digital rhetoric


Welcome to the new version of my website. I suppose that I’ve decided to enter the world of blogging because of my students. They’ve inspired me with the continual writing–some of it from my assignments, but a lot of it from their own volition, particularly their blogs at places like livejournal. I’m planning on using this blog for several purposes. First and foremost is to reflect upon my teaching and scholarship. I’m putting this on my college home page because I’m hoping this will provide some insight and feedback for the students in my classes and my colleagues in English and Professional Writing about the work I’m doing. That said, I won’t be holding back here. Sorry, no confessions. I simply mean that this is a place for me to think through the difficult theoretical issues presented by teaching technology and rhetoric. I’m calling my blog “new lies about writing,” as an allusion to Plato’s concerns about writing’s capacity to deceive, intentionally or otherwise. Rhetoricians have often been accused of practicing deception, of teaching a capacity for deceit. As rhetoricians, of course, we tend to think of “reality” or “truth” as slippery concepts, especially when they are mediated by language. From my view, rhetoric has always been about confronting these difficult philosophical issues on one hand and getting on with the practical business of communicating on the other. More importantly for me however are Derrida and other post-structural philosophers who have critiqued writing and discourse. From them we gain new insights into writing. The study of writing becomes a way of reunderstanding knowledge and consciousness–fairly heady stuff! Of course, we shouldn’t look upon Plato as naive. In fact, there is a fascinating rhetoric taking place in those dialogues. On the one hand he critiques rhetoric and writing while the other hand writes these clever rhetorical arguments. This is why the study of writing is interesting to me. It is full of contradictions. There is infinite variety–from the literary “classics” to the blog to the shopping list and instant message. It is simultaneously mundane and profound, with deep philosophical and cultural implications while existing as simple functional prose. I’ll be writing about this stuff… and my teaching… and the other multitude of work I do around here. And in case you think this stuff is purely academic… It’s not. What I’m presenting here is a mode of thinking. It gives you powerful insight into cultural events taking place around you. I’ll be writing about current events, cultural happenings local and other wise, music, film, etc. You’ll see..

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