“We are all grappling with rapid transformation in the tools we use to read, write, and express ourselves. This makes the liberal arts classroom a very exciting place to be right now, where student fluency in new media complements the sophistication that traditional faculty expertise can provide. Students entering college now have been using networked media since they started being themselves. But they know that their fluency is not the same thing as critical understanding. They have a deep desire for the kind of sophistication that I can offer, as someone who studies the long history of changing media.
“What this history can teach them is the right questions to ask. “How do I evaluate the quality of any given text I read? What authority does it have? What biases are reflected in it?” These are the kinds of questions my students bring to the classroom and they have been urgent ones for readers since the beginning of writing. As a Renaissance scholar, I understand the media we now think of as “traditional” – books, the theater – as always in the process of change, borrowing from and adapting to new media, and vice versa. Such transformations always bring opportunities and costs. It is our responsibility as citizens and professionals in a networked world to understand both kinds of consequences of media change. I am inspired by my students’ commitment to this task.”
Note: A Renaissance scholar with an interest in media history and adaptation, Katherine Rowe was described by The New York Times as one of “a small vanguard of digitally adept scholars ... rethinking how knowledge is understood and judged” in a story about her work as the guest editor of a special issue of the journal Shakespeare Quarterly that experimented with open scholarly review. She is Associate Editor of the Cambridge World Shakespeare Online, an international resource being developed by Cambridge University Press and the University of Southern California with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. With colleagues at Haverford and Swarthmore, she is a founder of the Tri-Co Digital Humanities initiative. She has written several books and numerous articles on Renaissance drama, Shakespeare adaptation, and media change.