Come learn about some of the fascinating and groundbreaking work that UMass graduate students are doing in the digital humanities!
The Internet Comment Function
John Gallagher, PhD student in the Department of English, UMass
Many internet websites now come equipped with comment functions. While the New York Times and other organizations have demeaned, rightfully so, this part of internet communication, comments on the internet are a source of democratic potential. This presentation draws on a case study of a writer who uses the comments in a thoughtful way to create texts. This presentation will present the findings that showcase this democratic potential while also recognizing the drawbacks and limitations of the comment function.
The Economics of Subjectivity: Circulation, Attention, and Textual Selves in Food Blogging
Leslie Bradshaw, PhD student in the Department of English, UMass
In her research into the processes of subject formation for online food bloggers, Bradshaw examines how digital circulation and the desire for attention work to influence the textual selves produced by writers.
She argues that the ease of textual circulation and the commercial interests of the Web influence writers in ways markedly different from print, and as a result, the ways writers present themselves in Web writing ought to be reconsidered in this new context. Presenting data on one popular food blogger, she will demonstrate how attention from readers and media outlets influences the production of textual self on the Web and how this blogger contends with the influences of attention, circulation, and capital in her online writing practices.
Digital Metabolism: Towards a Materialist Ecology of Digital Semiotic Activity
Christian Pulver, PhD student in the Department of English, UMass
What does it mean to live in a data driven world? How do we understand (and study) the central role our semiotic technologies play in this world? In this presentation I explore the recent hoopla associated with Big Data and the expanding collection of data enabled by advances in computing speed and storage. Such growing data collection serves as a key site for understanding contemporary rhetorical practices that go beyond the alphabetic construction of textuality, and, as a consequence, greatly adjust our relations to one another and the biophysical environment.
Light refreshments will be served.
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