Professor of English & Digital Studies | University of Maryland — College Park
with affiliations in the Department of African-American Studies, the Harriet Tubman Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, &
African-American Digital Humanities Initiative (AADHUM)
Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH)
PhD, M.Phil., M.A. – Columbia University : English and Comparative Literature | B.A. – Washington University
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Professor of English, Amherst College, with affiliations in
the departments of Black Studies & Film and Media Studies
Faculty Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Amherst College
Director, Five College Digital Humanities
Marisa Parham is Visiting Professor of English at the University of Maryland, where she serves as director for the African American Digital Humanities initiative (AADHUM), and is the associate director for the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH). She also co-directs the Immersive Realities Lab for the Humanities, which is an independent workgroup for digital and experimental humanities (irLhumanities).
Parham’s current teaching and research projects focus on texts and technologies that problematize assumptions about time, space, and bodily materiality. She is particularly interested in how such terms share a history of increasing complexity in literary and cultural texts produced by African Americans, and how they also offer ways of thinking about intersectional approaches to digital humanities and technology studies. Recently published examples of this work include “Sample | Signal | Strobe: Haunting, Social Media, and Black Digitality,” and the interactive longform scholarly essays .break .dance, and Breaking, dancing, making in the machine. She is currently developing Black Haints in the Anthropocene, a book-length interactive project that focuses on memory, haunting, digitality, and Black environmental experience.
Parham holds a PhD in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University, and is the author of Haunting and Displacement in African-American Literature and Culture, The African-American Student’s Guide to College, and is co-editor of Theorizing Glissant: Sites and Citations. She has also carried fellowships and residencies at the Huntington Library, The WEB DuBois Center at Harvard University, and the School for Criticism and Theory.
Please click here to learn more about her writing and research.
Currently I teach classes focusing on African-American literary and cultural studies, modern American popular culture, and technologies and representation. I generally teach in one of two modes, either working to train students to use the insights of intersectionality, media theory, and decolonial thinking to reconcile social and historical concerns with the techniques of literary hermeneutics, or helping them to critique and also to produce across different kinds of media, with an emphasis on a range of digital humanities techniques. In both kinds of classes I emphasize close attention to textual and contextual nuance, the development of clear, concise argumentation, and attentiveness to the impact of media form on expression and dissemination.
Classes I have taught in recent years include a lecture and production class on Spike Lee (co-taught w/ John Drabinski), Girlpower!, a digital humanities class focused on gender, feminism, and popular culture, Ghosts in Shells, which is a seminar on passing and the posthuman, and a seminar on space and time in Toomer, Faulkner, and Morrison. I also teach hybridized theory and practice courses in the digital humanities and on video games.
I have taught at Amherst College since 2001. Before that I taught for several years at Hunter College, and also taught high school students through Upward Bound (at Columbia’s Double Discovery Center).
Board of Directors, Mass Humanities (2014 – 2017); Board of Directors, Amherst Cinema Arts Center (2005 – 2013)
Some Awards and Honors
Huntington Library Research Fellowship; Amherst College Faculty Research Award Program; Mellon Foundation teaching innovation grants; Senior Sabbatical Fellowship, Amherst College; Sheila Biddle Ford Foundation Fellow, W. E. B. DuBois Institute for African and African American Research (The Hutchins Center), Harvard University; Miner Crary Sabbatical Research Fellowship, Amherst College; Mellon-Mays Predoctoral and Doctoral Grants; Woodrow Wilson Travel & Research Grant; Residency Award, School of Criticism and Theory; Marjorie Hope Nicholson Fellowship, Columbia University; magna cum laude, Washington University
Modern Language Association (MLA); American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA); American Studies Association (ASA); Caribbean Philosophical Association (CPA); Digital Games Research Association;