The Making of…

Coming back to a passage from Manovich that winked at me when I read it last
week:

A visible sign of this shift is the new role that computer-generated special
effects have come to play in the Hollywood industry in the 1990s.  Many
blockbusters have been driven by special effects; feeding on their popularity,
Hollywood has even created a minigenre of "The Making of…," videos and books
that reveal how special effects are created. (300)

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Tingle and Self-Development

Nick Tingle’s
Self-Development and College Writing
(2004, SIU Press)
proposes a psychoanalytic stance on the "transitional space" of the
composition class.  Tingle’s argument leans heavily on Robert Kegan’s five orders
of consciousness–a quasi-Piagetian theory of stage-based psychological
development.  Phase one accounts for ages 2-6 (which, taken literally,
suggests pre-birth through the first twenty-four months of life are
non-conscious…discuss).  Tingle explains that some of the
discord felt between teachers and students can be attributed to our varied developmental
positions.  College-level writing students, in Tingle’s framework, match up with the third order of
consciousness (16), which is often defined by institutional forces and tends to
celebrate subjectivity (as in adolescence).  The fourth order in this model
accords with "’a qualitatively more complex system of organizing experience’"
(16); it is a more sophisticated order of self-truth that "somehow break[s] the
identifications of the self with its social roles" (17).  Tingle writes
that the modern university is designed to support students’ movement from the third
to the fourth order of consciousness, but because such moves involve
destabilization and "narcissistic wounding," the writing class might function to
enable and support.  Furthermore, writing teachers are often positioned at
the fourth order of consciousness (if not the fifth, which he correlates with
postmodernism (20)).  Teachers, therefore, must attend to their own
stage-orientation when defining viable writing projects and articulating
developmentally-appropriate expectations.  It can prove disastrous, in other
words, when fourth-order teachers presuppose their third-order students to be more
psychologically advanced.  Among the consequences: shame, embarrassment and humiliation (89).

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Breakfast Theory

A few remnants for 691:  Theory as method: Reid’s 1989
cartoon, "Breakfast Theory: A Morning Methodology."

A Morning Methodology

And for daily fiber:

PBS Kids’ Freaky Flakes
.  P’shoped a EWM-brand box.  Plus,

this
, from the Detroit News, an article on Kelloggs.  Elsewhere
Homi Bhaba
talks about breakfast cereal and globalization.

Breakfast Theory

You know, spring of my senior year in high school, I had a
basketball tryout at Kellogg CC in Battle Creek, MI. 

Earlier today on ESPN News (playing low in the b’ground), the
anchor, commenting on Jason Kidd’s off-the-backboard oop to Richard
Jefferson in the Nets-Jazz game last night, said (about connecting up on the fast break) "That’s just good writing
there."

Talks

Before a full week cycles around, I wanted to tack up a few notes about the
Digital and Visual Rhetorics Symposium hosted at SU last Thursday and Friday. 
Each of the talks was stimulating/evocative; w/ these notes: I’m going for a patchwork of what was said and what it got me
thinking about (highlights plus commentary).  Fair enough?

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Verbing Method

In 691 Method~ologies this morning, we re-traced some of the semester’s
where have we been
: history, discourse analysis, ethnography and now
theory. Obviously there’s overlap aplenty–blends and
interplays among these methodological orientations. In supershort form, history considers memory, record, retrospectives and recovery; discourse analysis works primarily with language and corpus (linguistic objects of study); ethnography notices people, culture and pattern/dynamics; and theory (small-t)
accounts for a wide variety of stuff not limited to reading, writing, and
thinking. Assemble, arrange, re-arrange, and answer curiosities, solve
problems. No, these aren’t my complete notes, and perhaps these few lines
aren’t very good as thin representations of ten weeks of work.
There’s a whole lot more to say here. But I wanted to raise a side
question or two about method and methodology. When the subject of
method~ology comes up, I’m increasingly tuned in to the part of speech invoked
in the conversation. This has especially been the case with ethnography. The noun positions the method as a thing already done by others; it acknowledges a tradition and model projects against which we measure the edges defining the activity involved with doing ethnography. Is it like documentary? Must it feature human subjects? If we look to a set of nouned ethnographies (things, already-existing objects), then answering is possible. But the answer is set against a generic backdrop of the stuff already done.
I don’t know that we have a good verb for doing ethnography (ethnograph?
ethnographize? um…no). The chosen term, however, has bearing. Consider the
difference between using use the noun–ethnography–or the
adjective–ethnographic–to account for the way of doing, ultimately the
way of describing the research activity. And consider the verbs that we could collect under the broad (or is it narrow) rubric of ethnography: notice, observe, etc. What does this all come to?
Well, I’m finding it more and more appealing to talk about methods as verbs, and
I’m also wondering whether the methodology-as-noun departs from (or, on the
other hand, refers to the same thing as) genre. Near enough as to be thought the same thing?

Program notes: The
fall symposium on
visual and digital rhetorics
is happening on Thursday and Friday–two days
of workshops and talks with Anne Wysocki, Jeff R.,
and Jenny E. What’s not to look forward to?

CCC Online as Teleidoscope

Inside Higher Ed is running
Collin’s piece
today about CCC Online called

"Mirror, Mirror on the Web."
  The column puts a
beam on CCC Online
and introduces a few of the features of the site, but beyond that–and more
importantly, I’d say–it makes explicit some of the ways blog-based thinking
influenced the creation of the site.  As the article makes plain, the three
of us working on the project are active bloggers;  I think it’s safe to say
that the practice of blogging made the current iteration of CCC Online conceivable. 

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Sidewalk (1999) and Method

Mitchell Duneier’s Sidewalk is a multi-year ethnographic study of the
informal mercantile and social activity covering a three-block zone in Greenwich
Village.  Duneier, now a professor of sociology at Princeton, overhauled
his study after his initial project focused too heavily on a singular "public
character"–Hakim, a respected book vendor who often acted as a leader, an "old
head" who mentored others, who advocated for GED completion, and who eventually
co-taught a course at UCSB with Duneier.  Although Sidewalk reads
easily as a sociological research project unto itself, we could view it as an
update to Jane Jacobs’s 1961 project on the complex social, spatial, economic
and architectural dynamics of the street in New York City,

The Death and the Life of Great American Cities
.

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Banal Features Analysis

Alt. title: "Dull Feature Analysis."  Today I’m working on a small-time
application of discourse analysis for Method~ologies.  We’re looking at a
corpus of eight student essays.  Initially, I considered how I would graph
Bazerman’s concept of "intertextual reach," which he defines as "how far a text
travels for its intertextual relations" (89).  How far is that?  How
do we account for the span of these traces–meters, leagues, years, decibels,
lumens?  Maybe referential density could draw on network studies. 
How?  We could establish a near intertextual reach as
reference-gestures that share another source.  This would involve a
triangulation of citations: Bazerman–let’s say–cites Porter and Prior. 
But Porter also cites Prior.  Porter is intertextually nearer than Prior
(who does not cite any other source in common with Bazerman).  I’m making
this up.  The far reach would describe the solitary reference–the
singular text-trace that is not shared by any other source cited in the primary
text (the text whose traces and reaches we are surveying).  But I wanted to
think about intertextual reach as a quality that could be determined by
triangulating citations.  Applied to a batch of student essays where
works-to-cite are predefined, intertextual reach seems wobbly–a stretch,
as in…look at how they reach alike.

I’ll need something else. 

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Methodography

I haven’t looked very far into this, but I wanted to register this first
entry under EWM’s newest category: Method.  Method: what a fine
category label, eh?  That’ll put a Full Nielson on Unsuspecting’s
attention, was my thought.  Beats Mothoi…Methodoosies…Meth(odd)inks….

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“We Are Coming” – Logan (1999)

In 691 (Method~ologies) this week we’re considering historical methods and
reading for such methods specifically through the Shirley Wilson Logan’s work in
"We Are Coming": The
Persuasive Discourse of Nineteenth-Century Black Women
.  In the
preface, Logan speaks briefly to her method: "Since rhetorical analysis requires
an understanding of the formal features of a text in conjunction with its
historical context, I consider pertinent historical details–biographical,
social, political and cultural.  Moving from the historical, I address
various characteristics of a chosen text in the light of these details. 
The selection of characteristics is informed by classical rhetoric and its
twentieth-century reconstructions.  My hope is that these discussions might
also add to a clearer understanding of nineteenth-century culture and of the
ways in which the persuasive discourse of nineteenth-century black women adapted
itself to its multiple audiences and multilayered exigencies" (xvi).  As
well as any passage I could locate, these few sentences give a fairly complete,
succinct overview of the project.

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