By Way of Introduction: Heather Lang

Exhibit A: Embarrassing fan art I made when I was 13.
Exhibit A: Embarrassing fan art I made when I was 13.

I’ve always been fascinated by the power of the web to connect: things, ideas, words, people. I barely remember a time without the internet, and certainly don’t remember a world with computers. I was the daughter of a technophile amateur programmer and, as a result, my exposure to computer technology was constant, immersive, and profoundly influential. I played in fandom, experimented with document design and photo editing, met others from around the world, all the while swapping ideas, work, and secrets.

These early experiences, coupled with my experiences as a woman with hearing loss, laid the groundwork for the research I’m interested in today. I like hacker epistemologies, inquiry-driven creative enterprise. I love hashtag trends focusing on social issues. I’m giddy for creating and sustaining communities in digital spaces.

Exhibit B: Embarrassing fan art I made recently.
Exhibit B: Embarrassing fan art I made recently.

For my work with the Digital Rhetoric Collaborative, I’m very excited to support the growing digital rhetoric and computers and writing communities. I’m particularly interested in two projects:

First, I’d like to coordinate a blog carnival that brings disabilities studies and digital rhetoric together. This work is already beginning to emerge in these fields, thanks to many scholars on both sides. I share the belief of these scholars that digital rhetoric has much to learn from disability studies, especially concerning issues of access/accessibility, relationships between users and interfaces, and issues of self representation. Understanding digital rhetoric from a disabilities studies perspective also allows for a more capacious understanding of the role of embodiment in digital spaces, and helps us to see all technology as assistive technology. My goal in organizing the blog carnival is to help those already working in the area share their work, solicit feedback, and build community around these research interests, as well as provide those who are interested in the area a sandbox in which to play, make, create and share their own ideas in the area.

Second, I’m very excited to contribute to the DRC Wiki. Always growing and always a result of community effort, Wikis have the potential to become cultural hubs. The DRC Wiki is emerging as one such spot. For my contributions, I’ll be focusing on articles and resources to support scholars, teachers, and students of digital rhetoric in audio projects. Aural and sonic rhetorics have become a growing site of research interest in the field. I’d like to support this growing interest by providing resources that help demonstrate the digital material processes of audio composing. Too, I hope adding these resources will help others who have an interest in using audio composing in their classrooms. I’ve used audio in my FYC classes, and the students and I learned quite a bit, and really enjoyed the process of this composing.

On a final note, I’d like to thank the returning DRC fellows and the DRC directors for a warm welcome aboard. I’m excited to work with all of you and looking forward to all the projects we’ve discussed so far!


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