Senioring a Young Field

In the coming year, I’m going to be going up for a promotion review, and along with all the other attendant stress work, I need to develop a list of potential outside reviewers for my case. (I’m replacing “stress” with “work” here in no small part because this review has far lower stakes than the last; if it doesn’t go well, the worst that will happen is that my feelings will be hurt.)

Here’s the thing, though: for this particular review, all the outside reviewers have to be full professors. And while there are a fair number of full profs in media studies, broadly construed, most of them are in film studies on the one hand, or have come out of communication on the other — which is to say that either their object or their methods bear very little in common with mine.

So I need to develop a list of full professors who are working in digital media studies from a humanities-based critical/theoretical viewpoint, and I’ve decided to attempt to crowd-source this list, not least because I know that there are several folks out there not far behind me who will have need of this list in the not-too-distant future.

The more inclusive and extensive the list, the better, I think, so I’m including folks whose work literally grows out of media studies along with those whose work (like mine) has come to media studies from a more traditional humanities discipline. I’ll begin with a few that occur to me right off the bat:

Cathy Davidson, Duke University
N. Katherine Hayles, Duke University
Henry Jenkins, University of Southern California
Anne Balsamo, University of Southern California
Alan Liu, University of California, Santa Barbara
Anna Everett, University of California, Santa Barbara
Jeffrey Schnapp, Stanford University
Neil Fraistat, University of Maryland
Jerome McGann, University of Virginia
Johanna Drucker, University of Virginia

I know I’m missing some obvious names, and there are probably many less obvious ones as well. Who should be added to this list? Are there other ways to approach such a list that I’m not thinking of?


  1. K, if you’re broadening the humanities to include rhet/comp full profs who do digital media, then I’d add to your list the following folks: Cynthia Selfe from Ohio State, Kristine Blair from Bowling Green, Gail Hawisher from UIUC, Louie Ulman from Ohio State, Jim Kalmbach from Illinois State, Debra Journet from Louisville. (Many of these folks, as you probably know, take a keen interest in digital scholarship, which might be of use to you.)

    There’s also a long list of Associates who will be Fulls soon, I believe, including Daniel Anderson at UNC-CH and Anne Wysocki at UW-Milwaukee, to name two.

    Bob Stein once said that rhet/comp was a peculiar Midwest institution, and the list above shows that. While these folks aren’t the usual suspects in DH work (cuz rhet/comp people have been doing this a while on their own & for different purposes), the Midwest history of normal schools out of which rhet/comp ascends, in part, means that these readers are generous and helpful, and they also know how to write a damned good letter!


    ps: Johanna Drucker is at UCLA now. Learned that this summer at nehvectors.

  2. Thanks for the suggestions, Cheryl. And I didn’t know Johanna Drucker had moved — good to know!

    I’ve also had the suggestion of Janet Murray at Georgia Tech made via Twitter.

  3. Kathleen, Can I suggest Ursula Heise? She was just promoted to full professor at Stanford, has 2 books out and another forthcoming, and I know she admires _The Anxiety of Obsolescence_. Best, Joel

  4. One aspect of the review you didn’t mention is whether any of the reviewers need to be from peer liberal arts colleges (that is a requirement at Middlebury). If so, Bill Hoynes at Vassar (less digital, but certainly media studies) and John Schott at Carleton come to mind. Looking forward to adding your name to that brief list!

  5. Ooh – I completely forgot to mention that! Yes, we must have at least one reviewer from a fellow SLAC, and boy, there are not a lot of full profs in media studies at liberal arts colleges. So yes, Bill and John, definitely.

  6. what about:

    steve jones, university of illinois, chicago (his official field is communication but he’s as humanities/cultural studies as they come and is interested in a lot of the things and topics you explore);

    lisa nakamura, university of illinois

    martha nell smith, university of maryland

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