UIC English Students to Contribute to
the Digital Humanities

As the literary corpus is scanned and placed online, its keywords devised and its texts counted, collected, and “mined” for patterns of recurrence at all levels (letters, sentences, word counts, and linguistic variations), some questions arise: what is to be done with this information? Which texts, paratexts, images, sounds, and conversations around texts are worth archiving, preserving, and disseminating through critical engagement? Not least, how is scholarship itself, the outcome of our years spent in classrooms and seminars, going to present itself (and us) in databases and circulate within professional literary networks?

A feature of Critical Digital Humanities, not often found in DH initiatives, is the direct channeling of student writing (at the graduate and advanced undergraduate levels) into literary databases. Though they are not so developed as dissertation chapters and journal publications, such early career contributions to literary scholarship at UIC are in every instance peer reviewed and published on acceptance, allowing students to assemble a scholarly profile that at once helps establish a literary field and can be accessed by post-graduate research institutions and potential employers, within and outside the literary profession. In some cases, over the course of a four-year undergraduate course of studies or a two to six year graduate residence, students can assemble a portfolio of published writing that makes their research profile more publically apparent than their graded papers and online coursework.

The project in Critical Digital Humanities is run by Professor Joseph Tabbi (jtabbi@uic.edu), in conversation with the multi-disciplinary, inter-departmental Digital Humanities Working Group (Institute for the Humanities), the trans-national, multi-institutional Consortium on Electronic Literature www.cellproject.net, and numerous classroom publishing projects on display at the Electronic Literature Organization’s directory http://directory.eliterature.org/.

Examples of publications in digital literary studies by UIC doctoral students Robert Ryan (English) and Justin Raden (English), can be accessed, from March 2016 in ebr www.electronicbookreview.com.

Graduate Student Achievements

The last few months have been exciting ones for recent UIC graduate students. Danielle Christmas’s post-doc at the University of North Carolina was turned into an assistant professorship in the same department, and Tyler Mills, just starting as an assistant professor at New Mexico Highlands University, saw her poem “The Sun Rising, Pacific Theater” appear in The New Yorker. Her poems also appeared inThe Adroit Journal The New England Review, Pinwheel, Blueshift Journal, and Narrative Magazine. Another very recent graduate, Brianna Noll, had her dissertation, a collection of poems titled Flavor Is the Price of Scarlet, selected for the University Press of Kentucky’s new Contemporary Poetry and Prose Series.

Meanwhile, our current students are just as active.

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Student Profile


Transfer student and English Major Anthony Reitz wins 2015-2016 LAS Undergraduate Research Award (LASURI)

Dr. Jennifer Rupert, Program Coordinator for Undergraduate Studies in English, interviews undergraduate Anthony Reitz about transferring to UIC from community college, his experience majoring in English at UIC, and his current award-winning research.

  • Tony, when we met you were an incoming transfer student from one of Chicagoland’s many community colleges, Joliet Junior College. When did you know you were going to be an English major?

Two semesters before I transferred to UIC, I was taking the equivalent of English 161, and we had to write an essay in response to The White Tiger. Our instructor was calling us up one by one to get our papers.
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