Highlights of the year included the appointment of Professor Henry Jenkins to the John E. Burchard professorship in the humanities beginning July 1, 2003, the promotion to tenure of associate professor Shankar Raman beginning July 1, 2002, the promotion to associate professor of James Cain beginning July 1, 2003, and the appointment of associate professor Christina Klein to the Mitsui career development chair beginning July 1, 2003.

Other highlights were the award of a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship to Professor William Uricchio, the award of a Michael J. Connell Fellowship from the Huntington Library to associate professor Noel Jackson, and the award of a SHASS "Other Academic" Infinite Mile Award to Belinda Yung, technical manager, who works on the MIT Shakespeare Project and the MetaMedia Project.

The following five books written by members of the faculty were published:

The Third International Conference on Media in Transition (MiT3) was organized by Professors Thorburn and Uricchio under the sponsorship of MIT's Comparative Media Studies (CMS) Program. This year's topic was "Television in Transition." The conference was widely regarded as a milestone in television studies.

Academic Program and Student Enrollment

During the past year, 989 undergraduates enrolled in Literature subjects, 13 were registered as Literature majors, 26 as minors, and 95 as concentrators in Literature.

Professor Ruth Perry offered a new subject this year: 21L.423 Introduction to Anglo-American Folk Music, cotaught with Senior Lecturer George Ruckert of the Music Department. This subject reflects Professor Perry's new research interest in folk music and the history of folk music collecting and scholarship and is a good example of the Literature Faculty's commitment to including popular forms extending the range of literary studies across media.

A number of Literature subjects and seminars were revised and new topics offered this year, including 21L.470 Eighteenth Century Literature, revised by Professor Jackson (new topic: "Gods and Monsters: Versions of the Self in Eighteenth Century Britain"); 21L.501 American Novel, taught by Senior Lecturer Wyn Kelley (new topic: "American Revolution"); 21L.504 Race and Identity in American Literature, taught by associate professor Mary Fuller (new topic: "Cultural Encounters from 1492 to the Civil War"); 21L.701 Literary Interpretation, taught by Professor Alvin Kibel (new topic: "Theory and Practice of Metaphor"); 21L.705 Major Authors, taught by Professor Tapscott (new topic: "Oscar Wilde"); 21L.715 Media in Cultural Context, taught by Professor Jenkins (new topic: "Comics, Cartoons and Graphic Storytelling"). This last subject included a unit on early comics that made use of the MetaMedia "mini-archive" on comics created by Professor Jenkins, CMS graduate student Susannah Mandel, and the MetaMedia research team (see below, under Electronic Projects). In addition, 21L.715 was offered in the spring term, taught by visiting scholar Mark Lloyd, with the topic "Political History of U.S. Communications Policy."

The Literature Program at MIT, like English department programs elsewhere, covers all fields of English and American literature, and in addition it has a program-wide commitment to cross-media curricula, integrating film and media topics and units into most subjects across the Literature offering. Further, our system of offering special topics that are frequently changed in many of our subjects allows great flexibility in developing new areas of the curriculum and responding quickly to student and faculty interests.

The Literature Faculty is a major contributor to HASS and Institute Requirements, offering 13 subjects for HASS-D credit taught in 36 separate sections, 13 subjects for CI-H credit, (36 sections), 1 subject for CI-HW credit (2 sections), and 7 subjects for CI-M credit, (12 sections). This year we also introduced a version of 21L.009 Shakespeare in which—in addition to the required writing for CI-H and HASS-D credit—class discussion took the form of comment of student-prepared multimedia essays. All papers were required to be submitted in both text only and text with video citation in an effort to expand the range of communications in CI-H subjects into oral presentations with a flexible visual component.

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Research and Publication

Current research by MIT Literature faculty includes research on the novel, drama, poetry, film, television, and new media, with special strength in the literature of travel and exploration, gender studies, and cross-media studies.

Professor Peter Donaldson published "'Two of Both Kinds': Marriage and Modernism in Peter Hall's Midsummer Night's Dream" in The Reel Shakespeare: Alternative Shakespeare and Theory, eds. Lisa Starks and Courtney Lehmann, and "Cinema and the Kingdom of Death: Richard Loncraine's Richard III," Shakespeare Quarterly 52.2 (summer 2002) as part of an ongoing project on Shakespeare film that includes his book in progress, Shakespeare, Film and Media.

Professor Kibel's current research is in literature and ethical theory and literature and science.

Professor Thorburn is coeditor with Professor Jenkins of Rethinking New Media and Democracy and New Media, published this year by MIT Press.

In addition to his book Hop on Pop noted under highlights, Professor Jenkins writes a monthly column for Technology Review, and, with Kurt Squire, a column for Computer Gaming magazine. He has published essays in Salon, The New Media Book, ed. Dan Harries, and in Game On, ed. Lucian King and Conrad Bain.

Professor Perry completed a major work, Novel Relations: The Transformation of Kinship in Eighteenth Century England, which will be published by Cambridge University Press, and published two articles and many reviews this year.

In addition to his book Gabriela Mistral noted under highlights, Professor Tapscott published articles on the rhetoric of cookbooks, Wordsworth, Christopher Marlowe, and Jorie Graham. One of his poems, "It Is a Great Blessing" was published in Salmagundi.

Professor John Hildebidle has completed his volume of poems entitled Signs, Translations. Four of his poems were set to music by Professor Peter Child of Music and Theater Arts and performed at a concert of the chamber music of Professor Child in Killian Hall.

Professor Uricchio has two books (one coauthored with Roberta Pearson on the New York Nickelodeons, and one coedited with N. Verhoeff on the early Western as a film genre) and is completing a third for television on the Third Reich. He published five articles this year on media history, and another seven are forthcoming.

Professor Fuller is working on a study of Hakluyt's Principal Navigations and published an article on Hakluyt in Studies in Travel Writing and one on the Jamestown colonists in A Companion to the Literature and Culture of the American South (Blackwells).

Associate professor James Buzard published articles on travel writing and the literature and theory of autoethnography (the cultural practices by which nations or communities study themselves as if they were subjects of ethnographic investigation) in the Yale Journal of Criticism and in the Cambridge Companion to Travel Writing. His book on autoethnography is forthcoming from Princeton University Press.

Associate professor Diana Henderson published an essay on The Tempest in A Companion to Shakespeare (Blackwells) and on Sir Philip Sidney in British Writers. She is completing her book Collaborating with Shakespeare.

Professor Raman is completing his second book, Untimely Meditations: Early Modern Crises of Representation, and three of his articles (on Donne, Gil Vicente, and Titian and the Renaissance emblem) have been completed for publication.

In addition to his book Cold War Orientalism noted under highlights, Professor Klein's article on Cold War culture appeared in the Minnesota Review. He is also completing a book on Asian martial arts in American culture.

Professor Cain is preparing his book on 12th-century statecraft and the performance of gender for publication, and he published an essay on Gerald of Wales (Geraldus Cambrensis) in Essays in Medieval Studies.

Professor Jackson's article on Coleridge and "self experiment" was published in English Literary History.

Senior lecturer Kelley has begun work on two books for Blackwells: A Companion to Melville (as editor) and A Short Introduction to Herman Melville. Kelley has also completed five articles on Melville and on teaching literature using digital archives, which are forthcoming in several journals.

Literature faculty have also been active in the research groups organized by the Comparative Media Studies Program. Professor Jenkins, program director of CMS, also heads the Games to Teach research group, Professor Donaldson heads the Humanities Education group, and Professor Uricchio directs graduate research in CMS.

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Electronic Projects

The Literature Faculty has been active in the projects sponsored by the MIT-Microsoft iCampus Initiative and by the D'Arbeloff Fund for Excellence in Education. With iCampus support, Professor Donaldson's Shakespeare Project has developed a DVD-based online system for discussing and sharing annotations of Shakespeare films remotely. The system has been used successfully in MIT Shakespeare classes and in the fall will be used in 21L.435 Shakespeare on Film and at partner locations at the University of Florida and California Polytechnic Institute. An expanded version of the system that can handle images, streaming video, and other media in addition to text and DVD is being completed this summer and will be launched in the fall. While the new Cross-Media Annotation System (XMAS) was developed for Shakespeare, it was designed for use with any subject material in which it is useful to examine film and text in close conjunction. The Shakespeare Project is also participating in the MIT-Royal Shakespeare Company partnership, along with other Literature and HASS faculty. Professor Donaldson is directing the digital archive and educational aspects of this project, which began active development this summer with the collection and digitization of 250 images from the collections of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and Shakespeare Birthplace Trust at Stratford-upon-Avon. These images of RSC productions will be used in the existing Hamlet on the Ramparts web site as well as in OpenCourseWare pages for the MIT Shakespeare course. Professor Henderson and CMS graduate student Clara Fernandez have been active in this aspect of the RSC collaboration as well. Professors Jenkins and Uricchio have also been active in other aspects of the partnership, including the development of a Shakespeare video game based on The Tempest and plans for RSC-MIT projects involving the AI Laboratory and the Theater Program.

Professor Jenkins is principal investigator for the Games to Teach Project, also funded by iCampus. Games to Teach has expanded its prototype teaching modules from science and engineering subjects to humanities-based education.

Professor Jenkins also serves as principal investigator for the MetaMedia Project, which is developing a framework for sharing and annotating multimedia materials for humanities classes in literature, film, foreign languages, anthropology, and other subjects. Professor Donaldson is coprincipal investigator on this project, and senior lecturer Kelley's Midnight, Forecastle project on Melville was the first new "mini-archive" teaching module to be completed under this initiative.

This year, new mini-archives on early comics (Professor Jenkins) and the Balanchine ballet Agon (Associate Professor Thomas de Frantz, Music and Theater Arts) have been developed and used in MIT classes, and an extensive archive of materials on the Declaration of Independence has been initiated in collaboration with Professor Pauline Maier, project director, William R. Kenan Jr., professor of history, and the Massachusetts Historical Society. The project will be managed by Professor Donaldson and Dr. Kurt Fendt, research associate in foreign languages and literatures.

Professor Buzard, as coeditor of the international Monuments and Dust project on Victorian England, is editing 19th-century issues of Punch for digital publication.

Professor Thorburn is editor-in-chief of the Media in Transition web site and directs the MIT Communications Forum.

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Conferences and Invited Addresses

Professors Thorburn and Uricchio organized the Third Media in Transition International Conference at MIT in May 2003, on the theme of "Television in Transition." Widely covered in the press, the Los Angeles Times hailed the conference as a milestone in the emergence of television studies as a major academic discipline.

Professor Donaldson participated in the 2002 summer workshop of the Visible Knowledge Project at Georgetown, spoke at the International EVA Conference, "Electronic Visual Imaging and Beyond" at Harvard, and gave the plenary address at the Foreign Language Collaborations and Technology Conference, sponsored by the Consortium for Language Teaching and Learning at the University of Pennsylvania.

Professor Kibel presented papers at the Joseph Conrad Society's Meeting in London, at the University of Durham (UK), and addressed the Greater Boston Executive Program.

Professor Perry spoke at the New England Folk Festival, at the Northeast American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies in New York, at the Modern Language Association in New York, and at the Conference on Kinship in Europe 1500–1800 in Ascona, Switzerland.

Professor Tapscott gave readings of his poetry at Harvard and at Wheaton College.

Professor Jenkins spoke at the University of Beijing, at the Beijing Film Academy, at the Microsoft Research Summit in Redmond, WA, at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, at UCLA, at the Pop/Tech Conference in Camden, ME, at the University of Virginia-Charlottesville, at the Massachusetts College of Art, at the Arisia Science Fiction Conference in Boston, at Harvard, at the University of Pennsylvania, at the Society for Cinema and Media Conference in Minneapolis, and at the List Gallery at MIT, where he spoke on horror in the art of Paqul Pfeiffer and Matthew Barney.

Professor Uricchio was keynote speaker at four international conferences (at the Bayersische Amerika Akademie in Munich, at the Archi/Media Nederlands Filmmuseum, Amsterdam, at the Media and Democracy in the Network Society Conference in Copenhagen, and at the Seybold Seminar in San Francisco. In addition, he spoke at the MacArthur Foundation Conference on Intellectual Property at American University, at the European Science Foundation (ESF) Conference on "Changing Media-Changing Europe" in Lisbon, the ESF Conference on "European Identities and Diasporas" in Berlin, at the Queensland Institute of Technology in Brisbane, and at the Nederlands American Studies Association in Utrecht.

Professor Buzard spoke at Berkeley, Duke, and the University of Exeter and organized panels at the Modern Language Association Meeting in New York.

Professor Fuller spoke at the Renaissance Society of America Meeting in Toronto, at the Musée de la civilisation, Quebec City, at Trinity College, Oxford, at the Shakespeare Association of America (SAA) meeting in Victoria, BC, at the Fourth Annual Conference on the History of the Maritime Book at Princeton University, and gave the keynote address at the Conference on Travel and Conversion at the University of Michigan.

Professor Henderson presented a paper at the SAA meeting in Victoria, BC, and also chaired a session on Shakespeare and Contemporary Performance there, presented a paper at the International Conference on Shakespeare and his Contemporaries in Performance at St. John's College, Cambridge, UK, and the Institute for English Studies at the University of London.

Professor Raman spoke at Harvard and also at the SAA Conference in Victoria, BC.

Professor Klein spoke at the annual meetings of the Modern Language Association, the American Historical Association, at Colby College, and at the center for Asian/Pacific/American Studies at NYU.

Professor Cain spoke at UCLA, at the Medieval Institute at Kalamazoo, and at the Modern Language Association in New York.

Professor Jackson spoke at the annual meeting of the Northeast Modern Language Association, at the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism at Fordham, at the Harvard Humanities Center, at Florida State University, at Lancaster University (UK), and at Cannington College, Somerset (UK).

Senior lecturer Kelley headed the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth Summer Institute for High School Teachers on the topic "Melville and the City," and presented papers at the International Conference on Melville in Maui, at the Redwood Library, the Newport Athenaeum, and the Salem Athenaeum.

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Literature faculty members serve in the following capacities:

Peter S. Donaldson
Section Head
Professor of Literature

More information about the Literature Section can be found on the web at


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