Monday, November 25, 2013

Our Newest MALAS Alum! Danielle Johnson!

Monday, November 18, 2013

REBOOT: 21st Century Digital Lit | Spring 2014 MALAS Seminar!!! JESSICA PRESSMAN @ SDSU with the Master of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences!

REBOOT: 21st Century Digital Lit

Are you digitally literate? You use digital technology, but do you think critically about how and why you use it? Do you understand how your digital tech use, patterns, and online persona impacts the way you think, read, and write? Enroll in this new, experimental course, and you'll learn how to think critically about 21st- century digital culture and its place in media history. This class pursues digital literacy as a concept and a practice, a topic and a skill-set. Our goal is to gain the critical perspective and literacy tools needed to understand, critique, and actively participate in—rather than just blindly and passively use—our contemporary digital media. We will study contemporary discourse about attention/distraction, hyper/deep reading, mobile/stationary media, convergence culture, etc. by putting it in context and tracing its precursors. We will read and view a wide range of genres across medial formats: media studies scholarship, cultural criticism, digital literature, youtube animations, interface design, and more. In the process, we will learn to think critically and creatively about cultural, communicative, and cognitive consequences of digital technologies and our contemporary technoculture. We will not only study digital literacy but acquire it.

Jessica Pressman researches and teaches twentieth- and twenty-first century experimental American literature, digital literature, and media theory.  She is currently a Fellow with the American Council of Learned Societies and a Visiting Scholar and Lecturer at UCSD. She was Assistant Professor of English at Yale University (2008-2012) and received her Ph.D. in English from UCLA (2007). Her monograph on digital poetics, Digital Modernism: Making it New in New Media, is forthcoming from Oxford University Press (2014); Transverse Reading: a Collaborative Case Study of William Poundstone’s “Project for the Tachistoscope: [Bottomless Pit], co-written with Mark C. Marino and Jeremy Douglass, is under contract with Iowa University Press; Comparative Textual Media: Transforming the Humanities in a Postprint Era, co-edited with N. Katherine Hayles, was just published with Minnesota University Press (December 2013). She is currently working on a manuscript that examines the fetishization of the book object in 21st-century print and digital literary culture.  Pressman is Associate Editor of Fiction for Contemporary Literature and Articles Editor for Digital Humanities Quarterly. She is Board Member for both the Electronic Literature Organization ( and the online journal of digital art Dichtung-Digital (  Her full CV can be found at

Sunday, November 3, 2013

MALAS Fall 2013 Featured Lecture: Mark Schwartz on Disability Studies and TOUCH OF EVIL

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Traversing the Corporeal Borders Between the “Half-Breed” and The Ice Cream Soda
A Disability Studies Critique of Orson Welles’s Touch of Evil by Mark Schwartz

THURSDAY NOVEMBER 7, 2013 @ 11am in GMCS 333 on the SDSU Main Campus

“Traversing the Corporeal Borders Between the ‘Half-Breed’ and The Ice Cream Soda” examines how Orson Welles’s film noir masterwork Touch of Evil (1958) embodies several major tensions in disability studies critical discourses. Schwartz provides a brief primer on eugenics and disability history, and shows how they relate to Welles’ film. Welles managed to jam a litany of challenging and still timely ideas into one narrative: drug culture in border towns, racial stereotypes, subjugation of the disempowered through abuse of power. It is a thick and textured work that yields great fodder for critical analysis. As the film noir genre frequently offers an antagonistic view to the norms of the community, Touch of Evil functions to disturb notions of class, gender, and race. While Welles may not have had eugenics on his mind when he rendered this tale of corruption and murder, he certainly plays with some central ideas in disability critical theory, like how the hegemonic role of the middle class helps to reinforce perceptions of normalcy, and how those with different bodies are often relegated to the margins. Welles offers a complex view of the border, unsettling how the viewer thinks about citizenship, power and the body.

Mark Schwartz has worked for over twenty years in the disability services field in New York City and earned a Master of Arts in Disability Studies from the City University of New York’s School for Professional Studies. He currently works as the assistant director of the Clinic Program for the Shield Institute, an outpatient clinic that serves children and adults with intellectual disabilities. He has written extensively about complex and frequently deleterious representations of disability in culture and language, and how these representations often reinforce dangerously reductive and demeaning notions about disability.  He has also produced videos exploring these themes that have been used as training material within his field.

A Fall 2013 Feature Lecture from MALAS! The Master of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences @ SDSU