Below are selected abstracts of pending publications, works-in-progress, and links to publicly-published presentations.
“Devilish Smartphones” and the “Stone-Cold” Internet: Implications of the Technology Addiction Trope in College Student Digital Literacy Narratives (published December 2016 Computers and Composition)
Responding to danah boyd’s 2014 study, It’s Complicated, this article uses evidence from a sampling of 75 digital literacy narratives, produced within first-year composition courses, to show that college students often describe their embodied and virtual social experiences in bifurcated terms. Through analyzing a sample of digital literacy narratives using a corpus tool (VoyantTools), I captured word frequency and collocations to conclude that a significant percentage of undergraduate students in my sample largely differentiate their virtual and embodied activities in spite of the fact that ample evidence suggests that students move fluidly between online and offline spaces for both their school and social lives (Gee 2003, Vie 2008, Buck 2012).This article works through four case studies from this corpus to explore how the perceived differences between virtual and embodied interactions get described. Through the trope of digital “addiction,” virtual interactions become pathologized and problematically create a bifurcated perception that does not reflect what we know about how twenty-first century writers work (Hawisher and Selfe 2000). To demonstrate to students the complexity of digital literacy practices, this article concludes with a call to encourage instructors to model the fluidity of virtual and embodied interactions to undergraduate writing students.
“Where You’re By Yourself But Not Alone: How Book Blogs and Vlogs Remediate Imagined Communities” (in process of revision for Revise & Re-Submit)
Image-driven blogs and vlogs have become a space for uniting young, self-identified readers in the early twenty-first century. Young women have been particularly active participants in these spaces, using websites like Tumblr and YouTube as platforms for expressing their thoughts and opinions about books. This article argues that book blogs and vlogs remediate the work of women’s book societies and generate imagined communities of readers. I extend Benedict Anderson’s definition of imagined communities to consider how book bloggers and vloggers are not only interested in forming the concept of a unified community, but are invested in performing the values of the community through both consuming books, and producing their own content. Through examples from Tumblr and YouTube, I trace how young women bloggers and vloggers perform investment in readerly communities by using images associated with print culture, expressing ambivalence towards e-reading practices, and by engaging in primarily positive and non-critical discourse with other readers. These practices suggest how contemporary women’s reading communities aim to position themselves as both devoted and leisurely readers, a positioning that can be traced back to 19th century historical women’s societies. Using historical perspective on women’s reading communities (Elizabeth Long, Leah Price), materialist history on book culture (Ted Striphas, Andrew Piper), and study of participatory youth culture (Henry Jenkins, Laura Jeffries), I explore several case studies from young women’s blogs and vlogs to establish how both the materials and performances of reading practices matter for forming twenty-first century reading communities.
“The Benefits of WAC-Centered Pedagogy to Support Graduate Student Writing” (in process of revision for a Revise & Re-Submit)
In this article, I argue that a writing center model combined with the genre-intensive and disciplinarily-minded conventions of a WAC pedagogy would be the ideal way to support graduate student writing endeavors. I define a WAC pedagogy as a way of learning about writing as socially-situated and guided by disciplinary genre conventions. To clarify, I agree with McLeod’s (2001) formulation of WAC pedagogy, when she explains that WAC includes both “writing to learn” and “writing to communicate” (p. 150). For graduate students, a “writing to communicate” pedagogy may warrant greater emphasis than writing to learn, especially since writing to communicate focuses more on writing for a particular discourse community, which is a central concern for graduate student writers. With that said, writing to learn philosophies would also benefit graduate students who, in most cases, use writing as their way of demonstrating knowledge in their careers.
“Let’s Get Visual: How Functional Literacy Affects Rhetorical Awareness”
Click. Type. Publish. In the age of WYSWYIGs and templates, composing for the Web is seemingly simple. Yet much like the machinations of the feared Wizard of Oz are powered by a man sweating behind a curtain, online content appears only because of the complex language of code that runs steadily through the background of everything that appears online. It is all too easy to forget that this code exists. Yet an awareness of code empowers web writers to make changes to a site’s appearance, giving the web writer not only the confidence, but the freedom to customize and create a page that precisely suits her needs. Given how much more customizable and attractive templates have become over the past five years, the need to know how to manipulate code to suit one’s needs seems to be gradually fading. The question then arises: why would the average Internet user need to know how to manipulate code? How might an understanding of code inform the average web writer’s awareness of visual rhetoric? Is a shift away from coding detrimental to the web user’s engagement with and understanding of how form influences content? Does one’s control and ability to manipulate code actually impact an awareness of the relationship between content and design? This webtext is intended to open up discussion about these questions and to work towards seeking answers.
“I Can Haz Meaning-Making?: Exploring the Ways in which Online Writing Practice Disrupts Derrida’s Grammatological Framework”
In the opening to Jacques Derrida and Bernard Stiegler’s Echographies of Television, Derrida asserts that all public gestures are characterized by artifacutality, or the state of being made by someone else. Artifacts are always created by someone from the “outside,” inherently creating what Derrida qualifies as a political hierarchy between creator and consumer. This hierarchy still exists in film, television, and popular music, but meaning-making in the digital age is not always made elsewhere; in fact, in an online space, meaning-making happens communally. I will provide evidence from Of Grammatology and Echographies of Television to show the ways in which a Derridean framework for grammatology may still function – if not function more appropriately – for the ways that written language appears on screen. By the end of this paper, I will move away from this mapping of similarities and back towards the discussion of change in digital writing through online writing’s communal meaning-making. I will explore the implications of networked meaning-making on issues of defining absence and presence in writing, of translation, and of grammatology itself.
I gave the following presentation at Computers and Writing 2013, hosted by Frostburg State University.
“Pioneers Upon a Mightier World: The (Un)Standardization of Multimodal Assessment:”
I collaborated on the following presentation (click on the link to the Google Presentation below to view) with Dr. Carl Whithaus and Mary Stewart at Computers and Writing 2014, hosted by Washington State University.