I had the honor of being named one of the inaugural scholars in the Big Ten Emerging Scholars lecture series. I made the trek from San Francisco to the Lincoln, Nebraska, and had a delightful visit with the generous folks in the English Department at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. I gave a talk entitled, “Comp Titles, Computation, and Contemporary Literature” on September 10.

From the Penn State announcement:

The Big Ten Emerging Scholars lecture series was created in April 2018 during the inaugural annual meeting of the Big Ten English Department Chairs, hosted by Cara Cilano (Michigan State University) and Marco Abel (University of Nebraska–Lincoln). The purpose of this series is:

  • To help the selected Big Ten Emerging Scholars with their academic job search efforts by giving them an opportunity to simulate an on-campus visit (including but not limited to giving a job talk based on their research);
  • To help the selected Big Ten Emerging Scholars strengthen their curriculum vitae through the addition of a prestigious invitedscholarly lecture;
  • To give the selected Big Ten Emerging Scholars the chance to present and promote their work as well as to network with scholars working in their fields;
  • To give the hosting departments the chance to connect their own students and faculty to the Big Ten Emerging Scholars whose work is at the cutting edge of their respective disciplines.

Last but not least, this series was also initiated in order to strengthen a sense of community among the participating English Departments in the Big Ten. The Big Ten Academic Alliance is the nation’s preeminent model for effective collaboration among research universities and, other than the Ivy League, the country’s most prestigious higher education consortium of top-tier research institutions.


I was so thrilled when I was “drafted” by UNL. As I shared with faculty members during my visit, my first real exposure to DH was through the Walt Whitman Archives, located at Nebraska. We read Ed Folsom’s “Database as Genre” PMLA article cluster in my first semester of graduate school at MSU, in our Intro to Grad Studies course. Though I don’t work in either archives or 19th-Century American literature (nor did I then), I was so taken with these essays. I was captivated by the idea of theorizing the digital, as well as combining my quantitative and qualitative training in digital research. I had no idea that my curiosity would lead me to where I am now; visiting UNL felt like coming full circle.

My deepest thanks to Marco Abel and Cara Cilano for organizing this initiative. Thanks, especially, to Marco and the UNL English Department for such a generous welcome.