How and Why Books Matter - Essays on the Social Function of Iconic Texts - James W Watts

How and Why Books Matter - Essays on the Social Function of Iconic Texts - James W Watts

Iconic Digital Texts: How Ritual Makes 'Virtual' Texts Material

How and Why Books Matter - Essays on the Social Function of Iconic Texts - James W Watts

James W Watts [+-]
Syracuse University
View Website
James W. Watts is Professor of Religion at Syracuse University. He is the author of Understanding the Pentateuch as a Scripture (Wiley Blackwell, 2017) and the editor of Iconic Books and Texts (Equinox, 2013) and Sensing Sacred Texts (Equinox, 2018).

Description

In contrast to the increasing interest in bodies and materials in humanistic research, digital culture celebrates the fantasy that people (as avatars in virtual reality) and texts (as e-books) can escape their material constraints. Ritual, however, by drawing sustained attention to practices with texts, inevitably draws attention to their material forms. In doing so, it destroys the illusion that digital texts are “virtual.” The more a digital text is ritualized, the more physical and less virtual it appears. I demonstrate this thesis by examining two kinds of ritualized digital texts: those whose digitization has been used to expand or restrict the ritual uses of digitized texts and those whose digitization has permitted new ways of seeing and manipulating their original material form. These examples draw attention either to the physical nature and location of digital devices or to the physical form of the material texts that digital images reproduce.

Notify A Colleague

Citation

Watts, James. Iconic Digital Texts: How Ritual Makes 'Virtual' Texts Material. How and Why Books Matter - Essays on the Social Function of Iconic Texts. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Feb 2019. ISBN 9781781797686. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=35885. Date accessed: 14 Dec 2018 doi: 10.1558/equinox.35885. Feb 2019

Dublin Core Metadata