On April 6, 2022, I gave an invited talk at University of Virginia’s Scholar’s Lab titled “Digital Writing & Digital Divides in the US: Electronic Literature & Privilege.” Here’s the abstract and a link to the video recording of my talk:
The field of electronic literature has long been dominated by white practitioners in its publications, histories, and pedagogy. This disparity is due to historically privileged access to digital technologies, unequal education in programming, digital literacy, and advanced digital skills, and a culture that sustains white supremacy by defining the field through privileged aesthetics. This talk examines digital divides in the United States, through a history of access to computers and computer science education in schools. It also examines the emergence of electronic literature as a practice and field, tracking the impact of digital divides on the diversity of its practitioners and scholars. I will conclude by expanding on the need for a term such as digital writing, to account for both literary and non-literary writing that engages the affordances of digital media technologies, and help diversify the field by casting a wider net to draw in a greater variety of work by creators who don’t necessarily think of their work as literary.
You can watch the video recording of the talk here: https://avalon.lib.virginia.edu/media_objects/1v53jx19r
And while the recording doesn’t include the great Q&A afterwards, I want to link to an example of non-literary digital writing I shared in the discussion: “The Deep Sea” and other engaging bits of non-literary digital writing by Neal Agarwal. I also talked about “Emoji Horoscopes” by Aleyshka Estevez and a ‘zine for minimalist electronic literature titled Taper.
Huge thanks to Amanda Wyatt Visconti and Laura Miller for the invitation and hosting me in this prestigious speaker series!