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rhetoric in the late age of the internet

Digital Digs (Alex Reid) - 21 May, 2017 - 11:51

Some 25 years ago, Jay Bolter described the “late age of print” not as an era when print media were disappearing but rather as time when the question of an impending end began to characterize how we understood the technology. In imagining a late ago of the internet, some semantic clarification is necessary. I do not think we are in a moment when we are questioning the end of a time when information is digital and networked. If any thing, that transition is only beginning. However, we do appear to be in the late age of a particular version and vision of the web, and its confluence and shared fate with postmodern theory is worth noting, particularly for those of us in the humanities.

Here are two curious articles worth a read. The first and briefer one in the NY Times, “‘The internet is broken:’ @ev is trying to salvage it” focus on Twitter co-founder Evan Williams and his somewhat quixotic attempt to forge a respectable public online sphere through his online publishing venture Medium. Williams recounts a familiar problem: “The trouble with the internet, Mr. Williams says, is that it rewards extremes. Say you’re driving down the road and see a car crash. Of course you look. Everyone looks. The internet interprets behavior like this to mean everyone is asking for car crashes, so it tries to supply them.”

The other is a far longer and somewhat meandering tale about the emergence of a transhumanist, alt-right movement called neoreactionism by Shuja Haider in Viewpoint. Haider tracks the emergence of this concept focusing on a few controversial figures, including one Nick Land, a mid nineties postmodern philosophy professor turned apparently mad turned clearly into a quite extremist alt-right ideologue. The whole thing certainly reads like a late cyberpunk Neal Stephenson/Bruce Sterling mash-up, a combination of Snow Crash and Distraction  maybe. I won’t attempt to summarize this article for you except to offer this “It’s a strange intellectual path that begins with ‘Current French Philosophy’ and settles on a right-wing Silicon Valley blogger whose writing is more Dungeons and Dragons than Deleuze and Guattari.”

You could look at Land’s story as an idiosyncratic tale of theory gone horribly wrong… You could if you weren’t able to trace the resonances between transhumanism and posthumanism that have been there for decades. You could say they’re two sides of a coin. You could think about how the internet was born into language about rhizomatic hypertexts, cyborgian politics, temporary autonomous zones, and so on and in the interplay between cyberpunk literature and the “theory-fictions” of the era (which Land himself still writes). Arguably all of this is fairly plain to see in A Thousand Plateaus where the potential for liberatory, nomadic, anti-state lines of flight can easily turn fascist. How does one discern the differences among the transcapitalist will to a globalist erasure of state power, terror networks grounded in anti-modern, anti-global religious fundamentalism, and the alt-right, libertarian, technocratic opposition to government? In some respects it’s easy, right? However, each is a version of a kind of rhizomatic, deterritorializing, nomadic assemblage operating against the modern, liberal, nation state.

While we’re at it, of course, we need to keep in mind that really all of critical theory in the humanities  is aimed at dismantling the state as well–as patriarchal, capitalist, colonialist, etc. Is there a Left version of these deterritorializing politics? Sure. There are a variety of leftist accelerationist politics that essentially look to speed up and/or push through capitalism to whatever comes next. As Alex Williams and Nick Srnicek write, “We believe the most important division in today’s left is between those that hold to a folk politics of localism, direct action, and relentless horizontalism, and those that outline what must become called an accelerationist politics at ease with a modernity of abstraction, complexity, globality, and technology… an accelerationist politics seeks to preserve the gains of late capitalism while going further than its value system, governance structures, and mass pathologies will allow.” Perhaps you find the idea of a leftist accelerationism enticing, but it’s worth remembering how easily these ideas turn fascist.

But let’s turn back to Evan Williams, Twitter, and Medium. In effect, Williams hope appears to be that the Internet could become some version of an egalitarian,  Habermasian public sphere: a place where all citizens (or netizens as we once romantically imagined ourselves) could gather for rational conversation and deliberation. In this scheme, it’s a move in the opposite direction: a reterritorialization of the web to reassert the modern state and its political rhetoric. I sympathize with the desire to do something about the mess that has been made of the web by capitalism, fundamentalism, extremism, and what ultimately amounts to little more than a pure affective urge to self-destruction, but an adequate response doesn’t lie in the 20th-century.

As much as the needed response is not a technological fix, it also is not not a technological fix. We simply need, for one thing, a better understanding of our digital media-ecological rhetorical situation. That’s something rhetoricians can provide, and while I wouldn’t say it’s the biggest piece of the puzzle, there’s still plenty of work to do. The question the late age of the internet poses is what will follow. That is, what follows on the social media communities and digital marketplaces that typify our daily engagement with the web and represent the globe’s most visited websites? The web began in the nineties as a fantasy about escaping the real world, as a place where we would have separate second lives and form parallel virtual communities. And the social web that followed in the next decade largely built on that fantasy by making it more accessible. But we can’t really think about the web that way. The digital world is not a separate world, as if it ever really was. We need a new web, one that supplants the social web as the social web supplanted web 1.0, one that recognizes the rhetorical-material stakes differently.

It’s anyone’s guess how to sort out the larger political problems, with time one would suspect and let’s hope that we have enough of it to spare. But if we’re happy with the contention that print technologies spurred literacy and hence democracy and capitalism but also a fundamentalist reaction, then certainly we can ask the same questions of digital media. What can we build? Hopefully something better than is on offer here!

Categories: Author Blogs

academia’s weird pseudo-productivity: the summer edition

Digital Digs (Alex Reid) - 12 April, 2017 - 11:19

First off, what a bizarre intractable rhetorical situation this is! There is the broad cultural characterization that professors do little work because they teach so few classes, which even in itself is accurate characterization of many professors’ workloads. This is followed by a whole sub-genre of essays describing the intense demands placed on academics, how they work 60 hours a week and so on. All of that is further complicated by the conversations around adjunct faculty. In that context it just seems gauche for tenured faculty to complain about their work.

barton_fink_02And so it goes… into the summer. Here’s a recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education on “Making Summer Work.” This is the basic premise if you’re not an academic (though why you’d find this post interesting I’m not sure): academics generally have 10-month contracts, so they have no specific work obligations in the summer. And we are not paid to work in the summer either. At the same time, faculty generally work. They do research and/or they might teach a summer class for extra money. This article essentially offers advice on how to make the unstructured time of the summer more productive by establishing routines and setting short-term goals. That’s fine, but I think the whole thing misses the point. A larger context is called for.

What is that context? First, it’s American work culture. The average American worker gets 10 days of paid vacation.  And, as you probably know (or this Wikipedia page will describe), many countries have far more minimum days of paid holiday and vacation days: more like five or six weeks instead of two. And that’s the minimum. This article suggests that faculty should take some time off during the summer away from work. “At least a week” they suggest. One should note that these are unpaid vacation days. That’s a week of unpaid vacation carved out of the expectation of my otherwise two and half months of unpaid work days, right?

Now before anyone gets too upset about that claim (see the first paragraph), we have to recognize that academic work doesn’t fit all that well into our general understanding of labor. You could punch a clock if you want but there’s never going to be a fixed relationship between time spent and productivity. Spending more time won’t necessarily make you more productive as either a researcher or a writer. An extra week spent reviewing secondary research won’t assure you of a new insight. Spending 8 hours in front of a word processor instead of 4 won’t mean that you end up with more publishable prose.

I’m fully sympathetic to the situation of academics, especially those who are untenured though we all have expectations for productivity to meet. The measures of grants submitted and won, articles published and cited, books published and reviewed are all direct evidence of a kind of productivity, but they are at best correlations if the ultimate measure one has in mind is that one is making a meaningful contribution to society or at least a field of knowledge. That’s why I call it pseudo-productivity. Still I understand the drive to use the summer to grind out a couple publications or whatever. I am even open to the argument that even though technically academics are on 10-month contracts that really the expectation is that it’s a 12-month job and that this contract language is really there to protect academics’ time and make sure they have space to meet expectations for research, professional development, course planning, and so on.

That said, I still object to the unexamined assumptions of articles like these. The hamster wheel of publication will produce enough juice to crank the tenure and promotion engine, and that’s part of our reality, but let’s keep in mind what’s going on. As the opening paragraph makes clear, no one is going to sympathize with the plight of academics trying to figure out how to make their “summers off” productive. Not even other academics. I would be reluctant to play into any of these commonplaces about working harder, putting in hours, and increasing productivity.

In other words, “I’ll show you the life of the mind.”

Categories: Author Blogs

the social-rhetorical challenges of information technology

Digital Digs (Alex Reid) - 10 April, 2017 - 12:11

I spent about an hour this morning responding to two different institutional surveys about technology: one coming from the library and asking about digital scholarship and the other coming from IT and focusing on their services and classroom technologies.

  • What technologies do scholars in your field use? What do you use?
  • What frustrations do you experience with publishing?
  • Which technologies of ours do you use in the classroom?
  • Do you teach online?
  • What do you think of this/that piece of hardware we offer you?
  • And so on.

It’s not that there aren’t technological problems with technological solutions in English or in the classroom. There are. But in my view the primary challenges lie at the intersection of these technologies with physical space, social organization, and rhetorical practices. For example, here’s a classroom commonly used by the composition program.  This room seats 21 students. The photo is taken from the door into the classroom. The white desk at bottom right of the image is designed to be wheelchair accessible. You can see the instructor desk, the project (partially), and along the far wall the technology cabinet with a monitor. Inside there’s a PC. There’s a document camera too and various connections if you want to bring your own laptop. Not pictured is the whiteboard. Also not pictured are a couple more desks: 20 plus the one accessible desk. (BTW I think those are some small windows with the shades pulled down.) Probably the most traditional composition and discussion-led classroom arrangement would put the student desks into a circle. There’s absolutely no space for anything approximating that. Another conventional practice would have students working in small groups. That too is very difficult to arrange in this tight space. The space is clearly designed for lecture, even though it only seats 21 students. The reason it is stuffed to the rafters with desks is economic, not pedagogical.

This is why a survey coming from IT asking me about the usefulness of the technology in the classroom seems tone deaf to me. The problem isn’t the technology or if there are problems with the technology then they are obscured by the limits of the physical space. I would like for students to have enough space to bring their laptops, move around, work in groups, share their screens (even if only by all moving around in front of a laptop), and have conversations without getting in each others way.  I’d also like to be able to move among those groups without worrying about pulling a muscle.

If I had that kind of space where such learning was possible then we could start asking questions about software that would enhance collaboration, give students more personalized control over their learning environments, and facilitate communication in a variety of media. But that would introduce a whole range of other social-organizational limits ranging from the structure of classroom meeting times and semesters to the shape of curriculum, pedagogies and learning objectives. These are not problems that the library or IT department can resolve. I don’t expect them to ask such questions. But it makes answering their questions seem pointless and mildly comical. Sure, there are many things that I would do, given the time and space to do them. Of course I’d be building a bridge to nowhere, in a curricular sense, but I could do it just to amuse myself. However, since I have no illusions of such practices becoming institutionalized in any substantive way, there’s really no point in involving IT or the library. All I’m likely to get for my trouble is some litany of policies, forms, and demands for assessment. I’m much better off without their help.

To be honest, once upon a time, that seemed like enough, and I know I wasn’t alone in thinking that (and maybe some people still do). Being a bit of maverick, working under the radar, and doing your own thing seemed in line with a certain spirit of the web… 20 years ago. Maybe it still could be, but not so much for me.

I’ve had a similar experience in the realm of scholarship. I got my first couple academic jobs in part because my technical expertise (which was never all that stellar) set me apart from other candidates. In the early 00’s there weren’t a lot of assistant professors who’d been teaching in computer labs and teaching online for a decade. There weren’t a lot signing up to teach students who to write for the web or to train preservice teachers to teach with technology and so on. This blog helped to establish my professional reputation. I published articles in online journals with images, audio, flash, and video components. Such work continues to happen in journals like Kairos, Enculturation, and others. However, when I think about the obstacles to developing digital scholarship, I don’t think of technological limitations. I think about the intractability of genres.

When you think about a scholarly genre like an article or a monograph, you might ask what (social/communication) problem does it attempt to solve? The first answer might be “to share research with colleagues.” The second answer might be “to validate research through peer review.” A third, more cynical answer might be “to provide a standard for tenure and promotion.” However, in English Studies, I think it is also true that the article and monograph are means of knowledge production not just communication. That is, it is through writing in these genres that knowledge is discovered/made. Because of this, publishing is the way one becomes a scholar, not just provides evidence that one is a scholar. It’s a kind of incorporeal transformation.

So what happens if you stop writing in those genres?  Well, you stop being a scholar, or a least you no longer have a way of becoming the kind of scholar that your predecessors were.  Maybe, certainly, you become a different kind of scholar, but what does that mean? It’s a more difficult question than trying to decide how to “count” some digital publication.

These problems are only intensified by the continuing churn of digital media. It’s one thing to create a video as (a part of) a scholarly article. At least that’s still recognized as a kind of authoring. You could even make an argument for blogging as scholarship (though I’ve never asked this work to be counted in any particular way, even though I do list it as a thing I do). But where do we go from there?

What are the disciplinary and social challenges we are seeking to address? What communication tools might we use to address them? What genres and other rhetorical practices might emerge as we do? And how do we make sense of this as part of the social-organizational context of our work as academics?

I didn’t really know how to phrase that within the context of the survey.

 

Categories: Author Blogs

What does/would “data rhetoric” look like?

Digital Digs (Alex Reid) - 25 March, 2017 - 08:35

This is something of a follow-up on my last post, where I concluded by suggesting that we might need a “data humanities” and a “data rhetoric” that paralleled the emergence of data science. I should probably say first that I don’t mean this as a replacement for terms like digital rhetoric or digital humanities. It’s probably closer to a specialization within those umbrella terms but all these things are such interdisciplinary mash-ups anyway.

If you squint your eyes a little, you can see that data science has been around for a long time. You could say that it is statistics plus computer science. You could look at cryptanalysis in WWII as data science I suppose. You could look at cybernetics or information science as data science.  Moneyball, Freakonomics, and the 538 blog could all be examples of data science. On the other hand, data science is something new. It was a termed “coined” in 2008 by D.J.. Patil and in this decade we’ve begun to see an explosion of jobs for people with the title “data scientist.” If you want to know more, here’s a Forbes article on “The Rise of the Data Scientist” and another in the Harvard Business Review that proclaims “Data Scientist: The Sexiest Job of the 21st Century.” Basically though, data scientists respond to a recognizable challenge. We are collecting increasing amounts of data. How do we make sense of it? And from a business perspective, how do we monetize it?

During this period, methods in the digital humanities variously called distant reading, macroanalysis, cultural analytics, and so on represent efforts within the humanities that run parallel to data science, calling on the same computational methods. Similar work has also been done in rhetoric and composition, though with less fanfare or controversy in the Chronicle of Higher Education. I would broadly characterize these efforts as using data scientific methods to explore traditional objects of study and often ask fairly conventional research questions. If that sounds like a criticism then I have not expressed myself well. I think this is valuable and interesting work (and something I might pursue once I’m done with my current book project). Here are two curiously related examples, “Finding Genre Signals in Academic Writing” by Ryan Omizo and Bill Hart-Davidson in the Journal of Writing Research and “The Life Cycles of Genres” by Ted Underwood in the Journal of Cultural Analytics. Each obviously investigates genres, one from a rhetoric perspective and the other from a literary standpoint.  A comparison of these two might make for an interesting blog post, but not today. In any case, work like this is certainly part of what a data humanities/data rhetoric looks like.

It we might reduce that to the data-analysis of the humanistic/rhetorical objects of study, then we can also observe the inverse, which is the cultural-rhetorical critique of data. That work also has its value, and there’s plenty of it. That’s something our disciplines already know how to do very well. It’s basically about turning one’s critical lens onto this particular subject matter.

Predictably, my interest here is in something tangential to those two scholarly moves. And (equally predictably) it begins with new materialist ontological premises about the space humans and nonhumans share and the emergence of cognitive, expressive, and rhetorical capacities in the relations among us all in that space. And then it turns to something like Mark Zuckerberg’s February 16th announcement about his vision for Facebook. It’s nearly 6000 words long, but here’s the thesis: “In times like these, the most important thing we at Facebook can do is develop the social infrastructure to give people the power to build a global community that works for all of us.” Holy hell and good intentions Batman! Think about it this way. How has the lived experience of human life, the communities we’ve grown, the knowledge we’ve constructed and shared, the material culture we’ve built, and the effects of all of that on our planet been shaped over the last 500 years by the social-technological-informational infrastructure of print media? Ask that same question about the last 5000 years and writing. Now ask it about computers and the last 50 years. Or “big data” and the last 5 years. Hell, ask it about big data and the last five months!

Yes, we need to figure out how to use data-analytical methods, and yes, we should continue to employ cultural-rhetorical critical methods to study these phenomena. But I think there’s more. We might investigate and experiment with emerging rhetorical capacities of these media-turned-data ecologies. I really wish I could tell you what that means, but I think the best I can come up with is that it will require a significant degree of openness. What I would consider the underlying ontological/compositional questions of rhetoric would remain with us. That is, how do our encounters with the expressive forces of data ecologies foster rhetorical and cognitive capacities? How would we describe those capacities? How might we recursively shape those capacities through technological design, institutional structures, laws, ethics, pedagogies, genres, and other individual and community practices?

I’ll try to end this with something concrete by returning to Zuckerberg’s discussion of Facebook as a “civically-engaged community.”

There are two distinct types of social infrastructure that must be built: The first encourages engagement in existing political processes: voting, engaging with issues and representatives, speaking out, and sometimes organizing. Only through dramatically greater engagement can we ensure these political processes reflect our values. The second is establishing a new process for citizens worldwide to participate in collective decision-making. Our world is more connected than ever, and we face global problems that span national boundaries. As the largest global community, Facebook can explore examples of how community governance might work at scale. Now there are a lot of questions to ask about this! But the one I’m thinking of is how do processes of data collection and data analysis feed into how groups are structured and presented to users? What effect do individual actions or even the actions of relatively small groups of people (e.g. tens of thousands in a multi-billion user population) affect such things? As a result what new expressive and persuasive practices do we encounter as audiences and might we employ as users? If I want to start a new political movement, how would I make rhetorical use of data infrastructures to build coalitions, shape discourses, and move people to action? The bottom line is that symbolic and expressive behaviors operate in entirely new ways here. That’s where data rhetoric lies.

 

Categories: Author Blogs

the late age of close reading and the data humanities

Digital Digs (Alex Reid) - 18 March, 2017 - 07:36

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 kind of new materialist digital rhetoric in addressing some of the major cultural and disciplinary concerns with emerging digital media:  attention, deliberation (e.g. google is making us stupid), digital humanities debates, valuing digital scholarship, “moocification.” Those are some touchstones I guess.  As I’m writing it though, one of the other consistent themes that comes across is English Studies’ reliance on the concept and practice of close reading. Literary studies is most associated with close reading, but it strikes me it is also integral to rhetorical scholarship and the conventions of writing pedagogy.

As I discuss in the book, when I say close reading, I don’t mean it in the original, specific definition within New Criticism but in the broader way the term gets thrown around in English Studies. Katherine Hayles discusses this a fair amount in How We Think and never really identifies a clear disciplinary definition of what close reading is, even though it is clear that the practice is foundation to the discipline. As she notes, in my scholars’ eyes (and I would believe including her own), “close reading not only assures the professionalism of the profession but also makes literary studies an important asset to the culture.” There’s no little irony in the fact that the thing that makes us professional and gives us value to the culture is something that we can’t actually define. Well, I’m going to give it a shot (and this is examined in more detail, and in a different way, in the book).

Close reading has mean something different from just reading. It can’t simply mean giving one’s full attention to the text and reading all the words and sentences. These are things that people have to do in a lot of disciplines and professions: law, medicine, engineering, finance, the sciences, etc, etc. Hayles sets up categories of close, hyper, and machine reading, and that works ok for me to a certain degree, but not when one starts to mistake whatever close reading signifies in those categories with what happens in English Studies. But let’s stick with English Studies for the moment. Close reading can be tied to a lot of interpretive methods, maybe all of them besides some in the digital humanities. Basically it involves long hours spent in solitary acts of reading long texts–underlining, highlighting, writing in margins. This is not to suggest this isn’t a social activity. To become a disciplinary close reader takes years of study, it takes a shared community of practitioners, and it requires a material, information, technological, and cultural space that facilitates the activity (e.g. turn off your phone). But it’s much more than that. It’s really founded on the premise that interpretation and hence the meaning of the text is to be found/made in the careful consideration of word choices, style, specific sentences, and so on. A good amount of contemporary close reading is connected with what some call symptomatic interpretation (following on Fredric Jameson), which basically means that one views the text as a symptom of a larger cultural issue. As a result, close readings–in both literary studies and rhetoric–tend to move from quoting specific passages out of extensive texts to making fairly large arguments about race, gender, class, sexuality, and so on.

As I discuss in my book, close reading also informs our scholarly compositional activities. It is why we read papers at conferences–because everything rests on the specific choice and order of words, you can’t just extemporize or riff from an outline. It’s not only primary texts that we must read closely to create the evidence for our claims, but also the secondary scholarly material. As such, we must be able to read our own texts closely and compose them to be read closely. And make no mistake, the expectations of an audience of close readers shapes our scholarly genres quite heavily. But we don’t stop at scholarship: we read our students’ essays closely, application letters for jobs and graduate school in our department closely, various university missives closely, even your status updates. It’s not hard to understand how a scholar in English Studies might make the categorical slip that Hayles does and mistake all non-hyper reading practices for the kind of close reading that English scholars do. In fact, I’m not even sure it is a mistake. I actually think that for many in English–literary and rhetoric scholars alike–the kind of reading that everyone does is “close reading” and we just happen to be the experts at it.

It’s the reading equivalent of the notion that English is the place where people learn “to write.” I think we’ve managed to cut away at that conceit a fair amount, but somehow the presumption regarding reading remains quite strong. This is an important point though. It does appear to be the case as Hayles and many others observe that students are less interested in the English disciplinary practices of close reading. We also, in broad cultural terms, talk about the struggles of attention in the wake of smartphones, social media, and so on. It’s probably natural to want to connect these dots, so we see them connected all the time.

But here’s the thing, this close reading-attention-literacy crisis thing. We’ve been in this situation for at least a decade. That Nick Carr article was published in 2008 and that was far from the first time such issues were raised. And yet, does it really seem to you that there is a reading crisis among professionals in America? That doctors, lawyers, engineers, managers, teachers, journalists, social workers, nurses, computer scientists, etc., etc. are unable to do the reading needed to perform their jobs? I’m pointing to professionals because we’re talking about college students to begin with here. If we think of close reading not as a disciplinary practice but rather as some general ability to sit and read a text for information, then I don’t think we have a crisis there.

In fact, I think it’s fairly obvious that the challenge lies at the other end of the informational spectrum. How do we handle the massive flows of data we now gather?

As I suggested above, I understand disciplinary close reading as a technosocial practice. It emerged as a capacity developed among English scholars within a specific set of media-informational conditions, a particular media ecology. Compared to the century before, the 20th-century era of industrial print and mass media was information rich; compared to today it’s an information desert. While we will continue to need to read texts carefully in some generic sense with different professional disciplinary versions of that, the notion of close reading as a foundational practice (or as the epitome of what reading is) is long gone. Instead, we have a new set of rhetorical and aesthetic challenges in relation to media and information in relation to an emerging digital media ecology. As we know, the flows of information are simply too intensive for humans to process using 20th-century reading practices. We require the mediation of digital technologies (what I call close, hyper machines, jamming together Hayles’ three reading practices). These are things like smartphones, apps, the networked algorithmic procedures fuel them, and the broad material network that makes the whole thing go. With this in mind, I tend to focus on the thing that sits in our hands: the point of interface between our bodies and media ecologies. I’m not saying these things are great. Far from it. I’m saying we need to develop rhetorical and aesthetic practices in relation to them and, in turn, shape those technologies as well.

Across universities, you are starting to see new majors and graduate programs in “data science.” Go on a job search site and look for data scientist jobs. They span industries. It’s interdisciplinary stuff, drawing on engineering, math, computer science and so on. It also often tied to the particular kind of data in question. There’s interesting and important work going on there trying to figure out in technical terms how to process and visualize data.

However there are humanistic questions and challenges to be considered here. No doubt we can and will manage to generate symptomatic close readings of the work data scientists produce. But that’s not really the same thing as addressing the challenges I’m talking about. And we are already performing some kinds of data scientific style work, like macroanalysis or cultural analytics in the digital humanities, where we process and visualize information from data sets comprised of literary texts. And that’s fine too (at least in my eyes) but it’s also not what I’m talking about.

To be honest, I’m not sure what a “data humanities” would look like, but it would require new reading and scholarly methods. In my mind, at its core, it would ask “What new rhetorical capacities emerge through our relations with emerging media ecologies?” It would need to approach this in both interpretive and experimental ways. That is, in part it would require discovering/building those capacities.

Anyway, clearly I don’t get around to writing here for weeks, and then I write 1500 words. So I’m going to leave this off here for now.

 

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