English and Film Studies

Recent Visitors and Speakers

Distinguished Visitor

Lisa Gitelman

To learn more about Lisa Gitelman, visit her Faculty Profile at the University of New York, Steinhardt and her webpage lisagitelman.org.

Schedule of Major Events:

Lecture I: Emoji Dick and Emoji Dickinson

Monday, March 12, 2018
3:30 pm
Humanities Centre, Lecture Theatre 1


The first in a series of three talks, this lecture explores a recent "translation" of Moby Dick into emoji as a ludic contact zone between human intelligence and algorithmic processing, between text and image under the sign of computation, as well as between literature and whatever the fate of the literary may be in an ever more digitally mediated and data-described world. Appearing just as the academy in the West re-theorizes “world literature,” Emoji Dick fakes the export—the translation—of Herman Melville’s novel as it simultaneously asks us to consider the legacy of East/West contact as much in terms of media history as in terms of cultural interchange or international trade.

Reception to follow on the 3rd floor of Humanities Centre, in the foyer by the West elevator; open to all University of Alberta staff, students, alumni, and their invited guests.


Lecture II: On Not Reading

Wednesday, March 14, 2018 3:30 pm
Humanities Centre, Lecture Theatre 1


This talk will be an outgrowth of the first. It offers a meditation on specific forms of not reading available in twenty-first century popular discourse, describing the different ways in which not reading has become part of and party to the ways we think and talk about reading at the present time. This talk will offer an account of the literary present, when Amazon is ascendant and traditional literature departments apparently in decline. So-called hyper-reading by distracted multi-taskers is one form of not reading, for instance, and so-called distant reading (text mining) is another. Some but not all of today’s not reading is predicated on our engagement with new media.


Lecture III:The Objects of Media History

Friday, March 16, 2018
3:30 pm
Humanities Centre, Lecture Theatre 1


This talk will aim to be a little more "meta" than the other two, an opportunity to think about how media history defines its objects (for example "print" or “video”) and to what ends. Media history has typically been rendered as a parade of technical forms—gramophone, film, typewriter, etc.—yet this model is intellectually unsatisfactory for a host of reasons. Where did this model come from, and what are its alternatives? The question of what media history is about—what it addresses—turns on the question of what it is for.


Graduate Seminar:Reproductive Mechanism: Vernacular Texts and Bibliographical Sensibilities

Thursday, March 15, 2018
2:00 pm
Humanities Centre 3-95

Professor Gitelman plans to offer a seminar on analog and digital forms of copying in which students will be asked to read a recent article by Bruno Latour and a coauthor that updates/corrects Benjamin’s famous “Work of Art in the Age of Its Technical Reproducibility” along with one chapter of her own recent Paper Knowledge. Drawing on Matthew Kirschenbaum's distinction between forensic and formal materiality, discussion will aim at introducing and elaborating what might be called a bibliographical sensibility toward vernacular texts. How does the tradition of textual studies help us think about digital objects? What are the contexts that matter to contemporary texts?


Previous visitors & speakers