Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Matthew K. Gold

Committee Members

Amber J. Musser

Wayne Koestenbaum

Subject Categories

Digital Humanities | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies | Literature in English, British Isles | Literature in English, North America


digital humanities, literary studies, text analysis, critical data studies, media archaeology, queer studies, feminist studies, black feminist studies, latinx studies


This dissertation explores how digital methods and tools for studying text engage with queer literature. I critique digital methods and tools by posing computation, where textual data is cleaned and structured for electronic processing, against the complexity of queer subjecthood and affects expressed in textual style, form, and voice. While tools like quantitative text analysis, for example, transform, and necessarily reduce, qualitative elements of gender and sexuality into numerical data such as word frequencies or concordances, I argue that this reduction opens up possibilities for interpreting the formal qualities of queer literature. Just as digital formats transform and manipulate text into data, so do literary forms figure queer identity and experience in narrative and figurative structures. Reading formal expressions of queerness through technology, such as data formats and programming logics, surfaces the structures and constraints of non-normative identity formations and desires. In bringing these forms to the surface, technology also suggests some residue of meaning that cannot be captured by the tool. This elusive aspect constitutes queerness as something at once tangible and slippery.

This work also offers a crucial critique of the way Queer Studies theorizes the relationship between identity and embodiment. The order of chapters pose a trajectory for the field of Queer Studies that increasingly grapples with the role of embodied experience, particularly that of race, in queer identity. This critique of Queer Studies and its implicit whiteness strategically forecloses queerness as something, as José Esteban Muñoz argues, “not yet here,” but perpetually on the horizon (1).

qdr-master.zip (15399 kB)
Zip file for QDR codebase

qte-main.zip (756 kB)
Zip file for QTE codebase