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Curriculum Vitae / Lebenslauf

Dr. Michael Wutz, Rodney H. Brady Presidential Distinguished Professor

 

Education

 
  • Ph.D., Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, 1991, Modern American and British Literature
  • M.A., University of Montana, Missoula, 1986, English Literature
  • Grundstudium English (B.A. equivalent) 1983, English and Physical Education,
    Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg, Germany
  • Abitur, Platen Gymnasium Ansbach, Germany, May 1980


Teaching

 
  • Visiting Professor, Renmin University of China, Beijing (Summer 2016)
  • Visiting Professor, Osmania University, India, Centre for International Programmes (OUCIP, Fall 2013)
  • Visiting Professor, Renmin University of China, Beijing (Summer 2012)
  • Visiting Professor, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany (Summer 2009)
  • Visiting Professor, Universität Bayreuth, Germany (2004-5)
  • Weber State University, Professor (2000-present), Associate Professor (1995-2000), Assistant Professor (1992-95)
  • Emory University Visiting Assistant Professor 1991-1992
  • Emory University Graduate Teaching Assistant 1987-1989
  • University of Montana Graduate Teaching Assistant 1985-1986


Current Course Offerings / Kursangebot


Links to the courses below will be developed and activated as I (team-)teach them again

  • Technology & American Lit
  • College Writing II 2010
  • Introduction to Poetry 2340
  • Humanities on the Internet 1150
  • Modernism & Politics 4810
  • Eminent Writers 4710
  • Gender in Lit & Science
  • Great Lives, Great Deeds
  • American Urban Cultures
  • College Writing III 3010
  • World Literature 3730

WSU Teaching Awards and Recognitions

 
  • 2016 Robert M. Hogge Faculty Teaching Award
    Annual award given by the Master's of Arts in English Program (MENG) for exemplary student-centered teaching
     
  • 2016 Faculty Sustainability Award
    Annual award given by the Office of the Provst at Weber State University and administered by the Environmental Issues Forum in recognition of exceptional Sustainability Research Projects
     
  • 2007 Brady Presidential Distinguished Professor Award
    Award given to "outstanding faculty members who demonstrate the highest quality of teaching, scholarship, research and community service"
     
  • John S. Hinckley Fellowship Award 2007 Annual award given to a faculty member for excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service
     
  • Eccles Honors Teaching Fellow 2006-07
    Annual award given to several faculty to develop new courses in WSU's Honors Program
     
  • Endowed Scholar, College of Arts & Humanities 2002-2005
    Triannual award given to a faculty member in the College of Arts & Humanities for distinguished scholarship
     
  • Crystal Crest Master Teacher Award 2002
    Annual award by the Weber State University student body given to one faculty for distinguished teaching
     
  • 1996 Ralph M. Nye Honors Professor (renamed Nye Faculty Award
    Annual award given to one faculty for distinguished teaching and collaboration in the Honors Program
     
  • Nomination for Lowe Teaching Award 1996
    Annual award given to several faculty at WSU for distinguished teaching and service
     
  • 1995 Honors New Professor of the Year
    Annual award given to one junior professor for exemplary teaching in WSU's Honors Program
     

(Inter)national Awards and Recognitions

 

Editor, Weber - The Contemporary West

 
  • I have had the privilege of editing WSU's bi-annual general humanities journal since 2007 and (often in collaboration) been able to produce a number of well-received special focus issues on such topics as Lake Bonneville, Native American Literature, South Asia, Contemporary Global Voices, the Anthropocene, China, and China & Japan, among others. The journal is well known for its series of interviews & conversations (which have been reprinted in various collections). In each Spring/Summer issue, the journal also features a substantial section on the National Undergraduate Literature Conference from the previous year.  Please see Weber - The Contemporary West for current and past issues, as well as our searchable archive.

    The journal has recently been recognized with the Michael Delahoyde Award for Distinguished Contributions in Editing (2019)


 

Books/Editions

 

Operation Valhalla - Writings on War, Weapons, and Media, Ed. and Trans. Ilinca Iurascu (Univ. of British Columbia), Geoffrey Winthrop-Young (Univ. of British Columbia), and Michael Wutz. Introduction Geoffrey Winthrop-Young. Duke Univ. Press, 2021; ca. 100,000 words.


Operation Valhalla is an edited and translated collection of 18 texts by the late Friedrich Kittler (1943-2011), who is often mistakenly described as “the Derrida of the Digital Age.” Unlike other collections currently available in English—War, Media and Information Systems (1997), The Truth of the Technological World (2014) and The Technological Introject (2018)—this is a focused volume on Kittler’s writings on war, death, and communications technologies. Of the featured texts, to date only 5 are available in English (all appeared in Cultural Politics). Of the remaining 13, 5 have not even been published in German. All texts have been edited, sometimes by comparing versions in several languages and by taking into account Kittler’s handwritten marginalia. Each text includes substantive notes to provide historical, cultural and technical context. The introduction was written by Geoffrey Winthrop-Young.

 

E. L. Doctorow Reconsidered, Ed. and Intro. Michael Wutz and Julian Murphet (Scientia Professor in English and Film Studies, UNSW Sidney), Edinburgh Univ. Press, 2019, 90,000 words.

The passing of Edgar Lawrence Doctorow in 2015 robbed American literature of one of its twentieth-century titans, still near the peak of his considerable powers, and still awaiting his proper critical due. After the flurry of interest in his “postmodernism” in the mid-1980s, and corollary reflections on his prowess at blending fictional and real-world characters, critical attention shifted elsewhere in the 1990s and the body of work as a whole has been treated to only a small handful of more or less descriptive studies. The decline in attention to this remarkable oeuvre—surely one of the more significant bodies of world fiction after World War II—is a testament to the crisis in literary studies today, which seems so uncertain of both its object and its raison d’être. While Doctorow cemented his post-Ragtime career with such mature masterpieces as Billy Bathgate (1989), City of God (2000), and The March (2005), it was often easier to find fully developed critical studies of the uneven likes of Bret Easton Ellis and David Foster Wallace than of this elder statesman of the art of the novel. His intelligence, so intransigent and yet so timely and precise, never waned, and neither did his often experimental approach to form and voice. If The March feels like a summa doctorowica, a magnificent demonstration of the artist’s full powers and presiding concerns, then Homer & Langley and Andrew’s Brain seem impish and playful by contrast, bags full of a younger man’s tricks and frolics, opening up new horizons of possibility for the form. The truth is that Doctorow’s body of work vastly exceeds its critical legacy, in scope, ambition, and conceptual richness, and this remains a challenge to literary criticism today, when both the novel as a form and the presumptions of critical practice are in such severe crisis. Doctorow’s death has had the inevitable result of completing his oeuvre and bestowing upon it a retrospective aura of total accomplishment with few equals in his, or any other, generation. It is to that total accomplishment that this volume is oriented, in an effort to begin a serious reconsideration of a body of work that asks so much of us, as critics, as readers, and as citizens. . .  (from the Introduction).
 

Conversations with W. S. Merwin, coedited with Hal Crimmel (Weber State University), Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2015; reissued in paperback 2018.

At age 88, William Stanley Merwin is among the most distinguished poets, translators, and thinkers in the United States.  A major link between the period of literary modernism and its contemporary extensions, Merwin has been a major voice in American letters for close to seven decades, and his translations from the Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, and others, have earned him unanimous praise and admiration.  Merwin has also been on the forefront of the environmental movement and articulated concerns about ecology and sustainability long before they became fashionable. 

Now, for the first time, Conversations with W. S. Merwin offers insight into the various dimensions of Merwin's thought by treating his interviews as a self-standing category in his oeuvre. More than casual narratives of contiguity interpreting, en passant, the occasional poem or relaying an occasional experience, they afford literary and cultural historians a view into the larger through-lines of Merwin's thinking. Like many poets aware of literary tradition and cultural ferment, Merwin sees his work in conversation with the larger developments of his time(s) and with the writers that have preceded and parallel him. In the aggregate, these interviews allow for a reconstruction of his literary and cultural roots--stations in the making of a writer and thinker, activist and ecologist, and indeed poète-philosophe.  Conversations with W.S. Merwin will be an indispensable resource for readers and scholars for decades to come.
 

Enduring Words—Literary Narrative in Changing Media Ecology, Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2009, pp. 279.

This study investigates the intersection of technological models in literary texts of the 20th century, particularly the way such models have shaped the constructions of literary form and cognition in a cadre of prominent male novelists: Frank Norris, Malcolm Lowry, E. L. Doctorow, and Richard Powers. It describes in historically specific ways the narrative response of these writers to a changing media ecology, in particular, the novel's reaction to the advent of photography, the typewriter, phonography, film, and digital media throughout the 20th century. Unlike written narrative, these new technologies of auditory and visual inscription register their environment directly, without the detour of letters, and they unlink human bodies from their corporeal functions and productions, such as sight, voice, and writing. Faced with the cultural pressure of competing media, I argue, modern and contemporary narrative has been developing strategies to secure its continued viability in a post-print age, often by emphasizing the resilience and multiply-nuanced suppleness of language (and often in opposition to the flat or monoglossic representations of a politically coopted media apparatus). Secondarily, as more contemporary writers, Doctorow and Powers also engage the question as to how new technologies of communication and information retrieval are affecting the very idea of cognition, the human capacity for thinking that has given rise to these technologies in the first place.
 
This book was fortunate to receive the 2010 Susanne K. Langer Award for Outstanding Scholarship in the Ecology of Symbolic Form awarded by the Media Ecology Association; it has also been nominated for the 2010 Robert Motherwell Book Award awarded annually by the Daedalus Foundation The book has been reviewed in Counterpoise, CBQ, Choice, Review of English Studies, Electronic Book Review, American Literary History (23, 2: 362-379), Modern Fiction Studies, Symplokee (18, 1-2: 402-404).. Studies in the Novel, and other journals.
 

"Young Swiss Writers," a special double issue of the international, bilingual magazine Dimension2 co-edited and -introduced with Romey Sabalius (Cal State, San José), vol. 8 (2/3), pp. 177-455, February 2007.

This issue introduces current fiction from the German-speaking part of Switzerland to a predominantly American readership and shows how the literature reflects Switzerland's changing self-definition in a post-Cold War Europe and indeed the world. The collection focuses on work done in the last five to seven years, while the introduction locates current Swiss fiction with a view toward a larger, more integrated Europe. Contributors include: Matthias Zschokke, Martin R. Dean,, Lukas Bärfuss, Catalin Dorian Florescu, Perikles Monioudis,  Zoë Jenny, Milena Moser, Peter Stamm, Daniel Zahno, and many others.This project is generously funded by the Swiss cultural institutes, ProHelvetia, Präsenz Schweiz and Migros.
 

"Media, Materiality, Memory: Aspects of Intermediality," a special issue of Configurations, the journal of the Society for Literature & Science, Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, vol. 10, no.1 (Winter 2002):  pp. 201, coedited with Geoffrey Winthrop-Young, Univ. of British Columbia.

This issue consists of original essays specifically written and edited for this issue and moves beyond individual media-focused literary case studies to theorize on recent developments in the field of media theory. Contributors include: Friedrich Kittler, Humboldt Universität Berlin; Michael Giesecke, Univ. of Erfurt; Ursula Heise, Columbia University; Mark Hansen, Princeton University; Bruce Clarke, Texas Tech University; Wolf Kittler, UC–Santa Barbara, and others.  Look outside & inside
 

Translation, from the German into English, of Friedrich Kittler's Gramophone, Film, Typewriter, including a critical introduction, together with Geoffrey Winthrop-Young, Stanford Univ. Press, 1999, pp. 315.

Recent literary-theoretical scholarship framed by "media discourse analysis" attempts to theorize about print in a world of post-print media. If writing had, for millennia, been humankind's primary storage technology, photography and, later in the 19th century, phono-graphy and film jeopardized this privilege and ultimately destroyed the alphabetic storage and transmission monopoly of writing. How does print culture respond to the encroachments of other media, such as photography, telegraphy, film (and the computer) on its territory of representation? This is the theoretical context of Gramophone, Film, Typewriter, the modernist addendum to Kittler's magum opus, Discourse Networks (Stanford UP, 1990).   Look outside & inside
 

Reading Matters: Narrative in the New Media Ecology, coedited with Joseph Tabbi (Univ. of Illinois, Chicago), Cornell Univ. Press, 1997, pp. 316.

This collection of original essays focuses on the convergence of technology, media, and twentieth-century narrative. The collection delineates the field, determines what its often abstract and theoretical concerns can contribute to the practical study of narrative, and makes current developments in science, technology, media theory, and literature more widely available to interested readers. It also establishes a developmental history of hypertext by focusing on the formal, experimental features of modernist narrative that prepare the ground for electronic textuality. This book was nominated for the 1998 Barbara Perkins Prize from the Society for the Study of Narrative Literature.
 

Guest editor of Weber Studies special issue on Science, Technology & the Arts, January 1997, pp. 160.

This issue delineates the current range of interests in the fields of science, technology, literature, and the arts. What underlies the work gathered in it is a disciplinary fluidity grounded, fundamentally, in an elementary reciprocity: just as science is always already a rhetoric of science, fiction and narrative (and the visual arts) are inevitably informed by the tropes and models of science and technology.  Contributors include: Gregory Ulmer & Joseph Tabbi; Geoffrey Winthrop-Young; Elizabeth Wilson & Andreas Ströhl; Vilém Flusser; Bruce Clarke; Linda Dalrymple-Henderson; Jo Alyson Parker; Cynthia Hogue; Nicole Cooley; Lance Olsen, and any more. This issue also appeared simultaneously as a special on-line supplement to the electronic book review, vol. 4.

 

Book Chappatis (:)

 
  • "Gogol + Nikhil = Nikon? -- Power, Place, and Photography in Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake," The Place of Photography, Ed. Julia Faisst and Kerstin Schmidt, Leiden: Brill, 2019 (10,700 words ).

This essay offers a media-technological reading of photography in Lahiri’s work, centering broadly on The Namesake. (1) Through the lens of photography, Lahiri re-exposes the power differential between men and women. If trigger-happy males zoom in on female bodies, or any other subject, from behind the view finder, they not only assert their traditional agency through a technology of representation; they also reduce women to passive statu(e)s and the object of the male gaze, thus re-inscribing an age-old power dichotomy and bringing it up to date.  Similarly, as Lahiri’s Indian immigrants record, with camera in hand, their newfound life in the West, they also return to their country of origin as tourists, where snapshots of oddly-estranged environments give them a sense of (nostalgic) cultural grounding. (2) While ancestral portraits have served numerous cultures as a placeholder for the deceased, the Hindu practice of burning the body, and the subsequent dispersal of the ash, invests photographic verisimilitude with greater significance than in the West. Yet, if photography can be commemorative in a visual sense, words occupy a different value on the spectrum of recall and representation, often filling the gap where images and photographs fail.
 

  • "City of God/City of Bits: Signs/Signals/Noise," in E. L. Doctorow Reconsidered, Ed. and Intro. Michael Wutz and Julian Murphet (UNSW Sidney), Edinburgh Univ. Press, 2019.

     In City of God, Doctorow . . . . probes the very nature of a sign and signification. In the opening part of this essay, “Signs Taken for Wonders,” I map the various signs and signals—material and spiritual, linguistic and electric, biologic and electronic—circulating within the narrative field, and how their signification is dependent on specific discourse communities. Information theory, in particular, here serves a useful heuristic to distinguish sense from non-sense, signal from noise. In part two, “Communicative Ground Zero,” I locate Doctorow’s metafictional reflections on meaning-making within the human sign system language itself, chiefly by juxtaposing the position of two of the novel’s most memorable personae—Ludwig Wittgenstein and Albert Einstein—on communication, and above all, on listening and decoding. If one ends in the despair of communicative silence because of insurmountable linguistic blockage—the infinitely regressive metaphoricity of human speech—the other embraces the sonorous noise of various sign systems to reconcile modern physics with metaphysics. Part three, “Negotiating the Terrain,” invokes Michel Serres’ notion of the Northwest Passage (a tutelary spirit for much of the essay) to pursue the novel’s focus on sound and noise into the domain of media culture. I suggest that Doctorow understands humanity as noise makers whose sophisticated media technologies have not only not facilitated global understanding, but instead helped produce the carnage of modernity. I suggest as well that Doctorow understands the novel as a productive noise-making machine embedded within the sound cloud of the present, a medial subset capable of translating the din produced within the larger culture into its own, however tenuous and tentative, system of order, a minor noise echoing within, and against, the echo chamber of the larger media ecology.  

     
  • "Articulate Flesh – D. H. Lawrence and The Modern Media Ecology," Hybrid Multimedia Literature and Art in post-Cold War Europe, Ed. Marcel-Cornis Pope, Virginia Comonwealth University. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Press, 2014, 91-103.

This essay maps Lawrence's relationship to modern media and suggests that he saw in new(-fangled) technologies of communication another threat to the growing disembodiment he had been lamenting since his early days as a writer. Much in keeping with his concern about human self-estrangement—and notwithstanding their promise of greater authenticity, immediacy, and communicability—Lawrence understood the technologies of visual and acoustic storage as instruments of distancing and alienation, not togetherness and approximation.  In the second part of the argument, I offer a media-oriented reading of Lady Chatterley's Lover and suggest that the canonical view of Lawrence as a conservative reactionary ought to be complicated.

  • "Federman's Body Literature or, The Unbearable Lightness of Being," Federman's Fictions, Ed. Geoffrey Di Leo.  Albany, NY: SUNY-Press, 2010: 257-275.
This essay suggests that Federman's extraordinary display of linguistic skill has tended to obscure what Federman himself has always fully acknowledged: namely, that the body ought to be seen as the elemental ground of being enabling the experience of living, and along with it the experience of writing. Behind the verbal and cerebral pyrotechnics of Federman's postmodernist surfiction, I argue, lies the body as the primary and primordial horizon of experiential value. Seeing the way Federman reflects on his corps allow us to understand that, for him, life, and with it, art, begins with the physical, not verbal, awareness of the self.

 

  • "Writing From Between the Gaps: Agape Agape and Twentieth-Century Media Culture," Paper Empire: William Gaddis and the World System, Ed. Joseph Tabbi and Rone Shavers. Tuscaloosa: The Univ. of Alabama Press, 2007: 185-210.

This essay argues that Gaddis' posthumously published novel Agape Agapecan be seen as a reprise of the themes orchestrating his oeuvre, such as entropy, plagiarism, the pressures of capitalism, the threat of mass culture to artistic authenticity, and the continued viability of literature, among others.  By weaving these themes into the evolution of the player piano—-for Gaddis a symbolic register for the modern-day rush toward mechanization and rationalization and a key link in the development of data processing technologies—-he suggests that the cultural marginalization of the arts has been in process since the Industrial Revolution.  More specifically, through recourse to some of the insights of contemporary media theory, the essay seeks to show how some of Gaddis' lifelong concerns intersect with two links that are particularly germane to Agape Agape: the links between authentic art, mechanized music, and the threat of technological disembodiment; and between the media ecology of the 20th-century and the cultural import of literary narrative.

  • "Introduction:  Media — Models, Memories, and Metaphors," together with Geoffrey WinthropYoung, Configurations, vol. 10, no. 1 (Winter 2002): pp. 1-10.
     
  • "Translator's introduction," Gramophone, Film, Typewriter, together with Geoffrey Winthrop-Young, Stanford Univ. Press, 1999: xi-xxxviii.
     
  • "Introduction," Reading Matters: Narrative in the New Media Ecology, together with Joseph Tabbi, Cornell Univ. Press, 1997: 1-25.
     
  • "Archaic Mechanics, Anarchic Meaning: Malcolm Lowry and the Technology of Narrative," in Reading Matters, Cornell Univ. Press, 1997: 53-75.
     

Essays

 

This essay focuses on two elements of the cinema of Jean Vigo that have received little attention to date: Vigo’s use of puppets, manikins, and automata as a central part in his mise-en-scène, and Vigo’s status as a transitional film maker negotiating the threshold from silence to sound.  I argue that Vigo’s puppets often function as suggestive figurations of desire, capitalist consumption, and automated thinking, and hence variously comment on the behavior of their human counterparts and the political and economic system they inhabit. Secondarily, Vigo inflects these associations with a strong anti-colonial subtext of repression and exploitation by laying bare the unspoken political dimensions of French colonial rule and the modernist cult(ure) of primitivism and sexual liberation en vogue in 1920s France. The symbolic surcharge of Vigo’s puppets is, further, reinscribed in the audio-visual synergies of his films. Situated on the cusp of film’s transition from silence to sound, Vigo develops a complex register of intonation that engages the modernist media ecology and, in effect, interrogates the status of cinema as a synch-sound spectacle. His puppets and automata can be understood not as convenient leftovers of silent-era film-making, but as dumb dummies resisting the emerging commercialization of sound and its perceived narrowing of aesthetic possibilities (certainly among the avant-garde).  Bodies without voice, they vocalize their inherent cinematicity not through the detour of sound, but through their contorted materiality, facial grotesqueness and jerky mobility.

The eminent poet W. S. Merwin has been on the forefront of the environmental movement and articulated concerns about ecology and sustainability long before they became fashionable. “Tracing the Modernist Roots of Ecological Thinking” explores the deep contours of Merwin’s ecological consciousness as found in our interview collection, Conversations with W. S. Merwin (Mississippi, 2015), and provides insight into the organic evolution of the collection itself, along with an account of the challenges of compressing half a century’s worth of conversations with a literary giant. The essay also seeks to remind ecocritics of the importance of Merwin’s writing and illuminating literary interviews, which is an often overlooked genre of criticism valuable for their insights into the thought processes of writers in general and Merwin specifically.

  • "The Archaeology of the Colonial - Un-earthing Jhumpa Lahiri's Unaccustomed Earth," Studies in American Fiction, vol. 42, no. 2, 2015: 243-268.

This essay argues that Lahiri articulates a comprehensive theory of (post)coloniality through the geophysical energies traversing Unaccustomed Earth. It argues that the geological upheaval in the novel encodes the geopolitical upheaval that has divided global populations—at any point in their history—into dominators and dominated, colonizers and colonized.  It argues, further, that geological energy grounds Lahiri’s literary practice of seeing her own narratives as one building block within a tectonic archive. It, finally, claims that geological rupture intimates a radical change in agency with regard to humans and their global habitat.  Beginning with the Industrial Revolution and the European colonial projects, humanity has evolved into a collective force with a planetary impact so vast in scale that geologists have coined the term “Anthropocene."  While sympathetic to this anthropogenic perspective, Lahiri is more concerned with cosmic rhythms and natural forces than human purpose or historical teleology.  She suggests that the seismic energies in Unaccustomed Earth signify a planet with the capacity for perpetual reconstitution, that humanity may only be a transitional sojourner on the diasporic space that is the earth, and that change is the one large bio-geological constant in the age-old game of migration and transplantation.

A brief tribute (by invitation) to one of the most influential contemporary American writers on the occasion of his passing.

"Intellectual Affairs: A small humanities journal survives deep budget cuts. Scott McLemee finds out how its editor manages to maintain the publication — and his own optimism."

  • "E. L. Doctorow," The Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Fiction, ed. Patrick O'Donnell, David W. Madden, and Justus Nieland. London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010 (print and online).

This brief overview essay discusses E. L. Doctorow's literary achievement, in particular his (recurring) thematic concerns as a novelist and the literary tradition from which he writes. Even as Doctorow is a contemporary writer, the essay locates his work between postmodernist and classically modernist sensibilities.

  • "From Salt to Struts and Flats to Fenders—An Unnaturally Natural Combination," Weber—The Contemporary West, vol. 24, no. 3 (Spring/Summer 2008), pp. 96-107.

This rather personal essay, including a set of photographs, centers on the (American) fascination with speed and cars, especially as it expresses itself in the annual gathering of car buffs and speedophiles, professional design teams and autodidactic automobilers, on the Bonneville Salt Flats in August. Written from the point of view of an automotive landlubber, it reflects on the unusual convergence of cutting edge technology with the barren desert of northwestern Utah, and how the delirium of mechanic velocity and geographic vastness have formed an intriguing alliance.

  • "The Politics of (Post)modern Form: Tradition, Language, and Narrative Coherence in Good Scent from a Strange Mountain," Amerikastudien/American Studies, vol. 52, no. 4 (2007):  495-516.

Rather than assigning Good Scent to any one particular narrative or theoretical camp (as has been done), this essay argues that Robert Olen Butler's thematic and formal preoccupations evidence his keen awareness of postcolonial issues as well as his affinity for the both modernist and postmodern concern with language, mediation, and signifying slippage. His location within a more broadly 20th-century tradition of short fiction writing is, perhaps, most visible in Good Scent's various forms of narrative cohesiveness and his understanding of the reciprocities between form and content. Blending conventional realism with a mode of magic realism into a formal hybrid that yields a kind of narrative parallax, Butler foregrounds not only the various forms of cultural schizophrenia of the collection's inhabitants, but also the unresolvable tension between complementary modes of narrative experience, oscillating, as they do, between political reality and dreamlike ideality.

This essay offers a detailed reading of Raymond Federman's My Body in Nine Parts (Buffalo, NY: Stacherone P, 2005) along the lines of notions of embodiment and textual self-formation. It argues that, on the surface or "surfiction" of it, Nine Parts proposes itself as an idiosyncratic history of embodied recollection by chronicling how certain body parts have registered, inscribed, and/or contributed to crucial experiences in Federman's life. The essay also suggests how Federman's body comes to fore most forcefully when he is repressing the unnamable primal scenes in his life by displacing them onto his scarred (not charred) body: the extermination of his family at Auschwitz and the loss of his mother. The essay also delves into the reasons why Federman's contributions to experimental fiction have found a wide reception in Germany, much in contrast to his marginal status in the United States.

  • "Literary Narrative and Information Culture—Garbage, Waste, and Residue in the Work of E. L. Doctorow."  Contemporary Literature,  vol. 44, no. 3 (Fall 03): 501-535.

This essay argues that Doctorow's fiction employs the trope of garbage or waste to demarcate a unique domain of knowledge for the novel in present day culture—a domain that is outside the boundaries of received disciplinary practices as well as the contemporary media landscape. Doctorow suggests that the serious novel can give itself important cultural legitimacy by locating itself at the interstices of contemporary knowledge and information production. What would go by cultural residue or waste in the established fields of formalized knowledge can be absorbed into the epistemological broth called the novel.

Based on a detailed discussion of William R. Everdell's wide-ranging and interdisciplinary study The First  Moderns: Profiles in the Origin of Twentieth-Century Thought (Chicago: The Univ. of Chicago Press, 1997), this brief review essay maps some of the conceptual and technological premises that, emerging concurrently in various fields, have produced the modernist configuration(s).

  • "Narrative in the New Media Ecology," Amerikastudien/American Studies, special issue on Technology and American Culture, vol. 41, no. 3 (Fall 1996): pp. 445-464, co-authored with Joseph Tabbi.

How does written narrative respond to photography, the phonograph, and film—those visual and auditory recording technologies that, beginning in the latter half of the nineteenth century, could process and store information more efficiently than print. This essay, adapted from the introduction of Reading Matters, argues that print narrative has shown an extraordinary generic resilience and reclaimed for itself a distinctively literary and imaginative ground of being inaccessible to these newer media. This essay also appeared in the inaugural issue of the electronic journal NODE9 (no longer online)

  • "The Thermodynamics of Gender: The Case of D. H. Lawrence." Mosaic: A Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature, vol. 28, no. 2 (Summer 1995): pp. 83-108.

By drawing on the theoretical concepts of the French philosopher of science, Michel Serres, this essay argues that the protocols and theorems of thermodynamics operate as organizational models in the work of D. H. Lawrence, and further, that these principles become a paradigm for Lawrence's gender relationships.

This essay establishes the intersection of science, technology, gender (and politics) in the work of Wyndham Lewis, the founder of English Vorticism and one of the quintessential figures of high modernism in both the literary and the visual arts. Through a close "scientific" reading of Lewis's autobiographical novel, Tarr (1918), I argue that Lewis's conception of narrative and character largely derives from the emergent theories of the electromagnetic field that were articulated by James Clerk Maxwell and Lord Kelvin in the second half of the nineteenth century.

  • "The Word and the Self in The Ambassadors." Style, vol. 25, no. 1 (Spring 1991): pp. 89-103.

By juxtaposing two of the most widely influential forms of contemporary critical practice—(Derridean) deconstruction and (Husserlian) phenomenology—this essay suggests that Henry James was highly attuned to the limits of verbal representation. While making a living writing, he acknowledged that—broadly speaking—words are an only insufficient vehicle to contain such human constants as truth, identity, and self.

  • "Hawthorne's Drowne: Felix Culpa Exculpated." Studies in American Fiction, vol. 18, no. 2 (Fall 1990): pp. 99-110.

Through a comparative analysis of several of Nathaniel Hawthorne's well- and lesser known short stories, this essay argues that the notion of felix culpa—the positive effects of humankind's archetypal fall from innocence—is present in Hawthorne's early work (a claim not seriously entertained up to this point) and that, in Hawthorne's world, desire operates as the driving impetus for the creation of genuine art.

 

Interviews

  • "Escaping Vietnam and Finding Refuge in the United States. A Conversation with Paul Dinh." Weber - The Contemporary West, vol. 36, 1 (Fall 2019), pp. 62-74.

    I was privileged to meet Paul Dinh in Hue, the former capital of Vietnam and the city close to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) during the Vietnam War, in March 2018. Paul escaped Vietnam as a teenager in April 1975 on the proverbial “last boat,” and he was on his first visit back to his home country since his hasty departure 43 years ago. He kindly agreed to an interview via phone upon his return to the United States, his present home, which details the milestones of his and his family’s perilous journey: his memories of the final months of the war; the political situation in Vietnam at the time; his family’s fortuitous escape and journey across the Pacific; their warm reception in the United States; and his first reunion with his family members left behind in Vietnam almost half a century later.  Paul, in that sense, is a witness to two ends of a fluid historical spectrum: the escape of the first wave of Vietnamese survivors, before the mass exodus of an estimated 2 million refugees collectively known as the “boat people,” between 1975-1995; and the transformation of a war-torn country into a thriving regional economy.

  • "From Idaho to Confucius, or, from the American West to the Far East.  On Explaining a Poet Misguided or Misunderstood." A Conversation with Mary de Rachewiltz on her father, Ezra PoundWeber - The Contemporary West, vol. 35, 2 (Spring/Summer 2019, focus issue on China/Japan), pp. 117-133.

    In the conversation following, Pound’s daughter, Mary de Rachewiltz, is graciously giving us a glimpse into her father’s complicated politics, as well as into his role as a father, teacher, poet, and much more. An accomplished poet in her own right, with several volumes of poetry, in both Italian and English, and numerous translations to her name, she also authored the memoir Discretions—Ezra Pound, Father and Teacher (1971), in which she reflects on the complexities of Pound the person, her own experience as a witness to the twentieth century, and the complexities of Pound’s relationship with the historical moments he traversed, and indeed, helped shape. The tenor of Mary’s observations, articulated in at times nuanced insights, is clear: if my father may have misconstrued, and been misguided by, some of the darker implications of Il Duce, so has the critical community misconstrued, or misunderstood, his intentions. A deep and careful reading of The Cantos (which runs like a fugal counterpoint through many passages of Discretions), she suggests, reveals the true man behind his work. (from the Introduction)

  • "On the Mongrelization of Art - A Conversation with Michael Ondaatje," Weber - The Contemporary West, vol. 33, 2 (Spring/Summer 2016), pp.  142-152.

    My conversation with Michael Ondaatje took place on the occasion of his visit to Weber State University as part of  the University's annual National Undergraduate Literature Conference in April 2015.  Our conversation ranged from Ondaatje's interest in jazz, painting and film, his writing habits, his use of photography, the mongrelization of art forms, and the possibly healing and redemptive power of art.
     
  • "The Individual vs. the State - A Conversation with Ha Jin," Weber - The Contemporary West, vo.31 , 2 (Spring 2015), pp. 4-16.

    I had the privilege of conducting a substantive and sustained e-conversation with Ha Jin to be featured in the first Weber special focus on China. Our conversation touched on his recent fiction, esp. A Good Fall (2011), Nanjing Requiiem (2011) and A Map of Betrayal (2014), but often returned to the subject of language, power, and politics.
     
  • "On the Craft of Fiction - E. L. Doctorow at 80," Weber - The Contemporary West, vol 29, 1 (Fall 2012), pp. 2-15.

    I had the privilege of having a second substantive exchange with E. L. Doctorow following our first published conversation in 1994.  This interview invited E. L. Doctorow to look back on his early career as an editor and on his novels City of God (2000) and Homer & Langley (2009); it also addresses the growing prominence of cognition and neuroscience in his more recent work.
     
  • Evolution, Anthropology and the Narrative Deep Space of Contemporary Fiction - A Conversation with Russell Banks," Weber - The Contemporary West, vol 29, 1 (Fall 2012), pp. 24-45.

    This conversation centered on Russell Banks' recurrent concerns with children and child and child sexual abuse in his fiction.  It also probes the resounding subtexts — literary, cultural, and otherwise — from or out of which his narrative concerns and forms emerge.  While wide-ranging and touching on numerous novels, including his short stories, it focuses on The Reserve, Rule of the Bone, and The Darling, and speaks to the (little-acknowledged) evolutionary and biological dimension of his work It also addresses the role of print narrative within the larger ecology of (visual) narratives and updates readers on the various projects of translating his novels into film.
     
  • "Riffing About a Century of Jazz: A Conversation with Joe McQueen at 88," Weber—The Contemporary West, vol. 24, no.1 (Fall 07): 6-25.

    Local jazz legend Joe McQueen reminisces about 75 years of jazz history, including his encounters with jazz greats Louis Armstrong, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Ray Charles and numerous others.  A skilled raconteur with a voice as smooth as the sound of his tenor sax, Joe McQueen is a witness to the century whose experiences read (or, better, sound) like an oral report on the cultural history of 20th century America.
     
  • "The Reality of the Imagination—An Interview with Carlos Fuentes at 70." Weber Studies: Voices and Visions of the West, vol. 17, no. 1 (Winter 2000): pp. 4-21.

    This interview with Carlos Fuentes offers new perspectives on both his recent and early experimental fiction as well as his views on the craft of writing. In addition, Fuentes shared interesting insights into the evolution of the notion of magical realism as well as his own connections to the surrealist scene in Paris.
     
  • "An Interview with E. L. Doctorow." Weber Studies, vol. 11, no. 1 (Winter 1994): pp. 6-15.

    This published version of a recorded interview with E. L. Doctorow sheds new light on his views of politics, literature, and culture. Combining a set of new questions with his responses given during previous conversations, this interview invited Doctorow to re-view his positions on a number of issues. (This interview is reprinted in Christopher Morris, ed., Conversations with E.L. Doctorow (U. Press of Mississippi, 1999: 191-200.)
     

Reprints

  
  • Translation and reprint of the "Translator's introduction," Gramophone, Film, Typewriter, with Geoffrey Winthrop-Young (Stanford UP, 1999: xi-xxxviii) in the Polish journal Kronos, special issue on Technika i Totalitariyzm 3 (30), 2014: 110-137.
     
  • Chapter 7 , "The Waterworks: Knowledge and Cognition in the Early Age of Data Storage" from Enduring Words - Literary Narrative in a Changing Media Ecology  (Univ. of Alabama Press, 2009) in Contemporary Literary Criticism, Ed. Jeffrey W. Hunter, vol. 324.  Detroit: Gale/Cengage Learning, 2013.  Also availabe at Literary Criticism Online.
     
  • "The Energetics of Tarr: The Vortex-Machine Kreisler." Modern Fiction Studies, vol. 38, no. 4, (Winter 1992): pp. 845-869. Rpt. in Contemporary Literary Criticism, Ed. Thomas J. Schoenberg and Lawrence J. Trudeau, vol. 216: pp. 277-291. Detroit: Gale/Cengage Learning, 2009.
     
  • " An Interview with E. L. Doctorow." Weber Studies, 11, 1 (Winter 1994): pp. 6-15. Rpt. in Christopher Morris, ed., Conversations with E.L. Doctorow (U. Press of Mississippi, 1999): 191-200.
     
  • Review of E. L. Doctorow, The Waterworks (1994) for Review of Contemporary Fiction 15 (1) 1995: 177-78. Rpt. in Contemporary Literary Criticism, #113 (Detroit: Gale Research, 1999): 179-180.
     

Translations

 
  • These are Situationist Times! An Inventory of Reproductions, Deformations, Modifications, Derivations, and Transformations. Ed. Ellef Prestsaeter, a book on Jacqueline de Jong (Torpedo Press, 2019, Norway,  http://www.torpedobok.no/). The translations below appear on pp. 328-334.
    - Friedrich Kittler, "Pinball Machine" and "Nerves," from Baggersee (Eds. Tania Hron and Sandrina Khaled, Wilhelm Fink, 2015)
    - Friedrich Wolfram Heubach, "Essay on the Pinball Machine," from the journal Interfunktionen (Ed. Benjamin Buchloh)
    - Bernd Jürgen Warneken, "The Pinball Machine. An Essay on the Culture of Diversion" (excerpt)
  • Sybille Krämer, Horst Bredekamp, "Culture, "Technology, Cultural Techniques — Moving Beyond Text," special issue of Theory, Culture & Society , vol. 30, No. 6, Fall 2013: 20-29.
  • Thomas Macho, "Second Order Animals – Cultural Techniques of Identity and Identification," special issue of Theory, Culture & Society, vol. 30, No. 6, Fall 2013: 30-47.
  • Daniel Zahno, "Whispers," from the short story collection Doktor Turban, for Weber—The Contemporary West, vol. 25 (2), Winter 2009: 66-72.
  • Numerous translations for the special double issue on Young Swiss Writers of Dimension2 8 (2/3) February 2007, including the work of Lukas Bärfuss, Markus Bundi, Catalin Dorian Florescu, Zoë Jenny, Perikles Monioudis, Ruth Schweikert, Lukas Stuber, and others.
  • Michael Giesecke, "Literature as Product and Medium of Ecological Communication," with Geoffrey Winthrop-Young, Configurations 10 (1), Winter 2002: 11-35.
  • Friedrich Kittler, "The Perspective of Print," with Geoffrey Winthrop-Young, Configurations 10 (1), Winter 2002: 37-50.
  • Hartmut Winkler, "Discourses, Schemata, Technology, Monuments: Outline for Theory of Cultural Continuity," with Geoffrey Winthrop-Young, Configurations 10 (1), Winter 2002: 91-109.
  • Friedrich Kittler, "Media and Drugs in Pynchon's Second World War," together with Geoffrey Winthrop-Young, in Reading Matters (1997): 157-72.


Reviews

 
  • Enns, Anthony and Shelley Trower, Eds. Vibratory Modernism.  London & New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), for James Joyce Literary Supplement, vol. 28, No. 1, Spring 2014: 16-17.
  • Punday, Daniel.  Writing at the Limit.  The Novel in the New Media Ecology  (Lincoln and London: The Univ. of Nebraska Press, 2012)  for Kritikon Litterarum, vol. 40, Fall 2013, No. 1-2: 144-46.
  • Debra Rae Cohen, Michael Coyle and Jane Lewty, Broadcasting Modernism (Gainesville & Tallahassee: University Press of Florida, 2009) for Review of English Studies 62, No. 253, February 2011: 156-158, doi: 10.1093/res/hgq126.
  • Juan A. Suárez, "All that Noise, Noise, Noise!" Pop Modernism: Noise and the Reinvention of the Everyday (Urbana and Chicago: Univ. of Illinois Press, 2007) for James Joyce Literary Supplement, 22 (1), Spring 2008: 24-25.
  • Lisa Gitelman, Scripts, Grooves, and Writing Machines: Representing Technology in the Edison Era (Stanford: Stanford Univ. Press, 1999) for Modernism/Modernity, 8 (1), Spring 2001: 188-190.
  • Jody Blake, Le Tumulte Noir: Modernist Art and Popular Entertainment in Jazz-Age Paris, 1900-1930. (University Park: Penn State UP, 1999), for Modern Fiction Studies, 45 (4), 1999, pp. 1084-87. 
  • Patrick A. McCarthy and Paul Tiessen, Joyce/Lowry: Critical Perspectives (Lexington: The Univ. Press of Kentucky, 1997) for English Literature in Transition 41 (4) 1998: 505-509.
  • Bruce Clarke, Dora Marsden and Early Modernism: Gender, Individualism, Science (Ann Arbor: The Univ. of Michigan Press, 1996) for Electronic Book Review 4, Winter 1997.
  • Joseph Tabbi, Postmodern Sublime: Technology and American Writing from Mailer to Cyberpunk (Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press, 1995) for American Literature 68 (1) 1996: 278-9.
  • Scott W. Klein. The Fictions of James Joyce and Wyndham Lewis (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1994) for Modern Fiction Studies 42 (1) 1996: 189-92.

Course Web Pals

 

Conference Papers

 

I have delivered about 40 papers at regional, national, and international conferences, including the annual meetings of the Society for Literature, Science & the Arts, the Modern Language Association, the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association, and the Society for Cinema & Media Studies, among others. I also regularly organize panels and sessions at these conferences. I have spoken at the University of Pescara, Italy, the 2nd International Conference on Technology, Knowledge, and Society in Hyderabad, India (2005), and lectured at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in München, Germany and at the katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt (summer 2013) . Recent conference presentations:

  • "Notes toward a Media-Historical History of Sound in Film," Society for Cinema and Media Studies, Boston, MA, March 2012
  • "Literary Archaeology and Postcolonialism Up to Date. Lahiri, Hawthorne, and the Case of Unaccustomed Earth," Rocky Mountain MLA, Vancouver, WA, October 2013
  • "Oceans of Empire," Colloque "Negotiating Waters": Seas, Oceans and Passageways in the Colonial and Postcolonial Anglophone World, MSH-Alpes, Université Grenoble Alpes, 15-16 February 2018
  • "Photography and Commemoration in Work of Jhumpa Lahiri," Rocky Mountain MLA, El Paso, TX, October 2019

Regional Academic Honors and Awards

 
  • 16 RSPG, Hemingway Faculty Development, and Curriculum Revision grants in total for support in research and curricular design, 1993–present, including a 2009 Hemingway Faculty Excellence Award in support of Weber
  • 5 Utah Arts Council grants in support of Weber Studies, 1994, 1995, 1996 (coauthored with late editor, Dr. Neila Seshachari), and Weber—The Contemporary West, 2007, 2008
 

Professional Service

 

Weber State University

University Committees

  • Admissions, Standards, & Student Affairs
  • First Year Experience Curriculum
  • Scholarship (chair, Subcom.)
  • Affirmative Action Advisory
  • General Education
  • Research & Professional Growth
  • Faculty Board of Review

English Department Committees

  • Chair's Advisory (numerous years)
  • Rank & Tenure (numerous times)
  • Hiring Committee (numerous times, including co-chair)
  • MENG Steering Committee (numerous years)
  • Faculty Development,15, 16 (chair)
  • Advisement, chair, 05
  • Faculty Development (numerous years, chair 06)
  • Peer Review, most every year since 2000, repeatedly as chair
  • Contract Faculty Three-Year Review, 2010, chair, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2016
  • Curriculum, 2000-07
  • Scholarship (numerous years)
  • Library
  • Technical Writing
  • Merit

Honors Program Committees

  • Faculty Advisory, Chair 00
  • Curriculum
  • Search
  • Phi Kappa Phi chapter, including president

College and other Committees

  • Matthew Shepard Scholarship, 02-10
  • NULC Advisory Board, 2015-present
  • Member, Dept. of Anthropology Program Review, 11
  • Member, Dept. of Foreign Languages Program Review, 14
  • Member, Dept. of Philosophy Program Review, 17
  • Member , Dept. of Visual Art & Design (DOVAD) NASAD Program Review, 17
  • Rank & Tenure, Dept. of Soc & Anthro, 01, 03
  • Rank & Tenure, Dept. of Communication, 07, 20
  • Rank & Tenure, Dept. of Foreign Lang, 08, 15
  • Rank & Tenure, College of Social & Behavioral Sciences, 03, 05, 06, 07, 09, 13, 16, 20
  • Rank & Tenure, College of Arts & Humanities, 01, 02, 03, chair, 11, 14
  • Rank & Tenure, College of Science, 09, 12
  • Peer Review, COAST 06
  • Peer Review, Dept. of Economics, 08, 09, 12
  • Peer Review, Foreign Languages and Stewart Library 14, 15
  • College of Arts & Humanities Hearings Board, 01
  • Nontraditional Students Advisory, 03
  • Electronic Portfolio Group, 06-7
  • German Forum
  • Member organizing team (with Julia Panko and Mark Stevenson) of Colm Toíbín's visit to WSU as part of the Centennial of the Easter Rising, Spring 2016
  • Organizer of E.L.Doctorow's visit to WSU, Fall 2011
  • "Welcome to the Neighborhood," Wildcat, WSU Alumni Magazine, Fall 2015:  15-19.
  • "In Learning We Trust: Teaching and Traveling in China," Weber State University Magazine, Summer 2013:  19-21.
  • "Under Western Eyes: Impressions from a Trip to India," Weber State University Magazine, Winter 2006: 12-13.
  • Editor, Weber - The Contemporary West (Summer 2007-present), Associate Editor, weber studies (1998-present), Assistant Editor (1992–98)
  • Reader or director for 15 Honors and BIS senior thesis projects and Master of Arts in English (MENG) theses. Samples:
    - Clayton Gerrard, "The Blower,"  Honors thesis of DOVA, Fall 2007
    - Danna Ridge, "Resistant Identities. Second-Generation Immigrant Identities in Jhumpa Lahiri's Unaccustomed Earth," Fall 2014
    - Anita Wahlstrom, "Ad's Wait - A Historical Novel," Spring 2015
    - Gary Lindeburg,"The Takarazuka Revue's Romeo & Juliette: The State Theatre's Response to Japan's National Crisis," Spring 2015
    - Soran Mustafa Hussein Kurdi, "Honor Killing in Elif Shafak's Honor.  An Analysis Behind the Factors of Hoor Killing," Fall 2015
    - Barbara Allyn Bernkopf, "How I Met My Rapist" (collection of poetry), Spring 2016
    - Chelsea June Adams,“Re-Creating the Mother of the Blues. Musical Presence in August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” Spring 2016
    - Daniel Cureton, “Utopian Identities in Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Mars Trilogy,” Fall 2017-Spring 2018
    - Scott Lang, "Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire.   A Contemporary Analysis," Fall 2017-Fall 2018
    - Amy Pittman, "Hollywood and the Rewriting of the Myth of Fa Mu Lan," Fall 2018-Summer 2019

    - Maria Garcia, "Eden's Inmates. The Inverted American Adam in Rachel Kushner's The Mars Room," Fall 2019 
  • Organizer of the annual College of Arts & Humanities Graduate School Fair, 1993-1999
  • Executive Board of Phi Kappa Phi, the National Honor Society, 1995–2000, including position as chapter president (1999–00)
  • Honorary Member, Golden Key International Honour Society, 2004
  • Peer Review Committee for 2007, 2009, and 2010 Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program
  • Member Program Review Team of Anthropology Department, WSU, Spring 2012
  • Member Program Review Team of Foreign Languages Department, WSU, Spring 2015

Other Professional Activities

  • Manuscript referee for SUNY-Press (1996, 1997), U of Minnesota Press (1998, 2012), Cornell U Press (2000), U of Alabama Press, (2010, 2017), Fordham U Press (2011, 2015, 2016, 2017), U of Ottawa Press (2015), Palgrave Macmillan (2015), Amsterdam U Press (2018), Routledge (2018); Edinburgh U Press (2019), Bloomsbury (2019)
  • Reader of Ph.D. Dissertation, Acharya Nagarjuna University, AP, India, 2014
  • Manuscript reader for Style (2016), the Rocky Mountain Review (2003), Criticism (2007), symploke (2009), Studies in American Fiction (2011), Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature (2017), The Comparatist (2019), MELUS (2020)
  • External reviewer for tenure & promotion (at various universities)
  • Editorial Board, Studies in the Novel, 1998–2005
  • ETS Faculty Consultant for AP-English (San Antonio, TX; Daytona Beach, FL), 1995–2000; Table Leader, 2001–2007
  • External Reviewers for the Council for the Humanities of the Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research (NWO, the Dutch Research Council), February 2014, February 2015

Memberships