Experiments in the Posthumanities
Reimagining the scholarly book as living and collaborative—not as commodified and essentialized, but in all its dynamic materiality.
In this book, Janneke Adema proposes that we reimagine the scholarly book as a living and collaborative project—not as linear, bound, and fixed, but as fluid, remixed, and liquid, a space for experimentation. She presents a series of cutting-edge experiments in arts and humanities book publishing, showcasing the radical new forms that book-based scholarly work might take in the digital age. Adema's proposed alternative futures for the scholarly book go beyond such print-based assumptions as fixity, stability, the single author, originality, and copyright, reaching instead for a dynamic and emergent materiality.
Adema suggests ways to unbind the book, describing experiments in scholarly book publishing with new forms of anonymous collaborative authorship, radical open access publishing, and processual, living, and remixed publications, among other practices. She doesn't cast digital as the solution and print as the problem; the problem in scholarly publishing, she argues, is not print itself, but the way print has been commodified and essentialized. Adema explores alternative, more ethical models of authorship; constructs an alternative genealogy of openness; and examines opportunities for intervention in current cultures of knowledge production. Finally, asking why it is that we cut and bind our research together at all, she examines two book publishing projects that experiment with remix and reuse and try to rethink and reperform the book-apparatus by taking responsibility for the cuts they make.
“Perhaps no form of media has remained quite so monolithic as the academic monograph. Here, in this book, Janneke Adema shows a way forward: by taking scholarly books seriously as books, denaturalized and richly reimagined.”
Matthew G. Kirschenbaum, Professor of English and Digital Studies, University of Maryland College Park; author of Bitstreams: The Future of Digital Literary Heritage
“A prominent scholar once described books as 'tree flakes encased in dead cow,' suggesting they aren't just holdovers from medieval times—they're fundamentally dead. With Janneke Adema's stunningly original Living Books, we finally have the rejoinder.”
Ted Striphas, Associate Professor of Media Studies, University of Colorado Boulder; author of The Late Age of Print
“In this timely and thoughtful work, Janneke Adema pulls threads from the history of authorship to unravel the humanist thinking that binds us to the single-authored codex. This necessary volume opens up the book.”
Amaranth Borsuk, Associate Professor, School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, University of Washington Bothell; author of The Book
The open access edition of this book was made possible by generous funding and support from The MIT Press Frank Urbanowski Memorial Fund