U-M Department of English
U-M English Home

News & Events

RSS Feed


David Roh talk on Illegal Literature and Open-Source Textuality

This talk draws an explicit connection between open source software programming and literary and cultural development by theorizing a formalist approach to network architecture and creative practices. As more content migrates to electronic platforms, Roh argues that literary and cultural development may need to move away from the idea of a sanctified original genius and a fixed textual identity towards a software model of "versioning," which conflicts with the modern iteration of copyright law. Positing a macroscopic view of literary development, this talk calls into question assumptions about the value of derivative creativity, copyright law, and network structure.  Roh argues that the increasingly non-hierarchical mode of intertextual, parodic, and dialogic—oftentimes illegal—creativity necessitates another kind of understanding of how cultural evolution operates, which he calls "disruptive textuality."  Roh shows in a case study of open source programming that dialogism in the digital age reflects a cultural shift in productive textual practices.  It may be that the network environment best reflects the cultural and architectural roots of dialogue conducive to rapid, iterative cultural and textual evolution.
David S. Roh is Assistant Professor of Digital Humanities and American literature at Old Dominion University.  He is the author of Illegal Literature (University of Minnesota Press, fall 2015), which examines how the intersection of intellectual property policy, digital networks, and subcultural texts influence literary development, and co-editor of Techno-Orientalism (Rutgers University Press, spring 2015), which formalizes a sub-discipline surrounding the conflation of Asian bodies, sites, and nationalities in speculative fiction, film, and media. His work has appeared in Law & Literature and MELUS.
This event is sponsored by the Digital Studies Workshop.
Start Time: 1/30/2015  1:30 PM
Location: 2435 North Quad
To view all upcoming events, please click here.

Dept. of English Language and Literature

home mission statement sitemap contact

U-M English on Facebook
U-M English on Facebook
U-M English on iTunes U
U-M English on YouTube

435 S. State Street, 3187 Angell Hall
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1003
Phone: (734) 764-6330 Fax: (734) 763-3128