Critical Code Studies

Critical Code Studies, Tools

Call for Papers:
Special Critical Code Studies Issue of Digital Humanities Quarterly

CFP: Digital Humanities Quarterly Special Issue on Critical Code Studies
Guest editors: Mark C. Marino (USC) and Jeremy Douglass (UC Santa Barbara)
EXTENDED DEADLINE: Abstracts due Dec. 1

Special Issue Description

This special issue of Digital Humanities Quarterly will bring together essays and case studies on the promises and limitations of critical code studies from historical, practical, and theoretical perspectives, as well as within the context of specific research projects and their environments, professional contexts, and arts practice.

Critical code studies is the application of hermeneutics from the humanities to the interpretation of the extra-functional significance of computer source code. “Extra” means “growing out from” rather than “outside of.” Critical code studies readings explore technosocial culture through the entry point of computer source code.

In this issue we will strive for equity in gender, race and ethnicity both in the authorship of articles and the authorship of the code being examined.

Suggested Topics

Theoretical lenses and approaches can include but are not limited to:

  • Accessibility
  • Algorithmic Accountability
  • Critical algorithm studies
  • Critical race theory
  • Ecological impact
  • Electronic literature
  • Ethics
  • Ethnoprogramming
  • Feminisms
  • Game studies
  • Indigenous programming
  • Media archaeology
  • Natural language processing
  • Platform studies
  • Postcolonialism
  • Queer theory
  • Rhetorical code studies
  • Software studies
  • Intersectional applications of multiple approaches will be encouraged. Objects of study may be code snippets, codework, or larger software but also programming paradigms, languages, and communities.

    Submission Formats

    Articles are welcome in two forms: theoretical approaches (4000-8000 words) and case studies (~2500 words).

    Theoretical approaches will look broadly at critical approaches to code using various critical theories. These may articles may make their case using various code examples but will focus more on the overall approach.

    Case studies will feature close readings of particular snippets of code. Based on the code critiques model of the Critical Code Studies Working Groups, these code readings should begin with the code they will analyze, followed by a brief description of the code’s functioning, before the interpretation of the overall code.

    Submission Details

    Please submit abstracts (max. 500 words) to and by Dec. 1, 2020 for a first round of review. Early inquiries are encouraged. If you are invited to submit a full-length article (~4,000-8,000 words) or a case study (~2500 words), we ask that they be submitted by March 1, 2021.