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Prof. Kathi Inman Berens
Prof. Kathi Inman Berens

Kathi Inman Berens

Using media to build a bridge between traditional literary study and the digital world

B.A. in English, 1990 Tufts University
M.A. in English, 1992 Tufts University
Ph.D. in English, 1999 University of California at Berkeley

Kathi Inman Berens has on her office door an Ooligan Press book publishing poster and an Electronic Literature Festival poster.  A self-taught digital humanist, she’s passionate about how a singular story can gain momentum through various media platforms, change lives, and give a voice to people that don’t have power. She teaches her students to think digitally and control their own media presence, and loves it when students learn how to talk to a computer.

“I found that digital work augments the live experience of the classroom in ways I hadn’t anticipated,” says Berens.

When Berens is not studying algorithms, source code, or databases, she works with her students to explore creativity within the limits of a constraint based computational environment. To do this, they make digital stories and websites, video games, “distributed stories,” and electronic literature.

“Comparative study of all text-based media is a way of thinking about the boundaries between text, visual, and oral forms that have always existed and proliferated around us, but that things like electronic literature, digital art, and video games make us more conscious of than perhaps we used to be,” she explains.

Berens teaches literature classes and in PSU’s Publishing program. She’s excited about the hands-on work students in Ooligan Press do, and wants to help students think expansively about books, become innovative storytellers of their own lives -- and ultimately help them find cool jobs.


“Judy Malloy's seat at the (database) table: A feminist reception history of early hypertext literature.” Literary & Linguistics Computing 29.4
“Tournedo Gorge.” [An endless, generated poem written in javascript.] Electronic Literature Collection 3.
“Touch and Decay: Tomasula's _TOC_ on iOS.” Steve Tomasula: The Art and Science of New Media Fiction (ed. David Banash), Bloomsbury 2015.
“Live/Archive: Occupy MLA.” Hyperhiz 11

-- Rachel Palmer