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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:

“Writing and/as Touch at the Interface: Luxuria Superbia’s Exploratory Play with Self-Writing,” special issue of Frame: Journal of Literary Studies on ‘Writing the Self.’ Utrecht, Netherlands, (May 2015).

“In Toxicating Languages of Bioinformatic Circulation: Poetics and other ‘smallwork’ in The Flame Alphabet.” Narrating Life: Contagion, Immunity, Mutation, ed.  Elisabeth Friis, Stefan Herbrechter, and Cristina Iuli. Experimental Practices series, Amsterdam: Rodopii/Brill Press. (Forthcoming in 2016).

Invited essay. “Surviving Codespace: Tracing Lived Space through Digital Literary Writing.” Women’s Studies Quarterly. Special issue on “Survival.” ed. Fran Bartowski, Elena Glasberg and Taylor Black. Forthcoming (Spring 2016).

Invited essay, “R(e)orienting Poetics through Lived Space: Women’s Digital Literary Writing Practices.” In #WomenTechLit, edited by María Mencía. Forthcoming from West Virginia University Press, 2016.


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

Special Topics in Women’s and Gender Studies: Methods and Models: Knowledge Building in Practice, a new, co-designed, interdisciplinary course in which students join faculty to practice more self-reflective, interdisciplinary examinations and strategic cross-fertilizations of the research methods now available to generate or analyze data, to model life or other real world processes, to collectively problem-solve, and to make sense of the world.

Storytelling Across Media
Text & Code: Expressive Practices and Computational Media
Science Fiction: Biopolitics
The Novel: Its Past and Futures
Languages of Bioinformatics (under development)

Recent Invited Talks and Presentations: 

“Beyond Diagnosis,” After Biopolitics: Society for Literature, Arts, and the Sciences Annual Conference. Rice University, Houston, TX, November 12-15, 2015.

R(e)orienting Poetics through Lived Space. International E-Poetry Festival. University of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina. June 9, 2015.

Panelist, #WomenTechLit panel, International E-Poetry Festival. University of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina. June 9, 2015.

“Following through on Touch and Exploratory play at the Digital Interface.” Structures of Digital Feeling Colloquium. Techne Institute for Arts and Emerging Technologies. University of Buffalo, Buffalo, NY.  March 27-28, 2015.

“Moves Like Poetics,” EPC @ 20: Electronic Poetry Center’s 20th anniversary symposium. Department of Media Study, University of Buffalo, Buffalo, NY. September 11-12, 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.

“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.

“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!