Category > Essays

Citation:“Toward a Diversity Stack: Digital Humanities and Diversity as Technical Problem.” PMLA 135.1 (2020): 130-151.

  • DOI: 10.1632/pmla.2020.135.1.130.
  • Open access (post-embargo published version in institutional repository, PDF) [TBD]
  • Paywalled (published version, PDF)
  • Abstract: How can the digital humanities help support humanities scholarship on diversity both ideologically and technically? This essay abandons the diversity paradigm prevalent in DH—the “big tent”—for a more technically functional one: the “stack.” It proposes that DH can create a “diversity stack” (conceptually like the “Internet protocol stack”) that combines technical and theoretical strategies for advancing scholarship on diversity. From low to high, crucial levels in such a stacked approach include technical methods for dealing with multilingualism, multimedia, unrepresentative corpora, geopolitical and temporal organizations of identity, and the theory of identity.


Citation:“Teaching ‘Literature+’: Digital Humanities Hybrid Courses in the Era of MOOCs.” Teaching Literature: Text and Dialogue in the English Classroom. Ed. Ben Knights. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017: 133-153.


Citation:”Hacking the Voice of the Shuttle: The Growth and Death of a Boundary Object.” Social Media Archeology and Poetics. Ed. Judy Malloy. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2016: 261-271.

  • Full text (open-access author’s pre-copy-edited final version in institutional repository, PDF)


Citation:“Is Digital Humanities a Field? — An Answer from the Point of View of Language.” Journal of Siberian Federal University: Humanities and Social Sciences 7 (2016): 1546-1552.


"N + 1: A Plea for Cross-Domain Data in the Digital Humanities"

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Citation:”N + 1: A Plea for Cross-Domain Data in the Digital Humanities.” Debates in the Digital Humanities 2016. Ed. Matthew K. Gold and Lauren F. Klein. University of Minnesota Press, 2016: 559-568.


"The Humanities in the Digital Age"

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Citation: Liu, Alan, and William G. Thomas III. “Humanities in the Digital Age.” Between Humanities and the Digital. Ed. Patrik Svensson and David Theo Goldberg. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2015: 45-40.

"The Big Bang of Online Reading"

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Citation:”The Big Bang of Online Reading.” Advancing Digital Humanities: Research, Methods, Theories. Ed. Paul Longley Arthur and Katherine Bode. Palgrave Macmillan, 2014: 274-90.

  • DOI of book: 10.1057/9781137337016
  • Full text (open-access author’s pre-copy-edited final version in institutional repository, PDF)

Citation: Scott Pound and Alan Liu, “The Amoderns: Reengaging the Humanities — A Feature Interview with Alan Liu.” aModern, 2 (2013).


"The Meaning of the Digital Humanities"

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Citation: “The Meaning of the Digital Humanities.” PMLA 128 (2013): 409-23.

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Citation: “From Reading to Social Computing.” Literary Studies in the Digital Age: An Evolving Anthology. Ed. Kenneth M. Price and Ray Siemens. MLA Commons. Modern Language Association of America. 2013. Web. <>

Citation: “Where is Cultural Criticism in the Digital Humanities?” Ed. Matthew K. Gold. Debates in the Digital Humanities. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012: 490-509.

Citation: “Translitteraties: le big bang de la lecture en ligne.” Trans. Françoise Bouillot. E-Dossiers de l’audiovisuel, January 2012. INA Expert (Inathèque of France). Web.

  • Full text (open access published version in institutional repository, PDF)
  • Full text (open access publisher’s version, HTML)


Citation: “The State of the Digital Humanities: A Report and a Critique.” Arts and Humanities in Higher Education, 11.1-2 (2012): 8-41. DOI: 10.1177/1474022211427364.

  • Open access (author’s pre-publication final version in institutional repository, viewable online and downloadable as PDF)
  • Paywalled (published version, PDF)


Citation: “Friending the Past: The Sense of History and Social Computing.” New Literary History, 42.1 (2011): 1-30. DOI: 10.1353/nlh.2011.0004

  • Open access (published article in institutional repository, viewable online and downloadable as PDF)
  • Paywalled (published version, PDF)
"So What?: New Tools and New Humanities Paradigms"

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Citation: “‘So What?’: New Tools and New Humanities Paradigms.” Response to Monica Bulger, Jessica Murphy, Jeff Scheible, and Elizabeth Lagresa, “Interdisciplinary Knowledge Work: Digital Textual Analysis Tools and Their Collaboration Affordances.” Collaborative Approaches to the Digital in English Studies. Ed. Laura McGrath. Logan, UT: Computers and Composition Digital Press / Utah State University Press, 2011. 272-75. (Available online.)

"We Will Really Know"

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Citation: “We Will Really Know.” Switching Codes: Thinking Through Digital Technology in the Humanities and Arts. Ed. Thomas Bartscherer and Roderick Coover. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011. 89-94.

Citation: “The End of the End of the Book: Dead Books, Lively Margins, and Social Computing.” Michigan Quarterly Review, 48 (2009): 499-520. Special issue on “Bookishness: The New Fate of Reading in the Digital Age”

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Citation: “Thinking Destruction: Creativity, Rational Choice, Emergence, and Destruction Theory.” Occasion: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities, 1.1 (October 15, 2009). <>

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Citation: “Digital Humanities and Academic Change.” English Language Notes 47 (2009): 17-35

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Citation: “A Poem Should Be Equal To: / Not True.” Preface to Romanticism, History, Historicism: Essays on an Orthodoxy. Ed. Damian Walford Davies. New York: Routledge, 2009. xiii-xx

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Citation: “When Was Linearity?: The Meaning of Graphics in the Digital Age.” Digital History. Web. August, 2008. <>

Currents in Electronic LiteracyCitation: “Literature+.” Currents in Electronic Literacy (Spring 2008). <>

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Companion to Digital Literary StudiesCitation: “Imagining the New Media Encounter.” A Companion to Digital Literary Studies. Ed. Ray Siemens and Susan Schreibman. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2007. 3-25

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Citation: “Higher Education and Online Lifelong Learning: Five Theses.” Academy Exchange, Issue 6 (Summer 2007): 34-35.Five Theses

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Citation: “The Humanities: A Technical Profession.” Andrew Delbanco, Ronald G. Ehrenberg, Alan Liu, and Catharine R. Stimpson, The Idea and Ideals of the University. ACLS Occasional Paper No. 63, 2007. <>

[Note: This paper was first presented as a talk at the Annual Meeting of the ACLS, 8 May 2004, then revised slightly for publication in 2007 in the ACLS Occasional Papers online series. Though this revision stays close to the talk, it adopts some of the changes made for the first published essay version of the paper: the 2005 article (also titled “The Humanities: A Technical Profession”) in Teaching, Technology, Textuality: Approaches to New Media, ed. Michael Hanrahan and Deborah Madsen (Basingstoke [England]: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005): 11-26.]

(For an excerpt, see the entry for the above mentioned, closely similar, 2005 article.)

Citation: “Understanding Knowledge Work.” Criticism 47 (2005): 249-60. Essay written as invited response to Johanna Drucker’s and N. Katherine Hayles’s reviews in the same issue of Criticism of The Laws of Cool: Knowledge Work and the Culture of Information

  • Full text — HTML | .pdf (Project Muse)
  • Full text of the reviews of The Laws of Cool to which this essay responds (Project Muse):
    • N. Katherine Hayles, “Attacking the Borg of Corporate Knowledge Work: The Achievement of Alan Liu’s The Laws of Cool” — HTML | .pdf
    • Johanna Drucker, “Humanities Games and the Market in Digital Futures” — HTML | .pdf

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Citation: “A Transformed Revolution: The Prelude, Books 9-13.” William Wordsworth’s “The Prelude”: A Casebook. Ed. Stephen Gill. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. 341-75.

[Excerpt from chapter 8 of Wordsworth: The Sense of History.]


Citation: “The Humanities: A Technical Profession.” Teaching, Technology, Textuality: Approaches to New Media. Ed. Michael Hanrahan and Deborah Madsen. Basingstoke [England]: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005. 11-26.

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Citation: “The New Historicism and the Work of Mourning.” The Wordsworthian Enlightenment: Romantic Poetry and the Ecology of Reading. Ed. Helen Regueiro Elam and Frances Ferguson. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005. 149-57.

[Reprint of “The New Historicism and the Work of Mourning,” Studies in Romanticism 35 (1996): 553-62.]


Citation: “Transcendental Data: Toward A Cultural History and Aesthetics of the New Encoded Discourse.” Critical Inquiry 31 (2004): 49-84.

  • DOI: 10.1086/427302
  • Full text (post-embargo published version in institutional repository, PDF)
  • Full text (paywalled, Jstor)
  • Full text (paywalled, Univ. of Chicago Press Journals)

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Citation: “Sidney’s Technology: A Critique by Technology of Literary History.” Acts of Narrative. Ed. Carol Jacobs and Henry Sussman. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003. 174-94.

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Citation: “Remembering the Spruce Goose: Historicism, Postmodernism, Romanticism.” South Atlantic Quarterly 102 (2003): 263-78.

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Citation: “The Future Literary: Literature and the Culture of Information.” Time and the Literary. Ed. Karen Newman, Jay Clayton, and Marianne Hirsch. New York: Routledge, 2002. 61-100.

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Citation: “Knowledge in the Age of Knowledge Work.” Profession 1999: 113-24.

  • Also available online.
  • See also: Alan Liu, “Reply” to letter from William Pitsenberger regarding “Knowledge in the Age of Knowledge Work.” Profession 2000: 186-88.

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Citation: “The Downsizing of Knowledge: Knowledge Work and Literary History.” Abridged and edited by Randolf Starn. In Alan Liu, Miryam Sas, Albert Ascoli, and Sharon Marcus. Knowledge Work, Literary History, and the Future of Literary Studies. Ed. Randolf Starn. Doreen B. Townsend Center Occasional Papers, No. 15. Berkeley, Calif.: Townsend Center, 1998. 1-22.

[Includes response essays by Miryam Sas, Albert Ascoli, and Sharon Marcus to the original paper delivered at the Townsend Center on March 12, 1998.]

  • Full text of pamphlet (.pdf)

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Citation: “Globalizing the Humanities: ‘The Voice of the Shuttle: Web Page for Humanities Research.'” Humanities Collections 1.1 (1998): 41-56.

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Citation: “The New Historicism and the Work of Mourning.” Studies in Romanticism 35 (1996): 553-62.

[Special issue of Studies in Romanticism entitled “Essays in Honor of Geoffrey H. Hartman.” Guest editor Helen Regueiro Elam.]

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Citation: “The History in ‘Imagination.” Romanticism: A Critical Reader. Ed. Duncan Wu. Oxford, UK; Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell, 1995. 84-119.

[Reprint of chapter 1 of Wordsworth: The Sense of History.]


Citation: “Die interdisziplinäre Kriegsmaschine.” Texte zur Kunste, No. 12 (Nov. 1993): 127-37.

[German abridged version of “The Interdisciplinary War Machine,” later published in English in Local Transcendence: Essays on Postmodern Historicism and the Database).]


Citation: “The Economy of Lyric: The Ruined Cottage.” Romantic Poetry: Recent Revisionary Criticism. Ed. Karl Kroeber and Gene W. Ruoff. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1993. 139-53.

[Abridged reprint of chapter 7 of Wordsworth: The Sense of History.]