News Release| Kubal Lecture; Cal State L.A.

English scholar delves into sociality, history in the digital age

2011 Kubal Lecture at Cal State L.A. Monday, May 2

Los Angeles, CA – What does the age of social computing have in common with prior ages in which the experience of sociality was deeply vested in a shared sense of history? On Monday, May 2, Alan Liu, chair and professor in the English Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara, will present Friending the Past: The Sense of History and Social Computing.

Liu, who is also an affiliated faculty member of UCSB’s Media Arts and Technology graduate program, is this year’s David L. Kubal Memorial Lecturer at Cal State L.A. The lecture, to begin 6:30 p.m. in Cal State L.A.’s Golden Eagle Ballroom, is free to the public.

Reflecting on how the media ages of orality, writing, and digital networking are related, Professor Liu will ponder the question of what happens today to the “sense of history” that was the glory of the high age of print. He will conclude with a preview of the Research-oriented Social Environment (RoSE) that his team has been building to model past bibliographical resources as a social network.

Liu began his research in the field of British romantic literature and art. His first book, Wordsworth: The Sense of History (Stanford Univ. Press, 1989), explored the relation between the imaginative experiences of literature and history. In a series of theoretical essays in the 1990s, he explored cultural criticism, the “new historicism,” and postmodernism in contemporary literary studies. In 1994, when he started his Voice of the Shuttle web site for humanities research, he began to study information culture as a way to close the circuit between the literary or historical imagination and the technological imagination. In 2004, he published The Laws of Cool: Knowledge Work and the Culture of Information (Univ. of Chicago Press), and most recently, he published Local Transcendence: Essays on Postmodern Historicism and the Database (Univ. of Chicago Press).

Honoring the late David L. Kubal, a member of the Cal State L.A. English Department faculty from 1968 to 1981, the lecture series brings distinguished writers, scholars and critics to the CSULA campus. Past lecturers included Renaissance scholar Arthur F. Kinney, cognitive scientist and linguist Mark Turner, literary theorist J. Hillis Miller, culture critic Geoffrey Hartman, and literary editor Adolf Wood. For more about the David L. Kubal Memorial Lecture Series at Cal State L.A., go to /academic/english/dkubal.php

What & Who:

The 29th Annual David L. Kubal Memorial Lecture Series at Cal State L.A. will present “Friending the Past: The Sense of History and Social Computing” by Alan Liu, professor of English at University of California, Santa Barbara.


Monday, May 2, 2011, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

(A reception will follow immediately after the lecture.)


Golden Eagle Ballroom, on the Cal State L.A. campus. The University is located at the Eastern Avenue exit, San Bernardino (I-10) Freeway, at the interchange of 10 and 710 Freeways. Public permit dispenser parking is available in Lot 7 or upper level Parking Structure C.


Free to the public. For more information, call the CSULA English Department at (323) 343-4140.

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