Abstracts of Select Scholarly Publications

“Iconographic Tracking: A Digital Research Method for Visual Rhetoric and Circulation Studies.” Computers and Composition, 30 (4) (December 2013):332-348.

Drawing on recent scholarship in the disciplines of rhetoric and composition/writing studies and communication, I advocate for generating new methodologies and methods for studying rhetorical circulation. I introduce iconographic tracking--a research method that employs traditional qualitative and inventive digital research strategies to investigate the circulation, transformation, and consequentiality of images across genres, mediums, and contexts. As evidence of what this method can afford, I present findings from a four-year long case study that employs iconographic tracking to trace Shepard Fairey’s now iconic Obama Hope image. To help readers understand some of the theories and philosophies that undergird the method of iconographic tracking, I also briefly introduce a new materialist approach to rhetorical study. In practice, I point in new directions for visual rhetorical study and circulation studies at large.

“Agential Matters: Tumbleweed, Women-Pens, Citizen-Hope, & Rhetorical Agency.”Ecology, Writing Theory, and New Media: Writing Ecology. Ed. Sid Dobrin. Routledge, 2011.

In this article I draw on recent developments in distributed cognition, posthuman studies, and new materialism to advocate for adopting a new materialist sensibility toward agency that recognizes the dynamic vitality and agential capacity of rhetorical discourse. I specifically draw on Karen Barad’s notion of intra-action, Bruno Latour’s notion of actancy, and the research method of iconographic tracking to make visible how mutual rhetorical transformation emerges among diverse entities as discourse circulates, transforms, and experiences material engagement. As such, I demonstrate how ecological perspectives of agency embodied in the notion of actancy can open up new research potentials for rhetorical studies.

“An Inconvenient Tool: Rethinking the Role of Slideware in the Writing Classroom.” Co-authored with Collin Brooke, Composition Studies, (Spring 2010) 38.1. Reprinted in Best Writing from Independent Composition and Rhetoric Journals: 2010 (Parlor Press, 2011).

This article illustrates the downfall and renaissance of PowerPoint in the business and design world and argues that progressive slideware methods of presentation and delivery warrant reconsideration of PowerPoint’s potential in the composition classroom. In conjunction with theorizing constraint writing, my co-author and I illustrate various uses of slideware presentation methods and genres in the invention and revision of ideas. We ultimately argue for repositioning delivery in 21st century composing processes. 

Practicing Methods In Ancient Cultural Rhetorics: Un-Covering Rhetorical Action In Moche Burial Rituals.” A Brief History of Rhetoric in the Americas: 3113 BCE to 2012 CE. Eds. Damian Baca and Victor Villanueva. New York: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2009.

This article excavates the rhetorical actions of duality, concealment, and inversion in the  ancient mortuary practices used to bury Moche elite rulers in the northern coast of Peru between 100 and 800 CE. Although Moche studies scholars demonstrate what purpose this rhetorical genre may have served, this article argues that we must practice self-restraint in assigning rhetorical meaning to rhetorical acts without knowing the actual consequences that emerge in response to these actions during their initial production. I advocate and even laud the move in the field of rhetoric and composition to embrace and theorize the genre of these rich Pre-Columbian rhetorical traditions; however, rather than jump quickly into identifying the purpose and meaning of these ancient rhetorical traditions, I suggest we move slowly and carefully and let them make visible to us their rhetorical function.  

“Emerging Methods of Visual Rhetorics.” Review Essay. JAC (2009) 29.2.

This article explores contemporary methods of visual rhetorical study in three recentpublications: EcoSee, No Caption Needed, and New Media/New Methods. This article begins by acknowledging that as researchers, electracy challenges us to account for  diverse kinds of communication emerging in the digital age and to investigate and theorize how digital media is altering how we conduct and present research. Yet I point out that many of our methodological toolkits are filled with textual based approaches ill-equipped to capture and make use of the kinds of digital communication circulating in the world today. In response to this methodological dilemma, I ask: What methods can we employ to adequately account for visual communication unique to the digital age? I illustrate how the three reviewed texts offer a spectrum of research methodsproductive for taking the pictorial turn in an age of electracy.

Thoughtjam is a weblog I produced in graduate school to post summaries and responses to scholarly texts in the discipline of rhetoric and composition/writing studies. No longer active, this blog now serves as a resource for my own scholarship as well as for others in the field.

Podcasts/Videos of Conference Presentations

Please visit my weblog Podcast Central to watch and listen to following presentations. You can also watch a live streaming of a more recent lightning talk from HASTAC 2015 here