valerievisual

Readings, and Related Inspirations


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Agency – The Necessary Illusion? – 8150

I am pretty sure I did a lot more staring at a wall and breathing out rather heavily than I did actually reading about agency this weekend. I’m glad I read Nedra Reynolds‘s article “Interrupting Our Way to Agency: Feminist Cultural Studies and Composition” (1998/2009) before I read Marilyn M. Cooper’s “Rhetorical Agency as Emergent and Enacted” (2011). Had I read them the other way around, I probably would have thrown down Reynolds and just shouted “COOPER DECREES THIS CANNOT BE!”

It took me a bit to come to the above conclusion however, and a lot of freaking out the guy next to me at the coffee shop as I voiced out-loud when I did and did not agree with Cooper.

In the following lines, I will attempt to encapsulate my thoughts on our two readings without falling down any rabbit-holes.

Beautiful Rabbit Hole - taken from www.astonrep.com

Beautiful Rabbit Hole – taken from http://www.astonrep.com

The Reynolds article features an argument centered around tactical rhetoric for marginal, subaltern and otherwise oppressed peoples (898), made up of “multiple and competing subjectivities while also allowing for the possibility of ‘resistance to ideological pressure'” (897). This, by general definition would allow for the existence of the subject. In this way, the subject acts consciously, and the agent possesses agency in using the interruption of the dominant hegemonic force as her lever.

Cooper however, explains somewhere near the beginning of her article, that “a workable theory of agency requires the death not only of the modernist subject but of the whole notion of the subject” (423). [Italics mine]. This took me a minute to wrap my head around, and I’m not sure I agree with her. While Reynolds begins her essay denying postmodernist and poststructuralist theories that suggest that subjects cannot ‘possess’ agency, Cooper claims that the subject is not even part of the equation here. She explains that freedom is not necessarily freedom from constraint, but conglomerations of decisions influenced from several dynamic angles, always moving and changing (440). At this point, I find my ideographical understanding of freedom to be disrupted, and am forced to rethink my notions of ‘freedom.’ If my choices are always already influenced before, during and after I act, perhaps Carolyn Miller IS correct when she “argues that it is agency that is a necessary illusion” (439).

Early on in the article, Cooper rejects the claim made by Rickert that “The subject is inescapably defined by an agonistic relation to the object/other” (423) claiming that “any theory of agency that depends upon a notion of the subject is thus hamstrung at the start, struggling with how to account for any action that is not either determined by or resistant to semiotic, social, political, and material others or orders” (423). According to this claim, Reynolds’s argument is thus ‘hamstrung from the start.’ This I can agree with, but not necessarily for the same reasons. Reynolds does not account for the dual agency involved in persuasion – she does not discuss the need for the dominant players in cultural discourse to have agency in their own reactions to the interruptions she deems important. It appears that if the dominant players simply reduce interruption to belches and farts, they are then rejecting the interruption-as-agency and thereby rejecting the subject interrupting. According to Cooper’s theories, Reynolds has succeeded in nothing in relying on interruption this way.

Cooper does make a curious turn in the later pages of her article. She appears to be content with replacing the subject with the agent (441). By this logic, subjects are necessarily static, and agents are necessarily dynamic. Since I have never thought of a subject as being static, I have a hard time understanding why this distinction is so necessary.

Another bit I take issue with is the fact that Cooper does not acknowledge the passing of time in questions of agency. Reynolds observes that in the case of an occurrence of interruption at a conference, “the results of the interruption were not immediate, but they have been productive” (901), while it does not appear that Cooper, in her theories of agency in persuasion working in multiple directions, has accounted for the change in agent/subject over time. I can’t help but think of the metaphor of seed planting as I think about time and agency.

Taken from ideas.time.com

Taken from ideas.time.com

What I wonder then, is how/where the passage of time might fit into the neurodynamic intentional arc featured in figure 2 on page 429 (I cannot seem to find an illustration online), which begins with short and long term goals, and moves around to learning. And while I pretty much shouted to the hills how I don’t really believe time to exist, this weekend someone reminded me that in physics, space and time are inextricably linked, so I am currently retracting my denial of time, and will revisit this issue at a later date.

I have plenty more to say, but I’m going to leave you with the above, and bring the rest of my thoughts to class. The moral of this story is that I’m learning that no one who theorizes about agency can seem to agree on what agency is, what it does, who can and cannot have it, or what it is for. Great googly.


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Follow-Up to Cintron’s Gang Walls – 8150

Today in class, we discussed the Cintron piece I mentioned in my last blog. Coincidentally, on my train ride home, I listened to last week’s This American Life podcast – about a Chicago area high school, Harper High School, who have no choice but to deal with gangs and gang violence. Things have changed drastically since Cintron’s book, Angels’ Town was published in 1997.

Grab your tissues and have a listen:

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/487/harper-high-school-part-one

The above is Part 1 of a 2-Part series. You should be able to link the 2nd part next week. Or if you download the podcast, mine uploaded today.


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Marking the Public Sphere – 8150

As soon as I began to read “Gangs and Their Walls” by Ralph Cintron (1997), I thought about my own experiences growing up on the West Coast, hearing about gang violence, knowing several gang members, and even having a couple of ‘tagger’ friends (tagging is a MUCH different practice than gang related graffiti). In his paper, Cintron discusses gang graffiti and its placement in public spaces – its “manifestations of desire and frustration” (164), and how gangs are an alternate sub-altern group that do not fit under the same systemically voiceless rubric as do women, as Nancy Fraser discusses  women as subaltern in her text “Rethinking the Public Sphere.”

I couldn't find one of the images from the text, so here is some random gang graffiti - taken from people.howstuffworks.com

I couldn’t find one of the images from the text, so here is some random gang graffiti – taken from people.howstuffworks.com

This week, we also read “Community Literacy: A Rhetorical Model for Personal and Public Inquiry” by Lorraine Higgins, Elenore Long, and Linda Flower (2006).  This paper is an interesting look at how local discourses can be fashioned so participants at a community level may have a voice in their everyday lives and ‘problems.’ In four parts, the authors define the problem(s), and discuss how to transform these problems into discourses where community members can take action for their own well-being, in their own lives, through writing and communicating among many embodiments of the levels of the hierarchical system.

It’s a little difficult to connect these readings to each other, though there are many ways this could be done. Even so, as usual, I’m going to take these off to play in the deep end of the pool and talk about something that has always been of interest to me: tattooing. In order to bring this into the conversation with some relevancy, I turn to the first section of the Higgins, Long and Flower piece: “Assessing the Rhetorical Situation” in which the authors claim that “problems are not empirical entities ‘out there’; they are, as so famously argued in the exchange between Lloyd Bitzer and Scott Consigny, interpretations” (6).

The first problem I seek to identify is the problem of the body as both public and private space. Like the wall of a building, or an underpass, or even the side of a cargo train-car, the body is both privately owned, and considered fit for public view, presumably while one is clothed. Like a wall, the body poses something of a problem area as it is both and neither belonging to public sphere. We see Fraser, for example, address women’s issues this way. When the body is marked in some way that is ‘other’ than what the dominant public sphere deems suitable, it may fall lower on the scale in  “societies whose basic institutional framework generates unequal social groups in structural relations of dominance and subordination” (Fraser 66) – societies like America. Like the problem of domestic violence, or women speaking in public, the marked body hovers somewhere not quite public, and not quite private.

This piece was done by Sammy Bockleman of Birch Avenue Tattoo in Flagstaff, AZ - taken from www.birchavenuetattoo.com

This piece was done by Sammy Bockleman of Birch Avenue Tattoo in Flagstaff, AZ – taken from http://www.birchavenuetattoo.com

Bear with me as I make all this up pretty much on the spot – feel free to provide insightful feedback:

Until recently, and still arguably today, people that are tattooed are generally viewed as rebellious, often drug users, or even violent. Women with tattoos are sometimes assumed to be ‘loose’, or otherwise tainted. Google “Tattoo Women” and you get an entire page of hypersexualized women with chest tattoos. Depending on the nature and degree of tattooing, people are denied jobs, asked to cover parts of their bodies (sometimes rather creatively), or assumed to be less than a contributing member of society. Bodies of Inscription, by Margo DeMello and Bodies of Subversion, by Margot Mifflin are both scholarly books entering a discourse on tattooing, anthropologically in American and Canadian culture, and gender specifically, respectively.

Another issue I face in being interested in the rhetorical space of talking about tattooing, is in my inability to uncover ‘why’ people get tattooed. Popular reality television shows like L.A. Ink or Ink Master spend much of their time discussing the deep meaning and/or memorialization behind every tattoo they feature. As a result, as common argument I have heard is that people with tattoos should not have got tattooed if they didn’t want to divulge all the inner (private) meanings of their tattoos. It is as though the ‘norm’ of the public sphere is somehow transformed into a public body with permissions to interrogate, gaze at, and even touch a person who has chosen to get tattooed. Further, it is not uncommon to hear phrases like, “What will you do when you are older?” ; “How will you find a job?”; or “Don’t you know you are stuck with that for life?” – as though the tattooed body is somehow now in a prison from which the marked cannot escape. Somehow, because their body is less private according to the ‘norm,’ is it more of an inescapable prison than it was before it was marked?

Unlike communities aimed at building a literacy for a perceived common good (though Higgins, Long and Flower tell us that common ground is very hard to come by), tattooed people do not automatically form a common culture based on their tattooed status. There is no ‘local public’ for them to seek out. What would be interesting however, is to find (or create) an empirical study based around how two tattooed strangers might approach and greet one another as opposed to how someone ‘normal’ and endowed with the right to interrogate, gaze, or touch, engages a tattooed person. Again, this likely varies depending on the degree and nature of tattooing involved parties possess. Is there a public code one tattooed individual adheres to with another tattooed individual? If so, is this code understood, as a covert gang sign, color, or graffiti symbol might be understood in Cintron’s article? Where does one learn this code? Is it transferable?

As you can see, I am unsure exactly how this all ties together, but I have yet to see much work done rhetorically on this topic, though there is a particularly interesting piece by Sonja Modesti called “Home Sweet Home: Tattoo Parlors as Postmodern Spaces of Agency” (2008) which addresses the parlor as the space of agency and Megan Jean Harlow‘s “The Suicide Girls: Tattooing as Radical Feminist Agency” (2008), which addresses reappropriation of the body via tattooing in a subcultural third-wave feminist group called ‘The Suicide Girls.’ Neither directly address the public paradox of the tattooed body, or the particular nature of the tattoo, though there is rather extensive anthropological work on both gang tattooing and prison tattooing available for your reading pleasure.

I ask then, if a local public cannot be identified, how do we develop a common rhetorical capacity for tattooed people to express the myriad reasons for inscripting their flesh? How does the larger public sphere, the dominant culture that determines the ‘norm’ negotiate all the varieties of tattooed individuals? Do we bracket tattooing and pretend like we can’t see the ‘neck blast’ on our poetry professor? Do we pretend like we are not taken aback by the knuckle tattoos on the manager’s manager in the customer service department of the phone company? Are tattooed people to be shut away and relegated to telemarketing so ‘normal’ people don’t have to look at them? What – in a quasi-public/private situation as the appropriately exposed parts of the body – are we supposed to do to direct discourse that reduces discrimination in this context?


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Exploring Service Learning in Writing Programs

On this leg of my journey toward Doctoral Candidacy, I read two books:

Going Public: What Writing Programs Learn from Engagement by Shirley K. Rose and Irwin Weiser

Taken from Amazon

Taken from Amazon

The Activist WPA: Chanigng Stories and Writing about Writers by Linda Adler-Kassner

Also taken from Amazon

Also taken from Amazon

Both texts deal in service learning, a concept I find quite interesting, though not directly relevant to what I am interested in looking at where writing programs are concerned.

However, one can never know when these incredibly great ideas might come in handy.

Below is a short set of questions and answers relating to these texts:

1. What is/are the explicit argument(s)?

In both texts, the explicit arguments are that we (writing instructors, educators, everyone) need to prepare our students for the 21st century. Sometimes the authors discuss this in terms of civic duty, and sometimes they talk about skills students will take with them to find a job. Going Public specifically suggests that we need to make visible the infrastructures of writing and writing programs so that the students, and the general public can navigate the best ways to obtain what it is they need to know, or be able to perform (do).

2. What is/are the implicit argument(s)?

In Going Public, I got a sense that the collected authors reject the idea that there is a collective consciousness, and thus a viable culture of homogeneity we (the American public) should all be striving for. In The Activist WPA, though Adler-Kassner argues for a student’s ability to understand his or her individual influences, it is not clear where Adler-Kassner stands on the idea of cultural homogeneity as she argues that our speech affects the way the public views writing and the teaching of writing. By the end of the book, I was unsure what theoretical direction Adler-Kassner was coming from.

3. Why are these texts useful to rhetoric and composition?

Going Public is a useful look into service learning and how service learning can make regional writing programs more relevant. The Activist WPA fulfills much the same purpose, though Adler-Kassner’s message seems to be much more basic with suggestions as to how service learning can help fulfill the shift in the way we tell stories about our writers and writing instruction.

– Certainly both texts may be useful to my position in the field in the future if I decide I want to take my work in the direction of service learning.

4. What are the limits of the texts?

Both texts have the same limits I saw in Rose and Weiser’s The Writing Program Administrator as Theorist: Neither of these texts addresses New Media, computers and composition, or GTA training. Also, if we agree with what Rose and Weiser say of theory in the book I just mentioned, the articles in Going Public as well as Adler-Kassner’s book The Activist WPA, are not grounded firmly in any overtly identifiable theories. Further, Adler-Kassner’s book does not answer her introductory questions about assessment to my satisfaction. When I reached the end of her text and re-read her opening questions (also posed in the conclusion), I had to go back and search for her assessment ideas. They exist, but they solve no assessment issues I can identify.

5. What counts as evidence?

As with the 2002 Rose and Weiser text, the authors in Going Public lean on past scholarship and rather heavily on case studies. Adler-Kassner leans rather heavily on stories and story-telling in The Activist WPA.

6. What connections can I make to past texts?

In Going Public, I chose to focus on only a small number of essays: Chapter 5 “A Hybrid Genre Supports Hybrid Roles in Community-University Collaboration” because of my focus on collaborative projects and my interest in materials, Chapter 8 “Students, Faculty, and ‘Sustainable’ WPA work” because of its use of ‘Business as Usual’ metaphorical comparison and Chapter 11 “Coming Down from the Ivory Tower: Writing Program’s Role in Advocating Public Scholarship” because of its use of materialist theory (though not overtly) and its connection to public view.

Interestingly, now that I think about it, Chapter 11 has a lot of overlap with Adler-Kassner’s The Activist WPA in that her main occupation is in changing public perception. Though while I claim the use of materialist theory (which all arguably use), materialist theory is not explicitly discussed, nor thoroughly used. I claim the use of materialist theories because of the ideas all the above authors in question give credence to what Ronald Greene describes in his article “Another Materialist Rhetoric” as “a materialist rhetoric [which] marks how governing institutions represent, mobilize and regulate a population in order to judge their way of life” (27). In all 3 texts I have covered, materialist rhetoric has a place and a sway in the way the authors discuss their decisions in writing program administration and teaching.

I can feel an interest in a deeper/greater understanding of materialist theory(ies) growing in me and taking root. Where to go from here??


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Ideographs and the Body – 8150

In his paper “The ‘Ideograph‘: A Link Between Rhetoric and Ideology,” Michael McGee introduces the idea of the ideograph: an abstract word, or set of words that “signify and ‘contain’ a unique ideological commitment” (7).

Some of my personal favorite ideographs are

‘freedom’

It is extremely interesting to me that this image comes up first when I image search 'freedom' on google - I may need to do a follow-up analysis. Taken from cindysheehanssoapbox.blogspot.com

It is extremely interesting to me that this image comes up first when I image search ‘freedom’ on google – I may need to do a follow-up analysis.
Taken from cindysheehanssoapbox.blogspot.com

‘equality’

This looks more like wrestling than equality to me.... taken from www.bubblews.com

This looks more like wrestling than equality to me…. taken from http://www.bubblews.com

‘happiness’

So what Thoreau is saying is that he has NO idea what happiness is - taken from justhelga.wordpress.com

So what Thoreau is saying is that he has NO idea what happiness is – taken from justhelga.wordpress.com

McGee covers the first two a little (I’m still trying to decide what ‘equality’ would wear if it walked up my driveway), but I add the last because I find it to be a fascinating part of life – it’s in the United States Constitution – ‘pursuit of happiness.’ We all have a right to that. But what the heck is it? I’m told I’m supposed to want children because I have a womb. Incorrect. That sounds horrifying to me. Kids leak from their faces and don’t care. No thank you.

As you can tell, I take a little contention with the ideograph ‘happiness.’ But McGee tells us that the ideograph begins with an ‘ideology’ – a concept that “has atrophied” (1). So if ideology has atrophied… how do we get to the bottom of ideographs like ‘happiness’?

Arguing against the notion that there is some kind of collective consciousness (and I wonder what Bitzer thought about this), McGee tells us that “Materialists… seem to use the concept ‘ideology’ expressly to warrant normative claims regarding the exploitation of the ‘proletarian class’ by self-serving plunderers” (3).

This is where I get confused.

As McGee continues to tell us about Materialists, he then introduces symbolists who ask “how the human symbol-using, reality-creating potential impinges on material reality, ordering it normatively, ‘mythically'” (3). But… in another article we read for this week, “Reading Maternity Materially: The Case of Demi Moore,” by Barbara Dickson, “material rhetoric is a mode of interpretation that takes as its object of study the significations of material things and corporal entities” (297). Dickson differentiates material rhetoric from cultural materialism which “is primarily interested in identifying the interactions between cultural and material production, the contradictions between the two, and how those contradictions lead to changes in the relations between the two” (298). I think I need help with my ‘isms’ here. Is Dickson’s piece more of a symbolist argument according to McGee, then?

Dickson tells us that she derives her materialist views from Walter Benjamin, and Maxine Sheets-Johnstone, two decidedly visual scholars (though in different ways).

My question then becomes, how does the work that Dickson is doing here (visual materialism??) and materialism as McGee discusses it overlap?

Does Dickson’s piece, specifically her discussion of the multiple and multilayered responses to the Demi Moore cover photo,

The Vanity Fair cover photo in question - taken from www.vanityfair.com

The Vanity Fair cover photo in question – taken from http://www.vanityfair.com

confirm McGee’s notion that there is no mass consciousness “because ‘truth’ in politics, no matter how firmly we believe, is always an illusion” (4)?

Can we then extend McGee to talk about politics of the body? Can I talk about ideographs such as ‘beauty,’ or ‘perfection’?

Let’s see what happens when I image search these…

Someone probably paid for this to come up first - naturalbeautyhaven.wordpress.com

Someone probably paid for this to come up first – naturalbeautyhaven.wordpress.com

I'm pretty sure this has more to do with my filter than anything else. - taken from open.salon.com

I’m pretty sure this has more to do with my filter than anything else. – taken from open.salon.com

I’m pretty sure no two people who read this entry will have the same idea of what these concepts entail. Does that further prove McGee’s claim that cultural consciousness cannot exist?

If this is the case – and if it’s so easy to illustrate – why does it perpetuate?


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Propriety, Conspiracy Theory, and the Rhetorical Situation – 8150

I know I talk a lot about how important the rhetorical situation is, but really, today is my first time reading Lloyd Bitzer’s “The Rhetorical Situation,” Richard E. Vatz’s “The Myth of the Rhetorical Situation,” and “Barbra Biesecker’s “Rethinking the Rhetorical Situation.”

Dr. Bitzer - taken from www.xtimeline.com

Dr. Bitzer – taken from http://www.xtimeline.com

Vatz and his tie, taken from www.tallahassee.com

Vatz and his tie, taken from http://www.tallahassee.com

As I read Bitzer’s arguably cannonical piece, I thought a lot about this ‘reality of the situation’ business he keeps referring to (6). I wondered who was going to determine this ‘reality’ of a situation? Is it the speaker? Is it the audience? Is it someone else entirely?

Thank goodness Vatz comes along and sets us straight… or does he? First, as Biesecker later will point out, Vatz completely upends the rhetorical situation as Bitzer lays it down. But the part that’s the most important to me is when Vatz states that there exists a phenomenological perspective of the speaker (154), and that “meaning is not intrinsic” (156). These are concepts we have been talking about all throughout modern theory, and are important to point out. Who gets to decide what is ‘real’? How do we delineate the meanings of words when language is intrinsically broken?

And while I’m all for Biesecker’s invitation for rhetoricians to deconstruct, what I really want to talk about is what no one is talking about (take THAT Derrida and your white space!).

Vatz makes an interesting point when he claims that we highlight the events we see as important by talking about them – by participating in symbolic action generation: “When political commentators talk about issues they are talking about situations made salient, not something that became important because of its intrinsic predominance” (160). So according to Bitzer and Vatz… does dominant culture decide what is a situation and what is not?

As I mull over the ‘salient situations’ and the ‘reality of situations,’ I can’t help but think of what we don’t talk about when we don’t talk about women (a traditionally non-dominant piece of the society puzzle). The list of female taboos used to be really long – think propriety everyone – but it has thankfully shortened over the years, depending on who you spend your time with. One issue I’m ALWAYS fascinated with is menstruation. It’s so taboo, everyone in the room grows still when I mention it (which is somewhat often in all relativity of who mentions things in rooms). I did a quick google search and found this interesting blog entry about how even in commercials for menstruation protection (you know, tampons and pads), actual menstruation is not mentioned. Don’t believe me? Youtube it. Here’s an example:

Aside from issues of propriety, which I could probably go on and on about, when Vatz mentions “political commentators,” I think… conspiracy theory. What if we didn’t actually land on the moon?

Taken from aelhra.blogspot.com

Taken from aelhra.blogspot.com

What if there ARE aliens out there?

You know this happened... right? Taken from io9.com

You know this happened… right? Taken from io9.com

What if there are REALLY reptoids from the center of the earth inhabiting human skin and waiting to take over the world when the polar ice caps melt and let the rest of their people out (I may be mincing conspiracies here)?

My favorite conspiracy theory by far... taken from www.freewebs.com

My favorite conspiracy theory by far… taken from http://www.freewebs.com

Are these not rhetorical situations if our dominant culture doesn’t see them as such? Are they not part of the ‘reality’ of the situation? How do we deconstruct something that we don’t talk about? Or is the fact that topics are taboo situate them in a situation of ‘white’ space somehow? Are conspiracy theories relevant rhetorically, even though they are not given much credence by the dominant culture?

In case you need it (because I thought you might), here is more information on reptoids. Because that’s a thing.


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New Course – New Entries

I’m VERY excited for 2 specific reasons:

1. I am taking my very last course… ever. Next are my comprehensive exams, and then on to my dissertation.

2. That last course I’m taking happens to be Modern and Contemporary Rhetorical Theory with Ashley Holmes, our brand new professor at Georgia State. I’ve been wanting more, denser, theory for a while and now I get it. We get to read folks like Perleman, Habermas, Foucault, and Baudrillard, just to name the big big ones. And Burke, but I’ve had enough Burke to last me the rest of my theoretical life.

Therefore – this blog is about to become very theory heavy, which I happen to be quite comfortable with. I hope you enjoy it too. Also – I will still be posting a bunch of pedagogical maneuvers I undertake to stab in the dark at, and I will be posting those too. So anytime I post for the theory course (once a week), I will put an 8150 in the title so you know it’s about to get really deep in here.

Thankfully, I like to think I’m a pretty accessible writer, so that should stay the same.


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Getting My Game On

Well – this blog is not longer for class readings, but it worked so well to keep some of my thoughts in line, especially in making connections among readings, and generating ideas, I will definitely be keeping it going.

So over break, I’ve been up against some interesting technological challenges (including the fact that the L key is not working particularly well on this computer). I went on vacation to visit my parents, and left my laptop AC adapter at home. No problem, I thought. It’s Phoenix. I’ll just grab up a new one. But would you believe that no one in the PHX area carries the adapter for my laptop? Sure, I could buy a universal adapter for $80 from Best Buy, but I’ve already sold them a piece of my soul for the laptop I love. And of course, my parents’ had JUST put their computer in the shop. The story goes on and one – I ordered an adapter from Amazon with 2 day shipping and had it sent to the wrong address… and so on, and on.

I freaked out.

I freaked out a lot – red in the face, hot skin… all the symptoms of an impending flu. Seriously.

So I sat down and re-evaluated my life.

And I realized that most of the work I had to do could either wait until after Christmas, or could  be done in a notebook.

So I did what any person currently obsessed with new media would do in my situation: I read a book about it. Well – I read Cathy Davidson’s Now You See It.

And then I sat down with my purple analog notebook and a pen… and I devised a rhetoric game for my students.

Because I know I will write about it, likely rather often, I will save you the gritty details and just link you to the rules once I get them up on my syllabus. But the short of it is this: instead of forcing my students to write an arbitrary essay identifying rhetorical concepts in some arbitrary reading, I am going to ask them to play a game, using tumblr and a google doc spreadsheet. I’m lifting the title of the game from Pop-Culture Happy Hour, hosted by NPR,  and calling it: “What’s Making Me Happy This Week.” My students will post something media related that is making them happy and then compete to convert each other to liking the thing they like. The learning part is in the writing about WHY they’re so happy about the thing they post. It’s also in the sharing, the community of the game, and the major presentation at the end of the 8-week game.

The great thing about this game idea is that if it royally fails, my students and I will both have learned some valuable lessons from the experience. And if it works really well, see above.

So stay tuned, and hopefully I’ll have some really cool experiences to report.

 


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Rhetoric Colloquium Event – English Rhetoric Students Needed

This Friday – tomorrow – is a gathering of rhetorically motivated minds here at Georgia State University.
I jokingly say I’m in it for the food (and the drink), but really this is an exciting event where we can have a short discussion about out departments. For the most part, it will involve the Communication department and the English department, but Religious studies and other soft sciences are also going to be involved.
So in case you don’t already know – below is the invite.

Colloquium Meet and Greet fall2012