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Open Access Publications from the University of California

About

What does it mean to study English today? The English department at UC Santa Barbara engages this question by offering its students the opportunity to explore Old English manuscripts, Internet texts, American novels, Anglo-Irish literature, queer textuality, science fiction, literature of the body, modern poetry, Shakespeare etc.--all kinds of "literatures" written in English. In the process, we study the complex interactions between literature, culture, and history. At the heart of literary study lies the simple yet striking recognition that language constitutes both a technology of thought and a constituent of human reality. We transform this recognition into undergraduate and graduate programs of study that develop the critical skills required to negotiate complicated literary and cultural texts.

Together, we spend time working on questions like these: (1) How do historical and cultural contexts lend written texts their intelligibility and convey their strange power? (2) How do gender and minority discourses inform our understanding of literature? (3) How does the study of English engage the public sphere?

Department of English

There are 528 publications in this collection, published between 1989 and 2021.
Digital Cultures and New Media (6)

“After 9/11: Wiring Networks for Security and Liberty”

The following talk will seek to do three things: first, understand how the attacks on 9/11, and the subsequent anthrax attacks, have succeeded in compromising our networks; second, suggest how early American communication networks played a central role in winning American independence from the British Imperial system. Finally, I will end this talk by arguing that 9/11 should not mean that we reconfigure American networks by bartering away our liberty in the name of security. Instead, in the wake of 9/11, we should think through ways to make our networks more secure by making them more robust, more extensive, and more intelligent.

Computable Culture and the Closure of the Media Paradigm

This review essay on Manovich's THE LANGUAGE OF NEW MEDIA (2000)argues that Manovich has developed the most convincing definition of new media to date. Manovich's concept of new media is unique for the way it balances astute interpretation of new technologies of computation (the interface, the database, etc.) with a rich and full sense of the long history of media culture.

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Open Access Policy Deposits (77)

Mobile Media Poetics

This paper explores literary uses of mobile media, with a particular emphasis on poetics. Its primary examples include SMS poetry contests sponsored by entities such as The Guardian, RMIT, and Onesixty and SMS-enabled public performances such as City Speak, TXTual Healing, and SimpleTEXT. The paper articulates some of the paradigmatic qualities of mobile media poetics, with a particular emphasis on liveness and ephemerality and commentary on mobility and location as signifying elements. It also suggests that some of the literary and socio-political potential of mobile media poetics can be seen in the shift from the single desktop to the mobile screens of large-scale public interaction. This investigation of mobile media poetics is situated as a partial redress to the seemingly ubiquitous worries over the decline of reading.

“After 9/11: Wiring Networks for Security and Liberty”

The following talk will seek to do three things: first, understand how the attacks on 9/11, and the subsequent anthrax attacks, have succeeded in compromising our networks; second, suggest how early American communication networks played a central role in winning American independence from the British Imperial system. Finally, I will end this talk by arguing that 9/11 should not mean that we reconfigure American networks by bartering away our liberty in the name of security. Instead, in the wake of 9/11, we should think through ways to make our networks more secure by making them more robust, more extensive, and more intelligent.

Future of Public Higher Education in California

Marc Bousquet argues that public education has become less and less democratic. Primary and secondary public educational institutions are now run as if they were corporations. The metrics used to determine performance and productivity are vapid and intended on supporting administrations at the expense of students and faculty. Teachers and faculty are working harder to meet business-inspired goals, for example “testing to the test”, rather than producing graduates who have powerful analytical/critical skills. He demonstrates that so far the Obama Administration has consistently backed this ongoing process especially given the appointment of Arne Duncan as the Secretary of Education. Moreover, he focuses on why these changes are undermining students’ freedom of expression and democratic rights. He concludes with some suggestions on how faculty, students and the public might respond to these challenges. Christopher Newfield notes that part of the loss of US competitiveness is due to the decline of its educational system especially in California which had been the model for public education for the US from the early 1960s onward. Moreover, education funding has declined as fees have increased. He outlines how the general funding model for education has changed significantly at the expense of the middle class: larger gaps in educational attainments; plummeting access to elite institutions by lower classes; and status reproduction through selectivity of the most gifted students (weighted in favor of private institutions). He suggests that this process can be turned around if new goals are established that assess success rooted in the accumulation of social capital and new more sophisticated accounting procedures that separate out different types of funding including the number of students taught and the true cost of corporate-sponsored short-term oriented research. He finishes with an agenda to push for these reforms and others.

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Other Recent Work (2)

The Invention of a Public Machine for Revolutionary Emotion: the Boston Committee of Correspondence

In this essay I will explore how, during the build up to the American Revolution, a new communications technology and the expression of public sentiments became constitutively co-implicated.

Henry Fielding

Henry Fielding(1707-1754) was playwright, journalist, reforming magistrate, and the inventor of the comic novel in English. Out of Fielding’s practice of literature and law there emerges the concept of society as a complex, interdependent totality.

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