File /Humanist.vol22.txt, message 558

From: Humanist Discussion Group <>
Date: Sat, 28 Feb 2009 07:48:14 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: [Humanist] 22.573 Laura Borras

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 22, No. 573.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to:

        Date: Wed, 25 Feb 2009 08:41:57 -0600
        From: joseph tabbi <>
        Subject: Laura Borras

Dear Rene Audet,

Your note to the Humanist group was forwarded to me by Matt Kirschenbaum.

During the past few days, there has been active discussion among
members of the e-poetries group and the board of the ELO. In response
to this news, I drafted a letter that you are welcome to post to your
list. (In the meantime, ELO board members Kirschenbaum and Rita Rayley
have signed on, and I understand that several individuals from the
e-poetries group have also written supporting letters):

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: joseph tabbi <>
Date: Tue, Feb 24, 2009 at 10:26 AM
Cc: "Tabbi, Joseph" <>,,,,,

Dear Manuel Castells,

I was given your contact information as the person currently directing
research at the institution where until very recently Laura Borràs
Castanyer was a researcher and teacher. As I am sure you and your
colleagues appreciate, the dismissal of a tenured professor, and one
so very active internationally, is cause for concern among the
profession generally.

I write in my capacity as President of the Electronic Literature
Organization, a para-institutional group of writers and scholars
producing literary works and standards for best practices in
programmable media and electronic environments.

The Executive Board of the Electronic Literature Organization (ELO)
expresses deep regret and concern over the firing of Laura.  It is our
understanding that the dismissal of Professor Borràs from the
university stems from a misconception of her lack of professional
service.  We would like to state for the record that Laura is a
dynamic presence on the ELO’s Literary Advisory Board and a force in
the area of electronic literature.  You will find signatures from
other members of the Board who like me are concerned about this issue.

My own encounter with Professor Borràs, even before I attended her
dynamic lectures at our two most recent international colloquia, was
in an essay she published detailing her teaching practices developed
in coordination with the European program of action eLearning 2001.
That essay appeared in The Aesthetics of Net Literature, the landmark
volume from the Media Upheavals group in Siegen, Germany. Above all,
in this essay I value Professor Borràs’s insistence that technologies
should not be bought off the shelf and implemented instrumentally but
should be designed with literary and scholarly concerns foremost. Her
demonstrated ability to fund these pedagogical activities so they are
recognized and disseminated widely, is invaluable to the overall field

Hermeneia, the digital media group Professor Borràs founded at the
University of Catalunya, is one of a handful of organizations with
academic ties that leads the world in the support for digital
narratives and ePoetry.  Its work in providing funding for digital art
and ongoing research in electronic literature is recognized in the US
and beyond.  Additionally, her participation in The Future of
Electronic Literature Conference and Visionary Landscapes: The
Electronic Literature Organization 2008 Conference are evidence of her
international reputation and the respect held for her vision and work.

Laura’s firing would place the University of Catalunya in a negative
light with researchers involved in electronic literature and digital
media. We would like officials to reconsider their actions and
reinstate her in her position.

For the ELO Board of Directors,

Dr. Joseph Tabbi
Professor of Literature
University of Illinois at Chicago

Dr. Dene Grigar
Associate Professor of Digital Technology and Culture
Washington State University Vancouver

Dr. Mark Marino
Writer, University of California

Dr. Stuart Moulthrop
Writer, University of Baltimore

Stephanie Strickland
Director, Electronic Literature Organization

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