Headshot of Alex Saum-Pascual

Research Expertise and Interest

digital literature, Transatlantic Literature, Spanish, Spain, electronic literature, contemporary literature, digital humanities, new media, Latin America

Research Description

Alex Saum-Pascual is a digital artist, poet, and associate professor  of Contemporary Spanish Literature and New Media. She is author of #Postweb! Crear con la máquina y en la red (Iberoamericana-Vervuert 2018) and numerous articles, special issues and book chapters on digital media and literature in the Spanish-speaking world, being featured in The Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies, Comparative Literature Studies, Revista de Estudios Hispánicos, Digital Humanities Quarterly, and Electronic Book Review among others. Her work has been supported by fellowships and grants from UC Berkeley's Hellman Fund, the Peder Sather Center for Advance Studies and the Townsend Center for the Humanities. Her digital artwork and poetry have been exhibited in galleries and art festivals internationally and have been studied in specialized articles, monographs such as Mujeres poetas del mundo digital (2020), and Ciberfeminismos: Tecnotextualidades y transgéneros (2023), and have anthologized in the Electronic Literature Collection Vol. 4 (2022). Currently, she is Associate Professor of Contemporary Spanish Literature and New Media at the University of California, Berkeley. She is also part of the Executive Committee of the Berkeley Center for New Media, the advisory board of the Arts Research Center (Poetry and the Senses programs), and the board of directors of the Electronic Literature Organization.

Professor Saum-Pascual teaches a broad range of undergraduate and graduate courses on digital media and Spanish and Latin American contemporary literature (digital or not) combining the study of literary texts with other cultural products of the 20th and 21st centuries. She has taught courses exploring the role of media on the construction of the Spanish imaginary, the importance of television shows and their adaptation of social realists works, and the role of theater, popular music, or digital and social media, as means of protest and artistic expression. She is particularly keen in the study of electronic literature (digital prose and poetry) across the Spanish and Portuguese speaking world, which she has taught at all levels, from different approaches.

Her research expands on the relationship between literature and digital technologies from different perspectives. Her book #Postweb! Crear con la máquina y en la Red (Iberoamericana-Vervuert, 2018) analyzes the influence of electronic writing technologies on both printed and born-digital books, exploring what this means for literary experimentalism, and for the prevalence of the literary canon in Spain, in decay since the financial and institutional crisis of 2002 and 2008.

Her new book project, Earthy Algorithms: A Materialist Approach to Capital, Climate and Digital Literature (forthcoming 2025) examines the imbrication of digital technologies in literary production, looking at its engagement with concepts of environmental crisis, through a new materialist lens. Saum-Pascual focuses on the work of digital artists from Spain and the Latin American Diaspora to examine digital materiality in relation to its physical and signifying strategies, as well as regarding modern abstract binaries that separate the Earth from its human and non-human inhabitants. By challenging the aesthetics of algorithmic abstraction, Saum's reading of these digital works rejects the purported disconnection between land, matter, body, and globalization’s free circulation of goods, and emphasizes, instead, the material impact of capitalism’s digital infrastructures. This book argues that digital technologies are a radicalization of the Cartesian dualist project that has propelled modernity’s exploitation of the Earth, and proposes digital literature as a means to imagine more liveable (digital) futures.

By applying a methodological scope coming from the fields of New Media and Digital Literature, Saum-Pascual offers a unique contribution to the field of Digital Humanities in Spanish, and to transatlantic literary and cultural studies overall.

Prof. Saum-Pascual's list of publications *and full texts* can be found here. Visit Saum's artwork here.

@alexsaum | @hcommons.social/@alexsaum

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