary Studies circa 1954: Lacan’s Machines and Shannon’s Minds,” Bernard Dionysius Geoghegan Northwestern Univ.
  3. “Digital Anamnesis,” Benjamin J. Robertson Univ. of Colorado, Boulder

121. Writing the Jasmine Revolution and Tahrir Square: Graffiti, Film, Collage, Poetry

5:15–6:30 p.m., Cedar, Sheraton

Presiding: Kathryn Lachman Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst

  1. “Tagging the Jasmine Revolution: Social Media and Graffiti in the Tunisian Uprising,” David Fieni Cornell Univ.
  2. “Quand la révolution filmique anticipe la révolution populaire,” Mirvet Médini Kammoun Institut Supérieur des Beaux-Arts de Tunis
  3. “The Women’s Manifesto: Thinking Egypt 2011 Transnationally,” Basuli Deb Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln
  4. “Poetic Responses to the North African Revolutions,” Mahdia Benguesmia Univ. of Batna

For abstracts, write to

125. What’s Still Missing? What Now? What Next? Digital Archives in American Literature

5:15–6:30 p.m., 608, WSCC

Presiding: Brad Evans, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick

Speakers: Donna M. Campbell, Washington State Univ., Pullman; Julia H. Flanders, Brown Univ.; Kenneth M. Price, Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln; Oya Rieger, Cornell Univ.; Robert Scholes, Brown Univ.; Jeremy York, HathiTrust Digital Library

This roundtable has two goals: (1) to provide a forum for reflection on the first twenty years of the digital archive, especially as it relates to American materials, which might include consideration of what is still missing and of methodologies for making use of what is there now, and (2) to offer an opportunity for researchers who have become dependent on the archive to talk with major players in its production, in the hope of fostering new avenues for cooperation.

150. Digital Humanities and Internet Research

7:00–8:15 p.m., 613, WSCC

Presiding: John Jones Univ. of Texas, Dallas

  1. “Creating a Conceptual Search Engine and Multimodal Corpus for Humanities Research,” Robin A. Reid Texas A&M Univ., Commerce
  2. “What the Digital Can’t Remember,” John Jones
  3. “Toward a Rhetoric of Collaboration: An Online Resource for Teaching and Learning Research,” Jennifer Sano-Franchini Michigan State Univ.

For abstracts, visit

161. The Webs We Weave: Online Pedagogy in Community Colleges

7:00–8:15 p.m., 615, WSCC

Presiding: Linda Weinhouse, Community Coll. of Baltimore County, MD

  1. “Blended Learning: The Best of Both Worlds?,” Pamela Sue Hardman, Cuyahoga Community Coll., Western Campus, OH
  2. “Magic in the Web,” Michael R. Best, Univ. of Victoria; Jeremy Ehrlich, Univ. of Victoria
  3. “The Digital-Dialogue Journal: Tool for Enhanced Classic Communication,” Bette G. Hirsch, Cabrillo Coll., CA
  4. “Delivering Literary Studies in the Twenty-First Century: The Relevance of Online Pedagogies,” Kristine Blair, Bowling Green State Univ.

Friday, January 6

187. Digital Humanities and Hispanism

8:30–9:45 a.m. Grand A, Sheraton

Presiding: Kyra A. Kietrys Davidson Coll.

Speakers: Mike Blum, Coll. of William and Mary; Francie Cate-Arries, Coll. of William and Mary; Kyra A. Kietrys; Kathy Korcheck, Central Coll.; William Anthony Nericcio, San Diego State Univ.; Rocío Quispe-Agnoli, Michigan State Univ.; Amaranta Saguar García, Univ. of Oxford, Lady Margaret Hall; David A. Wacks, Univ. of Oregon

For abstracts and Web links, write to

Demonstrations by Hispanists who use technology in their scholarship and teaching. The presenters include a graduate student; junior and senior Latin American, Peninsular, and comparativist colleagues whose work spans medieval to contemporary times; and an academic technologist. After brief presentations of the different digital tools, the audience will circulate among the stations to participate in interactive demonstrations.

202. The Presidential Forum: Language, Literature, Learning

10:15 a.m.–12:00 noon, Metropolitan A, Sheraton

Presiding: Russell A. Berman, Stanford Univ.

  1. Networking the Field,” Kathleen Fitzpatrick, MLA
  2. “Of Degraded Tongues and Digital Talk: Race and the Politics of Language,” Imani Perry, Princeton Univ.
  3. “Learning to Unlearn,” Judith Halberstam, Univ. of Southern California
  4. “Borrowing Privileges: Dreaming in Foreign Tongues,” Bala Venkat Mani, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison
  5. “Teaching Literature and the Bitter Truth about Starbucks,” Christopher Freeburg, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana

The forum addresses three fundamental points of orientation for our profession: language, in its various materialities; literature, broadly understood; and learning, especially student learning and our educational missions. The language and literature classroom has to serve the needs of today’s students. How do changing understandings of identity, performance, and media translate into transformations in teaching and learning?

215. Digital South, Digital Futures

10:15–11:30 a.m. 606, WSCC

Presiding: Vincent J. Brewton Univ. of North Alabama

  1. “Documenting the American South,” Natalia Smith Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  2. “Space, Place, and Image: Mapping Farm Securities Administration (FSA) Photographs and the Photogrammar Project,” Lauren Tilton Yale Univ.
  3. “Southern Spaces: The Development of a Digital Southern Studies Journal,” Frances Abbott Emory Univ.
  4. “Mapping a New Deal for New Orleans Artists,” Michael Mizell-Nelson Univ. of New Orleans

For abstracts, visit after 20 Dec.

217. Reconfiguring the Scholarly Editor: Textual Studies at the University of Washington, Seattle

10:15–11:30 a.m., 613, WSCC

Presiding: Míceál Vaughan, Univ. of Washington, Seattle

  1. “Neither Editor nor Librarian: The Interventions Required in the New Context of Texts in the Digital World,” Joseph Tennis, Univ. of Washington, Seattle
  2. “Revealing a Coronation Tribute: Decoding the Hidden Aural and Visual Symbols,” JoAnn Taricani, Univ. of Washington, Seattle
  3. “Mapping Editors,” Meg Roland, Marylhurst Univ.
  4. “The Editor as Curator: Early Histories of Collected Works Editions in English,” Jeffrey Knight, Univ. of Washington, Seattle

249. Building Digital Humanities in the Undergraduate Classroom

12:00 noon–1:15 p.m. Grand A, Sheraton

Presiding: Kathi Inman Berens Univ. of Southern California

Speakers: Kathryn E. Crowther, Georgia Inst. of Tech.; Brian Croxall, Emory Univ.; Maureen Engel, Univ. of Alberta; Paul Fyfe, Florida State Univ.; Kathi Inman Berens; Janelle A. Jenstad, Univ. of Victoria; Charlotte Nunes, Univ. of Texas, Austin; Heather Zwicker, Univ. of Alberta

For abstracts, visit after 1 Dec.

This electronic roundtable assumes that “building stuff” is foundational to the digital humanities and that the technical barriers to participation can be low. When teaching undergraduates digital humanities, simple tools allow students to focus on the simultaneous practices of building and interpreting. This show-and-tell presents projects of variable technical complexity that foster robust interpretation.

259. Representation in the Shadow of New Media Technologies

12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., 304, WSCC

Presiding: Lan Dong Univ. of Illinois, Springfield

  1. “Web Video and Ethnic Media: Linking Representation and Distribution,” Aymar Jean Christian Univ. of Pennsylvania
  2. “Among Friends: Comparing Social Networking Functions in the Baltimore Sun and Baltimore Afro-American in 1904 and 1933,” Daniel Greene Univ. of Maryland, College Park
  3. “Digital Trash Talk: The Rhetoric of Instrumental Racism as Procedural Strategy,” Lisa Nakamura Univ. of Illinois, Urbana

276. Getting Funded in the Humanities: An NEH Workshop

1:30–3:30 p.m. 3B, WSCC

Presiding: Jason C. Rhody National Endowment for the Humanities

This workshop will highlight recent awards and outline current funding opportunites. In addition to emphasizing grant programs that support individual and collaborative research and education, the workshop will include information on the NEH’s Office of Digital Humanities. A question-and-answer period will follow.

301. Reconfiguring Publishing

1:45–3:00 p.m., Grand A, Sheraton

Presiding: Carolyn Guertin Univ. of Texas, Arlington; William Thompson Western Illinois Univ.

Speakers: James Copeland, Ugly Duckling Presse; Gail E. Hawisher, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana; James MacGregor, Public Knowledge Project; Rita Raley, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara; Avi Santo, Old Dominion Univ.; Cynthia L. Selfe, Ohio State Univ., Columbus; Raymond G. Siemens, Univ. of Victoria

For abstracts, visit

This session intends not to bury publishing but to raise awareness of its transformations and continuities as it reconfigures itself. New platforms are causing publishers to return to their roots as booksellers while booksellers are once again becoming publishers. Open-access models of publishing are creating new models for content creation and distribution as small print-focused presses are experiencing a renaissance. Come see!

315. The New Dissertation: Thinking outside the (Proto-)Book

3:30–4:45 p.m., 606, WSCC

Presiding: Kathleen Woodward, Univ. of Washington, Seattle

Speakers: David Damrosch, Harvard Univ.; Kathleen Fitzpatrick, MLA; Richard E. Miller, Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick; Sidonie Ann Smith, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Kathleen Woodward

In 2010 the Executive Council appointed a working group to explore the state of the doctoral dissertation: How can it adapt to digital innovation, open access, new concepts of “authorship”? What counts as scholarship in the world today? How do we address the national problems of cost and time to degree? This roundtable will offer members of the working group an opportunity to make the case that as we shift the terminology from scholarly publication to scholarly communication we need to expand the forms of the dissertation and to reconceptualize what the dissertation is and how it can prepare graduates for academic careers in the coming decades.

332. Digital Narratives and Gaming for Teaching Language and Literature

3:30–4:45 p.m. Aspen, Sheraton

Presiding: Barbara Lafford Arizona State Univ.

  1. “Narrative Expression and Scientific Method in Online Gaming Worlds,” Steven Thorne Portland State Univ.
  2. “Designing Narratives: A Framework for Digital Game-Mediated L2 Literacies Development,” Jonathon Reinhardt Univ. of Arizona; Julie Sykes Univ. of New Mexico, Albuquerque
  3. “Close Playing, Paired Playing: A Practicum,” Edmond Chang Univ. of Washington, Seattle; Timothy Welsh Loyola Univ., New Orleans

Responding: Dave McAlpine Univ. of Arkansas, Little Rock

343. The Cultural Place of Nineteenth-Century Poetry

3:30–4:45 p.m., 611, WSCC

Presiding: Charles P. LaPorte, Univ. of Washington, Seattle

  1. “Lyric and Music at the Fin de Siècle: The Cultural Place of Song,” Emily M. Harrington, Penn State Univ., University Park
  2. What Can ‘Digital Reading’ Tell Us about the Material Places of Victorian Poetry?,” Natalie M. Houston, Univ. of Houston, University Park
  3. “Olympics 2012 and Victorian Poetry for All Time,” Margaret Linley, Simon Fraser Univ.

349. Digital Pedagogy

5:15–6:30 p.m., Grand A, Sheraton

Presiding: Katherine D. Harris San José State Univ.

Speakers: Sheila T. Cavanagh, Emory Univ.; Elizabeth Chang, Univ. of Missouri, Columbia; Lori A. Emerson, Univ. of Colorado, Boulder; Adeline Koh, Richard Stockton Coll. of New Jersey; John Lennon, Univ. of South Florida Polytechnic; Kevin Quarmby, Shakespeare’s Globe Trust; Katherine Singer, Mount Holyoke Coll.; Roger Whitson, Georgia Inst. of Tech.

Discussions about digital projects and digital tools often focus on research goals. For this electronic roundtable, we will instead demonstrate how these digital resources, tools, and projects have been integrated into undergraduate and graduate curricula.

378. Old Labor and New Media

5:15–6:30 p.m., 608, WSCC

Presiding: Alison Shonkwiler Rhode Island Coll.

  1. “America Needs Indians: Representations of Native Americans in Counterculture Narrative and the Roots of Digital Utopianism,” Lisa Nakamura Univ of Illinois, Urbana
  2. “The Eyes of Real Labor and the Illusions of Virtual Reality,” Matt Goodwin Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst
  3. “Digital Voices: Representations of Migrant Workers in Dubai and Los Angeles,” Anne Cong-Huyen Univ. of California, Santa Barbara

Responding: Seth Perlow Cornell Univ.

Saturday, January 7

410. Reconfiguring the Literary: Narratives, Methods, Theories

8:30–9:45 a.m. 608, WSCC

Presiding: Susan Schreibman Trinity Coll., Dublin

Speakers: Alison Booth, Univ. of Virginia; Mark Stephen, Byron Univ. of Sydney; Øyvind Eide, Univ. of Oslo; Alexander Gil, Univ. of Virginia; Rita Raley, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara

For abstracts, visit after 1 Dec.

This roundtable will include projects that show how notions of the literary (narrative, method, and theory) can be fundamentally reconfigured by digital (con)texts.

421. Rhetorical Historiography and the Digital Humanities

8:30–9:45 a.m., 611, WSCC

Presiding: Janice Fernheimer Univ. of Kentucky

  1. “Touch Memory Death Technology Argument: Reading Onscreen,” Anne Frances Wysocki Univ. of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
  2. “Digital Archives as Rhetoric: Emerging Opportunities for Research and Design,” William Hart-Davidson Michigan State Univ.; Jim Ridolfo Univ. of Cincinnati
  3. “Feminist Historiography and the Digital Humanities,” Jessica Enoch Univ. of Pittsburgh

422. Public Intellectuals and the Question of Media

8:30–9:45 a.m. 310, WSCC

Presiding: Brian J. Norman Loyola Univ., Baltimore

  1. “Debating Form: Enlightenment Serial Publishing as Prehistory?,” Richard Squibbs DePaul Univ.
  2. “Truth and Conviction: Going Public with the Archive of Mary Suratt,” Augusta Rohrbach Washington State Univ., Pullman
  3. “New Left versus New Media? Latin American Encounters with Social(ist) Media,” Russell St Clair Cobb Univ. of Alberta
  4. “Professors in Public,” Susan H. Lurie Rice Univ.

Responding: Hortense Jeanette Spillers Vanderbilt Univ.

425. Composing New Partnerships in the Digital Humanities

8:30–9:45 a.m., 606, WSCC

Presiding: Catherine Jean Prendergast Univ. of Illinois, Urbana

Speakers: Matthew K. Gold, New York City Coll. of Tech., City Univ. of New York; Catherine Jean Prendergast; Alexander Reid, Univ. at Buffalo, State Univ. of New York; Spencer Schaffner, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana; Annette Vee, Univ. of Pittsburgh

The objective of this roundtable is to facilitate interactions between digital humanists and writing studies scholars who, despite shared interests in digital authorship, intellectual property, peer review, classroom communication, and textual revision, have often failed to collaborate. An extended period for audience involvement has been designed to seed partnerships beyond the conference.

428. Technology and Chinese Literature and Language

10:15–11:30 a.m., Boren, Sheraton

Presiding: Xiaoping Song Norwich Univ.

  1. “Adaptation: Rewriting Modern Chinese Literary Masterpieces,” Paul Manfredi Pacific Lutheran Univ.
  2. “Technology in Chinese Instruction: A Web-Based Extensive Reading Program,” Helen Heling Shen Univ. of Iowa
  3. “Technology and Teaching Chinese Literature in Translation,” Keith Dede Lewis and Clark Coll.
  4. “Text-Image-Imagined Words: An Approach to Teaching Chinese Literature,” Xiaoping Song

For abstracts, write to

429. New Directions in Earlier Tudor Drama

10:15–11:30 a.m., 306, WSCC

Presiding: Maura Giles Watson Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln; Erin E. Kelly Univ. of Victoria

  1. “‘They Make the Chronicles Themselves’: Paranoid History in John Bale’s King Johan,” Philip Schwyzer Univ. of Exeter
  2. “Theater as Politics, Theater as Art: William Briton, an Early Reader of Gorboduc,” Laura Estill Univ. of Victoria
  3. “Ecocritical Heywood and The Play of the Wether,” Jennifer L. Ailles Chicago, IL
  4. “‘To See the Playes of Theatre Newe Wrought’: Electronic Editions of Early Tudor Drama,” Brett Hirsch Univ. of Western Australia

442. New Media, New Pedagogies

10:15–11:30 a.m., 613, WSCC

Presiding: Rebecca L. Walkowitz Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick

  1. “Steampunk Wells: Game Design as Narrative Pedagogy,” Jay Clayton Vanderbilt Univ.
  2. “Technologies That Describe: Data Visualization and Contemporary Fiction,” Heather Houser Univ. of Texas, Austin
  3. “Better Looking, Close Reading: How Online Fiction Builds Literary-Critical Skills,” John David Zuern Univ. of Hawai’i, Manoa

444. Preservation Is (Not) Just Another Word for Nothing Left to Lose

10:15–11:30 a.m., 307, WSCC

Presiding: Robert H. Kieft, Occidental Coll.

Speakers: Rod Gauvin, ProQuest; John Kiplinger, JSTOR; Laura C. Mandell, Texas A&M Univ., College Station; John Wilkin, HathiTrust Digital Library

Responding: Joan Lippincott, Coalition for Networked Information

For abstracts, visit after 1 Dec.

The speakers will discuss the preservation of texts as a core purpose of libraries, engaging questions regarding the tasks of deciding what materials to preserve and when and which to let go: best practices; institutional and collective roles for the preservation of materials in various formats; economics and governance structures of preserving materials; issues of tools, standards, and platforms for digital materials.

450. Digital Faulkner: William Faulkner and Digital Humanities

10:15–11:30 a.m. 615, WSCC

Presiding: Steven Knepper Univ. of Virginia

Speakers: Keith Goldsmith, Vintage Books; John B. Padgett Brevard, Coll.; Noel Earl Polk, Mississippi State Univ.; Stephen Railton, Univ. of Virginia; Peter Stoicheff, Univ. of Saskatchewan

For abstracts, visit after 15 Dec.

A roundtable on digital humanities and its implications for teaching and scholarship on the work of William Faulkner.

467. The Future of Teaching

12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., Grand C, Sheraton

Presiding: Priscilla B. Wald, Duke Univ.

  1. “Gaming the Humanities Classroom,” Patrick Jagoda, Univ. of Chicago
  2. “Intimacy in Three Acts,” Margaret Rhee, Univ. of California, Berkeley
  3. “One Course, One Project,” Jentery Sayers, Univ. of Victoria
  4. “The Meta Teacher,” Bulbul Tiwari, Stanford Univ.

This session features innovative advanced doctoral students and junior scholars who are making their mark as scholars and as teachers using new interactive, multimedia technologies of writing and publishing in their research and classrooms. The panelists cross the boundaries of the humanities, arts, sciences, and technology and are committed to new forms of scholarship and pedogogy. They practice the virtues of open, public, digitally accessible thinking and represent the vibrancy of our profession. Fiona Barnett, Duke Univ., will coordinate live Twitter feeds and other input during the session.

468. Networks, Maps, and Words: Digital-Humanities Approaches to the Archive of American Slavery

12:00 noon–1:15 p.m. 615, WSCC

Presiding: Lauren Klein Georgia Inst. of Tech.

  1. “‘A Report Has Come Here’: Social-Network Analysis in the Papers of Thomas Jefferson,” Lauren Klein
  2. “Slave Narratives in Space: Mapping the World of Venture Smith,” Cameron Blevins Stanford Univ.
  3. “Using Digital Tools to Explore Narrative Conventions in the North American Antebellum Slave Narratives,” Aditi Muralidharan Univ. of California, Berkeley

Responding: Amy Earhart Texas A&M Univ., College Station

479. Digital Humanities in the Italian Context

12:00 noon–1:15 p.m. Cedar, Sheraton

Presiding: Manuela Marchesini Texas A&M Univ., College Station

  1. “Digital Humanities in the Italian Culture Landscape,” Stefano Franchi Texas A&M Univ., College Station
  2. “Life and the Digital: On Esposito and Tarizzo’s Inventions of Life,” Alberto Moreiras Texas A&M Univ., College Station
  3. “Humanist Studies and the Digital Age,” Massimo Lollini Univ. of Oregon
  4. “Giacomo Leopardi’s Zibaldone: From Card Index to Hypertext,” Silvia Stoyanova Princeton Univ.

For abstracts, write to after 19 Dec.

482. Of Kings’ Treasuries and the E-Protean Invasion: The Evolving Nature of Scholarly Research

12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., 613, WSCC

Presiding: Jude V. Nixon, Salem State Univ.

Speakers: Douglas M. Armato, Univ. of Minnesota Press; Harriett Green, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana; Dean J. Smith, Project MUSE; Pierre A. Walker, Salem State Univ.

This roundtable addresses the veritable explosion of emerging technologies (Google Books, Wikipedia, and e-readers) currently available to faculty members to enhance their scholarly research and how these resources are altering fundamentally the method of scholarly research. The session also wishes to examine access to these technologies and how they interact with the traditional research library and the still meaningful role, if any, it plays in scholarly research.

487. Context versus Convenience: Teaching Contemporary Business Communication through Digital Media

12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., 306, WSCC

Presiding: Mahli Xuan Mechenbier, Kent State Univ.

  1. “Reenvisioning and Renovating the Twenty-First-Century Business Communication Classroom,” Lara Smith-Sitton, Georgia State Univ.
  2. “Contextualizing Conventions: Technology in Business Writing Classrooms,” Suanna H. Davis, Houston Community Coll., Central Coll., TX
  3. “Teaching Business Communication through Simulation Games,” Katherine V. Wills, Indiana Univ.–Purdue Univ., Columbus

490. Reconfiguring the Scholarly Edition

12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., 611, WSCC

Presiding: Susan Schreibman, Trinity Coll. Dublin

Speakers: Michael R. Best, Univ. of Victoria; John Bryant, Hofstra Univ.; Alexander Gil, Univ. of Virginia; Elizabeth Grove-White, Univ. of Victoria; Grant Simpson, Indiana Univ., Bloomington; John A. Walsh, Indiana Univ., Bloomington

New theories of editing have broadened the approaches available to editors of scholarly editions. Noteworthy amongst these are the changes brought about by editing for digital publication. New methods for digital scholarship, forms of editions, theories informing digital publication, and tools offer exciting alternatives to traditional notions of the scholarly edition.

513. Principles of Exclusion: The Future of the Nineteenth-Century Archive

1:45–3:00 p.m., 611, WSCC

Presiding: Lloyd P. Pratt, Univ. of Oxford, Linacre Coll.

  1. “Missing Links; or, Girls of Today, Archives of Tomorrow,” William A. Gleason, Princeton Univ.
  2. “Anonymity, Authorship, and Digital Archives in American Literature,” Elizabeth Lorang, Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln
  3. “Dashed Hopes: Small-Scale Digital Archives of the 1990s,” Amy Earhart, Texas A&M Univ., College Station

532. Reading Writing Interfaces: Electronic Literature’s Past and Present

1:45–3:00 p.m. 613, WSCC

Presiding: Marjorie Luesebrink Irvine Valley Coll., CA

  1. “Early Authors of E-Literature, Platforms of the Past,” Dene M. Grigar Washington State Univ., Vancouver
  2. “Seven Types of Interface in the Electronic Literature Collection Volume Two,” Marjorie Luesebrink ; Stephanie Strickland New York, NY
  3. The Digital Poem against the Interface Free,” Lori A. Emerson Univ. of Colorado, Boulder
  4. “Strange Rain and the Poetics of Motion and Touch,” Mark L. Sample George Mason Univ.

For abstracts, visit

539. #alt-ac: Alternative Paths, Pitfalls, and Jobs in the Digital Humanities

3:30–4:45 p.m. 3B, WSCC

Presiding: Sara Steger Univ. of Georgia

Speakers: Brian Croxall, Emory Univ.; Julia H. Flanders, Brown Univ.; Jennifer Howard, Chronicle of Higher Education; Matthew Jockers, Stanford Univ.; Shana Kimball, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Bethany Nowviskie, Univ. of Virginia; Lisa Spiro, National Inst. for Tech. in Liberal Education

This roundtable brings together various perspectives on alternative academic careers from professionals in digital humanities centers, libraries, publishing, and humanities labs. Speakers will discuss how and whether digital humanities is especially suited to fostering non-tenure-track positions and how that translates to the role of alt-ac in digital humanities and the academy. Related session: “#alt-ac: The Future of ‘Alternative Academic’ Careers” (595).

566. Ending the Edition

3:30–4:45 p.m., 303, WSCC

Presiding: Carol DeBoer-Langworthy, Brown Univ.

  1. “Mary Moody Emerson’s Almanacks: Digital Editions and Imagined Endings,” Noelle A. Baker, Neenah, WI
  2. “Closing the Book on a Multigenerational Edition: Harvard’s The Collected Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson,” Ronald A. Bosco, Univ. at Albany, State Univ. of New York; Joel Myerson, Univ. of South Carolina, Columbia
  3. “‘Letting Go’: The Final Volumes of the Cambridge Fitzgerald Edition,” James L. W. West, Penn State Univ., University Park

581. Digital Humanities versus New Media

5:15–6:30 p.m., 611, WSCC

  1. ” Everything Old Is New Again: The Digital Past and the Humanistic Future,” Alison Byerly Middlebury Coll.
  2. “As Study or as Paradigm? Humanities and the Uptake of Emerging Technologies,” Andrew Pilsch Penn State Univ., University Park
  3. “Digital Tunnel Vision: Defining a Rhetorical Situation,” David Robert Gruber North Carolina State Univ.
  4. “Digital Humanities Authorship as the Object of New Media Studies,” Victoria E. Szabo Duke Univ.

For abstracts, visit

595. #alt-ac: The Future of “Alternative Academic” Careers

5:15–6:30 p.m., 3B, WSCC

Presiding: Bethany Nowviskie, Univ. of Virginia

Speakers: Donald Brinkman, Microsoft Research; Neil Fraistat, Univ. of Maryland, College Park; Robert Gibbs, Univ. of Toronto; Charles Henry, Council on Library and Information Resources; Bethany Nowviskie; Jason C. Rhody, National Endowment for the Humanities; Elliott Shore, Bryn Mawr Coll.

In increasing numbers, scholars are pursuing careers as “alternative academics”—embracing hybrid and non-tenure-track positions in libraries, presses, humanities and cultural heritage organizations, and digital labs and centers. Speakers represent organizations helping to craft alternatives to the traditional academic career. Related session: “#alt-ac: Alternative Paths, Pitfalls, and Jobs in the Digital Humanities” (539).

603. Innovative Pedagogy and Research in Technical Communication

5:15–6:30 p.m., 615, WSCC

Presiding: William Klein Univ. of Missouri, St. Louis

1. “The New Normal of Public Health Research by Technical Communication Professionals,” Thomas Barker Texas Tech Univ.

2. “Teaching the New Paradigm: Social Media inside and outside the Classroom,” William Magrino Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick; Peter B. Sorrell Rutgers Univ., New Brunswick

3. “Technical and Rhetorical Communication through DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Digital Video,” Crystal VanKooten Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor

For abstracts, write to

606. Text:Image Visual Studies in the English Major

5:15–6:30 p.m., 304, WSCC

Presiding: Meg Roland, Marylhurst Univ.

  1. “Aesthetic Literacy and Interdisciplinary Vocabularies,” M. Stephanie Murray, Carnegie Mellon Univ.
  2. “Curricular Challenges, Pedagogical Opportunities: Charting Modernism across Departmental Boundaries,” David M. Ball, Dickinson Coll.; Elizabeth Lee, Dickinson Coll.
  3. “Text:Image Visual Studies in the English Department,” Perrin Maurine Kerns, Marylhurst Univ.
  4. Mapping the Antebellum Culture of Reprinting,” Ryan Cordell, Saint Norbert Coll.

For abstracts, write to

Sunday, January 8

636. Not What We Thought: Representations of the Digital Everyday

8:30–9:45 a.m., 307, WSCC

Presiding: Mark Bresnan New York Univ.

  1. “Enter eBay: Representations of the Digital Everyday in Jonathan Lethem’s Chronic City,” Zara Dinnen Univ. of London, Birkbeck Coll.
  2. “The Work of Viral Video in the Age of Networked Transmission,” Kimberly Knight Univ. of Texas, Dallas
  3. “@Margaret Atwood: Interactive Media and the Management of Literary Celebrity,” Lorraine M. York McMaster Univ.

658. The Literary Archive in an Age of Quantification: Evidence, Method, Imagination

10:15–11:30 a.m., 307, WSCC

Presiding: Justine S. Murison Univ. of Illinois, Urbana

  1. “Cause for Idealism? The Scientization of Literary Studies,” Jared Hickman Johns Hopkins Univ., MD
  2. “Can We Have Sex in the Archives?,” Jordan Alexander Stein Univ. of Colorado, Boulder
  3. “How to Build Tools That Foster the Kind of Brainstorming You Want,” Ted Underwood Univ. of Illinois, Urbana

Responding: Justine S. Murison

665. Debates in the Digital Humanities

10:15–11:30 a.m. 615, WSCC

Presiding: Alexander Reid Univ. at Buffalo, State Univ. of New York

  1. Whose Revolution? Toward a More Equitable Digital Humanities,” Matthew K. Gold New York City Coll. of Tech., City Univ. of New York
  2. Hacktivism and the Humanities: Programming Protest in the Era of the Digital University,” Elizabeth Mathews Losh Univ. of California, San Diego
  3. “Twenty-First-Century Literacy: Searching the Story of Billy the Kid,” Jeff Rice Univ. of Missouri, Columbia
  4. “Why the Digital Humanities Needs Theory,” Jentery Sayers Univ. of Victoria

For abstracts and discussion, visit

674. Giving It Away: Sharing and the Future of Scholarly Communication

10:15–11:30 a.m., Willow A, Sheraton

Presiding: Nicholas Birns, New School

Giving It Away: Sharing and the Future of Scholarly Communication,” Kathleen Fitzpatrick, MLA

691. Gertrude Stein and Music

12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., Cedar, Sheraton

Presiding: Jeff Dailey, Five Towns Coll.

  1. Sounding Stein’s Texts by Using Digital Tools for Distant Listening,” Tanya E. Clement, Univ. of Maryland, College Park
  2. “Gertrude’s Glee and Jazz Mislaid Jazz,” Judith A. Roof, Rice Univ.
  3. “‘This Is How They Do Not Like It’: Queer Abjection in Gertrude Stein and Virgil Thomson’s Four Saints in Three Acts,” Brandon Masterman, Univ. of Pittsburgh
  4. “‘Come to Paris Where You Can Be Looked After’: Paul Bowles Remediates Gertrude Stein,” Christopher Leslie, Polytechnic Inst. of New York Univ.

For abstracts, visit

716. Digital Material

12:00 noon–1:15 p.m., 613, WSCC

Presiding: Charles M. Tung Seattle Univ.; Benjamin Widiss Princeton Univ.

Speakers: Paul Benzon, Temple Univ., Philadelphia; Cara Elisabeth, Ogburn Univ. of Wisconsin, Milwaukee; Charles M. Tung; Benjamin Widiss; Zachary Zimmer, Virginia Polytechnic Inst. and State Univ.

For abstracts, write to

Is there gravity in digital worlds? Moving beyond both lamentations and celebrations of the putatively free-floating informatic empyrean, this roundtable will explore the ways in which representations in myriad digital platforms—verbal, visual, musical, cinematic—might bear the weight of materiality, presence, and history and the ways in which bodies—both human and hardware—might be recruited for or implicated in the effort.

730. New Media Narratives and Old Prose Fiction

1:45–3:00 p.m., 310, WSCC

Presiding: Amy J. Elias Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville

  1. “New Media: Its Use and Abuse for Literature and for Life,” Joseph Paul Tabbi Univ. of Illinois, Chicago
  2. “Contrasts and Convergences of Electronic Literature,” Dene M. Grigar Washington State Univ., Vancouver
  3. “Computing Language and Poetry,” Nick Montfort Massachusetts Inst. of Tech.

736. Close Playing: Literary Methods and Video Game Studies

1:45–3:00 p.m., University, Sheraton

Presiding: Mark L. Sample George Mason Univ.

Speakers: Edmond Chang, Univ. of Washington, Seattle; Steven E. Jones, Loyola Univ., Chicago; Jason C. Rhody, National Eudowment for the Humanities; Anastasia Salter, Univ. of Baltimore; Timothy Welsh, Loyola Univ., New Orleans; Zach Whalen, Univ. of Mary Washington

For abstracts, visit after December 1.

This roundtable moves beyond the games-versus-stories dichotomy to explore the full range of possible literary approaches to video games. These approaches include the theoretical and methodological contributions of reception studies, reader-response theory, narrative theory, critical race and gender theory, disability studies, and textual scholarship.

738. Textual Remediation in the Digital Age

1:45–3:00 p.m., 307, WSCC

Presiding: Andrew M. Stauffer, Univ. of Virginia

Speakers: Mark Algee-Hewitt, McGill Univ.; Alison Booth, Univ. of Virginia; Amanda Gailey, Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln; Laura C. Mandell, Texas A&M Univ., College Station

Roundtable on the theoretical, practical, and institutional issues surrounding the transformation of print-era texts into digital forms for scholarly use. What forms of editing need to be done, and by whom? What new research questions are becoming possible? How will the global digital library change professional communication? What is the future of the academic research library? How can we make sustainable digital textual resources for literary studies?

Second and Columbia, c. July 1914 photograph courtesy of Rob Ketcherside, Creative Commons Licensed

11 thoughts on “Digital Humanities Sessions at the 2012 MLA Conference in Seattle”

  1. […] Unlike MLA 2011 in Los Angeles, which overflowed with audio-themed research delights–see our last year’s round up here –MLA 2012 in Seattle seems, well, a lot less sonic.  I have a few theories as to why this may be (and of course, I would love to hear your thoughts as to MLA’s relative silence in the comment section. Drop us a line!).  First off, even in our networked universe, conferences always seem to take on some local flavor, so last year’s event in L.A., whose main industry continues to be entertainment, may have been a magnet for panels about music, sound, and other audio-visual inquiries.  Without implying that sound studies is mutually exclusive with Digital Humanities–quite the opposite–perhaps the move to Seattle, long a technology hub thanks to and Microsoft, helps account for the veritable explosion of  DH panels in the PMLA this year.  Being the Editor-in-Chief of a blog, I have included some of the many excellent DH panels in this round up that I think are of interest to fellow research bloggers and sound studies peeps; see Professor (and ProfHacker) Mark Sample’s comprehensive Digital MLA listing on his blog Sample Reality for the full line up (and a great discussion of the growth of digital humanities as a field). […]

  2. […] MLA‘s new DHCommons- “a new registry designed to match innovative scholars with opportunities for collaboration and expertise.” The commons is kicking off the MLA annual conference in Seattle this weekend (January 5-8, 2012) with a pre-conference workshop and a program offering a staggering 57 DH sessions. Mark Sample’s compiled a list:…. […]

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