Jaime Harrison

    Jaime Harrison

    Postgraduate research student

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    Research Interests

    My research interests are in contemporary literature and American literature.

    My PhD thesis considers how the contemporary novel responds to the emergence of Big Data technologies. The last decade has seen advances in both hardware and software which simultaneously track and measure users’ actions and deliver engineered feedback, such as search results, social media feeds, and targeted advertising. Critiques of these technologies came perhaps most significantly to the forefront of public debate in March 2018 when it was revealed that data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica had used the social media site Facebook to manipulate the Brexit vote and 2016 US presidential election.

    So far, the response in literary studies to texts which respond both directly and indirectly to these technologies has focused on their role in surveillance. While the accumulation of data on individual users is an important function of smart devices, wearable technology and software applications, surveillance is only one aspect of a technology which also delivers tailored information directly to the user. My research thus expands the scope beyond surveillance to consider the implications for the subject when interacting with technology capable of influencing behaviour through algorithms. In doing so, it theorises a literary aesthetic common to this new technology. The computing concepts graph theory and digital logic are subsequently drawn upon to reveal how the underlying technologies influence and shape the aesthetic within these texts.

    Exemplary texts include David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King, Joshua Cohen’s Book of Numbers, and Nicola Barker’s H(A)PPY.

    My Master's dissertation focused on self-consciousness and self-awareness in the work of David Foster Wallace.

    Achievements

    I was awarded an international fellowship by the AHRC through the International Placement Scheme to undertake research at the Harry Ransom Centre in Austin, Texas. This residency took place between September and November 2018.

    My research is funded by the AHRC through Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Partnership.

    Teaching

    I currently teach on the second-year English module Modern American Fiction: Race, Class, Gender, Sexuality (ENG2173).

    Other

    Qualifications

    MA English Literary Studies, Queen's University Belfast, 2016

    BA (Hons) English Literarture, The Open University, 2015

    BSc (Hons) Computer Science, Queen's University Belfast, 2007

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    Contribution to conference papers, events and activities

    ID: 135698913