I’m Avery J. Wiscomb, a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in Literary and Cultural Studies at Carnegie Mellon University. My research interests are in modernist studies, late-19th and early-20th century literature and science, literary criticism, and digital humanities. Currently, I am completing my dissertation, “A ‘Humanities-Centered’ History of Machine Learning,” which offers a new literary and intellectual history of machine learning as it emerged in the U.S. mid-century. 

For AY20–21, I am a research fellow for a book history project entitled Print and Probability, funded by the National Science Foundation. Working with Christopher Warren, Max G’Sell, and Taylor Berg-Kirkpatrick, I help to develop computer-assisted methods for book history and analytical bibliography. We currently have under review an article: “Canst Thou Draw Out Leviathan with Computational Bibliography? New Angles on Printing Thomas Hobbes’ ‘Ornaments’ Edition.”

What I’ve Done 

Broadly, my research and teaching has been driven by questions about the reciprocal connections between science, technology, and literature. These interests are informed by my educational background in intellectual history and the liberal arts. I earned my BA from The Evergreen State College, an MA in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College, Annapolis, and an MA in Rhetoric from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU).

Over the last three years, I have held positions advancing research and teaching involving digital scholarship. From 2017–19, I was a HASTAC Scholar for CMU’s digital humanities lab, dSHARP. In 2017, I was an A.W. Mellon Fellow in the Digital Humanities, working with Scott Weingart and Jessica Otis. And in 2018, I was the English Department’s Fellow in Humanities Analytics (HumAn), inaugurating our new minor in Humanities Analytics for undergraduates. 

I have collaborated on multiple team-based public humanities projects. For example, in 2018 I co-curated The Frankenstein Complex, which was on display at the Posner Center and Fine Arts Foundation as a celebration of the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s novel. This project later informed my work on The Frankenstein Variorum, a digital humanities project funded by a Mellon Foundation Seed Grant to create an annotated, variorum-style interface for viewing and comparing five versions of Shelley’s text (in print and manuscript form).