I’m Avery J. Wiscomb, a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate in Literary and Cultural Studies at Carnegie Mellon University. I’m interested in late-19th and early-20th century literature and science, modernist studies, and the digital humanities. I’m currently completing my dissertation, “A Literary History of Machine Learning,” which offers an alternative history of machine learning as it emerged in the U.S. mid-century in Herbert A. Simon’s technical work.  

For AY20–21, I’m a National Science Foundation-funded research fellow for a computational book history project entitled Print and Probability. Working with Christopher WarrenMax G’Sell, and Taylor Berg-Kirkpatrick, I help 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 have 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 in Liberal Arts 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’ve 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 our English Department’s Fellow in Humanities Analytics (HumAn), inaugurating a new minor in Humanities Analytics for undergraduates with David Kaufer and other faculty.

I have collaborated on multiple team-based public humanities projects. For example, in 2018, I co-curated The Frankenstein Complexwhich 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 Varioruma 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).

If you are interested in collaborating on research, teaching, or digital efforts, please contact me at awiscomb@andrew.cmu.edu.