Adam Bradley

PhD English Language & Literature

Adam BradleyFor many, it may be difficult to see the intersection between technology and traditional literary studies. But for Adam Bradley, there was a link there and a relationship yet to be discovered.  Adam is a graduate of UWaterloo’s Master’s program in Experimental Digital Media and a PhD candidate in the department of English Language and Literature working towards a double doctorate in English and Systems Design Engineering. “I’m specifically interested in why literary scholars do not have better digital tools to aid in their research. We must accept that we are not going to replace literary critics with technology, but that it is possible to augment our processes in interesting ways.”

With a particular interest in 20th century poetry, Adam explains that his focus has always been literature. “This is all an attempt to study poetry in new ways.” He describes himself as a traditionalist when it comes to literary studies. “I believe that you need to be trained in the fundamentals of literary scholarship to be able to push the boundaries. If you don’t have a solid grounding in poetics and its traditions and history, it is difficult to engage in questions about where the edges of the discipline are.” The Systems Design portion of the project was introduced because Adam believes that the interaction with new tools and systems is of equal importance to a strong literary background for this kind of project.

It is clear that this is an unusual combination of research areas, and Adam credits UW for making his work possible: “I don’t know anywhere else that would have entertained this idea. I can’t imagine being anywhere else.” This particular double PhD program was custom created for Adam by his supervisors, Marcel O’Gorman (English) and Mark Hancock (Systems Design) and their respective departments. “We don’t know what the dissertation will look like yet,” Adam explains, “but finding connections between the two disciplines is a very exciting prospect.”

November 2013 Megan Scarborough

University of Waterloo

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