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Digital Humanities

Alan Liu researches and teaches the culture of information at the Univ. of California, Santa Barbara. His special focus is the relation between the humanities and the ethos of postindustrial "knowledge work" as the latter is assisted and and allegorized by information technology. (See also his work on Literary/Cultural Theory and British Romantic Literature.)

Projects in the Digital Humanities

  • Voice of the Shuttle (70+ pages of categorized and briefly annotated resources for humanities research; also covers growth areas where the humanities now intersect with other disciplines; started in 1994)
  • Transcriptions: Literary History and the Culture of Information (principal investigator) (NEH-funded curriculum development project whose courses became a regular concentration within the English major at UCSB in 2000-2001; the project also created a computing "studio" designed as a paradigm for humanities departments)
  • Palinurus: The Academy and the Corporation — Teaching the Humanities in a Restructured World (resources for thinking critically about the current overlap between academic knowledge and corporate knowledge work; covers the history of higher education, postindustrial business principles, information technology in business and education, and recent controversies)
  • Romantic Chronology (co-edited with Laura Mandell, Miami U., Ohio) (database-driven Web site that explores how information technology can help map, or re-map, a literary "period")
  • The Laws of Cool: The Cultural Life of Information (book-in-progress under contract with Stanford Univ. Press on the history, sociology, and aesthetics of information as an experience of culture; thinks critically about postindustrial "knowledge work" and the relevance of higher education to the culture of such work)

Participation in Other Information-Technology Initiatives

  • Digital Cultures (U. California Multi-Campus Research Group) (steering board member) (research initiative in which humanists and social scientists from throughout the U. California system collaborate on annual institutes, conferences, workshops, and online events relating to the history and future of information technology)
  • UCSB Center for Information Technology and Society (steering board member) (sponsors research in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities on the social impact of information technology; promotes collaboration between the university and industry in investigating the uses of information)

Writings on the Digital Humanities (excerpts only unless otherwise indicated)

  • "The Future Literary: Literature and the Culture of Information" (forthcoming: The English Institute/Routledge)
  • "Knowledge in the Age of Knowledge Work," Profession 1999: 113-24
  • "The Downsizing of Knowledge: Knowledge Work and Literary History," abridged version of a talk at U. California, Berkeley, ed. Randolf Starn, Doreen B. Townsend Center Occasional Papers, No. 15 (Berkeley, Calif.: Townsend Center, 1998)
  • "Globalizing the Humanities: 'The Voice of the Shuttle: Web Page for Humanities Research'," Humanities Collections 1, no. 1 (1998): 41-56
  • "Sidney's Technology," solicited for a volume of essays on "Narrative Theory Today," ed. Carol Jacobs and Henry Sussman
  • "Should We Link to the Unabomber? An Essay in Practical Web Ethics" (self-published Web essay, Oct. 9, 1995; full document online)

Courses on the Digital Humanities

See also Alan Liu's work in Literary/Cultural Theory and British Romantic Literature.

Home©2000, Alan Liu, English Dept., Univ. of California, Santa Barbara (e-mail)
 This page last revised 3/27/00
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