I discovered digital rhetoric in my second semester of coursework for my Ph.D. program at UGA, and I fell hard into it. Since then, I’ve written a paper on Pinterest and maternal ethos, designed an entire composition class around digital media, worked with at least five programming languages, and composed a multimodal pseudo-history of baby pictures. You get the idea.
Now my teaching, writing, and research interests all seem to revolve around digital rhetoric, and I want to be part of the conversations happening in the field and help initiate, continue, and expand them. The more we talk about what we’re building, working out, experiencing, and struggling with, the more we can all challenge, enrich, and teach each other.
To that end, here’s a look at three particular projects I’m working on with the DRC this year:
First, I would like to run a monthly blog series that showcases scholarly and pedagogical projects in progress. For this, I have appropriated terms from digital humanities to organize the series in two clusters. The Hack cluster will take a closer look at technical processes and tools involved in a project. Here I am envisioning the discussion of digital media, hardware, software, and web applications, programming and networking considerations, as well as database and interface commentary. It will be an up-close and personal account of working with technology to explore, communicate, and present an argument. Meanwhile the Yack cluster will be charged with voicing the theoretical perspective, and in these posts, scholars and teachers will discuss working with a particular lens or framework to attend to their own inquiries and problems. It is my hope that these two particular angles will offer productive reflections that when shared will facilitate a greater awareness of the use of technology, tools, and theory in research, teaching, and composition. And maybe we can have some fun, too, with Yackers and Hackers writing cross-talk posts, and everyone learning something about bits and affordances and operating systems. An all-access, behind-the-scenes pass to academic work from critical theory to the command line.
The next project I am starting to pursue involves celebrating webtexts. With the Webtext of the Month feature, I hope to draw more attention to published work that stretches traditional notions of academic composition and scholarship to attend to, incorporate, and critique digital technology and media. I am intrigued and compelled by the work I have read on Kairos and watched on Enculturation, how the authors take advantage of technological affordances to create and perform meaning. By turning to these works as products of digital rhetoric and talking to the authors, how might our understanding of rhetoric be pushed and pulled, and ultimately critically analyzed? I wonder, and I hope we will find out.
And finally, I am in the process of helping to design a forum that promotes collaboration. Maybe a scholar has a killer theoretical project and wants to take it to the web but lacks all but a basic understanding of HTML. Maybe a designer wants a new challenge. On this forum, Hackers and Yackers can reach out to the larger community to seek additional insights and expertise for a particular project. Scholars and teachers can join forces. Digital rhetoricians of all sorts interested in developing studies, projects, and texts can find each other. We hope to create a venue through which the community can continue welcoming new members and promoting innovation. Create a project dream-team. Pair up with a researcher who has a similar agenda but works hundreds of miles away. So many possibilities.
Wanna join the conversation? You can contact me with specific inquiries and stay tuned for more information about the blog series, Webtext of the Month feature, and collaborators’ forum.