Literary digital humanities and the politics of the infinite

Mays, Sas (2013) Literary digital humanities and the politics of the infinite. New Formations, 78. pp. 7-21. ISSN 0950-2378

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.3898/neWF.78.06.2013

Abstract

In the context of relationships between traditional and digital forms of memory and dissemination, this essay discusses two key positions in the digital humanities. The aestheticist position is broadly defined by the extension of literary values into the digital milieu, as it is articulated in the work of Johanna Drucker, N. Katherine Hayles, and Jerome McGann. The populist position rather emphasises engagement with contemporary social media, as it is represented by the work of Pierre Lévy and Henry Jenkins. This comparison is designed to analyse a problematic parity between the two positions that is couched in their conception of archives and texts as being infinite; an infinitude that is political in the sense that engagement with it may facilitate or prohibit subjective agency and collective knowledge. Yet, through deconstruction, this analysis is designed to propose an alternate conception that negotiates the difficult relation between the finite and the infinite aspects of technological memory accumulation, and that poses the possibility of an alternate politics that problematically links the poles of engagement and disengagement with such accumulation.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: included in Special Issue of the journal, ‘Materialities of Text: Between the Codex and the Net’, co-edited by Mays with Nick Thoburn
Subjects: University of Westminster > Social Sciences and Humanities
Depositing User: Rachel Wheelhouse
Date Deposited: 11 Feb 2013 16:00
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2013 15:05
URI: http://westminsterresearch.wmin.ac.uk/id/eprint/12051

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