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Teaching Statement


My goal as an educator is to instill active, engaged, critical media literacy. I am influenced by tactical media, which exists at the intersection of media, art, and activism made possible by the introduction of cheap tools previously monopolized by the state and media industries. Emerging in the 1990s with an increased awareness of gender, race, and post-colonial struggle, tactical media began as a challenge to the one-way street of mass media. Programmers, theorists, and activists inspired by an artistic sense of play and the cultural aesthetics of do-it-yourself punk create self-aware interactive media that is synonymous with net.art, hacktivism, open source activity, culture jamming, and citizen journalism.

Tactical media has inspired me to design courses around digital scholarly conventions, collaborative learning, and open-source assessment.

I develop digital scholarly conventions by integrating research design that allows students to indulge in their already-existing inquisitiveness. This begins with the understanding that today’s students are an online generation that already know how to search out information. I see my role as showing them how to transform their ability to search into re-search (as George Stocking says). I do this by introducing the rigor of scholarly analysis, argumentation styles, and citational standards through digital tools developed for our information-based society (Zotero, Scrivener, Omeka).

I encourage collaborative learning by constructing the classroom as a space for collaborative scholarship. As such, I focus more on the process of learning than imparting specific pieces of information. Essential to this approach are three elements that I take from Arjun Appadurai's globalized theory of education: 1) a spatial analytic of global flows and linkages; 2) subaltern and alternative knowledges that disrupt uncritical cultural assumptions; and 3) democratic forms of representation that challenge the uneven effects of global processes.

I advance open-source assessment by employing born-digital assignments that use wikis, blogs, and other platforms so that students publicly share their findings. I encourage you to visit one such example: http://rhet-work.wikispaces.com/. When work is public, students stop competing over private knowledge and start building off each other's insights. This form of assessment is modeled after an open-source knowledge production. One highlight is the students’ final project, an anthology of texts that some posted online as a publicly-available reader for others, resulting in “For the Love of the Game: Women, Sports, and Work,” “Work in Community Economics: a reader of alternative voices,” and “Between Black Detroit and the UAW: Racial Discrimination in Detroit’s Autoworker’s Unions.”

Tactical media must be continually reassessed – corporate innovations in interactive, participatory, and personalized media have complicated the picture. But I take it as a challenge, encouraging us to identify new media practices that transform with emerging technology 

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Teaching Statement


My goal as an educator is to instill active, engaged, critical media literacy. I am influenced by tactical media, which exists at the intersection of media, art, and activism made possible by the introduction of cheap tools previously monopolized by the state and media industries. Emerging in the 1990s with an increased awareness of gender, race, and post-colonial struggle, tactical media began as a challenge to the one-way street of mass media. Programmers, theorists, and activists inspired by an artistic sense of play and the cultural aesthetics of do-it-yourself punk create self-aware interactive media that is synonymous with net.art, hacktivism, open source activity, culture jamming, and citizen journalism.

Tactical media has inspired me to design courses around digital scholarly conventions, collaborative learning, and open-source assessment.

I develop digital scholarly conventions by integrating research design that allows students to indulge in their already-existing inquisitiveness. This begins with the understanding that today’s students are an online generation that already know how to search out information. I see my role as showing them how to transform their ability to search into re-search (as George Stocking says). I do this by introducing the rigor of scholarly analysis, argumentation styles, and citational standards through digital tools developed for our information-based society (Zotero, Scrivener, Omeka).

I encourage collaborative learning by constructing the classroom as a space for collaborative scholarship. As such, I focus more on the process of learning than imparting specific pieces of information. Essential to this approach are three elements that I take from Arjun Appadurai's globalized theory of education: 1) a spatial analytic of global flows and linkages; 2) subaltern and alternative knowledges that disrupt uncritical cultural assumptions; and 3) democratic forms of representation that challenge the uneven effects of global processes.

I advance open-source assessment by employing born-digital assignments that use wikis, blogs, and other platforms so that students publicly share their findings. I encourage you to visit one such example: http://rhet-work.wikispaces.com/. When work is public, students stop competing over private knowledge and start building off each other's insights. This form of assessment is modeled after an open-source knowledge production. One highlight is the students’ final project, an anthology of texts that some posted online as a publicly-available reader for others, resulting in “For the Love of the Game: Women, Sports, and Work,” “Work in Community Economics: a reader of alternative voices,” and “Between Black Detroit and the UAW: Racial Discrimination in Detroit’s Autoworker’s Unions.”

Tactical media must be continually reassessed – corporate innovations in interactive, participatory, and personalized media have complicated the picture. But I take it as a challenge, encouraging us to identify new media practices that transform with emerging technology 

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Seminar: Code and Contagion


Seminar: Code and Contagion


Seminar: Code and Contagion

Course Description

With the rise of digital code and new technologies of mediation, significant social relations now exist above and below the individuations of customary political representation. On the one hand, new interfaces of control treat information as signals instead of signs and physics instead of semiotics; while on the other, media cultures produce original rhetoric, ideologies, and tactics of resistance. This class begins with a genealogy of signification and its mediums of transmission, continues by mapping forms of control enabled by informatization, and ends with possible lines of flight immanent to new digital forms.

 

Learning Outcomes

Through our historical genealogy, students explore how the changing material practice of language constitutes a shifting ontology of ourselves. By mapping informatized control through media archaeology, students acquire tools for challenging the early greater-than-the-sum-of-its-parts celebration of networks by studying how decentralization becomes a new apparatus of capture. And in following lines of flight in new media art, students learn how to identify and theorize the revolutionary potential of current media technologies.

Select Readings

–Giorgio Agamben, "What is an Apparatus?"
–N Katherine Hayles, How We Think: Digital Media and Contemporary Technogenesis
–Jussi Parikka, Tony Sampson, et al., The Spam Book
–Rita Raley, Tactical Media
–Tony Sampson, Virality: Contagion Theory in the Age of Network
–Tiziana Terranova, Network Culture: Politics for the Information Age

 

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Seminar: Queer Theory and Rhetoric


Seminar: Queer Theory and Rhetoric


Seminar: Queer Theory and Rhetoric

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Course Description

Queer theory critiques normality through a critical-cultural approach to sex, sexuality, and the body. This course explores how queer theory reconfigures rhetoric studies. Students will study the queerness of rhetorical situations through discourses on sex, the performativity of gender, the act of coming out, and the racialization of the body. As such, we will consider how queerness disrupts the boundary between rhetorical theory, criticism, and the archive.

Course Content

Readings include foundational texts to queer theory, work in rhetoric studies, and contemporary debates in both fields. Student should expect to learn prominent queer theories, queer forms of critique, and queer destabilization of the rhetorical canon. Course requirements include class discussion, public wiki participation, an annotated bibliography, and a final paper

Select Readings

–Michel Foucault, History of Sexuality, Volume 1
–Judith Butler, "Critically Queer" and "Imitation and Gender Insubordination"
Morris et al, "Queer Archives / Archival Queers"
–Bennett, "Queer Citizenship and the Stigma of Banned Blood," Banning Queer Blood
–Ridinger, Speaking for Our Lives: Historic Speeches

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Course: Digital Writing


Course: Digital Writing


Course: Digital Writing

Open-Source Learning

I teach composition through digital writing tools. The born-digital assignments I create are modeled after an open-source approach to knowledge production. Rather than assessing students as competitors that possess private knowledge, the collaborative use of social technologies – such as wikis, blogs, tumblr, twitter – enables my students to build off each other's expertise to make knowledge collaborative.

Technical Resources, Social Topics

Digital tools often work best when they are not the center of attention. I focus composition courses on contemporary themes, such as the historical construction of race, gendered identity presentation, or the city's social fragmentation. By casting the content-focus beyond the digital, we benefit from powerful technical resources while letting social concerns drive the conversation. 

Resource Example: Class Wiki

Students kept a public wiki for the "Metropolis 24/7" class. They added resource links, outlined in-class conversion, "live blogged" discussions, and then posted related material. Popular materials received over 100 discussion items. The wiki facilitated engagement with authors of the material we read, and now serves as a public archive for others to find.