Katherine Bode, Associate Professor of Literary and Textual Studies, Australian National University, Canberra, AU

Strand Campus, Virginia Woolf buildingRoom 4.38, 28 May 2019, 12-1pm

What's the matter with digital literary studies? Some thoughts on reading, empiricism, and entanglement

In Kath's words this is the abstract of her seminar:

My title plays on the double meaning of matter: I'm interested both in what's wrong with, and what's the object of, data-rich or computational approaches to literature. The problem, I define as a methodological one: the field’s allegiance to a representationalist paradigm that leaves us grasping at epistemological straws while overlooking ontological and ethical dimensions of inquiry. This methodological problem, in turn, creates difficulties in defining our objects of analysis; that is to say, a representationalist framework means we seek to define as objects - and thus, to fix or stabilise (to represent) - phenomena that inevitably elude such attempts. Beginning with the challenge of answering the question - what, in digital literary studies, is a document? - I'll offer some early, tentative thoughts on how inquiries into reading, empiricism, and entanglement, and the relationships between such intra-actions, might offer methodological direction for the field as we engage with how literature matters.

Registration is free but please register here.


Katherine Bode is Associate Professor of Literary and Textual Studies at the Australian National University, an Australian Research Council Future Fellow from 2018 to 2022, and Visiting Research Fellow at King's Digital Lab. Her research focuses on using large-scale datasets and digital methods to enable new perspectives on Australian literature and literature in Australia. She has published widely on Australian and digital literary history including as the author or editor of books such as: Resourceful Reading: The New Empiricism, eResearch and Australian Literary Culture(2009), Reading by Numbers: Recalibrating the Literary Field (2012), Advancing Digital Humanities: Research, Methods, Theories (2014), and most recently,A World of Fiction: Digital Collections and the Future of Literary History (2018).