Department of English

University of Toronto

Slater, Avery

Avery SlaterAvery. Slater
Assistant Professor; Twentieth-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: Twentieth-Century American Literature; Poetry and Poetics; Artificial Intelligence; Science and Technology Studies; Critical Theory; Comparative Modernisms; Ecocriticism; Structuralism and Poststructuralism; Translation Theory 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-century literature and poetry 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 Poetica 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. Her work has recently appeared in Symplokē, American Literature, Cultural Critique, Thinking Verse, Transformations, The William Carlos Williams Review, and in a special issue of Amodern on the topic of machine translation and the humanities.



“Unseen Crystal: Materiality and the Digital Future of Inscription” in Symplokē 26, nos. 1-2 (2018)

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

“Automating Origination: Perspectives from the Humanities,” in The Oxford Handbook of the Ethics of Artificial Intelligence, eds. Markus D. Dubber, Frank Pasquale, and Sunit Das (Oxford University Press, forthcoming)

“Postwar Poetry Experiments with Cybernetic Autopoiesis” Literature and Science (ed. PriscillaWald, forthcoming Palgrave Macmillan, 2018)

“Machine Translation” in Cambridge Critical Concepts: Technology, ed. Adam Hammond (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming)

“Abstraction at the Level of Technē: Ferdinand de Saussure, Wallace Stevens, and the Hypogrammatic Lyric” in Theory at the Millennium (edited volume, forthcoming Northwestern Univ. Press)

“Machine Translation” in Cambridge Critical Concepts: Technology ed. Adam Hammond (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming)

“New Media Poetics,” in Companion to American Poetry, eds. Mary Balkun, Jeff Gray, and Paul Jaussen (Wiley Blackwell, forthcoming)

“‘Omíyalé’: Nigeria, New Orleans, and the Poetics of Disaster,” in Trauma and Literature in an Age of Globalization, eds Jennifer Ballengee and David Kelman (Routledge, forthcoming)

“Paleowater and Petromodernity: The Case of Standing Rock,” in Saturation, eds. Melody Jue and Rafico Ruiz (Duke University Press, forthcoming)

“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)

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

“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)

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