Marcel O'Gorman

Marcel O'Gorman

Professor of English Language and Literature; University Research Chair & Founding Director, Critical Media Lab, University of Waterloo
I am currently working on the broad theme of “Digital Abstinence.” This work involves philosophical writing, performance, a large-scale art installation, and the drafting of reports geared to inform policy makers about the impacts of technology (particularly handheld devices) on the well being of children, teens, and the elderly. For a sampling from this project, see my article in Slate Magazine on the performance piece called “Digital Tabernacle.”

Areas of graduate supervision

Critical theory
Media theory
Digital humanities
Digital art and design
New critical methodologies

My hometown is Windsor, Ontario, which sprawls out in the shadows of the Detroit skyline. This might explain my obsession with border culture and interdisciplinary work. I completed a BA in French and English at the University of Windsor (1993) before moving on to graduate studies in the English Department at the University of Ottawa, where I focused on critical theory and Romanticism, particularly the work of William Blake. I returned to the University of Windsor to complete a second MA in Creative Writing, and to set up the institution’s first hypertext lab. My final project at UWindsor (1995) was an extensive hypertext collaboration with Stephen Gibb, a Windsor artist.

For my doctorate, I chose the University of Florida, where I worked with the inventive and controversial Derridean scholar Gregory Ulmer. With the PhD in hand (1998), I worked for a year as Instructional Technology Specialist at Tulane University in New Orleans, and then moved back to Windsor/Detroit after accepting a position as the first Director of Electronic Critique (2000), an interdisciplinary B.A. program at the University of Detroit. I came to the University of Waterloo in 2006 with the hope of breaking new ground in an area that we call “applied media theory.” As the Director of the Critical Media Lab at uWaterloo, I oversee the creation of digital objects-to-think-with, where digital art practices serve as problem-solving tools for social and philosophical issues. My digital work ends up in art galleries and/or in publications about technoculture. I teach a wide range of courses that combine critical thinking and hands-on creation, including Introduction to Digital Media Studies, Rhetoric of Digital Design, Memory and Techne, and Digital Abstinence.

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