Conference Rewind

Finally I’m resetting the needle to a groove, settling in for the intensive
few weeks until semester’s end, and shaking off the thrill of conversation
and catching up throughout the stay in Chicago. I had a good conference despite
the sting of $leeping in the conference hotel. It was great to finally meet
a host of folks I’ve known casually in blogspace–Marcia,
Jeff, and
Bradley. Blogging–whatever else
can be said of it–gives folks a fuller presence at the conference (judging by
the last two Cs); this idea–of quasi-professional connection–is what we were just beginning to get at in the SIG on
Friday evening.

I made it to the
chair’s address
and E.28 Why Plagiarism Makes Sense in the Digital Age: Copying, Remixing and
on Thursday. I would’ve liked to catch the sessions on
blogging and/or podcasting, but I hadn’t eaten much before my session in
Computers Connection, and the fifteen minute interlude between sessions wasn’t
long enough to get that accomplished. The chair’s address–"Riding a One-Eyed
Horse": Reining In and Fencing Out–worked through a few entangled claims about
the field’s ocular turn–the vis-rhet push, if we want to call it that.
Wooten’s framing of technologies was hyperbolic and overtly negative in some
cases (even if she was only suggesting a critical framework rather than clearly
endorsing such positions). It was a mix of literary reference, personal
anecdote, and critique of privileging visual modalities in our teaching.
She told about her own first experience of the "tyranny of the image": a
newscast about trees that featured a clipart image of a tree in the display’s
corner. I wasn’t comfortable with the tie between the images in Guaman
Poma’s First New Chronicle and Good Government (a staple in Pratt’s
famous address on contact zones) and the computer. I’ll have to wait for
the CCC version to make sense of that. And the reference to
technology as a hobby horse was enough to leave me thinking I was missing
Wooten’s broader point. Noticed that near the end of the talk “one-eyed horse” showed on the teleprompter as “one idea horse.”

E.28 Why Plagiarism Makes Sense in the Digital Age offered primer to
copyright and remix, including examples of the remix: a tangelo and Sprite
Re-mix. My notes are thin, and it wouldn’t add anything to get it wrong.
Selber’s stuff on parodic trailers (The Shining trailer redone), design
patterns as micro-genres (and copyright considerations of design patterns), and
also breadcrumbing, a term that has come up in cybercartography (rel. to traces,
paths), too, left me with some good stuff to think about. The panel also
provoked questions about just what constitutes re-mix. What distinguishes
re-mix from revision or one-text alteration? When does re-mix become an empty
signifier for change or modification?

On Thursday, I caught F.15 The Rhetorics of Identification: Or, Me and You
and You and Me, So Happy Together?
followed by G.23 Mediating Genres:
Examining Antecedent Genres as Discursive Resources in Academic Public Spheres
Each of these panels was extraordinary in its own right, but they also shared an
uncanny and surprising coordination. Two of the three papers on F.15
involved mirror neurons, the recent neurophysiological discovery of synapses
that fire the same way for an action whether it is carried out by you or by me
(your hand grasps, the synapses fire as if my hand grasped). Mirror
neurons are an exacting exemplar for consubstantiality. The first paper
got at this issue through film–specifically "inducements to identify," and
resolving the propositional quality of identity and suggesting identity as an
acting together of subject and object (here, a tie to genre and uptake).
The third paper–so theoretically rich that my notes were soon forgotten–dealt
with the equalization of identification, consubstantiality and sociality, while
working toward a "constitutive mimesis" and "mimetico-affective contagion."
And the second paper–also very strong and worthwhile–engaged an "emergent
rhetoric of randomness" through matters of causality, randomness and
bluffing–particular to poker. The panel on genre was an
easy choice because we’re reading Devitt’s book for tomorrow’s 712 (Spinuzzi’s
Tracing Genres is up next week). Bawarshi led off with a paper on
uptake–the space between genre and context. Uptakes are oftentimes
conceptual and so, as was resolved in the Q&A, they’re difficult to study using
empirical frameworks. Uptakes correlate to the perlocutionary effects
(from speech act theory), but rather than applying to utterances, uptakes name
the living memory of a genre–a genre’s persistence. He also suggested
uptake profiles–sketches of sorts that would characterize "coordinated uptake"
or "learned recognitions of significances" that are also shared. Because
imitation involves uptake (in typified social action), I sensed a connection–an
echo–between these papers and the previous panel. In the second paper, Devitt
worked at the problem of how genres interact: genre intertextuality or "intergenerality."
Specifically, Devitt dealt with individuals and their genre
repertoires–especially important for her larger interest in teaching genre
awareness. Students, she said, come in with genres, and this genre
portability/transfer can be useful for teaching genre awareness. She
re-emphasized two points when wrapping up: 1) People do not write in a genre
vacuum; and 2) People adhere to known genres even while adapting to new genres.
The final two papers on the panel looked at the evolution of the petition as a
genre and the genealogy of email, particularly student-professor email
interchanges in the context of Anne Freadman’s work on uptake.

Later in the day I went to J.13 Brining Techne Front and Center: Examining
the Material of the Art of Writing
and then the blogging SIG. Saturday
morning it was K.23 From Panel to Gallery: Twelve Digital Writings, One
and L.04 New Media, New Curricula.

Attended six panels, not counting my own slot at Computer Connections, the
chair’s address, and the SIG. Not bad. I missed a bunch that I
would’ve liked to attend, but I felt like crud on Friday and so opted for a
mid-day nap rather than grinding myself into conference dust.

Travels home were safe and good for pushing through a bit of reading.
Even if the flight home on United (a.k.a. Sauna Skyways) was delayed an
hour-and-a-half and also turned out to be the warmest flight I’ve ever suffered
through (plus 90F in the cabin, I swear), it was much better
than last year’s


  1. Grrreat notes! (And it was nice meeting you too.)

    I wanted to go to but had to miss the genre panel you describe so well, so thanks for giving it new life. And then, I was also left with some questions after that remix panel — left wondering how the rage to see remix in all kinds of repurposings may be leading to oversimplifications of complex and different types of composing. It seemed to me that creating hybrids is not the same thing as remixing, though those activities collapsed in at least one of the presentations.

    Anyway — thanks.

  2. Of course, glad to post them. I hope to have a few minutes to flesh out the remainder of the sessions I went to. Better yet, maybe I can simply include links with so many other write-ups cropping up in in blogspace.

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