EMU’s First-year Writing Program invites you to join us in Ypsilanti on Friday, March 23, for the 2018 Winter Colloquium. Dr. Melanie Yergeau will present at 10:30 a.m., “Black Mirror Meets the Classroom: Neurodiversity and Social Robots.” After lunch, at 1 p.m., she will lead a writing pedagogy workshop, “Disability, Access, and Multimodal Pedagogies.” For more information, contact Derek Mueller, Dir. of the First-year Writing Program, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Rachel Gramer, Associate Dir. of the First-year Writing Program, at email@example.com.
Tech Camp 2008 ended on Thursday after three days of entirely worthwhile,
invigorating stuff tied to imagework, web writing, and video.
I was asked to open the morning’s discussion on day three, and I did so by writing a short
list of openings and provocations on the marker board at the front of the room.
I felt most uncertain about the first item because I’m not sure I’ve considered
it from enough angles. I was thinking about the rock and the hard place
for new media in rhetoric and composition: critique, on the one hand, and technology grand narratives, on the other.
Critique, as I think of it, rears its head where the focus is on reading and
analyzing new media objects. Visual rhetorics often gravitate in this direction,
too, toward a consciousness-raising hermeneutics of thorough noticing performed on
images and objects made by others. Critique includes conversations about
access to technology, which are relevant and important, but do not serve well as ends in
and of themselves. Access-based critiques of technology cannot be not easily singled
out from that same predicament–is it an inevitability?–for literacy and orality,
nor have enough of them gone beyond commentary (even moralizing) into
action–grant writing, creative workarounds, and putting computers on desks.
If critique (i.e., the rock) is loose and inclusive, sweeping narratives
(i.e., the hard place) are even more capacious and also sticky (a Great Katamari;
look out!). Woes of technological imminence prevail here: it makes us
stupid, it is anti-intellectual, it atrophies muscles, etc., often in unfortunately broad
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