Whitney Trettien


Greenlaw 518

Co-Director of Ph.D. Job Placement

Assistant Professor

My research spans the fields of Renaissance literature, book history, women's studies, digital humanities, media archaeology, and sound studies. Knitting together these interests is an attention to texts as technologies that both embody and produce new ways of being in the world. This attention extends to my own scholarship, which has assumed a variety of creative/critical forms, from podcasts and webtexts to zines and a treestump made of books that talks via SMS. 

I am currently working on a digital monograph titled "Cut/Copy/Paste: Echoes of Little Gidding," which examines the biblical harmonies produced at the Anglican community at Little Gidding in the 1630s and 1640s. The women of the community composed these books by cutting and pasting Bibles and prints into elaborate collages of text and image. Pairing an online collection of selected Harmonies with imaginative close readings of their material form and afterlives, this digital project illuminates a unique Caroline devotional aesthetic even as it listens for its echoes across sites as diverse as Harriet Bowdler's editorial work, T. S. Eliot's Four Quartets, the 1939 World's Fair, and digital remix culture. I am also working toward a second book project that re-positions book history in relation to media studies, tracing the turn to technology within the field. 

I have recently co-founded thresholds, a digital journal for creative/critical scholarship edited in collaboration with Frances McDonald and technical designer Anthony Otieno Olawo. I have given keynote talks and plenary lectures on the digital arts and humanities at colleges, universities, and institutions big and small. I view teaching as a privilege and in my spare time teach literature to adult learners as a volunteer with the Orange County Literacy Council.


Recent Publications

Provoke! Digital Sound Studies, co-edited with Mary Caton Lingold and Darren Mueller (2015). Print companion forthcoming from Duke University Press.

"Isabella Whitney's Slips: Textile Labor Gendered Authorship, and the Early Modern Miscellany," Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies 45.3. (Fall 2015). Special issue on "Renaissance Collage," co-edited by Juliet Fleming, William Sherman, and Adam Smyth.

"Circuit-Bending History: Sketches Toward a Schematic for Digital Humanities," in Between Humanities and the Digital, ed. Patrik Svensson and David Theo Goldberg (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2015).


Recent/Upcoming Talks

“Edward Benlowes’ Book Art”
Renaissance Society of America (Boston, April 2016)

“Spaces of Possibility: Past and Future Directions for Digital Pedagogy”
Keynote, Undergraduate Network for Research in the Humanities conference, Davidson College (Davidson, North Carolina, November 2015) 

“Resonant Frequency: The Physics of the Book”
Plenary, BABEL biennial meeting, University of Toronto (Toronto, Ontario, October 2015)


Hire Date: 2015

PhD, English, Duke University (2015)

MS, Comparative Media Studies, MIT (2009)

Research Groups and Interests

Group III - English Literature from 1485 to 1660 (including Milton)