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Below you will find current courses, as well as some others I’ve offered in the past.

Copyright & Literary Culture. The practical consequences of copyright are broad and deep—from the construction and dominance of the iPod/iPhone to the institutionalization of Shakespeare, these are matters directly tied into the rich, complex and sometimes maddening history and theory of intellectual property.  At the root of modern copyright was the book sellers trade in Early Modern England, translated and transplanted to the American Colonies, reformed by the U.S. Constitution, and refined in the courts.  Throughout its history, we have seen how creators, the reading public, and the book sellers have battled and negotiated with each other to strike a productive but precarious balance—and our modern digital turmoil is the latest in a long line of technological ruptures that have left the creative class scrambling to re-define copyright once again.  We shall investigate the theory and history of intellectual property through a mixture of novels, legal texts, popular journals, and criticism to comprehend copyright’s long and intricate relationship with literary culture, what is at stake with current copyright disputes, and what that may mean for the future of the book.

Digital Cultures. Graduate seminar. This course studies digital cultures to offer insights about how people use technology to change, resist, subvert, or attack the cultures that seek to subject and contain them. Constructed at the intersection of these struggles, this course takes a multiperspectival approach to digital culture, employing literary and rhetorical theory to understand a number of topics relevant to the subject, including but not limited to, cyberspace and identity, online political activism, social networking, hacker culture, cyberspace and law, remix culture, gaming and fan culture, and viral memes. In doing so, this course will help students understand the complex role that technology plays in the cultural struggles (digital or otherwise) through which knowledge is produced.

Techno-Orientalism in Science Fiction Film & Literature.Undergraduate lecture. This course explores the signification of Asia and the high-tech in speculative fiction in film and literature; it takes a historiographic approach by examining the brief but significant interest in Japanese culture and art in the early twentieth century after the Russo-Japanese War. Texts include Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, William Gibson’s Idoru, as well as an assortment of secondary and theoretical criticism. Films may include BladerunnerThe Matrix, and Robot Stories, among others.

Literature and New Media. Upper division undergraduate lecture. At the root of media is technology. Consider how the book could not have been engendered without the technology to produce paper, ink, and movable type. This course combines text, image, and sound in considering literature and new media. How do media inform one another? Can a painting be cinematic? Can a film be textual? Can a text be mellifluous? This course examines new media and literature as engaging in a reflexive relationship altering not only the form of narrative, but its consumption, production, and processing.

American Novel after 1920. Upper division undergraduate lecture. This course surveys the contemporary American novel through both modern and postmodern lenses, emphasizing cultural, historical and political events shaping art and literature. We will cover modernist works grappling with subjects such as feminism, immigration, the Jazz Age, Fordism and cultural materialism; postmodernist works will address postindustrial capitalism, the Cold War, language, and mass communications.

Contemporary American Literature. MA level graduate seminar. Jean-Francois Lyotard writes that the postmodern condition necessitates the dismantling of grand narratives and the embracing of discrete, local narratives. This course examines this fragmentation with the movement towards “opting out” in contemporary American literature after 1945. We will follow the trajectory – keeping an eye on historiography – of how postindustrial literature reacts to systemic regulation with acts of transgression spanning across genres, including experimental narratives, science fiction, and multiethnic literature.

Digital Humanities. MA/PhD level graduate seminar. What is the digital humanities? The difficulty in defining an emerging field is its pliant nature; thus, while designed as a survey, this course will also be a constructive move. Part one of the course examines the field in the context of historical ruptures such as the transition from orality to writing, the advent of the printing press, and the rise of digital networks. Part two centers on new media theory – how does new media differ from its predecessors? How do we theorize the electronic text or digital archive? Part three, a hybrid of history and theory, delves into the complications of transition – how the digital humanities challenges old paradigms, including intellectual property, business models, and scholarship.

Rewriting, Remediation, Recombinance: Literature in the Mashup Age. Undergraduate level. In older writing cultures, scarcity and the high cost of writing materials demanded creative means of reuse and recycling. One such method of economy was the palimpsest, a parchment that had been written on, scraped off, and re-written over, again and again. By looking into the historical conditions leading to collaborative creativity, we can better understand where the direction of literary culture is heading. This course examines similar modes of literary creativity from poetry to the graphic novel, and from the novel to digital information. Texts covered include Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49, Nabokov’s Lolita, Pera’s Lo’s Diary, Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and an extensive course reader consisting of critical secondary sources and poetry.

Asian American Literature to 1980. Undergraduate level. Spanning the period from the late 19th century to 1980, this course examines Asian America’s identity and citizenship as reflected by its literature. In roughly chronological order we will examine literary works tackling issues such as immigration in the face of xenophobia; the psychological trauma of war and internment; mainstream co-optation and canon formation.