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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Assemblage Theory realist rhetoric Rhetoric/Composition

thinking with Manuel Delanda in rhetoric and composition

Perhaps you are familiar with the recent and excellent essay collection, Thinking with Bruno Latour in Rhetoric and Composition (edited by Paul Lynch and Nathaniel Rivers). If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it, but I’m not here to talk about it today. It’s just the inspiration for the title of this missive, where I […]

Assemblage Theory digital humanities digital rhetoric

de-baits in the digital humanities

The LA Review of Books has published 4 interviews so far in an ongoing series on the digital humanities conducted by Melissa Dinsman. The series promises “Through conversations with both leading practitioners in the field and vocal critics, this series is a means to explore the intersection of the digital and the humanities, and its impact […]

Assemblage Theory new materialism realist rhetoric

what if wolves and elephants were writing students?

Despite the title, this isn’t really about animal rhetoric, instead a video and a recent article about evolution. The video below explains how the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone Park not only altered the ecosystem but the physical geography. (Spoiler: wolves chased the deer out of certain areas of the park, allowing for trees and […]

Assemblage Theory realist rhetoric Rhetoric/Composition Teaching

rhetorical organization and Latourian modes of existence

Organization is a common topic of discussion in writing instruction. Often, students are asked to produce “well-organized” essays and organization is a familiar criteria for assessment. Organization generally refers to the rhetorical cannon of arrangement, but somehow it makes more sense to say to students that their essays should be well-organized instead of well-arranged. Organization also […]

Assemblage Theory Rhetoric/Composition

The empiricist-idealist divide in composition studies (and the role of realists)

I’ve been thinking about this big picture disciplinary issues primarily in terms of my Teaching Practicum, but maybe it is useful to share this here as well. Manuel DeLanda has a helpful brief piece on “Ontological Commitments” (PDF) in which he identifies three familiar categories of philosophical positions on ontology: idealism, empiricism, and realism. I […]