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Assemblage Theory new materialism

the politics of a molecular people: two paragraphs from A Thousand Plateaus

Material thus has three principal characteristics: it is a molecularized matter; it has a relation to forces to be harnessed; and it is defined by the operations of consistency applied to it. Finally, it is clear that the relation to the earth and the people has changed, and is no longer of the romantic type. […]

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Assemblage Theory digital rhetoric

user populations and the capacities of smartphones

In the new materialist approach I take up, all assemblages (i.e. all people, groups of people, animals, plants, things, objects, etc.) have properties, tendencies, and capacities. Properties are singular and historical. For example, my smartphone (an iPhone XS) has its own unique history. To butcher a line, “there are many iPhones but this one is […]

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Assemblage Theory new materialism

new materialist user populations and rhetoric

I sometimes wonder what scholars in the field of rhetoric think new materialism is. [n.b. Don’t expect a comprehensive answer here!] I’d wager that there are maybe dozens but certainly not hundreds of rhetoric scholars who view it in a positive/interested enough way to pursue it. I’d equally wager there are as many, if not […]

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Assemblage Theory

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 […]

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Assemblage Theory Rhetoric/Composition

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 […]

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Assemblage Theory digital rhetoric new materialism

On the importance of deep mixture density networks and speech synthesis for composition studies

Eh? What’s that? I’m talking about AI approaches to the synthesis of speech on your smartphone and related devices. I.e., how does Siri figure out how to pronounce the words its saying? OK. But what does that have to do with us? Another necessary detour around the aporias of disciplinary thought… This is really about […]

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Assemblage Theory Current Affairs digital rhetoric

distributed deliberation and Cambridge Analytica

One of the major stories of the weekend has surrounded the interview with Christopher Wylie, former employer turned whistleblower of Cambridge Analytica. Here’s that interview if you haven’t seen it. It’s good to see this story getting attention, but it’s also something we’ve basically know for a while, right? For example, here’s a NY Times op-ed from […]

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Assemblage Theory Current Affairs digital rhetoric

An alternative to plumbing the depths of fascist souls

Many have noted their displeasure/anger with two recent NY Times pieces both by Richard Fauset: the first is a piece of reporting about a particular Nazi/white nationalist, Tony Hovater, and the second is what I think one would call a reflective op-ed follow up to that story. The displeasure/anger stems from the way in which the pieces […]

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Assemblage Theory Film

Blade Runner 2049 and electrate film criticsm

Blade Runner 2049 is a film that has generated some divided criticism. To borrow from the comedian Mitch Hedberg’s story about his experiences in a band: “Some people loved us. Some people hated us. Some people thought we were ok.” And really what more is there to say about aesthetic judgment after the fact? Describing the […]

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Assemblage Theory digital rhetoric

the late age of close reading and the data humanities

I have been working on my book, so I haven’t found as much time to write here, and this post comes out of the work I’m doing there rather than any particular current event (though I’d like to think it has some currency!). In the broadest terms the manuscript considers the value of a particular […]