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ENGLISH 511
Problems in Contemporary Literary Criticism
Spring 2015
 
Dr. Sheila Liming
sheila.liming@und.edu
701-777-2782
Office: Merrifield 1B
 
Course Description

ital
Theorizing the Dig
in Literary Study

Office hours:
MWF 10 am – 12 pm,
and by appointment

Gary Hall, in a 2013 American Literature article, asks a set of provocative questions aimed at
troubling the relationship between digital methods and cultural products in the field of
contemporary scholarship that is now known as the digital humanities. “Do the humanities really
need to draw quite so heavily on computer science to develop a sense of what they can be in the
age of new media and big data? Together with a computational turn in the humanities, might we
not also benefit from more of a humanities ... or even post-humanities turn in our understanding
of the computational and the digital?” Hall here suggests that the humanities are selling
themselves short: they are allowing their methods and objects to be shaped by the field of
computer science and by the kinds of empiricism found chiefly among STEM disciplines without
insisting, in turn, on a kind of discourse of influence that might put humanist scholars in the
position to critique, shape, and guide our social conceptions of the digital. Or, to put it another
way, computers are undoubtedly changing the humanities, so why aren’t humanists more
interested in changing computers?
This course begins with the observation – espoused by Hall and others – that in the trendy,
gangbusters atmosphere of the digital humanities, the digital’s influence on humanistic study has
been heretofore under-theorized, under-criticized, and under interpreted. We will survey a
variety of theoretical and critical texts as a means of correcting this condition, and will apply our
readings in both digital media and print culture theory separately to the practices of reading,
writing, and constructing texts. We will work from a number of fictional case studies in the
process, including Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves, which considers the projects of
writing and creating in a post-print world.
We will also survey and critique a number of digital humanities projects, focusing on digital
archival projects in an effort to assess the changing landscape of literary research. We will also
spend some time working with and critiquing the digital tools that have helped to make such
projects possible, adding a hands-on component to our theoretical considerations of digital
literary scholarship. Ultimately, this class is framed around considerations of contemporary
debate in literary scholarship. You don’t have to be a computer genius to take this class, and you
don’t have to have any previous knowledge or understanding of digital humanities scholarship.
Everyone – the critical and the curious alike – is welcome.

Course Objectives

To provide students with an introduction to touchstone literary scholarship concerning topics of
literary production, consumption, readership, and critique in light of developments in digital
media and technology.

To familiarize students with the process of reading and writing closely in the immediate context
of such touchstone literary works.

To professionalize and train students for advanced graduate work in a literary arts education.

To impart processes of close reading, close writing, and attentive research as preparation for
advanced graduate coursework in literary or communicational study.

To encourage multimodal thinking in both the consumption and construction of written texts, and
to hone students’ skills in both writing and creating textual artifacts, both print and non-print.

To establish standards for academic discourse and participation through in-class discussion, peer
evaluation, and collaborative assignments.

Required Texts
[to be purchased]
Danielewski, Mark Z. House of Leaves. New York: Pantheon, 2000.
Hayles, N. Katherine, ed. Comparative Textual Media. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota
Press, 2013.
Jockers, Matthew L. Macroanalysis: Digital Methods and Literary History. Urbana, IL:
University of Illinois Press, 2013.
Moretti, Franco. Distant Reading. New York: Verso, 2013.
[available on Blackboard]
Benjamin, Walter. “The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility.” The Work
of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility and Other Writings. Cambridge,
MA: Belknap (2008): 19-55. Print.
---. “The Author as Producer.” 79-96.
Borges, Jorge Luis. “Pierre Menard, Author of Don Quixote.” Sur (May 1939). Web.
Coldbacon.com, 14 December 2014.
Bush, Vannevar. “As We May Think.” The Atlantic, 1 July 1945. Web. TheAtlantic.com, 15
December 2014.

Deleuze, Gilles. “Postscript on the Societies of Control.” October, v. 59 (Winter 1992): 3-7.
Web. JStor.org, 15 December 2014.
Deleuze, Gilles and Guattari, Felix. “Introduction: Rhizome.” The Norton Anthology of Theory
and Criticism, ed. Leitch. New York: WW Norton and Co. (2001): 1601-1609. Print.
Eisenstein, Elizabeth L. The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe. New York:
Cambridge UP, 1983. Print.
Foucault, Michel. “What is An Author?” The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, ed.
Leitch. New York: WW Norton and Co. (2001): 1622-1636. Print.
Galloway, Alexander R. Protocol: How Control Exists After Decentralization. Cambridge, MA:
MIT Press, 2004. Print.
Gleick, James. “To Throw the Powers of Thought into Wheel-Work.” The Information: A
History, a Theory, a Flood. New York: Pantheon (2011): 78-124.
Golumbia, David. “Death of a Discipline.” Differences, 25.1 (Summer 2014): 156-176. Web.
Project Muse, 2 September 2014.
Hayles, N. Katherine. “How We Read: Close, Hyper, Machine.” How We Think: Digital Media
and Contemporary Technogesis. Chicago: University of Chicago Press (2011): 55-83.
Print.
---. “Saving the Subject: Remediation in House of Leaves.” American Literature, 74.4
(December 2002): 779-806. Web. Project Muse, 5 December 2014.
Johns, Adrian. The Nature of the Book: Print and Knowledge in the Making. Chicago: University
of Chicago Press, 1998.
Kirschenbaum, Matthew. “What Is ‘Digital Humanities’ and Why Are They Saying Such
Terrible Things About It?” Differences, 25.1 (Summer 2014): 46-63. Web. Project Muse,
2 September 2014.
Kittler, Friedrich A. “Tyepwriter.” Gramophone, Film, Typewriter. Stanford: Stanford UP
(1999): 183-266. Print.
Prendergast, Christopher. “Evolution and Literary History.” New Left Review 34.1 (July 2005):
40-62. Web. NewLeftReview.org, December 16 2014.
Pressman, Jessica. “House of Leaves: Reading the Networked Novel.” Studies in American
Fiction, 34.1 (Spring 2006): 107-128. Print.
Ramsay, Stephen. “An Algorithmic Criticism.” Reading Machines: Toward an Algorithmic

Criticism. Chicago: University of Illinois Press (2011): 1-17. Print.
Sample, Mark. “The Poetics of Non-Consumptive Reading.” SampleReality.com, 22 May 2013.
Web. 12 December 2014.
Underwood, Ted. “Why the Digital Humanities Isn’t Actually the ‘Next Thing in Literary
Study.’” TedUnderwood.com, 11 December 2011. Web. 8 December 2014.

Assignments and Grading
Digital Humanities Now Project Reports
[50 pts.]
House of Leaves Bibliography Project
[100 pts.]
Final Paper / Presentation
[100 pts.]
Course Participation
Mid-semester [40 pts.]
Final [40 pts.]

Course Policies and Procedures
Attendance
Since this is a discussion-based course, attendance is mandatory. Students in graduate courses
should view course attendance as part of the job of being a graduate student; missing class
should only happen under rare and exceptional circumstances, much like missing a day of work.
You are allowed two absences without penalty— following your fifth absence, your grade in the
class will begin to drop by a half-a-letter grade per absence (5% of your total grade). Plan ahead
if you think you might miss class for religious holidays or for other scheduled events. I do not
distinguish between excused and unexcused absences. You are allowed two absences – be they
excused or unexcused – before your grade begins to decrease, unless other special
arrangements have been made with me ahead of time.
If you have extenuating circumstances significantly affecting your attendance throughout the
semester (such as an illness or a family emergency), please get in touch with me so we can
discuss your specific situation. If you miss more than the allotted days due to such extenuating
circumstances, we will discuss whether it’s prudent for you to continue in the course.

Late Arrival
Arrive on time. You will not receive an A in this class if you do not arrive on time. Lateness not
only disrupts the class but also demonstrates disrespect for your peers and for your instructor.
For every two late arrivals to class, you will be marked for one absence. If you are more than
15 minutes late to class, you will be marked absent for that day.
Class Participation
This course depends upon the participation of its members. Participation, which includes both
classroom involvement and physically being in class, makes up roughly 20% of your total grade.
While your class participation grade falls to my discretion, there are several steps you can take to
ensure you achieve a satisfactory grade:

Come to class prepared, with a hard (physical) copy of the required reading.
Since laptop use is prohibited in class, it is essential that you print bring a hard
copy of the required reading to class every day. When .pdf readings are provided
on Blackboard, it is your responsibility to print those readings out and bring them
with you to class. Failure to do so will result in the loss participation points;
additionally, failure to do so may affect any in-class writing assignments, quizzes,
or exercises that require the text in question.

Be prepared to participate; plan to participate. You should anticipate contributing
to course discussions on a regular basis. This means that you must both be
prepared (having done the required assignment or reading) and must formulate
and offer contributions to the discussion on a regular basis (at least once a
week).

Be courteous toward your peers. When you raise disagreement in class – either
with the instructor or with your peers – try to do so respectfully. Articulate your
reasons and grounds for disagreement and direct them towards an idea, rather
than a person. Failure to show adequate respect towards your peers or towards
your instructor may result in your being asked to leave the classroom. Such a
request will, in turn, affect my assessment of your class participation, and
possibly your attendance record as well.

Keep in mind that participation will be assessed twice throughout the semester –
at the mid-semester point, and once again at the end.

Scholastic Honesty, Plagiarism, and Cheating
At the University of North Dakota, we believe in the excellence of our students and in the
integrity of our academic programs. We also believe that your good ideas become better when
you test them against the ideas of others. So for this course, feel free to discuss your ideas about
the major writing assignments with other students. Collaborating on question/answer homework
assignments or open-book quizzes, however, is not acceptable; these types of assignments are
designed for me, your instructor, to monitor how you are handling specific parts of the course
material. Blatantly taking someone else’s words, ideas or concepts, and using them without

citing your source is plagiarism. So is using another student’s essay, or part of his or her essay,
as your own. In the world of writing (academic writing especially), this is a serious crime, and is
treated as such. Anyone who uses non-documented material from another source, including
online sources, will receive a failing grade for the entire course and will be referred to university
administrators for possible further disciplinary action.
These policies are concurrent with the University of North Dakota’s policies regarding scholastic
honesty. For more information about these policies, please refer to the “Scholastic Honesty”
section of the Undergraduate Academic Information materials available online at und.edu.
All final versions of essay assignments will be submitted to Blackboard, which runs digital
comparisons of submitted assignments in order to identify possible cases of plagiarism. For this
reason, you must submit final versions of papers to Blackboard. You may additionally submit
versions of your assignment through other electronic means (via email, for instance), but if you
fail to submit your paper to Blackboard, it will be treated as late, and lateness penalties will
apply.
In this course, we will talk about the differences between plagiarism and the misuse of sources. If
you have any questions regarding the appropriate use of source material (readings, critical
opinions, or supplemental research), please feel free to ask me. In my experience, those students
who plagiarize are also those who feel overwhelmed by the assignment and thus compelled to
use someone else’s work as their own. If you get so frustrated with an assignment that you feel
like your only option is to plagiarize, come see me. My role as a teacher is to help students, not
to punish them— please use me as a resource to help you write, brainstorm, or work out
assignments and essays.
General Guidelines for Submitting Assignments
All papers submitted in this class – including short, type-written homework responses (“Position
Papers”) – must comply with Modern Language Association (MLA) guidelines and citation
rules. This means that you must provide MLA compliant documentation for the use of additional
sources, including:

a Works Cited page, providing correct bibliographic information for each source
cited, quoted, or consulted in your paper

correct in-text citations for each source cited, quoted, or consulted in your paper

If you are unsure of MLA guidelines, I suggest you either consult or purchase a current
MLA Style Guide, or consult the following online source:
The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University
website à http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/
 
In addition to proper citation,

All papers, including short response assignments, must be typed, double-spaced, with 1”
margins.

All papers completed as homework – including “Position Papers” – must be
digitally submitted via Blackboard, unless otherwise specified.

Include page numbers on all assignments longer than one page.

Carefully edit and proofread all texts to eliminate problems in grammar, spelling, and
punctuation.

Digital copies of all final papers must be cleanly edited and readable. This means that
you must remove all digital comments/suggestions, including highlighted or underlined
text, and including all comment balloons.

Spell-check your documents.

Documents that do not meet these and other assignment-specific requirements will not be
graded. They will be returned to you and, when resubmitted, will be treated as late
submissions.
Deadlines
All written assignments must be submitted on the due date, and missing the class when the
assignment is due doesn’t mean your assignment isn’t late. Turning in an assignment on time is
part of doing the assignment, and late work will be penalized, regardless of how well it’s
executed.
Lateness penalties are as follows:
• Papers and assignments. For every day – that is, every day of the week, and not every
class period – that a paper or homework assignment is due, your final draft will lose two
points.

Midterm and final papers/projects. For every day that a midterm or final paper/project is
late, you will lose five points.

Daily assignments. All late assignments may receive a maximum of half-credit (50%),
regardless of how late they are.

Cell Phones, Laptops, etc.
Students are expected to participate and be engaged in class discussion. Therefore, students are
required to silence or turn off cell phones before coming to class (there is, quite obviously, to be
no text messaging during class). All laptops must remain closed unless you have made prior
arrangements with me and have demonstrated that using a laptop is necessary for your learning.

Campus Resources
Disabilities
If you have a learning disability that could impair your progress in this course, please contact
Disability Services. Students are encouraged to register through Disability Services in order to
receive recommendations for learning accommodations.
Disability Services
http://und.edu/disability-services/
McCannel Hall Room 190
We can arrange to accommodate your learning style based on DS recommendations. Please
notify me at the start of the semester if you have specific needs, or if Disability Services has
provided you with a Verification of Needs for Disability Accommodations.
Writing Help
All students are encouraged to take advantage of UND’s Writing Center to receive help in
preparing writing assignments.
To make an appointment or speak with a tutor, visit their website, or the visit the Writing Center
itself.
UND Writing Center
http://und.edu/academics/writing-center/
Merrifield Hall Room 12
Communications
You can reach me via email, office phone, or a note in my mailbox in Merrifield Hall. The best
way to reach me, of course, is through email – I check it frequently and, while I cannot guarantee
an immediate reply, it is certainly the fastest way to get in touch.
If you have questions about the policies of this class, review the syllabus first, and then make
an appointment to speak with me.

Course Schedule
January 14

Course introduction; review syllabus; Underwood, “Why
Digital Humanities Isn’t Actually the ‘Next Thing in
Literary Study’”

Unit I: Theorizing Media, Technology, and Production
January 20
Authors, Authorship, and Production
DUE: Foucault, “What Is an Author?”; Benjamin, “The
Author as Producer”; Gleick, “To Throw the Powers of
Thought into Wheel-Work” [BB]; Borges, “Pierre Manard,
Author of Don Quixote” [BB]
January 27

Technology, Anxiety, and the Future of Thought
DUE: Bush, “As We May Think” [BB]; Deleuze, “A
Postscript on the Societies of Control” [BB]; Benjamin,
“The Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological
Reproducibility” [BB]

February 3

Networks and Network Theory
DUE: Deleuze and Guattari, from A Thousand Plateaus,
“Rhizome” [BB]; Galloway, “Introduction” and “Physical
Media” (from Protocol) [BB]; Latour, “Reassembling the
Social” [BB]  

Unit II: Theorizing Technologies of Literary Production
February 10
The Printing Revolution (?)
DUE: Eisenstein, from The Printing Revolution in Early
Modern Europe, chapters 1-3 (pp. 3-91) [BB]; Johns,
“Introduction to The Nature of the Book” [BB]
February 17

Writing Machines
DUE: Kittler, “Typewriter” [BB]; Kirschenbaum, “The
.txtual Condition” (in Hayles and Pressman: pp. 53-70) and
Johnson, “Bookrolls as Media” (in Hayles and Pressman:
pp. 101-123)

February 24

Reading Machines
DUE: Ramsay, “An Algorithmic Criticism” [BB]; Zuern
“Reading Screens” (in Hayles and Pressman: pp. 255-282);
Marino, “Reading exquisite_code” (in Hayles and
Pressman: pp. 283-309); and Hayles, “How We Read:
Close, Hyper, Machine” [BB]

Theorizing Technologies of Literary Interpretation and Criticism
Friday, February 27
Reading with Machines

DUE: Moretti, “Conjectures on World Literature” (in
Distant Reading); Prendergast, “Evolution and Literary
History” [BB]; Moretti, “The End of the Beginning: A
Reply to Christopher Prendergast” (in Distant Reading)
March 3

Reading Less is Reading More?
DUE: Moretti, “The Slaughterhouse of Literature”; “Style,
Inc.” and “Network Theory, Plot Analysis” (all in Distant
Reading)

March 10

From Mega to Macro
DUE: Jockers, Macroanalysis
Discuss House of Leaves and bibliography project

March 14-22

NO CLASS: Spring Break

March 24

DUE: Danielewski, House of Leaves (parts I-XI [pp. xi274])

March 30

DUE: Danielewski, House of Leaves (parts XII – XXI [pp.
275-491])

April 7

DUE: Danielewski, House of Leaves (to the end [pp. 491662])

April 13

DUE: House of Leaves Bibliography Projects
present / review projects in class

April 21

DUE: Pressman, “House of Leaves: Reading the Networked
Novel” [BB]; Sample, “The Poetics of Non-Consumptive
Reading” [http://www.samplereality.com/2013/05/22/thepoetics-of-non-consumptive-reading/]; Hayles, “Saving the
Subject” [BB]; Sample et al., “House of Leaves of Grass”
[digital exhibit: http://fugitivetexts.net/houseleavesgrass/]
Discuss requirements for final paper

April 28

Kirschenbaum, “What is ‘Digital Humanities’ and Why
Are They Saying Such Terrible Things About It?” [BB];
Golumbia, “Death of a Discipline” [BB]
Discuss final paper progress

May 5

Last day of class: conference paper presentations

Assignment Instructions: DH Now Project Reports

[50 pts.]

Every week, a few students will be assigned to present brief “Project Reports” on a
contemporary, digital, scholarly project of their choosing.
A good place to begin searching for such projects is the Digital Humanities Now site
(digitalhumanitiesnow.org), which features a weekly “editor’s choice” selection of
contemporary DH projects.
Student presentations should aim to acquaint the class with the project in question, and should
cover the following topics / areas:
Overview: What is the project? Who is behind it? What institutions are affiliated
with it? What kinds of goals and objectives have been outlined for it? How developed is
it?
Connections: What other kinds of projects or initiatives does the project in question
compare to? What kinds of scholarly literature, texts, sources, names, etc. are mentioned
in connection with the project? Is it modeling itself off of another DH project? How,
which one? Is there a bibliography provided, and if so, what kinds of sources does it refer
to in that bibliography?
Critique: What, in your opinion, is the purpose or function of such a project? What are
the chances that it will prove useful to scholars like us? What appear to be some initial
obstacles, or flaws, associated with it? What applications might we make between this
project and some of the criticism and theory we’ve read so far this semester?
These presentations should be about ten minutes in length, and should combine visual material
(in the form of a projected “tour” of the project website) and a prepared handout offering
outlined responses to the questions/topics provided above.

Assignment Instructions: House of Leaves Bibliography Project

[100 pts.]

Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves embodies, according to critic Jessica Pressman, the
post-modern paradigm of the “networked novel” in that it relies on inter-, intra-, and con-textual
reading practices in order to communicate a host of central narratives. And, of course, much of
that inter- and intra-contextual reading takes the form of overt bibliographic references.
For this project, you will be assigned a section of Danielewski’s novel. Working with this section
in particular, you will then be responsible for recording any and all bibliographic references that
you encounter using Zotero, an online, open-source, digital bibliography tool. Zotero will allow
you to easily store and compile the bibliography sources you search for by saving content
directly from your web browser.
But there’s a catch: many of the bibliographic references in Danielewski’s House of Leaves are
real, but many of them are not. Zotero, fortunately, also allows you to manually add information
about references that might not be locatable on the web. Your job in this assignment is to use
Zotero to help us collectively, as a class, understand Danielewski’s uses of both real and fictional
archives.
Procedure
Step 1

Install
Download and install Zotero on your personal computer:
www.zotero.org
You’ll want to install both the standalone version and the Firefox compatible web
version. If you don’t yet have Firefox, you’ll need to start by downloading it first:
www.mozilla.org

Step 2

Set Your Preferences
Zotero works with a number of different citation styles, but us English folks need
to make sure we’re getting MLA-appropriate citations.
A handy guide for installing and setting Zotero preferences is available here,
through the University of Wisconsin LaCrosse’s Library:
http://libguides.uwlax.edu/content.php?pid=68807&sid=1042986

Step 3

Search, Log, and Save
You’ll want to set up two folders in your Zotero account, one for “real”
bibliographic references and one for “fake” bibliographic references. When
you’re pawing around on the Internet locating citations for sources featured in
Danielewski’s House of Leaves, be sure to make sure you’re saving your Zotero
sources/citations to the correct folder.

Adding a citation or source directly from the Firefox browser: navigate to a
page that contains the source (.pdf), or a complete citation listing. Click the
logo (should appear on your upper left-hand browser toolbar after
install/restart). Doing so will open your Zotero library.
After opening the library, click the
source to your library.

button (on the Zotero toolbar) to add the

Adding a (“fake”) source to Zotero manually:
Click on the
button to add a new file. A pane will open up to the left-hand
side prompting you to add information for the file/item in question: add as much
information as you can about the source, based on what’s available in
Danielewski’s text, and then add the new source to your “fake” citation index
folder.
Step 4

Describe, Analyze, and Report
When you have finished adding sources to your Zotero bibliography folders, use
them as the basis for a brief (2-3 pp.) report detailing what you have found out
about Danielewski’s archive for House of Leaves.
Your report should give, in general terms, an overall picture of the archive that
informs this section of Danielewski’s novel. In it, you should aim to answer the
following questions:
-

Step 5

What types of “real” sources comprise this archive?
Are there certain trends among them (specific themes, subjects, authors,
historical periods, etc.)?
What types of “fake” sources does Danielewski invent and add to this
archive? What purpose do they serve, as a collection?
Analyze some of the information behind the “fake” sources. What kinds of
“real” sources is Danielewski emulating when he invents or creates them?
Is satire a component here? If so, what is he satirizing?
Finally, how does any of this archive – either the “real” or the “fake”
components of it – relate to what’s happening in the narrative in this
section of Danielewski’s text?

Finish and Export
Once you have finished adding sources to your Zotero bibliography folders,
export the folder as a rich data file (.rdf).
To do this, click the
button and choose “Export Library” from the dropdown menu. Keep in mind that you will be exporting your whole library, so if you
have other, non-House of Leaves project-related files, be sure those are labeled
within your library so that I may disregard them. Likewise, make sure your House
of Leaves “real” and “fake” bibliography folders are also clearly labeled.

Save your library as a .rdf file and CHANGE THE FILE NAME SO THAT IT
INCLUDES YOUR LAST NAME. This is so things don’t get too confusing for
me when I begin looking through all of our class’s library files.
Step 5

Submit Completed Assignment Components
Finally, when you have the completed, correctly labeled .rdf file, email it to me
along with your finished report. Both files should be submitted as attachments.
Or, if the .rdf file is too large (though it really shouldn’t be), use Dropbox, Google
Drive, etc. to send it to me.

Step 6

Present Your Findings from Your Report
Be prepared to informally and briefly present on the findings you discuss in your
analysis / report in class. In particular, you’ll want to describe the archive you
looked at in a way that helps us better understand what Danielewski is doing in
the particular section of the text assigned to you.
We will then discuss compiling everyone’s individual bibliographies into a larger,
class-wide bibliographic exhibit to be presented and published online.

Grading and Assessment:
You will be graded on the two individual components of this project.
Completed Bibliography [50 pts.]
graded for thoroughness, completion, attention to detail, following guidelines
Analysis / Report [50 pts.]
graded for thoroughness, ability to work with and describe archival sources, ability to
relate those sources to the Danielewski’s text

Assignment Instructions: Final Paper

[100 pts.]

Over the course of the semester, we’ve surveyed a number of theoretical and critical texts that
attempt to define, diagnose and, in some cases, debate the application of digital tools and
methods to literary scholarship. It is now your turn to weigh in on this debate, and to apply it to
our reading of one of two “creative” texts.
Your assignment is to prepare a 7-10 pp. paper in which you apply a theoretical text,
perspective, or idea from our reading so far this semester to an analysis of either Mark Z.
Danielewski’s House of Leaves or Mark Sample’s digital exhibition “House of Leaves of
Grass.”
Examples of possible topics:

Moretti’s notion of “distant reading” as a necessary practice for reading
House of Leaves

Deleuze and Guattari’s “rhizome” as a model for understanding Sample’s
“House of Leaves of Grass” project

a discussion of authorship, using Benjamin and Foucault, in either text

using the Kirschenbaum / Golumbia debate on the future or death of
literary study via the digital to structure a reading of Sample’s “House of
Leaves of Grass” – is Sample’s project an example of Wendy Chun’s
argument that DH has “extended and renewed the humanities”
(qtd. in Kirschenbaum 47), or might Sample’s project rather indicate
Golumbia’s assertion that vapid literary-digital projects signal the “death
of the discipline”?

The length of this assignment (7-10 pp.) is designed to force you to think within the parameters
of the academic conference paper. Panel / paper presentations at academic conferences in
English are generally 15-20 minutes long; a 7-10 pp. paper therefore yields a panel presentation
of appropriate length. For this reason, it is important that you stay within the stated page
guidelines and that you aim to craft a concise, but legible, argument within the span of 7-10
pages.
On the last day of class, you will then have the opportunity to participate in a conference-style
panel presentation with your peers. True to the conference format, you will have 15 minutes to
present your paper, but note that this does not necessarily have to be in the straightforward
format of a “reading” of the paper itself. Instead, if you choose, you may follow any number of
alternative formats for your presentation, including:
a PowerPoint / Prezi / similar presentation
a discussion with an accompanying handout
a discussion of the main points of your essay that draws from the written essay,
but does not read directly from it