Michael Rectenwald
Office Phone: 412-268-5922 Click to go to the English Department Click to go to the Robotics Institute Click to go to the Intelligent Software Group Click to send me an email message Michael Rectenwald, Ph.D.Carnegie Mellon Main Page

banner Photos Ginsberg Memorabilia : my eulogy, letters to and from, etc. Student Resources for Courses I am Teaching Publications Curriculum Vitae

My interests in Literary and Cultural Studies involve the politics of knowledge, with particular historical emphasis on 19th century cultures of science. My dissertation, The Publics of Science: Periodicals and the Making of British Science, 1820-1860, is a study of nineteenth-century print culture as a key context for knowledge producers who vied for (and against) cultural authority on the basis of beliefs claimed as ‘scientific.’ I argue that the landscape of 19th century science in culture should be revised to account for multiple, distinct, yet overlapping public spheres. My research connects to broader questions concerning the rise of science relative to the humanities, the contemporary relationship between the humanities and the sciences, and the questions of epistemology common to both. See an abstract of my dissertation, here.

Other interests include beginning a Cultural Studies of Robotics, which would consider the social models and ideologies implied or embedded within Artificial Intelligence research and development, among other topics.

My interestes also include political activism and World Wide Web. Following the 2000 election debacle, I founded and am the Chairperson of Citizens for Legitimate Government (www.legitgov.org). I have appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including the Alan Colmes show on WABC and Fox Radio, MSNBC's "Scarborough Country," RadioLeft, and many other stations and forums.The CLG continues its activities to date.

I also work in the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University as the writer/editor for the Intelligent Software Agents Lab. As the writer/editor for this Artificial Intelligence Research Laboratory, my work involves a broad range of communications genres, from highly technical writing and design, to that intended for a wider readership.

Students and other interested persons can visit my Course Resources Page for further information about the courses I am teaching and/or have taught.

My publication history includes essays and other items in several literary and academic journals and anthologies, as well as book reviews for popular newspapers. A small book of my poems, The Eros of the Baby Boom Eras, was published in 1991 by Apogee Books. (If the bookstores don't have it, email me and I'll get you a remaindered copy for a small fee. Given the back cover endorsement by Allen Ginsberg, the publisher was a trifle overly enthusiastic and printed 5,000 copies). I include a partial listing of my publications, with links to online reviews.

To access the following materials, please send me an email explaining your intended use and promise of fair use and proper credit given to my work.

My Ph.D. exam research involved a study of the philosophical and epistemological convictions of scientific materialism in 19th century British culture, with special attention paid to what I considered to be the shifting political valences of scientific materialism during the period (1816-1870). In my Cultural Period PH.D. Essay, I considered the shift from catastrophism to gradualism as a function of the meanings of scientific materialism as it mediated social, political and economic change. In my Theory PH.D. Essay, I considered the importance of historicism to several subdiscourses within the interdisplinary discourse known as Science Studies.

My work has included a study of science in George Eliot's Middlemarch, which was presented in Pittsburgh at the annual conference of the Society for Literature and Science in 1997, and won the Neil McIntyre prize for the best scholarly essay by a graduate student in English at Case Western Reserve University. My work also includes a consideration of positivism in Dickens's Hard Times.

I will be presenting a chapter at the Annual Conference of the Society for Literature and Science in Pasadena. Click here for a summary.

The following material is not password protected:

In another life, I was an apprenctice to poet Allen Ginsberg at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics in Boulder, Colorado. I include some correspondence and other memorabilia from my experience with Ginsberg. I have more letters to and from Ginsberg, but haven't had the time to scan and get them online. Note: I am not a Beat Poetry fanatic. I have more war stories than 'mystical visions and cosmic vibrations' to share about my personal Beat adventures before and after.

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