Amusements & Useful Devices from K. A. Wisniewski
I am currently a Lecturer in the English Department at the University of Maryland College Park. Prior to this position, I taught History at Stevenson University, Visual Arts at UMBC, and English and College Writing at Widener University. From 2006-2011, I served as Assistant Professor of English and Affiliate Assistant Professor of History & Political Science at Cecil College.
I earned my Ph.D. in English & History in the Language, Literacy, and Culture Program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. My dissertation investigated writer, designer, composer, and founding father Francis Hopkinson and printing, publishing, reading, and education during the American Revolution and early republic.
Before arriving at UMBC, I earned graduate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Baltimore. I have worked as a full-time professor, editor, researcher, archivist, transcriber, graphic artist/designer, and starving artist/musician. I edited an anthology on comedian Dave Chappelle, The Comedy of Dave Chappelle: Critical Essays (2009) and published the poetry chapbook Making Faces (2016). In 2014, I was elected Managing Editor of Roving Eye Press, by a collective of artists and scholars re-issuing the works of the poet-publisher-impresario-writer in every imaginable genre, Bob Brown (1886-1959), and I joined the Editorial Board at Calypso Editions, an artist-run small press publishing literary fiction, poetry, and translations. Most recently, I joined the Editorial Board for the book series Beyond Criticism, published by Bloomsbury.
My primary research interests include the history and future of the book and publishing, early American literature, comedy and satire, composition studies and cultural theory. In general, my work explores two areas: (1) the legacy of print culture and what the printed book and reading means and the transformation of these meanings in the digital age and (2) the ways in which comedy (jokes, riddles, puns, games) may be used as a displacement strategy, that is, a tool for cultural analyses to identify, to feel–what Roland Barthes’ called the punctum–to make the strange familiar, and the familiar strange. Much of my work is influenced by the work of Greg Ulmer and what he calls electracy. In 2016, I founded the journal Textshop Experiments, to promote the ideas and practices of electracy and to foster innovative and experimental writing and scholarship in the fields of Rhetoric and Composition (broadly defined here). Other interests include critical making, poetry and poetics, film and new media, architecture, public history, and memory and remembrance.
Despite juggling a variety of projects already, I am always interested in forming new scholarly relationships and collaborations. Those interested in sharing new collaborative projects, in testing new digital tools and platforms, or in hearing more about my work are encouraged to contact me.