2016-17 CFP Distracted Reading

Call for Papers (Digital Humanities Quarterly)

Distracted Reading: Acts of Attention in the Age of the Internet

Central to the humanities is the theorisation and practice of modes of attention (to cultural artifacts and to other aspects of the world). Indeed, within our teaching spaces many of us devote much time to finding ways to redirect our students’ attention away from the distractions of their multiple electronic gadgets. But what if we consider how their distributed focus might enable new acts of attention and new ways of reading? How might we rethink pedagogy and our own research methods in an era of hyper-connectivity?

There is nothing new about distraction, but such questions have a particular relevance in light of recent models, such as those of the distributed cognition theorists, that describe our electronic devices as potential cognitive extensions of ourselves: what we think of as mind can be dispersed across objects external to our bodies. If this is the case, how might we think about the new potential these devices offer and the new methods they enable within humanities’ disciplines?

We invite submissions for a special issue of Digital Humanities Quarterly (DHQ) on this topic.

‘Reading’ should be taken to represent any act of critical engagement with works in any medium (text, visual art, film, or music, for example). Of particular interest are papers that connect research and pedagogy. Topics are certainly not limited to the following, but might include:

— the use of different digital tools simultaneously within a group of students or scholars to draw out and represent different aspects of one work (whether, for example, a painting, film, text or a piece of music) for analytic purposes

— the use of social networking tools to shape new acts of attention to our objects of study;

— the use of annotation software with groups of students, and the new research methods this might inspire (or vice versa)

— the use of spatial and distributed modalities to better comprehend or represent what are usually thought of as linear modes of reasoning (critical, philosophical, historical, or others); for example, the possibilities packages such as prezi offer for representing spatial relationships between concepts or ideas.


Deadline for abstracts: January 31st 2017

400 words; submitted as a Word doc. attachment.

Send to marion.thain[at]nyu.edu.


Deadline for full papers: July 31st 2017

Word limit: 7,000 words

Style: inline author-date references, with a full list of works cited at the end (footnotes used only for digressions and explanations)

Submission format: Word


Send to marion.thain[at]nyu.edu.