• Critical Essay,  History

    The Future is Yesterday

    On the side of a lonely stretch of highway in a bleak part of Kansas, a man is pasting a sign on a billboard. The activity frames this episode of Season 4 of Fargo, with the phrase, “THE FUTURE is,” lingering through the storyline until it is finally punctuated at the end of the episode with the word, “NOW!” The message’s optimism and urgency screams at the viewer and belies the unseemly demise of many character’s lives (a few by tornado) during the course of the hour. The future is Now! Hurry! I pondered that message on Friday during the launch of the book, The Future of Text, and excellent symposium of…

  • Critical Essay

    ELL Undergraduate Researchers Reconstitute Deena Larsen’s Kanji-Kus

    “All of my kanji-kus are dead, and you can see their husks if you follow these links.”–Deena Larsen   So writes Deena Larsen on her website in 2014. But this is not true anymore: Undergraduate Researchers in my lab––Kathleen Zoller, Moneca Roath, Mariah Gwin, and Andrew Nevue––led by project manager Holly Slocum, have reconstituted this intellectually complex and visually stunning work so that it can be accessible to the public for years to come.  Kanji-kus are, according to Larsen, “short poems based on the Japanese kanji or ideogram for the word itself” that figure largely in her web-based work from 1999-2002. Larsen’s hypertext novel, Disappearing Rain (2000), for example, is described as…