Lisa Maruca received her Ph.D. in English in 1997. Since then she has published work on the eighteenth-century book trade, including 'The Work of Print: Authorship and the English Text Trades, 1660-1760,' which was published by the University of Washington Press in 2007. Currently, Dr. Maruca teaches in the English Department at Wayne State University.
Dr. Maruca’s talk is titled “Eighteenth-Century Cyborg Writing: An Unnatural History of Literacy.” Coined in the 1960s, the term “cyborg” has been deployed in environments as varied as TV sci-fi and academic cultural studies. But the melding of bodies and machines has a history as ancient as humanity itself. This talk discusses the ramifications of the cyborg metaphor for understanding eighteenth-century print culture and the construction of instructional literacy technologies.
In early modern England, student writing was seen as aphysical skill based in the transcribing of others’ texts. Starting in the eighteenth-century, however, the marketing of new educational media and methods cast the process of reading the machined text as purely cognitive, transcending both the material artifact and the embodied student reader. An analysis of how the print trade's economic motivations created new conceptual relationships among reading, writing and the body provides insight not just into eighteenth-century literacy practices, but pedagogies of composing with today's new media as well.
Dr. Maruca delivered this talk at the Computer Writing and Research Lab in February 2009. The CWRL is part of the Department of Rhetoric and Writing at the University of Texas at Austin.