Guest: Dr. Ranjodh Singh Dhaliwal, Ruth and Paul Idzik Collegiate Assistant Professor of Digital Scholarship and English Concurrent Assistant Professor, Department of Film, Television, and Theatre, University of Notre Dame
Title: Folklores Across Languages: On Decoding, Debugging, and Detecting
The institutional emergence of programming as a profession in American offices between the 1960s and the 1980s was accompanied by several politicoeconomic and sociocultural changes. This talk tracks the rise of programming folklore, a category that includes poems and stories about the contexts, languages, and operations of programming. Through a close focus on the cultural and codical contexts of Ed Nather’s ‘The Story of Mel’ (1983) as an example of such folklore, and by putting it in conversation with the psychoanalytic theorizations stemming from the global history of detective fiction, I ask what comparative literary criticism can do when faced with programming languages, computational functions, and machinic subjectivities. In doing so, I show what debuggers have in common with detectives, how Real Programmers™ came into being, and why archaeologically investigating mythical codes can not only yield insights into media histories but also about literary categories spawned through (post)modern languages.
Lecture open to all that will take place in person and on zoom