“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Whitson on Archives and Digital Humanities

I was happy to read this because it referenced the OOO idea of nonhuman agency. It also discussed the notion of an archive, which I'd been thinking about a bit recently with a view to OOO:

When you teach a poem in a literature class (which I've been doing frequently), you seem to have a choice between contextualizing the poem and close reading it. This is a silly choice. One reason why it's silly is because the context is often assumed to be within a narrow, ill defined human bandwidth: say 1600 to 1650 for a Shakespeare sonnet (tops).

But here you are, it's 2012 and you are also reading the poem. It has that context too. It's better, though more complex (and thus far more interesting and realistic) to think the poem as caught (and not caught) in many different networks of agents, from anthologies to Victorian readers to your classroom.

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