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Laura Shackelford

Associate Professor
2116 Liberal Arts
(585) 475-2461
Ph.D. in English. 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:

“Postmodern, Posthuman, Postdigital,” edited book collection, Post-digital: A Handbook on Electronic Literature, ed Joseph Tabbi. Forthcoming from Bloomsbury Press, 2017.

“R(e)orienting Poetics through Lived Space.” In #WomenTechLit, edited book collection by María Mencía. Forthcoming from West Virginia University Press, 2016.

“Surviving Codespace: Tracing Lived Space through Digital Literary Writing.” Special issue on “Survival.” ed. Fran Bartowski, Elena Glasberg and Taylor Black. WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly 44: 1 & 2 (Spring/Summer 2016).

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

“Writing Touch at the Interface: Luxuria Superbia’s Exploratory Play with Self-Writing,” Frame: Journal of Literary Studies 28.1: Writing the Self, Utrecht, Netherlands (May 2015). 71-94.


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

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

Recent Invited Talks and Presentations: 

“R(e)orienting Poetics and Technics of Living Forms: Christian Bök’s The Xenotext: Book I.” 7th International Colloquium on the Philosophy of Technics: Literature, Culture, and Politics. Univerity of Cordoba, Argentina. Oct. 19-21, 2016.

“Digital Literary Writing in Context.“ University of Ghana, Accra and L'Institut CERCO, Cotonou, Benin.  May 1-6, 2016.

“Interselfie Agency; or, A Portrait of the Artist Writing Codespace.” William A. Kern Conference in Visual Communication: Selfies, Self-portraits, and Social Media. Rochester, NY, April 16, 2016.

“Lived Spaces ‘Between’ : María Mencía’s Transient Self-Portrait R(e)-orienting Codespace. Disrupting Power and Privilege to Empower Women: Women’s History Month Conference. Rutger’s-Camden. March 25, 2016. Supported by RIT Advance NSF Grant.

“Beyond Diagnosis: Lived Space under the Influence of Computation.” 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 2015. University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. June 11, 2015.

Related Lecture and Reading Series

Magic Speaker Series -