UC New Media Research Directory
Liu, Alan
January 17th, 2007 under Faculty

Professor, Department of English, UC Santa Barbara
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Alan LiuAlan Liu is Professor in the English Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of Wordsworth: The Sense of History (Stanford Univ. Press, 1989); The Laws of Cool: Knowledge Work and the Culture of Information (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2004); and Local Transcendence: Essays on Postmodern Historicism and the Database (forthcoming, Univ. of Chicago Press). He is principal investigator of the UC Multi-campus Research Group, Transliteracies: Research in the Technological, Social, and Cultural Practices of Online Reading; principal investigator of the UCSB Transcriptions Project (Literature and the Culture of Information); and co-director of his English Department’s undergraduate specialization on Literature and the Culture of Information. His other online projects include Voice of the Shuttle and (as general editor) The Agrippa Files. Liu is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Electronic Literature Organization (ELO). He is Editor of the UC New Media directory.

 Links:      Home page | Transliteracies Project | The Agrippa Files | Voice of the Shuttle

To adapt Jean-François Lyotard’s concept, we may say that media contact zones are like the pagus in classical times: the tricky frontier around a town where one deals warily with strangers because even the lowliest beggar may turn out to be a god, or vice versa. New media are always pagan media: strange, rough, and guileful; either messengers of the gods or spam. Narratives of new media are thus less objective accounts than speculative bargaining positions. Encountering a new medium, one says in essence: “what do I get if I deal with this as if it were really a scroll, book, TV, phone, radio, or surveillance instrument (and so on) in disguise?”

— “Imagining the New Media Encounter.” Introduction to A Companion to Digital Literary Studies. Ed. Susan Schreibman and Ray Siemens. Malden, MA: Blackwell, forthcoming 2007.

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