Department of English

University of Toronto

Slater, Avery

Avery SlaterAvery. Slater
Assistant Professor; Twentieth- and Twenty-First Century American Literature, University of Toronto St. George
UTM Office Location: MN 5242
UTSG Office Location: Jackman Humanities Building, 170 St. George Street, Room 805

Teaching and Research Interests: Poetry and Poetics; Twentieth- and Twenty-First Century American Literature; Artificial Intelligence; Science and Technology Studies; Critical Theory; Comparative Modernisms; Ecocriticism; Structuralism and Poststructuralism; and the Philosophy of Language. 

B.A. (University of Washington), M.Phil. (Critical Theory/History and Philosophy of Science, University of Cambridge), M.A., Ph.D. (English Literature, Cornell University).

Avery Slater’s teaching focuses on twentieth- and twenty-first century literature in a global context. Her research investigates the re-conceptualization of human and nonhuman forms of language following the rise of information and computational technologies, with specific attention to the history of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Her book project Apparatus Poetics explores how mid-twentieth-century poets revise and reinvent modernist theories of poetic process in response to emerging technologies of language (computation, artificial intelligence, machine translation, information theory). She spent the academic year of 2016-2017 at the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Humanities Forum, researching the literary and philosophical contexts of postwar machine translation. She has also held fellowships from the Society for the Humanities (Cornell) and the University of Texas at Austin. Her work has appeared in New Literary History, IEEE, Symplokē, Journal of Cinema and Media Studies, Cultural Critique, American Literature, Transformations: Journal of Media, Culture, and Technology, Amodern, and in edited collections Saturation: An Elemental Politics (Duke UP), The Oxford Handbook of Ethics of AI (Oxford UP), A Companion to American Poetry (Wiley-Blackwell), Trauma and Literature in an Age of Globalization (Routledge), and The Palgrave Handbook of Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Literature and Science. Avery Slater is a research lead at the Schwartz Reisman Institute for Technology and Society at the University of Toronto. She also serves on the Executive Committee of the MLA’s TC Forum for the Digital Humanities and is a member of the editorial board for the Brill series “Studies in the Lyric.


“Chatbots: Cybernetic Psychology and the Future of Conversation,” Journal of Cinema and Media Studies (forthcoming, summer 2022)

“The Golem and the Game of Automation,” IEEE Conference Proceedings, July 2021. DOI: 10.1109/21CW48944.2021.9532551

“Life as New Media: Bioart, Biopoetry,” chapter 27 in A Companion to American Poetry (eds. Mary Balkun, Jeff Gray, and Paul Jaussen; Wiley-Blackwell, 2022): 322-43.

“Primo Levi’s Chernobyl: Ecology and Trauma in The Reawakening.” New Literary History 52, no. 2 (Spring 2021): 335-61.

“Fossil Fuels, Fossil Waters: Aquifers, Pipelines, and Indigenous Water Rights,” chapter 3 in Saturation: An Elemental Politics (eds. Melody Jue and Rafico Ruiz, Duke University Press, September 2021), 70-102.

“Autopoiesis between Literature and Science: Maturana, Varela, Cervantes,” chapter 16 in The Palgrave Handbook of Twentieth and Twenty-First-Century Literature and Science (eds. Priscilla Wald et al., Palgrave 2021),  283-308.

“Flood Poetics: Nigeria, New Orleans, and Oṣundare’s City Without People,” chapter 12 in Trauma and Literature in an Age of Globalization (eds. David Kelman and Jennifer Ballengee, Routledge, 2021), 196-212.

“Automating Origination: Perspectives from the Humanities” chapter 27 in The Oxford Handbook of Ethics of Artificial Intelligence (eds. Markus Dubber, Frank Pasquale, and Sunit Das, 521-37). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020.

“Materiality and the Digital Future of Inscription.” Symplokē 26, no. 1-2 (December 2018): 461-69.

“Cryptomonolingualism: Machine Translation and the Poetics of Automation,” Amodern 8 (January 2018)

“Technology and the Rise of the Vernacular Object,” William Carlos Williams Review 31, nos. 1-2 (Summer 2016)

“Apocalyptic Commons: Derek Jarman’s The Last of England,” Transformations: A Journal of Media and Culture 28 (Summer 2016).

“American Afterlife: Benjaminian Messianism and Technological Redemption in Rukeyser’s ‘The Book of the Dead,’” American Literature 86, no. 4, (2014): 769-97.

“Prepostrophe: Impossible Modes of Lyric Address and Wisława Szymborska’s ‘Tarsier,’” Thinking Verse 4, no. 1 (2014): 140-159.

Jus Sanguinis, Jus Soli: West German Citizenship Law and the Melodrama of the Guest-Worker in Fassbinder’s Angst Essen Seele Auf,” Cultural Critique 86 (Winter 2014): 92-118.

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