Photo of Brian Greenspan

Brian Greenspan

Degrees:Ph.D. (University of Toronto), M.A. (University of Western Ontario), B.A. (Hons.) (University of Western Ontario)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 2360
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I’m using our software to layer city maps over fictional city narratives (in the form of novels, serialized stories and unpublished manuscripts), historical street maps, photographs, blueprints of landmark buildings (both extant and demolished), and visionary drawings of urban spaces.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.

Honours and Awards

  • Network Partner, Leverhulme International Research Network Grant, 2014-16
  • Carleton Research Time Release Award, 2014
  • FASS Research Award, 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
  • Co-applicant, Canadian Heritage Information Network Grant, 2011-12
  • SSHRC Research Development Initiative Grant, 2010-12
  • Collaborating Network Investigator, Graphics, Animation and New Media Network of Centres of Excellence, 2010-12
  • Associate Investigator, Australian Research Council Linkage Project, 2008-11
  • Co-investigator, SSHRC Image, Text, Sound and Technology Grant, 2008-09
  • Co-investigator Ontario Research Network for E-Commerce Grant, 2006-08
  • University Teaching Achievement Award, 2006
  • FASS Teaching Award, 2003

Recent Publications

“Don’t Make a Scene: Game Studies for an Uncertain World.” Forthcoming in Digital Studies 2015.

J. Whitson & B. Greenspan. “Whether to Play or Preserve the Past?: Creating The Forgotten Worker Quest.” In Proceedings of Foundation of Digital Games 2013, Chania, Crete, May 14-17, 2013, Society for the Advancement of the Science of Digital Games.

Supervisor and Co-developer. Heritage Passages Live Museum. Mobile App. Virtual Museum of Canada. 2013.

Supervisor and Technical Director. Jessica Aldred and Jennifer Whitson, The Forgotten Worker Quest. Locative Game. Virtual Museum of Canada. 2013.

Team Supervisor and Co-developer. Heritage Passages: Bytown and the Rideau Canal. Website. Virtual Museum of Canada. 2013.

“The New Place of Reading: Locative Media and the Future of Narrative”. Digital Humanities Quarterly 5.3 (Summer 2011).

“Songlines in the Streets: Story Mapping with Itinerant Hypernarrative”. In Ruth Page and Bronwen Thomas, eds., New Narratives: Stories and Storytelling in the Digital Age. University of Nebraska Press, 2011.

“A Brain Is A Terrible Thing To Waste: Isolation U. And The Campus Zombie”. In Stephanie Boluk and Wylie Lenz, eds., Generation Zombie: Essays on the Living Dead in Modern Culture. McFarland, 2011.

Jessica Aldred and Brian Greenspan, “A Man Chooses, A Slave Obeys: Bioshock and the Dystopian Logic of Convergence.” Games and Culture 6.5 (July 2011).

“‘Forget the true shape of the planet’: The Anarchic Spaces of Greg Egan’s Distress.” In Jennifer Rutherford and Barbara Holloway, eds., Halfway House: The Poetics of Australian Space. University of New South Wales Press, 2011.

Rilla Khaled, Pippin Barr, Brian Greenspan, Robert Biddle, and Elise Vist. “StoryTrek: Experiencing Stories in the Real World”. Proceedings of the MindTrek 2011 Conference, September 28-30, 2011, Tampere, Finland. ACM Digital Library.

Recent Papers Presented

“Are Digital Humanists Utopian?” Global Work and Play: 39th Meeting of the Society for Utopian Studies, Montreal, October 23-26, 2014.

“Utopia is Elsewhere: Just Follow the Crowd.” Invited presentation for Imaginaries of the Future: Historicising the Present. Inaugural Leverhulme Workshop, Montreal, October 20-22, 2014.

Kim Martin, Brian Greenspan, Anabel Quan-Haase.  “STAK – Serendipitous Tool for Augmenting Knowledge: Bridging Gaps between Digital and Physical Resources.” DH 2014, EPFL-University of Lausanne, Lausanne.

“Co-creative Destruction: Virtual Demolition as Nonviolent Resistance.” Utopia and Non-Violence: 15th International Conference of the Utopian Studies Society, Charles University, Prague, 2014.

“At the Borders of Utopia: Reclaiming the Common through Locative Media.”  Digital Humanities Without Borders – Canadian Society for Digital Humanities 2014, Brock University.

“Positioning Pedagogy: Locative media in and around the classroom”. Invited presentation for Post-Literate Pedagogies: The Digital Gymnasium panel, Canadian Society for Studies in Education 2014, Brock University

“Producing the Common: A Transmedial Approach.” Interface 2014: Transmediating Culture. Carleton University, May 2-4.

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

“Big Data as Utopia.” Invited presentation for Symposium on the Digital Humanities, Department of English, University of Texas-Arlington.

“‘We do not come as individuals’: Imaginary Media for Collective Dreaming.” 38th Annual Meeting of the Society for Utopian Studies, Charleston, November 2013.

“The Last App: Archaeologies of Future Media.” Invited presentation for Apps and Affect Conference, Western University, October 2013.

Golden Days, Silver Nights: Locating Utopia through Diminished Reality.” Electronic Literature Organization 2013, Paris, France, September.

“Dream Media: Remediating America’s Failed Utopia.” Invited presentation for Utopography: Imaging, Representing and Critiquing Imagined Worlds. Baltic 39 Gallery and Northumbria University, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK, September 2013.

“Fragments of Hope: Abducted Reality Games as Collective Dreaming.” DeFragging Game Studies: Digital Games Research Association Annual Conference, Atlanta, Georgia, August 26-29, 2013.

Anabel Quan-Haase, Kim Martin, and Brian Greenspan. “Frayed @ the Edge: Augmenting Library Research with STAK.”  Canadian Society for Digital Humanities Annual Meeting, Victoria, BC, June 2013.

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

“Portals to Perfection: Finding America’s Lost Utopia”. Invited presentation for “Gaming Utopia” panel, Technoculture, Art and Games Lab, Concordia University, April 18, 2013.

“Mass Effects 2: NPCs and Other Things.” Paper Session: Interface 2013: Creative and Critical Approaches in the Digital Humanities, Carleton University, May 3-5.

“LookAround: Linking Bits to Books.” HASTAC 2013, York University, April 25-27.

“Roads to Nowhere: Finding Utopia With GPS.” Repositioning Narrative: Locative Media/GPS/Mobile Literature. American Comparative Literature Association Annual Conference, University of Toronto, April 4-7, 2013.

“Mass Effects: Believable Avatars and Networked Engagement”. Society for Cinema and Media Studies Annual Conference, 2013, Chicago.

“There Are No Islands in the Net: Digital Media and the New Spaces of Hope.” Utopian Studies Society Annual Meeting, July 4-7, Tarragona, Spain.

“The Noise of a Distant Crowd: Simulating Collective Belief.” Society for Utopian Studies 37th Annual Meeting, October 4-7, Toronto.

“The Digital Humanities and Other Utopias”. Interdisciplinary Development Initiative in Digital Humanities’ Speaker Series, Western University, November, 2012.

“Cross Road, Occupy Square: Collective Belief Systems in Locative Games.” Canadian Game Studies Association (CGSA) Annual Meeting, June 29-30, 2012, Waterloo.

“Travel/Literature: Reading Locative Narrative.” E-Reading: An Interdisciplinary Symposium. The Collaborative Program in Book History and Print Culture The Toronto Centre for the Book, and The Toronto Review of Books. Massey College, University of Toronto, March 31, 2012.

“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.

“Cross Road, Occupy Square: Collective Belief Systems in Locative Games.” Canadian Game Studies Association (CGSA) Annual Meeting, June 29-30, 2012, Waterloo.

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

“Rendering the Multitude: Archival Credibility in Assassin’s Creed.” 36th Annual Meeting of the Society for Utopian Studies, Penn State, October 2011.

“Locating Utopia: Abducted Reality Games”. Interacting with Immersive Worlds Conference, Brock University, June 2011.

“Virtually Perfect: New Media and the Future of Utopia”. Featured Lecture for the Possible Worlds, Alternative Futures: Utopianism in Theory & Practice Lecture Series, The Graduate Center, City University of New York, May 2011.

“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.

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

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. In progress.

Co-Supervisor, Matt Carroll, Ph.D. English. Topic: Antarctic Speculations. In progress.

Patricia Corrigan, Ph.D. Cultural Mediations. Topic: Transmedia Storytelling. In progress.

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

Adrien Robertson, “Gaming with Ghosts: Hauntology, Metanarrative, and Gamespace in Video Games.” M.A. Thesis. Defended 2014.

Lauren Burr, “This Is Not for You? Reading and Remediating House of Leaves as an Alternate Reality Game.” M.A. Research Essay. Defended 2011.

Philip Horwitz, ” “Locative Hypernarratology: An Applied Exploration of Mobile Artifacts’ Authorial Bias.” M.A. Research Essay. Defended 2011.

Chris Eaket, Ph.D. Cultural Mediations. “Disruptive Theatre and Locative Media”. Defended January 2010.

Aalya Ahmad, Ph.D. Comparative Literature. “Bodering on Fear: A Comparative Literary Study of Horror Fiction”. Defended January 2010.

Sarah Thorne, “Translating 253: the Impact of Transmediation on Fantasy.” M.A. Research Essay. Defended 2009.

Natalie King, “Making Monsters: The Construction of Race and Virtual Space.” M.A. Thesis. Defended October 2009.

Co-Supervisor, Esther Post, Ph.D. Cultural Mediations.  “‘It was the circus, and I was the clown’: Emma Goldman, Popular and Avant-Garde Cultures of American Modernity, and the Politics of (Self-) Performance”. Defended September 2008.