This special issue pairs two terms, new media and American literature, which are rarely put in the same sentence, except as opposites. Essays explore the insights that emerge when we consider their conjoining by examining mediation in general and digital technologies more specifically in the context of American literary history and cultural production. This issue also includes content on an accompanying website, Scalar, which publishes peer-reviewed multimodal pieces that use new media in their very form.
Curtis Marez's "Cesar Chavez's Video Collection" received an honorable mention for the Don D. Walker Prize sponsored by the Western Literature Association.
Comments from the award committee:
The committee found this piece to be urgent of purpose, crystal clear in articulation, thickly archived, and revelatory in its use of digital technologies to make “hidden histories” newly visible and palpable. Committee members’ comments included the following:
“I loved this piece, not only because it advances the interplay between digital humanities and western American cultural studies, but because it is exemplary in making visible and kinetic what Marez calls the ‘hidden history’ of new media. To be enabled to access farm workers’ creative productions this directly and interconnectedly--as framed by Marez’s insightful commentaries--was compelling; to put visual substance to notions such as ‘new kinds of activist spectatorship’ and to visual technologies as ‘tools for speculative world building’ was revelatory”;
“Curtis Marez's new media work on UFW & visual technologies is an exciting, innovative work of interdisciplinary scholarship that reflects the aspirations of the Walker Award in demonstrating the untapped possibilities of our still unfolding field”
“I found it compelling in multiple ways, from its modeling of new kinds of interactive and interdisciplinary scholarship, to its fresh readings of Chicano/a Studies, visual technologies, and California as ever-complex site of economic, political, and racial conflict.”