academic writing

robots repaired.jpg

vital work: women's labor in the cybernetic seventies

Fantastic female robots, androids, and automata play a major role in seventies culture, representing, more forcefully perhaps than any other symbol, the ways in which cybernetic science had thoroughly permeated the contemporary moment, even as cybernetics had waned as a specific scientific practice. But the female robots of the cybernetic seventies are not just uncanny doppelgangers or elaborate automata. Like Mrs. Claybrook, they work.

 In Histories of Digital Labor, Routledge, 2018


The Most Primeval of Passions: Incest in the Service of Women in Angela Carter’s The Magic Toyshop.

Carter combines two separate ideas of myth: as fantastical etiological narrative and as operative ideology that naturalizes inequalities between people. The two are not entirely discrete, however. Both kinds of myth are composed of “extraordinary lies.” Carter’s political project is to unmask the harm that myth, as ideological smokescreen, does to women.

In Straight Writ Queer, McFarland 2006

black herman.jpg

Messenger Bug: Ishmael Reed’s Media Virus

The key themes of Reed’s text: viral contagion, media networks, and linguistic and alphabetic codes, are also the key themes of the discourse of information technoscience through the late 1960s and early 1970s, the period of Mumbo Jumbo’s composition and publication.

In Cultural Critique 88, Fall 2014


The Maypole is the medium: A review of The networked wilderness by matt cohen

It’s hard enough, for most literary scholars, to think about print and type in the abstract terms of medium and information. Matt Cohen’s The Networked Wilderness argues that we should take Shannon’s theoretic abstraction even further, expanding the categories of medium and message to encompass actions and events well outside the realm of conventional literary scholarship. This study argues that wars, medicine, and jokes are all encoded as signals upon the media conferred by the seventeenth-century American landscape. 

inverted jenny.jpg

an intent to communicate: technology and digital culture in the crying of lot 49

The Crying of Lot 49 marked, for the first time in literary fiction, the appearance of images associated with computers, digital communications, and network and media theory. 

In Technology and Humanity, Salem 2013


under a pink flag: Pink Pirates by caren irr

In Under the Black Flag, the 1925 collection of pirate biographies notable for its influence on William Burroughs and Kathy Acker, Don Carlos Seitz relates the story of seventeenth-century pirate captain James Mission, who prefigured the French Revolution as well as the pink pirates described in Caren Irr’s text. Mission’s men, according to Seitz (and Defoe, whose history Seitz adapted), rejected the black flag for the white, founded the commune Libertatia on the Madagascar coast, held all property communally, and sailed the Atlantic, freeing slaves and adopting them into their African utopia while they plundered French, British, and Spanish vessels