My academic career has roughly corresponded with the rise of the internet, and the developments of networked digital media have been the focus of my research for the last 25 years. Before joining the department of Media Study at the University at Buffalo in 2020, I was an associate professor in UB’s English department for eleven years. In English I served as director of composition and teaching fellows, overseeing the university writing program and mentoring graduate teaching assistants, and later as director for the university’s Writing Across the Curriculum program.
Recently my research has focused on the role that increasingly “intelligent” machines play in the ways we communicate, the communities we form, and our engagement with larger world. For example, in “Speech Synthesis and Negotiation,” I investigate digital assistants (e.g., Siri) as they address rhetorical and aesthetic challenges similar to those of human speakers through processes of speech synthesis and negotiation. “Composing with Deliberate Speed” studies algorithms as they participate in our decision-making through a process I term distributed deliberation. While such algorithms are necessary for humans to access information across networks, they introduce a range of ethical and political challenges as we have seen with the spread of fake news and conspiracy theories.
My forthcoming book, Rhetorics of the Digital Nonhumanities, (Southern Illinois University Press, January 2022) develops a new materialist, digital rhetorical method for the study of interactions among humans and nonhumans in digital media ecologies. The book addresses softwarized procedural rhetorics, structures of synthetic attention, integrative assemblages of digital composing, and electrate collective experiments. Rhetorics continues the work of my earlier monograph, The Two Virtuals: New Media and Composition.