Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Writing Technologies

I've been away from blogger for a little while over Summer, mostly working on new modules for next year, writing a book proposal, and generally catching my breath after my first year of full time teaching.

As the book comes together I'll be posting here more frequently, but I'm pleased to say that a new issue of Writing Technologies is up at the open access journal website (, and there's a piece I wrote in there which expands on a section of chapter three of my thesis (

The journal has taken a little while to come out, as journals do, and so there's some details I'd maybe change now, but the central question still really interests me: "where do we draw the boundary lines of what is or isn't the 'text?'" Moreover, "does technology change those boundaries, and if so how, by how much, and does it do it in any predictable way?"

I'll post the introduction below, I hope it might interest you enough to check out the full article, and as ever the journal itself has a number of great essays in the issue.

"In this essay I would like to offer a new term for Media-Specific textual studies to consider: kinaesthetic extension.’ I will outline the term’s function (to describe a text's novel site/s for meaning making) and the reasoning behind its name (its parts appropriated from Cognitive Science) before demonstrating already existing examples in the work of E.E. Cummings, Jonathan Safran Foer, and various critics and theorists, in particular Roland Barthes, Katherine Hayles, and Jerome McGann. My aim in drawing a term out of the discourse of Cognitive Science is to try to contribute to the emergence of the ‘Cognitive Humanities,’ showing how methods and models from one field can be usefully applied as ‘objects-to-think-with’ in another. As an interdisciplinary subject, Cognitive Science is already open to work from numerous fields, yet the vital input of voices from the Humanities, with their unique interpretive skills and knowledge of the history of ideas, will  only come through continued exposure to scientific hypotheses and their application. In this instance I hope that such exposure also functions as a provocation toward greater attention to the shifting boundaries of the meaning making text, an increasingly important question as  the substrate and means of production of contemporary written work move from the specificities of printed-upon paper to those of the plastic (in both senses) screen."

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