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From Text to Txting

From Text to Txting: New Media in the Classroom

Paul Budra
Clint Burnham
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: Indiana University Press
Pages: 284
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  • Book Info
    From Text to Txting
    Book Description:

    Literary scholars face a new and often baffling reality in the classroom: students spend more time looking at glowing screens than reading printed text. The social lives of these students take place in cyberspace instead of the student pub. Their favorite narratives exist in video games, not books. How do teachers who grew up in a different world engage these students without watering down pedagogy? Clint Burnham and Paul Budra have assembled a group of specialists in visual poetry, graphic novels, digital humanities, role-playing games, television studies, and, yes, even the middle-brow novel, to address this question. Contributors give a brief description of their subject, investigate how it confronts traditional notions of the literary, and ask what contemporary literary theory can illuminate about their text before explaining how their subject can be taught in the 21st-century classroom.

    eISBN: 978-0-253-00720-9
    Subjects: Language & Literature, Sociology
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction (pp. xi-xxxii)

    This book is a response to two changes in humanities education since the 1980s: on the one hand, there has been an explosion of popular, paraliterary, and digital cultural forms, which have an increasing grip on our students; on the other hand (but not entirely unrelated), there is a need for humanities departments to change their tools for remediation in the face of demographic and textual sea changes.¹ In an age when the word “text” is increasingly used as a metaphor (the text of the ----), when “read” can mean any interpretive act (a reading of a photograph), when screens...

  5. 1 Roll a D20 and the Author Dies (pp. 1-14)

    Some years ago a friend of mine would drive downtown every Sunday afternoon to playDungeons and Dragons. The “dungeonmaster,” the person running the game, was a professor of literature at a prestigious university. All the other players had at least one graduate degree, and several were doctors of law or literature. They would spend up to six hours at a time pretending to be elves, half-elves, gnomes, halflings, or exotic humans negotiating the complicated fantasy world that the dungeonmaster described. My friend played a “dark” elf, a character who, though both a warrior and a magic user, was shunned...

  6. 2 Consider the Source: Critical Considerations of the Medium of Social Media (pp. 15-42)

    In 2009 Iran blocked its citizens’ access to Twitter and Facebook in an attempt to quell social discord about its federal election. A Ryerson student was threatened in 2008 with suspension for cheating because of setting up a study group on Facebook. The U.S. Marine Corps has banned the use of Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. New media studies, especially those concerned with social media environments, are investigating the constructions, roles, and effects of the media that are proliferating in the information age. The variety of social media available to those with high-speed internet connections means that those with an inclination...

  7. 3 Voice of the Gutter: Comics in the Academy (pp. 43-68)

    Are comics “literature”? Should they be taught in our classrooms, and if so, how? What literary functions might they fulfill? What can we get from reading (and teaching) comics that cannot be obtained from other forms? What might we say to our students and ourselves about the reasons for expanding the boundaries of literature to include this form, once historically reviled as juvenile and trashy but now flying off the shelves of bookstores and libraries? What is the value of teaching a form whose very terms of signification (including “comics,” “sequential art,” “imagetext,” and the well-intentioned but not always accurate...

  8. 4 Television: The Extraliterary Device (pp. 69-96)

    Literary studies’ extension from the study of printed texts into the study of screen culture is consistent with literary studies’ analysis of how dramatic texts become theatrical events. The stakes for literary studies to consider screen culture as part of the extraliterary devices are consistent with the need to use criticism to excavate how screen culture reshapes our collective life world. As Raymond Williams in “The Analysis of Culture” so elegantly asserts:

    One generation may train its successor, with reasonable success, in the social character or the general cultural pattern, but the new generation will have its ownstructure of...

  9. 5 Hypertext in the Attic: The Past, Present, and Future of Digital Writing (pp. 97-125)

    In a recent expedition through my attic I stumbled (literally) upon my old Macintosh Classic computer. Curious and in dire need of some extended procrastination, I hauled the squat cube out of its box, set it on my desk, and plugged it in. After a lengthy period of whirring and clicking, the smiling Macintosh icon finally emerged on the tiny black-and-white screen. Given that this old computer had its primary use during my days as a graduate student, the contents were predictable enough – the usual assortment of overwrought fiction, the odd poem, goofy computer games, hastily written graduate papers,...

  10. 6 The ABCs of Viewing: Material Poetics and the Literary Screen (pp. 126-154)

    To date, relatively few analyses of the screen as an aesthetic form in its own right have been produced. Critiques of web design and interface usability maintain strong historical attachments to print and typographic disciplines, conceiving electronic communication as page- and document-based. The very term “screen” continues to prioritize the cinematic arts, often implying, whether intended or not, that the methods and ideas of film criticism are equally applicable to current programmable writing practices on the computer. However, as an increasing number of visual culture historians and film theorists realize, the screen as art object invites an increasingly wide array...

  11. 7 ʺLet the Rhythm Hit ʹEmʺ: Hip-Hop, Prosody, and Meaning (pp. 155-181)

    Hip-hop emerged in the South Bronx during the mid-1970s, the confluence of individual ingenuity (Grandmaster Flash developing his Quick Mix theory), diasporic flow from the Caribbean (dj Kool Herc’s sound system, dance-hall toasting), African American vernacular traditions (signifyin’, the dozens, ballads), popular American music (funk, soul, rock, disco), a local party and club circuit (Audubon Theatre, Harlem World, T-Connection), and economic and educational policies that transformed urban spaces into post-industrial wastelands.¹ Four elements constituted hip-hop culture: djing, mcing, tagging, and breakdancing. Interactions between the four elements produced what Greg Dimitriadis describes as “multitiered event[s] … dependent on a whole series...

  12. 8 Thinking Inside the Box: A Short View of the Immorality and Profaneness of Television Studies (pp. 182-213)

    There is a widespread sense that popular media are consumed by people with inadequate education and no ideas of their own: “the young, the ignorant, and the idle.” Social conservatives argue for the “danger” of media that engage in “scandal” and “smuttiness” that “in effect degrade human nature.” Given, however, that the first quotation is from Samuel Johnson’s 1750 discussion of the new genre of the English novel, and the second from Jeremy Collier’s 1698 attack on popular theatrical productions,¹ modern objections to television’s supposed frivolousness seem rather benign. Every new art form seems to struggle first with early perceptions...

  13. 9 Middlebrow Lit and the End of Postmodernism (pp. 214-240)

    The death by suicide of American novelist David Foster Wallace in the fall of 2008 had a resonance that went beyond the eerie similarity between his great theme of sadness and the crippling depression from which he suffered. Wallace – the author of the mammothInfinite Jest, over a thousand pages long, including over a hundred pages of footnotes – was arguably the last postmodernist, the last experimental fiction writer in American or Anglo American literature. I do not mean there were not others, that there are not others, but Wallace’s death can be seen –must be seen–...

  14. Contributors (pp. 241-244)
  15. Index (pp. 245-251)