Matthew G. Kirschenbaum

University of Maryland

Bio

Matthew G. Kirschenbaum is Associate Professor in the Department of English at the University of Maryland and Associate Director of the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH, an applied thinktank for the digital humanities). He is also an affiliated faculty member with the Human-Computer Interaction Lab at Maryland, and a member of the teaching faculty at the University of Virginia’s Rare Book School.  Kirschenbaum served as the first director of the new Digital Cultures and Creativity living/learning program in the Honors College at Maryland.

A 2011 Guggenheim Fellow, Kirschenbaum specializes in digital humanities, electronic literature and creative new media (including games), textual studies, and postmodern/experimental literature. He has a Ph.D. in English from the University of Virginia, and was trained in humanities computing at Virginia’s Electronic Text Center and Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (where he was the Project Manager of the William Blake Archive). His dissertation was the first electronic dissertation in the English department at Virginia and one of the very first in the nation.

Kirschenbaum’s first book, Mechanisms: New Media and the Forensic Imagination, was published by the MIT Press in early 2008. (Taking its cues from textual studies and recent critical interest in writing and inscription technologies, Mechanisms addresses itself to the material and historical particulars of landmark works of new media and electronic literature, applying computer forensics to conduct new kinds of media-specific readings and drawing on significant new archival sources for works like Michael Joyce’s Afternoon and William Gibson’s electronic poem “Agrippa.”) Mechanisms has won the 2009 Richard J. Finneran Award from the Society for Textual Scholarship (STS), the 2009 George A. and Jean S. DeLong Prize from the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing (SHARP), and the 16th annual Prize for a First Book from the Modern Language Association (MLA). He was a principal investigator for MONK, a multi-institutional Mellon-funded project to develop advanced analytical and visualization tools for digital text collections. With Amit Kumar, he developed the Virtual Lightbox, an online tool for image comparison. Much of his work now focuses on the critical and scholarly implications of the shift to born-digital textual and cultural production. He was principal investigator for th\e NEH funded start-up “Approaches to Managing and Collecting Born-Digital Literary Materials for Scholarly Use” and is also a co-investigator on the NDIIPP-and IMLS-funded project devoted to Preserving Virtual Worlds (2007 to present). In 2010 he co-authored (with Richard Ovenden and Gabriela Redwine) Digital Forensics and Born-Digital Content in Cultural Heritage Collections, a report published by the Council on Library and Information Resources. He also oversees work on the Deena Larsen Collection at MITH, a vast personal archive of hardware and software furnishing a cross-section of the electronic writing community during its key formative years, roughly 1985-1995. Kirschenbaum serves on the editorial or advisory boards of a number of projects and publications, including Postmodern Culture, Text Technology, Textual Cultures, MediaCommons, and futureArch. His work has received coverage in the Atlantic, New York Times, National Public Radio, Wired, Boing Boing, Slashdot, and the Chronicle of Higher Education

Kirschenbaum’s current research interests in new media include serious games and simulations, digital preservation, writing technologies and the conditions of contemporary authorship, text visualization, social media, and cyberinfrastructure. His most recent graduate seminar (spring 2010) was Simulations. He has directed or is currently directing or co-directing five dissertations. He is online at http://www.mkirschenbaum.net, Mechanisms (a blog devoted to the book), and Zone of Influence (now dormant), and Play the Past, where he contributes to a group blog on meaningful play and cultural heritage. He is also on Twitter as “mkirschenbaum.”

Kirschenbaum is married to Kari Kraus, who is Assistant Professor in the Information School and English department at Maryland. He lives in College Park, Maryland.

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