Dr. Jentery Sayers

Dr. Jentery Sayers
Director of Media Studies, Associate Professor
Office: CLE D331

BA and BSc (Virginia Commonwealth), MA and PhD (U. of Washington)

Area of expertise

Media studies; Game studies; American literature; critical theory


I am interested in what media do across forms of fiction: from comics, novels, and radio drama to games, bots, and prototypes. How do they shape and escape our attention? How do we tell stories with them, and how do they tell stories about us?

My pronouns are he / him.


  • jntry.work: a portfolio of my research, teaching, and service that includes course outlines, publications, data repositories, links, handouts, reflections, and slides from various talks
  • ORCID: the profile for my Open Researcher and Contributor ID

Brief biography

I grew up in Richmond, Virginia and went to Virginia Commonwealth University for my BA (honours) and BS (honours) degrees. Then I moved to Seattle, where I received an MA and PhD in English from the University of Washington (UW). Herb Blau (director), Jessica Burstein, Tom Foster, Phillip Thurtle, and Kathleen Woodward were members of my doctoral supervisory committee, and I took my exams in modernism, critical theories of media and technology, and sound studies. In 2011, I was UW’s Graduate Medalist in the Humanities.

I have been at UVic since July 2011 and was awarded tenure in 2017. I founded and direct the Praxis Studio for Comparative Media Studies (formerly the Maker Lab), with support from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), British Columbia Knowledge Development Fund (BCKDF), and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). 

I teach UVic courses in Media Studies, English, and Cultural, Social, and Political Thought (CSPT). I’ve also taught for Cornish College of the Arts (Humanities), the University of Minnesota (College of Design), the University of Washington Bothell (Media and Communication Studies), the University of Washington Seattle (English), and UVic’s Technology and Society and Professional Communications programs.

The Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory (HASTAC) has been my academic family since 2008. I served on their steering committee between 2011 and 2017 and now sit on their executive committee. I am also a member of the editorial boards for the Gayle Morris Sweetland Digital Rhetoric Collaborative (U Michigan Press), Digital Futures (U Toronto Press), the Journal of e-Media Studies (Dartmouth), and Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy. In 2015, I was elected to serve until 2020 on the Modern Language Association’s executive committee for the Digital Humanities forum, and I chaired that forum in 2018-19.


I have advised undergraduate and graduate students on research topics such as American science fiction and fantasy (Le Guin, Delany, Butler, Jemisin), bots and automated writing, indie games and play, biopower and neoliberalism, memory and media theory, graphic novels and memoir (Bechdel, Ferris, Moore), digital labour and critical technical practice, net art and tactical media, fandom, Beckett’s radio plays, podcasting and the sensory politics of listening, speculative design and prototyping, electronic publishing and online exhibitions, playlist novels, Victorian and modernist media, Benjamin and the Frankfurt School, and contemporary literature (Morrison, Dunn, Toole, Pynchon, Orange).

These students have since built careers in design, software development, games, libraries, publishing, editing, activism, journalism, creative writing, research, and primary, secondary, and post-secondary education.

Selected courses 

  • Media Studies 360: Game Studies (Spring 2025)
  • Media Studies 200: Media in the 21st Century (Fall 2023, 2024; Spring 2024, 2025)
  • English 508: What’s in a Game? (Fall 2017)
  • English 508: Prototyping Texts (Spring 2016)
  • English 507: Arguing with Computers (Spring 2014, 2015)
  • English 506: Player Stories (Fall 2022)
  • English 506: Readers Are Listening (Fall 2020)
  • English 506: Media Aesthetics (Spring 2020)
  • English 466: Cultural Studies (Fall 2012, 2013, 2015)
  • English 429C: Contemporary American Fiction (Fall 2013; Spring 2013, 2017, 2021)
  • English 429B: Mid-20th-Century American Fiction (Fall 2011; Spring 2016)
  • English 425: Comics and Contemporary America (Spring 2021)
  • English 401: Web Design (Fall 2023)
  • English 391: Games and Interactive Fiction (Spring 2023)
  • English 230: Popular Media and Fiction (Fall 2020, 2021, 2022)
  • Technology and Society 200: Prototyping Pasts and Futures (Fall 2017, 2018)
  • CSPT 500: Media and Materiality from Marx to Barad (Fall 2016)


  • Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities (edited with Davis, Gold, and Harris), Modern Language Association (2020, open access)
  • The Routledge Companion to Media Studies and Digital Humanities (editor), Routledge (2018, partial open access)
  • Making Things and Drawing Boundaries (editor), University of Minnesota Press (2017, open access)

Selected essays

  • “Professor Bot: An Exercise in Algorithmic Accountability,” in TextGenEd: Teaching with Text Generation Technologies (edited by Vee, Laquintano, and Schnitzler), WAC Clearinghouse (2023, open access)
  • “Minimal Computing from the Labor Perspective,” with Tiffany Chan, Digital Humanities Quarterly 16.2 (2022, open access)
  • “Autoethnographies of Mediation,” with Julie M. Funk, in The Bloomsbury Handbook to the Digital Humanities (edited by O’Sullivan), Bloomsbury (2022)
  • “Technology,” in Keywords for American Cultural Studies (edited by Burgett and Hendler), New York University Press (2014, 2nd edition; 2020, 3rd edition)
  • “Bringing Trouvé to Light: Speculative Computer Vision and Media History,” in Seeing the Past with Computers (edited by Kee and Compeau), University of Michigan Press (2019, open access)
  • “Optophonic Reading, Reading Optophonics,” with Tiffany Chan and Mara Mills, Amodern 8 (2018, open access)
  • “Design without a Future,” Interactions Magazine, Association for Computing Machinery, Nov-Dec (2017)
  • “Dropping the Digital,” in Debates in the Digital Humanities 2016 (edited by Gold), University of Minnesota Press (2016, open access)
  • “Fabrication and Research-Creation in the Arts and Humanities,” with Nicole Clouston, in Doing Digital Humanities: Practice, Training, and Research (edited by Lane et al.), Routledge (2016)
  • “Prototyping the Past,” Visible Language: The Journal of Visual Communication Research 49.3 (2015)
  • “Kits for Cultural History, or Fluxkits for Scholarly Communication,” Hyperrhiz: New Media Cultures 13 (2015, open access)
  • “Humanities and Critical Approaches to Technology,” in Conversations in Critical Making (edited by Hertz), CTheory Books (2015, open access)
  • “Between Bits and Atoms: Physical Computing and Desktop Fabrication in the Humanities,” with Devon Elliott, Kari Kraus, Bethany Nowviskie, and William J. Turkel, in A New Blackwell Companion to Digital Humanities (edited by Schreibman et al.), Wiley & Sons (2015)
  • “Peer Review Personas,” with Nina Belojevic, The Journal of Electronic Publishing 17.3 (2014, open access)
  • “The Metaphor and Materiality of Layers,” with Dan Anderson, in Rhetoric and the Digital Humanities (edited by Ridolfo and Hart-Davidson), University of Chicago Press (2014)
  • “Modernism Meets Digital Humanities,” with Stephen Ross, Literature Compass 9 (2014)
  • “Hacking the Classroom: Eight Perspectives,” with Jim Brown, Mary Hocks, Aimée Knight, Virginia Kuhn, Viola Lasmana, Elizabeth Losh, and M. Remi Yergeau, Computers and Composition Online (2014, open access)
  • “Making the Perfect Record: From Inscription to Impression in Early Magnetic Recording,” American Literature 85.4 (2013, open access)
  • “Computational Cultures after the Cloud,” Journal of e-Media Studies 3.1 (2013, open access)
  • “An Archaeology of Edison’s Metal Box,” Victorian Review: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Victorian Studies 38.2 (2012)
  • “After the Document Model for Scholarly Communication: Some Considerations for Authoring with Rich Media,” with Craig Dietrich,” Digital Studies/Le champ numérique 3.2 (2012, open access)
  • “Standards in the Making: Composing with Metadata in Mind,” with J. James Bono, Curtis Hisayasu, and Matthew W. Wilson, in The New Work of Composing (edited by Journet, Ball, and Trauman), Utah State University Press (2012, open access)
  • “Tinker-centric Pedagogy in Literature and Language Classrooms,” in Collaborative Approaches to the Digital in English Studies (edited by McGrath), Utah University Press (2011, open access)

Selected grants

  • Internal Research Grant, “Experimental Worldbuilding: From Fiction to Engine” (2020-21), principal investigator
  • SSHRC Partnership Grant, “The SpokenWeb: Sounding Literature” (2019-25), local PI and collaborator (Jason Camlot, PI)
  • SSHRC Connection Grant, “HASTAC 2019: Decolonizing Technologies, Reprogramming Education” (2018-19), principal investigator
  • S. National Endowment for the Humanities Advancement Grant, “Textual Data and Digital Texts in the Undergraduate Classroom” (2017-21), collaborator (Lauren Coats and Emily McGinn, PIs)
  • S. National Endowment for the Humanities Startup Grant, “Ontic Making: 3D Printing as Humanistic Inquiry” (2016-18), collaborator (James Malazita and Dean Nieusma, PIs)
  • SSHRC Insight Grant, “Linked Modernisms” (2014-18), collaborator (Stephen Ross, PI)
  • Canada Foundation for Innovation Leaders Grant, “The Makerspace for Desktop Fabrication and Physical Computing in the Humanities” (2013-20), principal investigator
  • SSHRC Insight Grant, “Humanities Physical Computing and Fabrication for Cultural Heritage” (2013-17), principal investigator
  • SSHRC Partnership Grant, “Modernist Versions Project” (2012-16), collaborator (Stephen Ross, PI)
  • Internal Research Grant, “Allied Audio Archives” (2012-13), principal investigator

Selected invited talks

I’ve given invited talks, including plenaries and keynotes, at:

  • Brandeis University (Library)
  • British Columbia Library Annual Conference
  • Concordia University (Literary Audio Symposium)
  • Cornell University (The Society for the Humanities)
  • CUNY Graduate Center (Digging Deep Symposium)
  • Florida State University (Digital Scholars Working Group)
  • Georgia Institute of Technology (Digital Humanities + Design Symposium)
  • Gonzaga University (Foley Library)
  • Hartwick College (Department of English)
  • Langara College (Educational Technology Users Group)
  • Lawrence Technological University (Humanity + Technology)
  • Louisiana State University (Textual Data and Digital Texts Symposium)
  • Modern Language Association Annual Convention
  • National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE)
  • Pacific Northwest Writing Centers Association Annual Conference
  • Queen’s University (Re-Imagining the Victorians Conference)
  • Shakespeare Association of America Annual Meeting
  • Simon Fraser University (Library and Publishing)
  • Lawrence University (Mellon Humanities Grant Lecture)
  • Stanford University (Division of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages)
  • Syracuse University (Humanities Center)
  • Texas A&M University (Center of Digital Humanities Research)
  • Union College (Annual Symposium on Engineering and Liberal Education)
  • University of British Columbia, Okanagan (Textual Editing and Modernism in Canada Symposium)
  • University of British Columbia, Vancouver (Games in Action Conference)
  • University of California, Los Angeles (Inertia Conference)
  • University of California, Santa Barbara (Department of English)
  • University of Hawaii at Mānoa (Digital Arts and Humanities)
  • University of Kansas (Annual Digital Humanities Forum)
  • University of London (School of Advanced Study)
  • University of Maryland (Sound+ Conference, Department of English)
  • University of Michigan (Data, Social Justice, and the Humanities Symposium and the Digital Studies Institute)
  • University of Minnesota (School of Architecture)
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Center for Digital Research in the Humanities)
  • University of Pittsburgh (Cathedral of Learning)
  • University of Puget Sound (Collins Memorial Library)
  • University of Rhode Island (Carothers Library)
  • University of South Carolina (Center for Digital Humanities)
  • University of Virginia (Scholars’ Lab)
  • University of Washington (Information School, Libraries, Department of English, and Simpson Center for the Humanities)
  • University of Waterloo (Experimental Digital Media Exhibition and Symposium)
  • Vancouver Island University (English Department)
  • Victorian Studies Association of Western Canada Annual Conference
  • Washington State University (Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation)
  • Whitworth University (Department of English)
  • York University (HASTAC Annual Meeting)
I last updated this page in May 2024