Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

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?

Cover page of The Asemic at the End of the World

The Asemic at the End of the World


Presentation prepared for the Modern Language Association Annual Convention in January 2017

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

“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.

Cover page of Computable Culture and the Closure of the Media Paradigm

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.