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Current Affairs new materialism

the assemblage of white populations

As you probably learned in high school or college, the different races of humans with which we identify today have no biological basis but are social constructions. A brief refresher on the matter is here. Basically though there are few starting points for this construction. One occurs in the 17th century when American colonists decide […]

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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 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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digital rhetoric new materialism

the principle of illectracy?

Perhaps Ulmer has a more elegant puncept for this, but basically I’m thinking here about the analog of illiteracy within electracy. I.e.: literacy —–> electracyilliteracy —–> illectracy? For the first 25 years or so that we have discussed electracy, I don’t think there was a pressing need to imagine the operation of illectracy. For one […]

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digital rhetoric new materialism

hold me closer tiny rhetorician

After all, who can resist an Elton John reference? Well, I’m in the midst of book revisions (and there was much rejoicing). I’m thinking back–and perhaps modifying–a notion I had a few years ago: minimal rhetoric. I’m thinking “tiny” rather than “minimal.” Maybe both. My attraction to “tiny” is from the line in A Thousand Plateaus that has stuck […]

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digital rhetoric new materialism Uncategorized

A different direction for asking why you heard what you did

So the basic story of the recent “Laurel or Yanny” story, as near as I can figure, is this. You’re listening to a degraded digital recording of a voice that has distorted some of the low frequency sounds a human voice makes. So depending on a number of factors–some physiological, some psychological, some technological (e.g. […]

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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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Higher Education new materialism realist rhetoric

Part Three: the university of a tiny rhetoric

The last part of a three part essay. Here are parts one and two. This brings me momentarily to the Stover article, but Latour’s interview ends with some remarks about the university (and rhetoric). Latour notes that rhetoric, from the start, is fundamentally a way to teach people: It means that you can take someone […]

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Higher Education new materialism realist rhetoric

Part Two: Making a Move on Ontology

Here are links to parts one and three of this essay. Instead the purportedly “big” new materialist rhetoric is instead tiny, minimal even. Rhetoric is not so huge as to cover civilization. It does not take over after psychology explains coming to salience. I don’t believe there is a “realm of rhetoric,” neither in consciousness […]

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Higher Education new materialism realist rhetoric

A tiny rhetoric in a big univers(ity): three parts

This morning I’m writing about the place of rhetoric in a new materialist, plural ontology (starting with some comments from Latour) and moving into rhetoric’s place in the humanities (starting with a recent article in American Affairs, “There is no case for the humanities” by Justin Stover). I’ve divided this into three posts, so here […]