December 6, 1:15 pm
Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy
Kathleen Fitzpatrick’s work explores the responses of traditional technologies of communication and modes of representation to the development of newer forms of electronic media. She is author of The Anxiety of Obsolescence: The American Novel in the Age of Television (Vanderbilt UP, 2006), which focuses on the ways that a subset of postmodern US novelists employed conventional anxieties about television in depicting the threat that it ostensibly posed to the novel’s survival, thus in fact helping to maintain the novel’s status as an elite form by foregrounding its apparent marginalization in contemporary culture. Her new book, Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy (NYU Press, 2011), begins with the difficult process of attempting to get that first book published in an economic environment in which university presses find themselves in increasingly dire straits. What if the academic monograph is a dying form? If scholarly communication is to have a future, it’s clear that it lies online, and yet the most significant obstacles to such a transformation are not technological, but instead social and institutional. How must the academy and the scholars that comprise it change their ways of thinking in order for digital scholarly publishing to become a viable alternative to the university press book? This seminar will explore some of those changes and their implications for our lives as scholars and our work within universities.