Dr Dorothy Butchard

Postdoctoral Fellow
Dorothy Butchard

Sep 2015 - Aug 2016


I first moved to Edinburgh in 2009 to start a Masters in Literature and Transatlanticism, after finishing my BA in English at Cambridge University. I loved it here from the moment I arrived, and was fortunate to stay on for my PhD, funded by an AHRC studentship and supervised by Dr Lee Spinks. My doctoral thesis, titled “Electric Amateurs: Literary Encounters with Computing Technologies 1987-2001” (2015), considered changing technological environments in the late twentieth century and turn of the millennium, focusing on portrayals of the internet and personal computing across a range of genres including fiction, poetry, and digital works. During my studies I’ve also been an enthusiastic and dedicated teacher, working as a tutor in English Literature, Cultural Studies and English Language. My academic interests are complemented by occasional freelance work as a graphic and web designer, along with writing and editorial projects. I’m delighted to have the chance to pursue a new aspect of my research while at IASH, with a project on portrayals of digital communications across the Atlantic ocean in contemporary poetry and fiction.


Data and Distance in the Digital Atlantic

This project compares portrayals of online communications in the work of British, American and Caribbean authors, introducing the term “Digital Atlantic” to indicate a transatlantic environment whose methods of contact and exchange have been significantly altered by digital media over the past two decades.


Articles and Chapters

“’What no’un alive und’stands’: David Mitchell’s Recontextualisation of Oral Culture.” Twenty-first Century British Fiction – Critical Essays. Ed. Bianca Leggett & Tony Venezia. (Gylphi Press, 2015)

“Drones and Dissociation.” Alluvium, Vol. 4, No. 2 (May 2015).Web: http://dx.doi.org/10.7766/alluvium.v4.2.02

“The Poet from the Periphery?: Prestige and Literary Centrality in Derek Walcott’s Omeros.Comparing Centres, Comparing Peripheries: Emerging Perspectives on the Centre-Periphery Paradigm, Special Issue of Comparative Critical Studies  (Edinburgh University Press, 2015).

“Time, Data and Transatlantic Longing in Spindrift and The Sun King.Symbiosis Special Edition, ed. Alison Garden & Muirreann Crowley (forthcoming 2015)

Talks & Conference Papers

“Malevolent Elevators in Dystopian City Spaces.” (Brave New Worlds: The Dystopia in Modern and Contemporary Fiction, Newcastle University, Apr 2015)

“Despair and Displacement in Fred D’Aguiar’s Days and Nights in Bedlam.” (Melancholy Empire: British and Irish Literature in the 21st Century, University of Salford, Apr 2015)

“Boredom in an Age of Overload.” (“Too Much Information: Ignite,” Being Human Festival, Senate House, Nov 2014)

“’War on Omniscient Narration’: Surveillance and Resistance in The People of Paper and House of Leaves” (What Happens Now, University of Lincoln, Jul 2014).

Data Surge: Embedded technologies in Jennifer Egan’s Black Box.” (Bloomsbury C21 Writings Conference, University of Brighton, Apr 2014).

“Inky oblivion” and Baby Nostradamus: Illegible spaces in Salvador Plascencia’s The People of  Paper and Mark Danielewski’s House of Leaves.” (BAAS Annual Conference, University of Birmingham, Apr 2014).

“Jennifer Egan’s Technological Exotic in Black Box and Look At Me.” (Invisible Circus, Birkbeck, London, Mar 2014).

“Resistant Models of Contemporary Authorship: the Transnational Digital Poetics of Young Hae Chang Heavy Industries.” (ACLA Annual Conference, University of Toronto, Apr 2013).  

“We Sit in Front of our Computers… and Try to Ignore Each Other: Collaborative Practice in Contemporary Poetry.” (Reconfiguring Authorship, University of Ghent, Nov 2012).

“Speed is Everything: YHCHI and the Reconfiguration of Ezra Pound’s Cantos.” (Moving Modernisms Conference, University of Oxford, Mar 2012).

“The Utter Silence of Print: Joyce, Hypertext, and the ‘Future of the Page’. (New Works in Modernist Studies, British Association of Modernist Studies Conference, Dec 2011).

“Chiss/ellin dark. / ness // writin in light: Kamau Brathwaite’s ‘Sycorax video-style’. (ConVersify: Poetry, Politics and Form, University of Edinburgh, Aug 2011).

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