MLA 2019

Critical Computation: What’s Next?
Organized by Lauren Klein for the MLA Digital Humanities Forum

This panel showcases the work of early career scholars who employ quantitative methods to address issues of race, gender, or other aspects of social difference. Each participant will present an example of their research, followed by an open discussion on topics such as the nature of graduate training in quantitative methods, the role of such methods in literary dissertations, and the challenges of doing interdisciplinary work.


Grant Glass is a  graduate student at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill in the English and Comparative Literature Department and is a Graduate Fellow of the Migrations Lab at Duke University Department of English. His project, Pirating Texts traces the thousands of pirated, republished, abridged, imitated, and translated editions of Daniel Defoe’s The Life and Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1719) to show how these various editions often reflect the place and time of their production and consumption. By maping these editions in their respective time/space configurations, we can begin to further our understanding of how the expanse and collapse of the British Empire is wrapped up in notions of capitalism, race, empire, gender, and climate concerns. Currently, he is the Assistant Project Manager of the William Blake Archive and the Assistant Director of  the Studio for Instructional Technology and English Studies.

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Jonathan Fitzgerald is an Assistant Professor of Humanities at Regis College in Weston, MA and a collaborator on the Viral Texts Project. He’s at work on a manuscript, tentatively titled “Setting the Record Straight: Women Literary Journalists Writing Against the Mainstream” that reconsiders the history of literary journalism with a focus on role that women writers played in the genre’s nineteenth century origins. His research fields include literary history, media studies, American religion, and digital humanities.

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Amanda Henrichs is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Amherst College. Previously she was the Mellon Five College Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities and Blended Learning where she focused on digital and hybrid pedagogies. Her research interests center at the nexus of early modern poetry, computational humanities, and multimodality. A longer version of today’s presentation is forthcoming with the Women Writers Intertextuality Project, featuring portions in both academic prose and Twine.

Sabrina Lee is a PhD student specializing in modernism at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She recently collaborated with Ted Underwood and David Bamman on a distant reading project that investigated gender dynamics in both fiction and publishing. She also works as the managing editor of American Literary History.

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Ethan Reed is a doctoral candidate in English at the University of Virginia. He was a 2015-2016 Praxis Program Fellow in the Scholars Lab, where he was also lead developer for ClockWork, a sonification project. During the 2017-2018 academic year he was a Graduate Fellow in Digital Humanities in the Scholars’ Lab.

Whitney Sperrazza is the Digital Humanities Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Hall Center for the Humanities, University of Kansas. She specializes in 16th and 17th-century English poetry and women’s writing, with particular interest in what digital and experimental humanities methods can offer for our engagement with these historical materials.

Kenton Rambsy is an Assistant Professor of African American literature at the University of Texas at Arlington. He received his PhD in English from the University of Kansas in May 2015, and is a 2010 Magna Cum-Laude, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Morehouse College. His areas of research include 20th and 21st century African American short fiction, Hip Hop, and book history. His on-going Digital Humanities projects use datasets to illuminate the significance of recurring trends and thematic shifts as it relates black writers and rappers. Kenton is a 2018 recipient of the Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellowship. His book project, The Geographies of African American Short Stories illuminates an important, though often understudied, mode of literary art by interpreting writers’ depictions of characters navigating distinct social and physical environments.

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