Current Project, The Generated Word (working title)

I am currently working on a book, a monograph on computer-generated books.

Curriculum Vitae

Zach Whalen

Department of Communication and Digital Studies
University of Mary Washington
1301 College Avenue
Fredericksburg, VA 22401 (540) 654-2355 / / / @zachwhalen

Professional Experience

University of Mary Washington

Associate Professor of Digital Studies, Department of English, Linguistics and Communication. 2014 - present
Teaching, Technology, and Innovation Fellow 2015 - 2017
Assistant Professor of New Media, Department of English, Linguistics and Communication. 2008 - 2014

University of Florida

Teaching Assistant, Department of English. 2002 - 2008
Alumni Doctoral Fellow. 2004 - 2008
Image Lab Assistant, CLAS Computing. 2003 - 2008
Research Assistant, Comics Studies. 2004


Ph.D. in English; University of Florida, 2008
Focus: Digital Media/Visual Rhetoric, Video Game Studies
Dissertation: "The Videogame Text: Typography and Textuality."
Directors: Dr. Donald Ault and Dr. Terry Harpold.
M.A. in English; University of Florida; May 2004
Focus: Digital Media Studies
Thesis: "Play Along: Video Game Music as Metaphor and Metonymy."
Directors: Dr. J. Yellowlees Douglas, Dr. Donald Ault.
B.A. in Philosophy, English, minor in Music; Carson-Newman College; May 2002
Honors Thesis: "TheorySpace v2.03 : Applications of Critical Theory in Hypertext Literature"
Directors: Dr. Ernest Lee and Dr. D. Brian Austin.

Honors, Grants and Awards

Outstanding Mid-Career Faculty Award, 2017.
Teaching, Technology and Innovation Fellowship, 2015-2017.
CAS Summer Pedagogy Grant, 2016.
UMW Jepson Fellowship, 2013 - 2014
UMW Faculty Development Supplemental Grants (travel funding), 10 total between 2009 and 2014
Faculty Research Grant, Summer 2009 (UMW)
Designated Travel Grant, 2009 (TeachUMW )
Alumni Fellowship, 2004 - 2008 (University of Florida)
Grinter Fellowship, 2002 - 2004 (University of Florida)
Departmental Travel Awards, 3 awards from 2002 - 2007 (University of Florida)


Edited Collections

Disability in Comic Books and Graphic Narratives.
Eds. Chris Foss, Jonathan W. Gray and Zach Whalen. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2016.
Playing the Past: History and Nostalgia in Video Games.
Eds. Zach Whalen and Laurie N. Taylor. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press, 2008.

Journal Articles

"The Many Authors of The Several Houses of Brian, Spencer, Liam, Victoria, Brayden, Vincent, and Alex: Authorship, Agency, and Appropriation"
The Journal of Creative Writing Studies. 4:1 (2019). <>
"Teaching with Objects: Individuating Media Archaeology in Digital Studies"
The Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy. 15 (2019).
"Deviant Materialities: Reflective Surfaces and Hollow Bodies in CSI"
Refractory: a Journal of Entertainment Media. 13 (2008). < and-hollow-bodies-in-csi-zach-whalen/>
"Game Studies and Web 2.0: Finding an Audience Online"
Flow. Department of Radio-TV-Film at UT Austin. Special Video Games Issue (2007). <>
"Game/Genre: A critique of Generic Formulas in Video Games in the Context of 'The Real'"
Works and Days 22:43/44 (2004): 289 - 303.
"Play Along: An Approach to Video Game Music"
Game Studies: The International Journal of Computer Game Research
"Ludology -- Who Gets to Play?"
M/C: A Journal of Media and Culture 7:2. (March 2004). <>.

Book Chapters

"From Feats of Clay to Narrative Prose/Thesis."
Disability in Comic Books and Graphic Narratives. Eds. Chris Foss, Jonathan W. Gray and Zach Whalen. Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.
"Mainframe Games."
Encyclopedia of Video Games. Ed. Mark J.P. Wolf. Greenwood Press, 2013.
"Channel F for Forgotten: The Video Entertainment System."
Before the Crash. Ed. Mark J.P. Wolf. Wayne State University Press, 2012.
Taylor, Laurie N. and Zach Whalen. "Introduction to Playing the Past."
Playing the Past: Video Games, History, and Memory. Eds. Zach Whalen and Laurie N. Taylor. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt UP, 2008.
"Film Music vs. Game Music: The Case of Silent Hill."
Music, Sound and Multimedia: From the Live to the Virtual. Ed. Jamie Sexton. Edinburgh: Edinburgh U P, 2007.
"Cruising in San Andreas: Ludic Space and Urban Aesthetics in Grand Theft Auto"
The Meaning and Culture of Grand Theft Auto. Ed. Nathan Garrelts. Jefferson, NC: McFarland Press, 2006.

Other Scholarly Writing

"Postword" to Golem by Nick Montfort.
Golem. Dead Alive, 2021. <>
"Hardestest - Navigating Patterns in Super Hexagon"
Gamers with Glasses. 5 October 2020. <>
"Review of The Future was Here and Codename Revolution."
American Journal of Play. 6:1. (Fall 2013). < review/6-future-was-here-commodore-amiga-jimmy-maher>
"Created by Warren Robinnett"
In Media Res. Politics of Media Archaeology, Ed. Matthew Stoddard. 9 August 2013. <>.
"Mr. and Mrs. Beauchamp of Olympus Heights"
Play the Past. 20 August 2013. <>
"It Moves"
In Media Res. Digital Comics, Ed. Roger Whitson. 23 February 2012. <>.

Conferences and Presentations

Invited Lectures

Workshop on Computer-Generated Books
If, Then: Technology and Poetics, October 18, 2021. Online.
University of Pittsburgh, October 28, 2021. Online.
Northeastern University, March 8, 2022. Online.
"game(text): videogames and textual aesthetics"
Invited Guest Lecture. Center for Digital Discourse and Culture, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA, February 12, 2010.
"The Videogame Text"
Invited Guest Lecture. Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities' Digital Dialogues series. University of Maryland. October 14, 2009.


"Can a Computer-Generated Book Matter?: NaNoGenMo as Critical Media Art"
2022 Conference of the Electronic Literature Organization. May 20, 2022. Online.
"Reading Energy Crisis Poems"
2021 Conference of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts. October 2, 2021. Online.
"The 2020 Presidential Debate But Only The Parts Where Someone Breathes Loudly Or Sighs"
2021 International Digital Media Arts Association Conference, "Broken Media." June 26, 2021. Online.
"The Generated Word: Metaphoric, Metonymic, and Operationalist"
2021 Conference of the Electronic Literature Organization. May 26, 2021. Online.
"Digitally Intensive Across Disciplines"
UMW Faculty Academy. May 13, 2021.
"From 'Digital Humanities' to 'Digital Studies' or 'Tactical Interdisciplinarity'
Association for Computers and the Humanities 2019. July 26, 2019. Pittsburgh, PA.
"NaNoGenMoCat: A Database of Computer Generated Novels"
2019 Conference of the Electronic Literature Organization. July 16, 2019. Cork, Ireland.
" The Un-Textbook"
Computers and Writing 2019. June 21, 2019. East Lansing, MI.
"Against Blogging"
Domains 2019. June 11, 2019. Durham, NC.
"Computers Reading Computers' Writing"
2018 Conference of the Electronic Literature Organization. August 14, 2018. Montreal, CA.
"The Physical Spaces of Digital Media"
Computers and Writing 2018. May 25, 2018. Fairfax, VA.
"Ethical Open Pedagogy"
2018 Modern Language Association Convention, New York, NY. January 7, 2018.
"Response: Curating Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities"
2017 Modern Language Association Convention, Philadelphia, PA, January 5, 2017.
"Open Pedagogies: Levels of Learning, Support, and Community" (with Lee Skallerup-Bessette)
2016 Open Education Conference, Richmond, VA, November 3, 2016.
"Twitter Bots, Operational Aesthetics & Dark UI"
2016 Electronic Literature Organization Conference, Victoria, BC, June 11, 2016.
"Cat Facts, Animated GIFs, and Digital Community"
2016 UMW Faculty Gathering, May 11, 2016.
"What Video Game History says about New Media Futures"
2015 Digital Scholarship Colloquium. UMW. February 4, 2015.
"Airstream Futures"
2015 Modern Language Association Convention, Vancouver, BC, January 11, 2015.
"Protest Bots"
Bot Summit 2014. November 8, 2014. Online.
"Artistic and Literary Bots in Social Media"
2014 Electronic Literature Organization Conference. Milwaukee, WI, June 19, 2014.
"Lexia to Perplexia (2000 – 2013)"
2014 Modern Language Association Convention, Chicago, IL, January 4, 2014
"_ebooks, Typography, and Twitter Art"
2014 Modern Language Association Convention, Chicago, IL, January 5, 2014.
"Videogame Typography and its Antecedents"
2013 Society for Textual Scholarship International Interdisciplinary Conference, March 6, 2013.
"OCR and the Vestigial Aesthetics of Machine Vision"
2013 Modern Language Association Convention, Boston, MA, January 3, 2013.
"A Counterfactual Historiography of Three Game Platforms"
2012 Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts Conference, Milwaukee, WI, September 29, 2012.
"From Digital Storytelling to Electronic Literature"
2012 Faculty Academy. University of Mary Washington. May 16, 2012.
"'//create magnetic children': Game Code as Critical Paratext"
2012 Society for Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference, Boston, MA, March 23, 2012.
"Close Enough"
2012 Modern Language Association Convention, Seattle, WA, January 7, 2012.
"Alternate Reality Games, Transmedia Textuality, and the Immaterial Archive"
2011 Modern Language Association Convention, Los Angeles, CA, January 8, 2011.
"Is Digital Scholarship Really Scholarship?"
2010 Faculty Academy. University of Mary Washington. May 12, 2010.
"Zork and the Videogame Canon, or, a Program for Videogame Pedagogy"
2010 Society for Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference, Los Angeles, CA, March 20, 2010.
"Alternate Reality Games and Futures of Textuality"
5th Annual Florida Digital Assembly Conference: Futures of Digital Studies, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL. February 25, 2010.
"How I use Drupal to roll my own"
2009 Faculty Academy. University of Mary Washington. May 14, 2009.
"Altering Reality: Teaching with and about ARGs"
2009 Faculty Academy. University of Mary Washington. May 14, 2009.
"Ideology and Discourse in Videogame Co[ntext]de"
Southern American Studies Association Biennial Meeting. George Mason University. Fairfax, VA. February 12, 2009.
"An Archaeology of the Videogame Image"
2008 Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference. Philadelphia, PA. March 7, 2008.
"Quest for Saddam / Quest for Bush: Fantastic Abstractions in Videogame Rhetoric"
UF English Graduate Organization 7th Annual Conference. Gainesville, FL. October 18, 2007.
"Heads-Up Display: Text in the Videogame Interface"
2007 Society for Cinema and Media Studies Conference. Chicago, IL. March 9, 2007.
"Lost in Emulation: World of Difference in Videogame Typography"
3rd Annual UF Game Studies Conference, "World Building: Space and Community." Gainesville, FL. March 1, 2007.
"Bodies and/as/of Evidence: CSI: Dark Motives and Uncanny Doubles"
PCAS/ACAS 2005 Conference. Jacksonville, FL. October 4, 2005.
"Reading as Cryptography: The Role of Encoding and Decoding in Digital and Print Culture"
Elective Affinities IAWIS/AIERTI 7th International Conference on Word & Image Studies, Philadelphia, PA. September 26, 2005.
"House of Leaves and Digital Ontology"
Visual Culture: Image, Icon, and Ideology. 14th Annual KSU Cultural Studies Conference. Manhattan, KS. March 11, 2005.
"Playing with the Past: Structural Pastiche and Visual Nostalgia XIII and Viewtiful Joe"
Comics & Animation: Simultaneity & Sequentiality. 2004 UF Conference on Comics. Gainesville, FL. October 29, 2004.
"Survival Horror Stories: Musical and Aural Landscapes"
Narr@tive: Digital Storytelling, 2004. UCLA. Los Angeles, CA. April 23, 2004.

Digital Projects

"pent: house"
A digital, concrete poem created for a pandemic-themed issue of Taper (Fall 2020).<>.
A digital concrete poem that remixes emoji graphics and their textual descriptions. Published in Taper #3 (Spring 2019.) <>
The Several Houses of Brian, Spencer, Liam, Victoria, Brayden, Vincent, and Alex
This is a book completed for NaNoGenMo 2017 that generates an 800-page children's book with data from
SSBot is a Google Spreadsheets-based tool programmed in Google Apps Script that makes it easy for users to create their own Twitter Bot in a few steps. <>
An Arthrogram
This is an programmatically-authored book, written in Perl, that creates grid-style comic panel layouts in every possible permutation of a 3 x 3 panel grid.
Image Macronanalysis with Javascript is a web-based tool that allows users to generate visualizations out of large sets of images. <>
AMBP is a web-based archive that attempts to collect student and fan-created responses, remixes, illustrations or other interpretations for all 734 pages of the novel, House of Leaves.
Other Digital Projects
Other projects like my many Twitter bots and odd videos are listed on my website. <>.

Professional Memberships

Electronic Literature Organization

Institutional Service

University of Mary Washington, Digital Intensive Working Group, 2019.
University of Mary Washington, Curriculum Committee, 2019.
College of Arts and Sciences, Curriculum Committee, 2017-19. (2019 chair)
Department of English Linguistics and Communication, Faculty Senator, 2014-15.
Department of English Linguistics and Communication, Assessment Coordinator, 2013 – present.
University of Mary Washington, Academic Affairs Committee Secretary, 2011 – 2013.
Department of English Linguistics and Communication, Secretary, 2011 – 2012.
College of Arts and Sciences, Arts, Literature and Performance General Education Assessment Working Group, 2011.
College of Arts and Sciences, Academic Affairs Committee, 2010 – 2011.
Department of English Linguistics and Communication, Outcomes and Assessment Committee, 2009 – 2013.
Department of English Linguistics and Communication, Events Committee, 2008 – 2009.

Professional Service

The Programming Historian, peer reviewer, 2017.
Modern Language Association, Committee on Information Technology, 2015-2017.
Journal of Interactive Teaching and Pedagogy, peer reviewer, 2016, 2019.
National Endowment for the Humanities Office of Digital Humanities, review panelist, 2012, 2016 and 2018.
Polity Books, proposal review, 2016.
Digital Literary Studies, peer reviewer, 2016.
University of Minnesota Press, manuscript reviewer, 2016.
MIT Press, proposal and manuscript peer reviewer, 2010-2012, 2015.
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Insight Grant external assessment reviewer, 2013.
Routledge Press, proposal peer reviewer, 2012, 2021.
Design and Implementation of Educational Games: Theoretical and Practical Perspectives, Editorial Review Board Member, 2008 – 2009.
Journal of Canadian Film Studies, peer reviewer, 2011.
Journal of Communication Inqury, peer reviewer, 2011.
Games and Culture, peer reviewer, 2010.
Game Studies: The International Journal of Computer Game Research, peer reviewer, 2010., Editor, 2004 – present.
ImageText: Interdisciplinary Comics Studies, Production Consultant, 2008 – present.
ImageTexT: Interdisciplinary Comics Studies, Production Editor, 2007 – 2008.


Available upon request.