UC New Media Research Directory
Raley, Rita
January 25th, 2007 under Faculty

Assistant Professor, Department of English, UC Santa Barbara
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Rita RaleyRita Raley researches and teaches in the areas of the digital humanities and 20-21C literature in an “international” or “global” context. Her book, Tactical Media, a study of new media art in relation to neoliberal globalization, is under contract and forthcoming from the University of Minnesota Press in its “Electronic Mediations” series. She also continues work on Global English and the Academy, excerpts of which have been published in The Yale Journal of Criticism and Diaspora. Another book project, Reading Code, is underway, an excerpt of which is forthcoming under the title, “Code.surface || Code.depth” (see a related graduate seminar here). In the English department at UCSB, she is affiliated with the Literature and Culture of Information specialization and the Transcriptions project and currently leading a working group on “New Reading Interfaces” for Transliteracies. She has taught at the University of Minnesota and at Rice University, where she was the Lynette S. Autrey Visiting Assistant Professor of English.

 Links:      Home page | Literature and Culture of Information Specialization | Transcriptions

poem by NariCode may be mysterious, cryptic, and in a sense unknowable, but it is, as Ted Warnell’s “Lascaux Symbol.ic” reminds us, made. Analogizing the cave painting to code, “Lascaux” reminds us that the hand—craft, skill, technical expertise—comes in between code and surfaces of inscription, here the wall of the cave. Code may in a general sense be opaque and legible only to specialists, much like a cave painting’s sign system, but it has been inscribed, programmed, written. It is conditioned and concretely historical. Whether or not non-human agents have had a ‘hand’ in its formulation, code remains not only a constructing force but also that which is constructed.

— “Code.surface || Code.depth,” dichtung-digital (forthcoming).

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Traditional prosody, with its focus on more or less metrical rhythm, in short, describes an abstraction of sound. In search of regular rhythm, prosody tends unavoidably to eliminate the other acoustic phenomena, the noisy din of phonology and morphology, multi-accentuality and of course silences. The noise of poetry is either ignored or partially recuperated as a relational component of the discursive, semantic content; this process of elimination and abstraction can be seen as suppression and / or normalization, in other words noise abatement.

As a noise abatement project, traditional or normative prosody emboldened a resistance. Strange bedfellows from Mallarme to Whitman to Pound, Gertrude Stein, Henri Chopin, Ginsberg, Charles Olson, Robert Grenier, bp Nichol, etc., etc., are linked by their exploration of the noise of language in the face of normalized rules set primarily to find and disseminate abstract and pre-approved rhythmic patterns.