Welcome to the first and longest running website maintained by a professor at Georgetown University. I am the Founding Director of Georgetown's Communication, Culture & Technology Program (CCT), and have been a professor at Georgetown for over 30 years. I set up the first website at Georgetown, The Labyrinth -- and the first website in the humanities -- in 1993, and began developing websites for courses in 1994. When I launched the CCT Program in 1995-96, I began developing custom-designed sites for each course with web syllabi, readings, and lecture notes, and this site has now become my archive of courses, lectures, essays, and presentations for students and anyone interested in the fields I work in.
My teaching and research interests span several fields and disciplines: theory and philosophy of technology and culture; the history and theory of computation and the design of computing systems; semiotic theory and C. S. Peirce; linguistics and philosophy of language; media and communication theory and history; and philosophy and intellectual history more broadly. I also have a deep interest in art theory and history, and have worked with many artists and musicians.
Current Research Interests:
I continually draw from my earlier background in classical and medieval languages, literature, and philosophy, and have been working on new translations of writings by Leibniz (in Latin and French) on semiotics, computation, calculating machines and the binary number system. (Results of this research will appear in forthcoming papers and a book in progress.)
Over the past 8 years, I have been working on the unpublished papers of C. S. Peirce on logic, semeiotic, his designs for scientific instruments, logic machines, mathematics, notation systems, and his extensive work on the binary number system. I have a book in progress on a new intellectual history of computing and information from Leibniz to the present with a Peircean "Logic as Semeiotic" framework. (See below for references in Recent Publications and Work in Progress.)
Current Courses and Seminars
- CCTP-711: Computing and the Meaning of Code
- CCTP-820: Leading By Design: Design Principles and Socio-Technical Systems
- CCTP-607: Leading Ideas in Technology: AI to the Cloud
- CCTP-802: Art and Media Interface(d)
Earlier Courses and Seminars
- CCTP-715: Computing and The Meaning of Life
- CCTP 748: Media Theory and Meaning Systems
- CCTP 797: Technology / Theory / Culture
- CCTP-798: Key Concepts in Technology and How to Use Them [Online-only: Information]
Work in Progress
- The Semiotic Foundations of Computing: A Peircean Redescription of Computation, Information, and Digital Media (book in progress).
Recent Articles, Book Chapters, and Conference Papers
- "Semiotics in Computing and Information Systems." Chapter in Bloomsbury Semiotics, ed Jamin Pelkey (London: Bloomsbury, 2022), vol. 2, 203-237. [A more complete study of the relevant C. S. Peirce papers will be included in The Semiotic Foundations of Computing book.]
- “Beginnings: The Labyrinth Medieval Studies Website,” with Deborah Everhart. In Digital Medieval Studies -- Practice and Preservation, edited by Laura K. K. Morreale and Sean Gilsdorf, 1-32. Leeds: Arc Humanities Press, 2022 [Final pre-press version].
- The Labyrinth Medieval Studies Website, with Deborah Everhart. Archived in Digital Georgetown, Georgetown University Library, 2021. [Archived contents and description of the first Website in the humanities, developed in 1993 by Martin Irvine and Deborah Everhart, opened in 1994.]
- "Peirce's 'Logic as Semeiotic' and Semiotic Design Homologies in Computing Systems," Semiotic Society of America Annual Meeting, 2019. [Google Slides] [PDF]
- "C. S. Peirce and the Foundations of Computation: Computation as Automatable Semiosis." Semiotic Society of America Annual Meeting, 2016. Expanded version, revised, 2018.
- "A Peircean Redescription of Computation: All Computing is Humanistic Computing." Semiotic Society of America Annual Meeting, 2018.
- "The Continuum in the Code Base: Computation as Automated Semiosis," invited paper for Le sujet digital: / The Digital Subject: Codes, University of Paris VIII, November, 2015.
- "Remix and the Dialogic Engine of Culture: A Model for Generative Combinatoriality." In The Routledge Companion to Remix Studies, ed. Eduardo Navas, et al. (New York: Routledge, 2014), 15-42.
- "The Work on the Street: Street Art and Visual Culture." Chapter in The Handbook of Visual Culture, ed. Barry Sandywell and Ian Heywood. London and New York: Berg, 2012, 235-278. See also the thumbnail inventory of images cited (in color) (pdf).
- "Extensible Memory, Distributed Cognition, and Artefactual Intelligence: Exorcising the Ghost in the Machine," invited paper for Le sujet digital: l'hypermnésie / The Digital Subject: Questioning Hypermnesia, University of Paris VIII, November 15, 2012.
- Google Scholar: List of Publications and Papers.
- Bibliography of publications in Curriculum Vitae [being updated]
Research Resource Site: C. S. Peirce's Logic as Semeiotic Project (c.1896-1913)
- This site makes available my research on the Peirce Papers collection archived at Houghton Library, Harvard University, for my book project. I have been focusing on the unpublished papers (drafts, letters, notebooks) from the 1890s-1912. There is a link to my spreadsheet (of nearly 1,000 sources. This contains brief notes and dates of the papers for a clear picture of the trajectory of Peirce's work on logic, semiotics, mathematics, computation, and designs for technical instruments, including the many papers and notes on his methods for binary (base 2) computation, which he developed in great detail several decades before the beginnings of our digital computing era.
Writing to be Read: A Rhetoric for the Digital Age.
A guide for structuring your argument in essays and theses, and supporting your writing with authoritative sources in any medium, whether writing traditional "papers" or rich media essays on the Web.
Communication, Culture, and Technology Program (CCT)
3520 Prospect St., NW, Suite 311
Washington, DC 20057
I thought of a labyrinth of labyrinths, of one sinuous spreading labyrinth that would encompass the past and the future and in some way involve the stars. -- Jorge Luis Borges, from "The Garden of Forking Paths"
Nothing conclusive has yet taken place in the world, the ultimate word of the world and about the world has not yet been spoken, the world is open and free, everything is still in the future and will always be in the future. -- Mikhail Bakhtin
The valuable truth is not the detached one, but the one that goes toward enlarging the system of what is already known. -- C. S. Peirce, from "The First Rule of Logic" (1898)