How We Think

How We Think

Author: N. Katherine Hayles

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Published: 2012-04-11

Total Pages: 296

ISBN-13: 0226321371

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“How do we think?” N. Katherine Hayles poses this question at the beginning of this bracing exploration of the idea that we think through, with, and alongside media. As the age of print passes and new technologies appear every day, this proposition has become far more complicated, particularly for the traditionally print-based disciplines in the humanities and qualitative social sciences. With a rift growing between digital scholarship and its print-based counterpart, Hayles argues for contemporary technogenesis—the belief that humans and technics are coevolving—and advocates for what she calls comparative media studies, a new approach to locating digital work within print traditions and vice versa. Hayles examines the evolution of the field from the traditional humanities and how the digital humanities are changing academic scholarship, research, teaching, and publication. She goes on to depict the neurological consequences of working in digital media, where skimming and scanning, or “hyper reading,” and analysis through machine algorithms are forms of reading as valid as close reading once was. Hayles contends that we must recognize all three types of reading and understand the limitations and possibilities of each. In addition to illustrating what a comparative media perspective entails, Hayles explores the technogenesis spiral in its full complexity. She considers the effects of early databases such as telegraph code books and confronts our changing perceptions of time and space in the digital age, illustrating this through three innovative digital productions—Steve Tomasula’s electronic novel, TOC; Steven Hall’s The Raw Shark Texts; and Mark Z. Danielewski’s Only Revolutions. Deepening our understanding of the extraordinary transformative powers digital technologies have placed in the hands of humanists, How We Think presents a cogent rationale for tackling the challenges facing the humanities today.


The Cosmic Web

The Cosmic Web

Author: N. Katherine Hayles

Publisher: Cornell University Press

Published: 2018-03-15

Total Pages: 209

ISBN-13: 1501722972

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From the central concept of the field—which depicts the world as a mutually interactive whole, with each part connected to every other part by an underlying field— have come models as diverse as quantum mathematics and Saussure’s theory of language. In The Cosmic Web, N. Katherine Hayles seeks to establish the scope of the field concept and to assess its importance for contemporary thought. She then explores the literary strategies that are attributable directly or indirectly to the new paradigm; among the texts at which she looks closely are Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Nabokov’s Ada, D. H. Lawrence’s early novels and essays, Borges’s fiction, and Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow.


Unthought

Unthought

Author: N. Katherine Hayles

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Published: 2017-04-05

Total Pages: 263

ISBN-13: 022644788X

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N. Katherine Hayles is known for breaking new ground at the intersection of the sciences and the humanities. In Unthought, she once again bridges disciplines by revealing how we think without thinking—how we use cognitive processes that are inaccessible to consciousness yet necessary for it to function. Marshalling fresh insights from neuroscience, cognitive science, cognitive biology, and literature, Hayles expands our understanding of cognition and demonstrates that it involves more than consciousness alone. Cognition, as Hayles defines it, is applicable not only to nonconscious processes in humans but to all forms of life, including unicellular organisms and plants. Startlingly, she also shows that cognition operates in the sophisticated information-processing abilities of technical systems: when humans and cognitive technical systems interact, they form “cognitive assemblages”—as found in urban traffic control, drones, and the trading algorithms of finance capital, for instance—and these assemblages are transforming life on earth. The result is what Hayles calls a “planetary cognitive ecology,” which includes both human and technical actors and which poses urgent questions to humanists and social scientists alike. At a time when scientific and technological advances are bringing far-reaching aspects of cognition into the public eye, Unthought reflects deeply on our contemporary situation and moves us toward a more sustainable and flourishing environment for all beings.


Chaos Bound

Chaos Bound

Author: N. Katherine Hayles

Publisher: Cornell University Press

Published: 2018-03-15

Total Pages: 328

ISBN-13: 1501722956

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N. Katherine Hayles here investigates parallels between contemporary literature and critical theory and the science of chaos. She finds in both scientific and literary discourse new interpretations of chaos, which is seen no longer as disorder but as a locus of maximum information and complexity. She examines structures and themes of disorder in The Education of Henry Adams, Doris Lessing’s Golden Notebook, and works by Stanislaw Lem. Hayles shows how the writings of poststructuralist theorists including Barthes, Lyotard, Derrida, Serres, and de Man incorporate central features of chaos theory.


Composition, Creative Writing Studies, and the Digital Humanities

Composition, Creative Writing Studies, and the Digital Humanities

Author: Adam Koehler

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

Published: 2017-01-26

Total Pages: 176

ISBN-13: 1472591968

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In an era of blurred generic boundaries, multimedia storytelling, and open-source culture, creative writing scholars stand poised to consider the role that technology-and the creative writer's playful engagement with technology-has occupied in the evolution of its theory and practice. Composition, Creative Writing Studies and the Digital Humanities is the first book to bring these three fields together to open up new opportunities and directions for creative writing studies. Placing the rise of Creative Writing Studies alongside the rise of the digital humanities in Composition/Rhetoric, Adam Koehler shows that the use of new media and its attendant re-evaluation of fundamental assumptions in the field stands to guide Creative Writing Studies into a new era. Covering current developments in composition and the digital humanities, this book re-examines established assumptions about process, genre, authority/authorship and pedagogical practice in the creative writing classroom.


Digital Modernism

Digital Modernism

Author: Jessica Pressman

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Published: 2014-01-03

Total Pages: 272

ISBN-13: 0199937095

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While most critical studies of born-digital literature celebrate it as a postmodern art form with roots in contemporary technologies and social interactions, Digital Modernism provides an alternative genealogy. Grounding her argument in literary history, media studies, and the practice of close-reading, Jessica Pressman pairs modernist works by Ezra Pound, James Joyce, and Bob Brown, with major digital works like William Poundstone's Project for the Tachistoscope {Bottomless Pit}, Young-hae Chang Heavy Industries's Dakota, and Judd Morrissey's The Jew's Daughter to demonstrate how the modernist movement of the 1920s and 1930s laid the groundwork for the innovations of electronic literature. Accordingly, Digital Modernism makes the case for considering these digital creations as "literature" and argues for the value of reading them carefully, closely, and within literary history.


Reading Project

Reading Project

Author: Jessica Pressman

Publisher: University of Iowa Press

Published: 2015-06

Total Pages: 245

ISBN-13: 1609383451

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"A collaborative critical analysis of a work of digital literature, this book models how scholars can and need to weave together multiple methodologies from the digital humanities in order to effectively analyze born-digital electronic literature"--


The Marvelous Clouds

The Marvelous Clouds

Author: John Durham Peters

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Published: 2015-06-19

Total Pages: 419

ISBN-13: 022625397X

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“An ambitious re-writing—a re-synthesis, even—of concepts of media and culture . . . It is nothing less than an attempt at a history of Being.” —Los Angeles Review of Books When we speak of clouds these days, it is as likely that we mean data clouds or network clouds as cumulus or stratus. In their sharing of the term, both kinds of clouds reveal an essential truth: that the natural world and the technological world are not so distinct. In The Marvelous Clouds, John Durham Peters argues that though we often think of media as environments, the reverse is just as true—environments are media. Peters defines media expansively as elements that compose the human world. Drawing from ideas implicit in media philosophy, Peters argues that media are more than carriers of messages: they are the very infrastructures combining nature and culture that allow human life to thrive. Through an encyclopedic array of examples from the oceans to the skies, The Marvelous Clouds reveals the long prehistory of so-called new media. Digital media, Peters argues, are an extension of early practices tied to the establishment of civilization such as mastering fire, building calendars, reading the stars, creating language, and establishing religions. New media do not take us into uncharted waters, but rather confront us with the deepest and oldest questions of society and ecology: how to manage the relations people have with themselves, others, and the natural world. A wide-ranging meditation on the many means we have employed to cope with the struggles of existence—from navigation to farming, meteorology to Google—The Marvelous Clouds shows how media lie at the very heart of our interactions with the world around us.


Network Aesthetics

Network Aesthetics

Author: Patrick Jagoda

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Published: 2016-03-22

Total Pages: 329

ISBN-13: 022634665X

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The term “network” is now applied to everything from the Internet to terrorist-cell systems. But the word’s ubiquity has also made it a cliché, a concept at once recognizable yet hard to explain. Network Aesthetics, in exploring how popular culture mediates our experience with interconnected life, reveals the network’s role as a way for people to construct and manage their world—and their view of themselves. Each chapter considers how popular media and artistic forms make sense of decentralized network metaphors and infrastructures. Patrick Jagoda first examines narratives from the 1990s and 2000s, including the novel Underworld, the film Syriana, and the television series The Wire, all of which play with network forms to promote reflection on domestic crisis and imperial decline in contemporary America. Jagoda then looks at digital media that are interactive, nonlinear, and dependent on connected audiences to show how recent approaches, such as those in the videogame Journey, open up space for participatory and improvisational thought. Contributing to fields as diverse as literary criticism, digital studies, media theory, and American studies, Network Aesthetics brilliantly demonstrates that, in today’s world, networks are something that can not only be known, but also felt, inhabited, and, crucially, transformed.


How We Became Posthuman

How We Became Posthuman

Author: N. Katherine Hayles

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Published: 2008-05-15

Total Pages: 364

ISBN-13: 0226321398

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In this age of DNA computers and artificial intelligence, information is becoming disembodied even as the "bodies" that once carried it vanish into virtuality. While some marvel at these changes, envisioning consciousness downloaded into a computer or humans "beamed" Star Trek-style, others view them with horror, seeing monsters brooding in the machines. In How We Became Posthuman, N. Katherine Hayles separates hype from fact, investigating the fate of embodiment in an information age. Hayles relates three interwoven stories: how information lost its body, that is, how it came to be conceptualized as an entity separate from the material forms that carry it; the cultural and technological construction of the cyborg; and the dismantling of the liberal humanist "subject" in cybernetic discourse, along with the emergence of the "posthuman." Ranging widely across the history of technology, cultural studies, and literary criticism, Hayles shows what had to be erased, forgotten, and elided to conceive of information as a disembodied entity. Thus she moves from the post-World War II Macy Conferences on cybernetics to the 1952 novel Limbo by cybernetics aficionado Bernard Wolfe; from the concept of self-making to Philip K. Dick's literary explorations of hallucination and reality; and from artificial life to postmodern novels exploring the implications of seeing humans as cybernetic systems. Although becoming posthuman can be nightmarish, Hayles shows how it can also be liberating. From the birth of cybernetics to artificial life, How We Became Posthuman provides an indispensable account of how we arrived in our virtual age, and of where we might go from here.