digital rhetoric Posthumanism

the ethical obligations of social media

There are no categorical imperatives requiring the use of social media in any way. I.e., we are not under any universal obligation to use social media. We should probably start there. At the other end of the spectrum, I don’t believe it is controversial to assert that social media platforms (and their corporate owners) seek […]

Assemblage Theory new materialism

the flatness in flat ontology

I admit this is a weird, esoteric thing. You could call this “inside baseball,” but at least that term makes reference to a sport most people have heard of. So I apologize up front for those who have no idea what I’m talking about (though I’d be fascinated to know what made you click on […]

digital rhetoric Higher Education Rhetoric/Composition

building writing programs: 15(ish) years in (and done)

By the end of this month, I will finish my two-year stint as WAC director at UB. As I am now in Media Study, I don’t anticipate running a “writing program” again. Before that, for seven years I was the WPA in the UB English department and spent three years running a graduate certificate professional […]

Current Affairs Uncategorized

the super league: neoliberalism, culture, and digital networks

It’s rare that my personal interest in football overlaps with my academic interests. The recent debacle surrounding the proposal of a “super league” is one of those moment. It even made national news in the US. First, here’s my take on the larger situation. Football is deeply intertwined with the cultures of most European nations. […]

Current Affairs Higher Education

the bitter end of another pandemic semester

UB’s faculty senate sent out an email today recommending (imploring) faculty to find ways to “reduce student stress levels while preserving learning outcomes.” No one needs to be told it’s been some hard months tacked on to a hard 2020. And now it’s getting to be crunch time here and at many colleges as we […]

Current Affairs Posthumanism Teaching

insurrections, teleologies, and cyborgs

Today there is little need to make a specific reference for the first term in this list. We are in the midst of an impeachment trial over an attempted insurrection. More locally, in my class, we are in the midst of How We Became Posthuman and N. Katherine Hayles’ historical investigation of how we got […]

Current Affairs Posthumanism Teaching

man-in-the-middle (sic) of a feed forward world

This is the second in a series of posts about Katherine Hayles’ How We Became Posthuman aimed primarily at my students this semester, and this one focuses on chapter three, which traces the Macy Cybernetics Conferences in the 50s and 60s and discusses, among other things, the challenges of observation and the “man in the […]

Posthumanism Teaching

the flickering signification of 2021

n.b. I’m teaching a course on media theories and approaches this semester, and this post is, in part, designed for them. Right now, we are reading N. Katherine Hayles’ How We Became Posthuman. This post focuses on Chapter 2. Hayles straightforwardly announces the thesis for this chapter, writing “The contemporary pressure toward dematerialization, understood as […]


on speech and media

This is becoming a bit of a recurring theme here. So, the first amendment… what ontological commitments are invested in the first amendment? what material-historical values regarding rhetoric? what understanding of media technologies is embedded here? Let’s start with the last question. Obviously there was writing and the printing press. Far less than half of […]

Current Affairs digital rhetoric

speech, freedom, and the crunchy frogs of social media platforms

The removal of Trump from various social media platforms has been big news, as is the de-platforming of Parler by Apple, Google, and Amazon. There’s a lot of conversation about this in relation to the first amendment. I’m not a constitutional law expert, so I’m not going to focus here on the strictly legal aspect. […]