I’m Avery J. Wiscomb, an Assistant Professor of English and Digital Humanities at Virginia Tech (VT).

My research and teaching interests are driven by questions about the influence of the humanities on technical fields such as computer science, information science, and artificial intelligence (AI). For example, my current book project offers a humanities-centered history of symbolic AI as it emerged in the U.S. mid-century in the scientific work of Nobel-prize winner Herbert A. Simon.

In addition to my research and teaching, I am involved in several collaborative, web-based public humanities projects, a few of which are listed on this site. In my free time, I volunteer for professional organizations, including the Association for Computers and the Humanities, and as a member of the Committee on Information Technology for the Modern Language Association

Ultimately, these interests are informed by my educational background in intellectual history and the liberal arts. I earned a BA in liberal arts from the Evergreen State College and an MA in liberal arts from St. John’s College, Annapolis. Additionally, I hold an MA in rhetoric, with an emphasis in discourse studies, and a Ph.D. in literary and cultural studies from Carnegie Mellon University.

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

What I’ve Done

2023–2022 Research Associate at the Center for the Humanities at Virginia Tech (VT).

Since 2021 — Assistant Professor of English at VT with a focus on digital humanities, science fiction, contemporary fiction, and modernist studies.

2021 — Defended my dissertation at Carnegie Mellon University on the literary history of AI. Committee members included Jeffrey J. Williams (chair; Dept. of English); Simon DeDeo (Dept. of Social and Decision Sciences); Jon P. Klancher (Dept. of English); and Annette Vee (Dept. of English, University of Pittsburgh).

2021 — Co-authored “Canst Thou Draw Out Leviathan with Computational Bibliography? New Angles on Printing Thomas Hobbes’ ‘Ornaments’ Edition” in Eighteenth-Century Studies.

2021–2020 — Research fellow for Print and Probability, a National Science Foundation-funded book history and computational bibliography project.

2019 — Developed and co-edited MARXdown—a collection of online reading editions conceived as a resource for online readers of Karl Marx’s Capital Vol. 1.

2019–2017HASTAC Scholar for Carnegie Mellon University Libraries’ digital humanities lab dSHARP

2018–2017 — Fellow in Humanities Analytics, Dept. of English, Carnegie Mellon University.

2018 — Helped to inaugurate a new minor in Humanities Analytics (HumAn) for English undergraduates at Carnegie Mellon University with David Kaufer.

2018 — Co-curated The Frankenstein Complex to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s novel.

2018–2017 — Collaborated on The Frankenstein Variorum, a web-based project that created an annotated, variorum-style interface for five versions of Mary Shelley’s text (in print and manuscript form).

2018–2017 — Rare Materials Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University Libraries and the Posner Center and Fine Arts Foundation.

2017 — Norberg Travel Grant Recipient at the Charles Babbage Institute (CBI), College of Science and Engineering & University Libraries, University of Minnesota.

2017–2016 — A.W. Mellon Fellow in the Digital Humanities, Dietrich College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University.

2015 — Began doctoral studies of literature and cultural studies at Carnegie Mellon University, Dept. of English. 

2015–2013 — VP Communications and Special Writing Projects for Hexagram, writer and game developer.

2012–2011 — Freelance scientific and technical editor with a client focus on data visualization and communicating science.

2009–2011 — Studied philosophy at The New School for Social Research graduate program in philosophy (no degree).

2007–2009 — Studied rhetoric of technology, multimodal rhetoric, and discourse analysis at Carnegie Mellon University, Dept. of English.

2006–2008 — Studied liberal arts at St. Johns College, Annapolis, at the Graduate Institute.

2003—2006 — Studied liberal arts at Evergreen State College, with a focus on ancient Greek, Latin, philosophy, and classical studies.