ACLA: Digital Perspectives on the World of the Novel, March 29 - April 1, 2012

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American Comparative Literature Association
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This panel explores how new technologies change the way we think about the novel.

The world of the novel includes the imaginative world within the text, traditionally analyzed through close-reading of particular texts. Digital technologies allow for greater breadth of analysis but may also call into question focused readings of individual novels. How do networks, visualizations, or phrase nets, for instance, reinterpret literary world-making – within texts and between them? The world of the novel also recognizes the novel as a world system. How can digital perspectives help us understand what Wai Chee Dimock calls "the broader constellation" of the novel across the timescales and geopolitical boundaries that constitute literary periods and fields of inquiry? And how do comparative methods transform the tools of digital humanism from technologies of "distant reading," in Franco Moretti's description, into tools of "thick reading" that find increased particularity and depth through broader analysis? Tools such as Google's n-gram viewer can chart fictions of catastrophe in historical perspective, but how do charts and graphs constitute objects of critical inquiry? How can text-mining and computational linguistics provide access to, rather than foreclose, the modes of textual, cultural, and historical engagement that drive contemporary scholarship?
Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

Digital Comparativism,
Geographic Information and World Systems,
Text Mining,
Comparative Analysis,
The Informatics of Global Textual Flows,
Network Analysis,
Comparative Stylistics,
Digital Piracy,
The Novel and Hacktivism,
The E-Novel,
The New Media Novel,
The Novel as Social Network