Getting medieval in real time

  • Richard H Godden
Short Essay


From making it easier to collaborate and share work to making manuscripts available through digital imaging, the emergence of new technologies such as email, digital media, Facebook, and Twitter have radically re-shaped what it means to do academic work. This essay explores the timeliness of these new technologies. Firstly, by ‘timeliness’ I do mean a sense of fortuitous timing. As an academic with a physical disability, the advent of email and electronic databases full of searchable journal articles could not have been more timely. Without tools like these, pursuing a PhD would have been far more laborious than it already was. But by ‘timeliness’ I am also asking the following question: How do we describe the time of the academic? Using my personal experiences as a starting point, I consider the intersection of Disability Studies and recent work on time and temporality in order to provide the beginnings of an answer. Rather than conceiving the time of the academic as that of working in solitude in our own pockets of time, I suggest that we consider how the social capabilities of new technologies produce a sense of being-together, of working at the same time.



I would like to thank Jeffrey Cohen for his encouragement (and patience) with writing this piece. I would also like to thank Karl Steel and Eileen Joy for being so welcoming. Special thanks go to Tanya Titchkosky for an incredibly timely notice of an issue of Disability Studies Quarterly, and to Debie Lohe for reading my work and giving thoughtful comments. All errors are, of course, my own.


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard H Godden
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EnglishWashington University in Saint Louis

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