Department of English

Gregory Ulmer Lecture: "Electracy: Educating a Digital Civilization"

Fri, April 14, 2017 | CLA 1.302D

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM


The Department of English and the Digital Writing and Research Lab are pleased to welcome Gregory Ulmer, Professor of English and Media Studies at the University of Florida, and Professor of Electronic Languages and Cybermedia at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, for a lecture on new ways to think about electronic literacy. He teaches courses in Hypermedia, E-Lit and Heuristics, and has published several books including Internet Invention (2003), and Electronic Monuments (2005) and most recently Avatar Emergency (2012).
Next Friday, April 14 from 11am to 12pm in CLA 1.302D, Professor Ulmer will discuss his theory of "electracy," which helps explain the thought transition from a print culture to one saturated with digital media.
 From Professor Ulmer:
"‘Electracy’ situates digital computing as an apparatus, being to digital technology what ‘literacy’ is to alphabetic writing. An apparatus emerges in a civilization as a matrix of three registers of invention: technology, institution formation, identity behavior.  Emerging within an oral civilization, literacy includes not only alphabetic writing, but also Plato's Academy--the first School in the Western tradition--that invented the logic, rhetoric, and poetics to support the materialist metaphysics of a scientific worldview based on mathematics rather than religion. The third register of invention is identity behaviors. "Selfhood" in individual experience and behavior, and the democratic state at the collective level, are also inventions of literacy.  Extensive scholarship (grammatology) on the emergence of literacy from orality provides a template for understanding the opportunities and responsibilities for the invention of electracy, emerging from literacy beginning with the Industrial Revolution. The Humanities disciplines have a major role to play in facilitating the syncretism of civilizations, the stakes of which could not be higher, considering that electracy as an apparatus requires the formation of institutions and identities adequate to conditions of the Anthropocene. The challenge is that electracy as a civilization will have been as different from literacy as literacy is from orality. The focus of this presentation is on identifying the features of apparatus formation, foregrounding the resources of the Humanities disciplines fundamental to a logic of invention.”
Ulmer’s visit is made possible with generous support from the UT Office of the Vice President for Research, the Digital Writing and Research Lab and the DH@UT Pop-Up.

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