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Celebrating Recent Work by Dennis Tenen

New Books in the Arts and Sciences

dateNovember 2, 2017 timeThursday, 6:15pm EDT location The Heyman Center, Second Floor Common Room, Columbia University
  • Dean of the Humanities, Arts and Sciences
  • Dean of Social Sciences, Arts and Sciences
  • Free and open to the public
  • No registration necessary
  • First come, first seated

Listen to the podcast here.

New Books in the Arts & Sciences
—panel discussions celebrating recent work by the Columbia Faculty

Plain Text: The Poetics of Computation
by Dennis Tenen

This book challenges the ways we read, write, store, and retrieve information in the digital age. Computers—from electronic books to smart phones—play an active role in our social lives. Our technological choices thus entail theoretical and political commitments. Dennis Tenen takes up today's strange enmeshing of humans, texts, and machines to argue that our most ingrained intuitions about texts are profoundly alienated from the physical contexts of their intellectual production. Drawing on a range of primary sources from both literary theory and software engineering, he makes a case for a more transparent practice of human–computer interaction. Plain Text is thus a rallying call, a frame of mind as much as a file format. It reminds us, ultimately, that our devices also encode specific modes of governance and control that must remain available to interpretation.

Dennis Tenen is Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, where he is a Co-Founder of Columbia's Group for Experimental Research Methods in the Humanities.

  • Author Dennis Tenen Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literature Columbia University
  • Panel Chair Sarah Cole Professor of English and Comparative Literature Columbia University
  • Discussant Brian Larkin Director of Graduate Studies Barnard College, Columbia University
  • Discussant N. Katherine Hayles James B. Duke Professor of Literature Duke University
  • Discussant Nicholas Dames Theodore Kahan Professor of Humanities, English and Comparative Literature Columbia University