Training for Catastrophe: Fictions of National Security after 9/11, University of Minnesota Press, 2021
Training for Catastrophe investigates the use of fiction as a mode of knowledge production within the ostensibly practical, fact-based discourses of contemporary US national security. I argue this dependence on fiction is central to a political project to depoliticize disaster. The book focuses specifically on preparedness, a national security paradigm that moved to the center of US policy after September 11, 2001 and that simulates future catastrophic threats in order to plan for their emergence. I examine a wide-ranging archive of post-9/11 preparedness media, including policy documents, workplace disaster training materials, emergency management textbooks, simulation exercises, political speeches, preparedness plans, online games, and public awareness videos. I contend these materials use the fictions they create to train people to accept some catastrophes as part of everyday life while ignoring others.
WhatEvery1Says, 2013-2021: Co-PI
WhatEvery1Says is a text analysis project that collected a corpus of public discourse about the humanities (from newspapers, magazines, blogs, reports intended for the public or legislatures, etc.) and analyzed that corpus using machine learning. Our hypothesis is that computational methods can help us learn new things about how media pundits, politicians, business leaders, administrators, scholars, students, artists, and others are actually thinking about the humanities.
4Humanities, 2010-2014: Member, lead research assistant
4Humanities is a platform and resource for advocacy of the humanities, drawing on the technologies, new-media expertise, and ideas of the international digital humanities community. It stages the efforts of humanities advocates to reach out to the public through various forms and media.
VizOR, 2013: Database design, programming
A database + interface of Mark Z. Danielewski’s novel Only Revolutions.
Scanner Praxis, 2012-13: Participant, cameras lead
Scanner Praxis engaged digitization through building a low cost book scanner from parts and documenting the process online for the DIY book scanning community.
RoSE (Research-oriented Social Environment), 2011-2012
Research assistant. RoSE is a system for exploring the humanities that encourages users to seek out relationships between authors, works, and commentators – both living and dead – as part of a social network of knowledge. It presents bibliographical information as an interconnected network of evolving relationships between documents and people. RoSE allows users to add items to the network, create and visualize their own collections, and produce “storyboards” to visually organize their findings into meaningful arguments or narratives.