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Research & Innovation

Research in the arts and humanities represents a range of disciplines and distinctive modes of knowledge and methods that result in articles and books, ideas, exhibitions, performances, artifacts and more. This deliberate and dedicated work generates deep insights into the multi-faceted people and cultures of the world, past and present.
Whether individual or collaborative, funded or unfunded, our faculty are leading national networks and conferences, providing research frameworks, engaging students, traversing international archives and making significant contributions to UMD's research enterprise.
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In the Spirit of a New People: The Cultural Politics of the Chicano Movement

The book studies the literature, theater, music, non-fiction prose, and other creative genres of the Chicano civil rights movement.

English

Lead: Randy Ontiveros
Dates:
Publisher: New York University Press

Focusing on cultural politics, Ontiveros reveals neglected stories about the Chicano movement and its impact: how writers used the street press to push back against the network news; how visual artists such as Santa Barraza used painting, installations, and mixed media to challenge racism in mainstream environmentalism; how El Teatro Campesino’s innovative “actos,” or short skits,sought to embody new, more inclusive forms of citizenship; and how Sandra Cisneros and other Chicana novelists broadened the narrative of the Chicano movement. In the Spirit of a New People articulates a fresh understanding of how the Chicano movement contributed to the social and political currents of postwar America, and how the movement remains meaningful today.

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“Shattering Black Flesh: Black Intellectual Writing in the Age of Ferguson.”

This essay argues for the logic of radical proximity as a vital methodology for black intellectual writing in the “Age of Ferguson.”

English

Lead: Julius Fleming, Jr.
Dates:
Publisher: American Literary History
It takes as its starting point age-old demands for scholars to maintain a critical distance from their objects of study. I demonstrate how the assumption of choice in calls for critical distance ignores the unruly character of trauma, history, and memory; ignores how, on occasion, they inflect black writing over and against the will of the author. To do so, I retrace the psychic routes of one of my own attempts to craft black intellectual writing in the age of Ferguson. Using personal storytelling as a critical narrative praxis, I argue that in the face of contemporary antiblack violence, and on the heels of New World slavery, injunctions against proximity are often futile—in so far as they aim to mediate relationalities routinely beyond the control of the writer. I conclude by advocating for multiple forms and platforms of black writing in the age of Ferguson. Black writers, I argue, must prevent social media—themselves technologies of neoliberal capitalism and promoters of its racial logics—from regulating what constitutes “authentic” grammars of black intellectual writing and political expression.

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“The Madwoman With a Laptop: Notes Toward a Literary Prehistory of Academic Fem Blogging.”

Notes Toward a Literary Prehistory of Academic Fem Blogging

English

Lead: Marilee Lindemann
Dates:
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
I've begun to reflect more critically on my practice as a blogger and to think more broadly about what blogs are, what they do—culturally, politically, and literarily—and what they can teach us about reading, writing, and social networking in the twenty-first century.

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"'Green Hill Country': A Scholar's Tale."

From A Scholar's Tale." A Wilderness of Dragons: Essays in Honor of Verlyn Flieger

English

Lead: Peter Grybauskas
Dates:
The Gabbro Head Press has produced an anthology of essays written in tribute to the inspiration and influence of the renowned Tolkien scholar, writer, and professor, Verlyn Flieger. Entitled A Wilderness of Dragons: Essays in Honor of Verlyn Flieger, this volume was edited by the eminent Tolkien scholar John D. Rateliff, author of The History of the Hobbit.

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"'Now Often Forgotten': Gollum, the Great War, and the Last Alliance."

From Baptism of Fire: The Birth of the Modern British Fantastic in World War I.

English

Lead: Peter Grybauskas
Dates:
World War I has been called “the poets’ war,” as it was characterized by a massive outpouring of works of literature during and after the war. Much of this literary harvest, as Paul Fussell brilliantly demonstrated in The Great War and Modern Memory, hinged on an ironic response to the deadly absurdities of World War I.

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"'Poor Black Squares': Afterimages of the Floppy Disk,"

The juxtaposition of floppy (floppy!) disks with nuclear-tipped ICBMs seemed to encompass everything that was absurd about both government bureaucracy and Cold War strategic thinking.

English

Lead: Matthew Kirschenbaum
Dates:
Publisher: Routledge Comopanion to Obsolescent Media
The entertainment value of this news item—feeding the Internet’s insatiable appetite forirony and oddity—underscores the extent to which the floppy disk has lodged itself in the memory of a generation weaned on the totems and paraphernalia of early home computing.

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"An Executable Past: The Case for a National Software Registry.”

One of our foremost living novelists can knowingly make reference to a twenty-five year-old computer program and be able to count on his audience’s powers of identification

English

Lead: Matthew Kirschenbaum
Dates:
Publisher: Library of Congress
Unlike a literary manuscript or a film master, however, there was no culturally sanctioned depository or repository, no library or archives to bequeath with the newly recovered source code.

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"An organ for the seraglio: Thomas Dallam's artificial life"

In the late 1590s, Elizabeth I and the Levant Company hoped to advance their diplomatic and mercantile agendas in the Mediterranean with the gift of a splendid mechanical organ to the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed III.

English

Lead: Scott Trudell
Dates:
Publisher: Renaissance Studies
Thomas Dallam, who was charged with installing this fully automated instrument in the Ottoman court, wrote a lively narrative of his journey, including his personal encounter with the Sultan. This essay argues that Dallam is more complex and suggestive writer than scholars have acknowledged, producing not a plainspoken account of his journey but a suggestive sense of belonging among the humans and machines in the Ottoman seraglio. Fueled by a combination of artisan class identity, technological wonder, anxieties about cultural difference, and an expanding sense of personal vulnerability, Dallam imagines a new life at the Topkapı Palace, integrated within an exquisite system of mechanical artifice.

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"Bacon, Egg, & Oats," The Rumpus

“Bacon, Egg, & Oats” explores how eating bacon involves the killing of a sentient being.

English

Lead: Peter Witte
Dates:
Publisher: The Rumpus
Peter Witte is unsure whether the killing of a sentient being is problematic, but he wishes that bacon, one of his favorite foods, could exist without all the suffering.

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"Bibliocircuitry and the Design of the Alien Everyday."

This essay describes, models, and advocates for the role of reflective design in bibliography and textual studies.

English

Lead: Cameron Mozafari
Dates:
Publisher: Textual Cultures
Popularized by Donald Norman, reflective design promotes critical inquiry over usability and exploratory prototyping over fully realized productions. We highlight four projects undertaken by the authors that embody reflective design, including three that explore the crossed codes of print and electronic books. A larger aim of the essay is to position bibliotextual scholarship and pedagogy as design-oriented practices that can be used to imagine the future as well as reconstruct the past.

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