My readings for other classes this week have emphasized the development of print culture in Western society and its ascendency to the preeminent medium of knowledge dissemination. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about print culture and its very material and political effects on society. Writing made possible the production of the archive as we traditionally think of it, and the codex in particular is a technology developed for the production of the archive as library. Current critical theory has placed a lot of emphasis on questioning archives and proposing alternatives – especially for cultures that may not have an emphasis on print. Fitzpatrick correctly how current digital forms of scholarship and archive still too closely model themselves on print culture, carrying with them the biases and political power structures that are inherent in that system. In particular, I’m reminded of a documentary on Wikipedia that problematizes the citation requirements (http://vimeo.com/26469276) and a recent picture I saw depicting Spanish missionaries burning Aztec records at the same time they were writing new histories and translating the bible into indigenous languages (http://books.google.com/books?id=L5O-v2V1ryYC&lpg=PP1&pg=PA41#v=onepage&q&f=false). And an article I recently read entitled “Peer review and the Social Construction of Knoweldge in the Management of Discipline” (http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/40214251?uid=2460338175&uid=2460337935&uid=2&uid=4&uid=83&uid=63&sid=21101223615181).
Are there possibilities for textual criticism of code? Will future generations look at the codes behind legacy websites and extrapolate meaning from them? Are people already doing this and what does this mean for the study of literature, which is my discipline.