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David Parisi

Associate Professor of Emerging Media

Address: 9 College Way, Room 401
Phone: 843.953.6784
Personal Website:

Dr. Parisi joined the Department of Communication in 2009 after a postdoctoral fellowship in New Media Literacies at the Rutgers University Center for Cultural Analysis.  He received his Ph.D. from the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University, and also holds an M.A. in Political Theory and a B.A. in Political Science, both from the University at Albany. 

Parisi’s research investigates the myriad interfaces between bodies and media technologies, with a particular emphasis on physical interactions with digital media.  As leading voice in the growing ‘Touch Studies’ movement, Dr. Parisi’s scholarship urges media scholars to consider the importance of the tactile and haptic aspects of media interactions.  By making contributions to the fields of media archaeology, Video Game Studies, Sensory Studies, and media history, Parisi has advanced a haptocentric account of media that brings increased attention to this long-neglected mode of experience. The special of New Media & Society he is currently editing, organized around the theme of Haptic Media Studies, furthers this agenda.

His forthcoming book, Touch Machines: An Archaeology of Haptic Interfacing, provides a macro-historical grounding for the contemporary emergence of touch-based computer interfaces.  Opening with an examination of touch’s role in apprehending the mysteries of eighteenth century electrical machines, and closing with an analysis of new computing technologies that digitally synthesize haptic sensations, Touch Machines traces the iterative development of a technoscientific haptics across four centuries.  Along the way, he shows how electric shock, experimental psychology, cybernetics, aesthetics, and telemanipulation robotics each participated in a reconceptualization of touch necessary for its integration into contemporary computing technologies.

During Dr. Parisi’s time at the college, he has developed and taught a range of courses that address the social and cultural status of digital media, including Media Technology and the History of the Senses; Media, Communication and Technocultures; Gaming 101: An Introduction to Video Games and the Study of Play; and Media Criticism.  Dr. Parisi’s courses frequently involve hands-on engagements with both digital and predigital media interfaces, facilitated by visits to the John M. Rivers Communications Museum, journeying into game worlds, and experimenting with new computer interfaces.    



PhD, New York University, Department of Media, Culture, and Communication

MA, University at Albany, Political Theory

BA, University at Albany, Political Science

Research Interests

  • Media Archaeology
  • Sensory Studies
  • Digital media interfaces
  • Touch and haptics
  • History of Science and Medicine
  • Critical Theory

Courses Taught

Comm 410: Analysis of Communication Practice: Media, Communication, and Technocultures

Comm 410: Analysis of Communication Practice: Media Criticism

Comm 480: Capstone in Communication: Media Technology and the History of the Senses
COMM 580: Video Games and Visual Culture

FYSE 111: First Year Seminar: Gaming 101: An Introduction to Video Games and the Study of Play


"A Counterrevolution in the Hands: The Console Controller as an Ergonomic branding Mechanism," Journal of Games Criticism 2, no. 1 (2015).

“Reach In and Feel Something: On the Strategic Reconstruction of Touch in Virtual Space,” Animation 9, no. 2 (2014).

Christian Höller, "Haptic Feedback: Interview with David Parisi on the role of 'touch' in digital environments" Springerin 4 (2014).

“Shocking Grasps: An Archaeology of Electrotactile Game Mechanics,” Game Studies: The International Journal of Computer Game Research 13, no. 2 (2013).

“Banishing Phantoms from the Skin: ‘Vibranxiety’ and the Pathologization of Interfacing,” Flow 17, no. 5 (2013).

“When Screens Touch Back” Flow 17, no. 1 (2012).

“Tactile Modernity: On the Rationalization of Touch in the Nineteenth Century,” in Literature and Media in the Nineteenth Century: Image, Sound, and Touch, Colette Colligan and Margaret Linley, eds. (Ashgate Press, 2011).

“Game Interfaces as Bodily Techniques” in Handbook of Research on Effective Electronic Gaming in Education, Richard Ferdig, ed. (IGI Global, 2009).

“Fingerbombing, or ‘Touching is Good’: The Cultural Construction of Technologized Touch, 3, no. 3 (2008), 307-327.