the challenges of reading Latour

A couple of Latour-related articles have been going around lately, particularly this article in the NY Times and more recently this critical piece by Alex Galloway at least partly occasioned by the Times article. Galloway's rejection of Latour (and Deleuzian, new materialism in general, if one reads other works of his) comes down to the infelicity of this... Continue Reading →

why we can’t have nice things

It's that old saying but one that might cut in two directions. Yes, "we" can't have nice things because "you" are always ruining them with your irresponsible behavior, lack of class, etc. But possibly we also can't have nice things because we're always getting crap shoved in front of us. Or both. Facebook is case... Continue Reading →

informally proposing a “materials rhetoric”

In the briefest terms, my idea here is conceiving of a materials rhetoric that is roughly analogous to materials science. I'll return to that in a moment but first a few detours. Since the 80s at least, rhetoric as concerned itself with "materialism" and far more recently with "new materialism." Materialism has generally been another... Continue Reading →

The post WPA life: one year on

From the summer of 2010 through the summer of 2017, I served as the director of composition at UB. In the last year I've gone back to being a rank and file professor in the department. I've been thinking about writing this reflection for a little while but wanted to mark the occasion of a... Continue Reading →

Manuel Delanda in rhet/comp?

Being somewhat in between projects right now, I've started working on an article that, at least at this point, begins with exploring the value of DeLanda's assemblage theory for rhetoric and composition. DeLanda often comes up on this blog and has been an important thinker for me for 10-15 years at least. His earlier works... Continue Reading →

the most stupid superintelligence possible

I’m reading Nick Bostrom’s Superintelligence as a kind of light reading tangentially related to my scholarly interests. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s basically a warning about the dangers of artificial intelligences spinning out of control. There are plenty of respectable folks out there who have echoed these worries—Hawking, Gates, Musk, etc. And Bostrom himself is certainly... Continue Reading →

civility: “You keep using that word…”

I don't think it means what you think it means. The interesting thing about civility, even in its staid dictionary definition, is that there is this seemingly narrow crack that has become a gulf in American politics. One definition has to do with maintaining civil order and the other is the more familiar one having... Continue Reading →

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