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Laura Shackelford

Associate Professor
2116 Liberal Arts
(585) 475-2461
Ph.D. in English with specializations in Twentieth and Twenty-first century American literatures, Digital Poetics, and Science and Literature. Indiana University, Bloomington.
B.A. in English. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.


My research examines and exploits the comparative perspective literary texts, in print or digital media, provide on digital cultures. I study literary encounters with digital cultures in a variety of media - print fiction, electronic literatures, digital games, graphic novels, and film.  I'm particularly interested in how such experimental, cross-media literary and artistic practices register and creatively and critically reflect on contemporary digital cultures, information and systems sciences, and computation-based technologies in the U.S.

My book, Tactics of the Human: Experimental Technics in American Fiction, returns to fiction published in the midst of the supposed 'digital revolution' from 1991-2002 that reflects on digital cultures by literally incorporating digital modes of expression and spatial forms (such as the hyperlink, or social network) into the print medium or reconsidering print literary practices by transposing them into a digital hypertext fiction. The book reflects on the comparative view literary texts such as John Barth's "Click," Shelley Jackson's Patchwork Girl; or a Modern Monster, and Jeffrey Eugenides' Middlesex provide on emerging digital cultures and, in particular, their efforts to think through the potential impact of digital cultures (and the post-war cybernetics, information, and systems sciences on which they draw), on previous, print-based understandings of sex, gender, identity, race, sexuality, nation, and the human. I argue that their comparative media practices point us towards important new ways that the literary participates in digital cultures.

Recent publications include an essay on “Systems-Thinking in Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and Moonrise Kingdom” and an essay titled, “Migrating Modes: Multimodality in Digital Poetics as Another Kind of Language,” on Maria Mencia’s electronic poetry, which experiments with multimodal expression using text, moving text, sound, color, video, and interactive elements to register the impact of digital interfaces, as transformative material sites, on language, intersemiotic, and intersubjective meaning.


In direct and lively relation to my research, my current teaching repetoire includes courses in:

Narrative Moves: Storytelling in and Across Media; Text and Code: Expressive Practices and Computational Media; Languages of Bioinformatic Circulation; The Novel: Its Past and FuturesScience Fiction: BiopoliticsTopics in Women's & Gender Studies; Science Fictions of the Human/Computer Interface.


Peer-reviewed book, articles, and reviews:

Tactics of the Human: Experimental Technics in American Fiction. University of Michigan Press, digitalculturebooks series, Dec. 2014.

“Migrating Modes: Multimodality in Digital Poetics as Another Kind of Language.” Mosaic: A Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature 47.4 (December 2014).

“Systems Thinking in Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and Moonrise Kingdom.” In The Films of Wes Anderson: Critical Essays on an Indiewood Icon, ed. Peter C. Kunze. Palgrave MacMillan Academic Press, May 2014.

“Reading Topographies of Post-Postmodernism.” A review of Jeffrey Nealon’s Post-Postmodernism, Stanford University Press, 2012. Forthcoming in Electronic Book Review (ebr), a peer-reviewed journal of critical writing.

“Subject to Change: The Monstrosity of Media in Shelley Jackson’s Patchwork Girl and other Posthumanist Critiques of the Instrumental.” Camera Obscura: Feminism, Culture, and Media Studies, issue 63, vol. 21, no. 3 (Winter 2006): 62-101.

“Counter-Networks in a Network Society: Leslie Marmon Silko’s Almanac of the Dead.” Postmodern Culture, issue 16.3 (May 2006).

“Narrative Subjects Meet their Limits: John Barth’s ‘Click’ and the Remediation of Hypertext.” Contemporary Literature 46.2 (2005): 275-310.

Recent invited talks and presentations:

“Reorienting Digital Cultures Through American Fiction: Feminist Knowledges of Literary Technics and Lived Space.” Department of English, University of Washington, Seattle. April 23, 2014.

“‘I’m Right on the Edge…’ Unfolding Wes Anderson’s Recursive Gestures Through Media Time.” Organized by Amaranth Borsuk for the Culture, Literature, and the Arts Program, University of Washington, Bothell. April 22, 2014.

“Reading Poetics through Lived Space.” E-Poetry 2014 Intensive Mayagüez: “The poetics of it.” Organized by Loss Pequeño Glazier, Director, Electronic Poetry Center and Professor of Media Study, University at Buffalo and Leonardo Flores, Associate Professor of English, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez. March 2014.

“In-toxicating Language: the ‘smallwork’ of Biopolitical Life in Ben Marcus’ s The Flame Alphabet.” Life, In Theory. “Narrating Life: Contagion, Immunity, and Mutation.” Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts (SLSA-Eu). Turin, Italy. June 4, 2014.

“Found Affect in E-Poetics;” International E-Poetry Festival 2013, Kingston University. London, June 19, 2013.

Job Posting: Tenure Track

This year, we are hiring for a tenure track position in Digital Writing and New Media Production. Check out the job announcement here!

Creative Writing Awards!

Join us on April 22nd at 4:00PM in the SAU Reading Room for our annual Creative Writing Awards! Writer David Schickler is our guest speaker, along with live readings from our CW award winners...

To submit your work for the CW awards:

David Schickler's web site: