Scott Selisker

Associate Professor

Associate Head

Scott Selisker (PhD 2010, University of Virginia), researches and teaches twentieth- and twenty-first-century U.S. literature and culture. His work focuses on the roles of science and technology in U.S. fiction, with secondary interests in theories of the novel, the sociology of literature, and digital humanities methods (especially network analysis).  Selisker's first book, Human Programming: Brainwashing, Automatons, and American Unfreedom, (Minnesota, 2016), examines how contemporary U.S. metaphors for ideology, such as brainwashing and programming, developed through exchanges between fiction, film, and the social sciences since the mid-twentieth century. It was a finalist for book prizes from the Society for Literature Science and the Arts and the Science Fiction Research Association/UC Riverside Technoscience Program. An early version of a chapter on Ralph Ellison was awarded the Modern Language Association's Norman Foerster Prize for the best article in American Literature, in 2012. His current book project, tentatively entitled Social Medium: Character Networks in the Novel, reconsiders theories of the novel, and contemporary U.S. literary fiction, in terms suggested by the interdisciplinary field of social network analysis. Excerpts from the project have been published as "The Novel and WikiLeaks: Transparency and the Social Life of Privacy" (American Literary History, 2018) and "The Bechdel Test and the Social Form of Character Networks" (New Literary History, 2015, Ralph Cohen Prize). Research for the book's final chapter, "Networked Collectives in the Fiction of Silko and Yamashita" was supported by a 2021 NEH Summer Stipend.

In The News

Selisker Awarded NEH Grant to Advance his Book on Social Networks in Fiction

Four Questions: Professor’s Book Probes Brainwashing, Freedom  

WNYC Academic Minute: Scott Selisker, University of Arizona, on Brainwashing

No Mind to Lose: On Brainwashing

Selected Publications

“The Novel and WikiLeaks: Transparency and the Social Life of Privacy,” American Literary History, 2018

“Social Networks,” in American Literature in Transition, 2000-2010 (Cambridge, 2017)

“Digital Humanities Knowledge: Reflections on the Introductory Graduate Syllabus,” in Debates in the Digital Humanities 2016 (Minnesota, 2016)

“The Bechdel Test and the Social Form of Character Networks” New Literary History, 2015 (Ralph Cohen Prize)

”‘Stutter-Stop Flash-Bulb Strange’: GMOs and the Aesthetics of Scale in Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl,” Science Fiction Studies, 2015 (SFRA Pioneer Award)

“The Topos of the Cult in David Mitchell’s Global Novels,” Novel, 2014

“Simply by Reacting?: The Sociology of Race and Invisible Man’s Automata,” American Literature, 2010 (Norman Foerster Prize)