Photo of Brian Greenspan

Brian Greenspan

Associate Professor

Degrees:Ph.D. (University of Toronto), M.A. (University of Western Ontario), B.A. (Hons.) (University of Western Ontario)
Office:DT 1802

Research Interests

  • Digital humanities
  • Utopian studies
  • New narrative media

Current Research

My research traces the intersections of print narrative and new storytelling media. I’m particularly interested in how utopian and dystopian narratives from any given era represent and respond to narrative technologies, and in how the lessons of Utopian Studies might inform the new affordances offered by hypertext, video games and social media.

With colleagues at Carleton’s Hyperlab and elsewhere, I’m developing innovative locative media authorware for spatial storytelling. Our StoryTrek system makes it easy to create complex, “augmented reality” multimedia narratives that twist and turn depending on the reader’s geospatial position and style of navigation through real space.  We’ve used the system for mobile stories and games, heritage conservation projects, and the critical study of social and literary spaces.

Currently, I’m using our software to layer city maps over fictional city narratives (in the form of novels, serialized stories and unpublished manuscripts), historical street maps, photographs, blueprints of landmark buildings (both extant and demolished), and visionary drawings of urban spaces.  By using the city streets themselves as an interactive interface to historical representations of urban decline, destruction and renewal, I aim to create a speculative archive of the cities that were, and those that might have been.

Recent Honours and Awards

International Co-Investigator, AHRC Follow-on Funding for Impact and Engagement Scheme Grant, 2017-19

Collaborator, SSHRC Partnership Development Grant, 2017-19

Teaching Achievement Award, Carleton University, 2017

Collaborator, FRQSC Appui à la recherche creation, 2016-19

Collaborator, SSHRC Partnership Grant, 2015-18

Network Partner, Leverhulme International Research Network Grant, 2014-16

FASS Research Award, Carleton University, 2013

Co-PI, Canada Foundation for Innovation Infrastructure Grant, 2013

Co-Recipient, Best Paper Award, Canadian Game Studies Association

Principle Network Investigator, Graphics, Animation and New Media Network of Centres of Excellence, 2013-15

SSHRC Standard Research Grant, 2011-14

Co-applicant, SSHRC Insight Development Grant, 2012-13

Recent Publications

“The Scandal of Digital Humanities.” Forthcoming in Matthew K. Gold and Lauren Klein, eds.,Debates in the Digital Humanities 2017. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Emily Christina Murphy, Brian Greenspan & Shannon Smith. “The Undergraduate Summer Intensive: Principles of Pedagogy and Design.” Forthcoming in Crompton, Lane & Siemens, eds. Doing Digital Humanities: Practice, Training, Research. Routledge.

“Are Digital Humanists Utopian?” In Matthew K. Gold and LaurenDebates in the Digital Humanities 2016. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press: 393-409.

Kim Martin, Anabel Quan-Haase, Brian Greenspan (co-author). (2016). “STAK –Serendipitous Tool for Augmenting Knowledge: Connecting Digital and Physical Resources.” Digital Studies/Le champ numérique 2016. ojs/index.php/digital_studies/article/view/336/462.

“Burning Canada’s Libraries and other Monumental Errors.” MediaTropes 5.2 (2015): 89-101.

“Don’t Make a Scene: Game Studies for an Uncertain World.” Digital Studies/Le champ numérique Vol.5 (2014-15).

Selected Keynotes and Invited Lectures 

“Strange Cognitions: SF and the Metanovum.” Plenary Lecture. Science Fiction Colloquium, Université de Montréal, December 11, 2017.

“Party Dress: Wearable Media for Utopian Bodies”. Keynote address. Digital Humanities Summer Institute-Atlantic (DHSI@Dal), May 10, 2016.

“Burning the Library: DH as Dystopia.” Closing plenary address. DHSI@Congress, May 30-31, 2015 Ottawa, Canada.

“New Worlds for New Media: A Digital Humanist’s Map of Utopia.” Keynote lecture for Digital Utopias: Literary Space(s) in the Digital Age, EGSA Annual Conference, April 3-4 2014, University of Texas-Arlington.

“Moving Forward, Backwards and Sideways: Navigating the New Landscape of Knowledge Mobilization.” Invited presentation for Imagining Canada’s Future: Insights from Carleton University, SSHRC Research Impact Regional Event, 1125@Carleton, March 20, 2014.

“Not in Kansas Anymore: Designing an Abducted Reality Game”. Keynote Lecture for the Canadian Game Studies Association, Victoria University, June 3-5, 2013.

“Dream Mode: Utopian Rhetoric and Spatial Play.” Keynote address for Multimodality: Considerations for Communication, Interpretation, and Adaptatation, The 17th Pacific Rim Conference on Literature and Rhetoric, University of Alaska Anchorage, March 9 & 10, 2012.

“The Digital Humanities and Other Utopias.” Invited lecture for the Interdisciplinary Development Initiative in Digital Humanities’ Speaker Series, University of Western Ontario, November, 2012.

“Gone Viral: Collaborative Media as Dystopia.” Keynote address for Co-op Mode: Interactivity and Narrative, the Sixth Annual University of Ottawa English Graduate Conference, May 2011.

“Virtually Perfect: New Media and the Future of Utopia.” Series capstone lecture for Possible Worlds, Alternative Futures: Utopianism in Theory & Practice Seminar. The Center for the Humanities, The Graduate Center, CUNY, May 2011.

“Casual Revolutionaries: Work and Play in the Networked Utopia”. Keynote address for the 2011 Free- Exchange Graduate Conference, Department of English, Calgary University, March 2011.

Other Selected Presentations

“Yesterday’s Island of Tomorrow: Augmented Reality as Utopian Space”. Society for Utopian Studies 41st Annual Meeting. St. Petersburg, FL, October 27-30.

“Just What Is It That Makes Today’s E-Lit Labs So Different, So Appealing?”. 2016 Electronic Literature Organization, University of Victoria, June 10-12.

“Caught in the Mesh: Developing a First-Person Stroller”. Canadian Game Studies Association Annual Meeting, University of Calgary, June 1-3, 2016.

Rilla Khaled, Pippin Barr, Christopher Moore, Brian Greenspan (co-author). “Toward Speculative Play”. Canadian Game Studies Association Annual Meeting, Univeristy of Calgary, June 1-3, 2016.

Greenspan, Brian and Sarah Thorne. “Profane Perambulations: Protocols for Open Locative Memorials”. Canadian Society for Digital Humanities Annual Meeting, University of Calgary, May 30- June 1, 2016.

“In small clumsy letters he wrote:” Utopian Media and the Future of Writing. Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English (ACCUTE) Annual Conference, University of Calgary, May 28-31, 2016.

“Agreeable Tactics: University Governance, Differentiation and the Digital Humanities”. Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English (ACCUTE) Annual Conference, University of Calgary, May 28-31, 2016.

“Private Interests, Virtual Collectivity and Digital Humanities”. 2016 Digital Humanities Workshop, Carleton University, Ottawa, May 14-15.

“Utopia and Technology.” 500 Years after Utopia: A Symposium. Trent University, Peterborough, ON, April 16, 2016.

Brian Greenspan and Adam Stock, “In the Mesh: Fuller’s Montreal and the Technotopia That Never Was.” Paper presentation and locative media workshop. POLITICS & POETICS: The 3rd Symposium of the Leverhulme International Research Network ‘Imaginaries of the Future’. Queens University Belfast, January 19-21, 2016.

“Spex Fiction: Narrating the Augmented City”. 40th Annual Meeting of the Society for Utopian Studies, Pittsburgh, PA, November 5-8, 2015.

Brian Greenspan, Jiayu Li, Kim Martin, David Mould, Anabel Quan-Haase. “The Big Red Book: A Demonstration of Serendipitous Tool for Augmenting Knowledge (STAK)”. Canadian Society for Digital Humanities, June 2015, Ottawa.

Recent Graduate Supervisions

Adrien Robertson, Ph.D. English. Topic: Digital Games and Community. In progress.

Co-Supervisor, Jenna Stidwill, Ph.D. Cultural Mediations. Topic: The Animation Archive. In progress.

Sarah Thorne, Ph.D. Cultural Mediations. Topic: Narrative in analysis: examining the digital transformation of storytelling. In progress.

Adam Benn, Ph.D. English. Topic: The Political Economy of Digital Games. Defended December 2017.

Co-Supervisor, Matt Carroll, Ph.D. English. Topic: Antarctic Speculations. Defended September 2017.

Co-Supervisor, Ingrid Reiche, “Digitizing the History of Pyrates.” M.A. Thesis. Defended 2016.