Mairi Power

Research title

Digital Identities: Technology and Selfhood in Jennifer Egan’s Fiction

Research summary

My research investigates the relationship between technology and constructions of selfhood in contemporary American Fiction. Focusing on the author Jennifer Egan, my research seeks to analyse the methods Egan uses in her fiction to capture and critique this relationship. Egan has experimented extensively with the digital technologies available to 21st century writers, from using the digitisation of the music industry as the basis for her 2010 novel A Visit from the Goon Squad, to herself utilising social media in the distribution of 2012 text Black Box. As a result, her work goes further than mere documentation of the presence and status of such media and exists as precedent for the relationship between technology and contemporary fiction. 

I am particularly interested in the changing nature and role of the human body as technologies take over basic physical and cognitive tasks, and in the rise of online profile culture where identity can exist without embodiment. Therefore, my work relies upon interdisciplinary theory such as cognitive and digital theory and ideas of posthumanism and embodiment.

I am using Egan as the focal point for my investigation but my thesis will also refer to her contemporaries in order to make connections and distinctions between their approaches, and in order to discuss and uplift the often overlooked female authors contributing to these literary depictions of identity and technology.


Teaching

Comparative Literature 1A

Comparative Literature 1B

English Literature 1B


Additional information

Social Media Editor at U.S. Studies Online

@BAASUSSO | https://www.baas.ac.uk/usso/