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New Text Report Peer Comments

Just like the post before this one, I am using this space to list the peers whose reports I have commented on and my reactions to each report. It’s not as fun as shifting through reading notes, so excuse the virtual paper trail.

Look at all these responses. Image hosted on

Look at all these responses. Image hosted on tumblr by user gracefuldreamer.

Steady on, friend

1) I commented on was Sherie’s report on Ben McCorkle’s Rhetorical Delivery as Technological Discourse: A Cross Historical Study.

I found Sherie’s report to be really interesting as she discussed McCorkle’s “redefinition of remediation” and a re-conceptualization of the rhetorical canon of delivery as performance. I was really interested in seeing the connection Sherie makes between Brooke’s text, Ligua Fracta, though I am curious to know if McCorkle’s ideas about delivery also focus on ethos as Brooke’s does or if it focuses on a different aspect of delivery as performance. One of the most interesting things about McCorkle’s text is his understanding of how there is a circle of influence between culture and technology, as they are both shaping and reshaping one another. This idea of circular influence is something that video games studies deals with as we have to acknowledge the influence of the military on the evolution of computers, but then we have to also understand how computer designers took the military’s funding and technology and repurposed computers for entertainment, which then lead to the military repurposing video games for recruitment and training. There is always this circle of influence rather than a linear progression of one section of society.

2) Next, was Shantal and Sarah Carter’s report on Vilem Flusser’s Does Writing Have a Future? (had trouble submitting my response to their blog as I received a “DNS server error” message, whatever that means).

I think Shantal and Sarah Carter do a nice job presenting the materials of their report, but I find Flusser’s text to be frustrating. Flusser’s theories seem hard to take seriously when he privileges print culture above all else, as Shantal and Sarah point out that he believed that “without writing on physical paper, there is no history, no democracy, and no freedom.” How does Flusser take into account that epic poems like The Illiad and The Odyssey were, in essence, narratives that encompassed histories, legends, and customs that were told and retold for who knows how long as a way to preserve cultural memory? Does cultural memory not count as history? Are cultures that use print as a means of communication the only ones who can have “history”? And how does Flusser define freedom if it is only through writing where freedom can be obtained? How does writing pave the way and maintain “freedom”? Ah, I have some many questions starting out that I was already resistant to any ideas that Flusser would have regarding the takeover of digital upon traditional print media. It seems that Flusser’s definition of writing is too narrow to be of use in a globalized world where we can not only write with our alphanumeric characters, but we can also create and integrate other kinds of media to get across our meanings and document our daily lives, our work, and what will become our “histories.”

3) The final report was Camille’s report on Quentin D. Vieregge, Kyle D. Stedman, Taylor Joy Mitchell, and Joseph M. Moxley’s Agency in the Age of Peer Production.

Vieregge et al.’s text is highly refreshing after reading about Flusser’s fussiness over anything that isn’t traditional print, especially as Camille points out that their text “address[es] their goal to understand the ways in which technology has changed writing education, especially within the framework of peer production.” The phrase “peer production” seems highly useful as students, professors, and schools in general (some more willingly than others, and with varying degrees of successful and failure) start to turn more and more towards integrating computers and other technological devices into the learning process. We can no longer afford to be completely technologically ignorant and we cannot be constant alarmists over what computers and the digital era are erasing from our lives. Yes, we are losing something and we need to acknowledge that, but we also need to be open to what new media forms are doing to change how we work, how we communicate, and our relationships to information both as creators and consumers. I am really excited to see that Vieregge et al. seem to be exploring ways in which peer production grants a level of agency to those in a college/university setting, something that instructors and students need when being dropped into a world that increasingly relies on the interwebs, Cloud storage, and portable devices (tablets, cell phones, laptops) alongside desktop computers to get work done and expand communications.

sleepy hollow_farewell Yolanda

Last set of report responses. Image hosted on

With every tale we tell

CHAT[ting] up the Mindmap


Mindmap_Updated February 22

Mindmap_Updated February 22

To wrap up this week’s focus on CHAT, I created four new nodes and connected them outwards. Two of the nodes are lists of rhetorical activity canons, the first being that of the classical canon and the second being that of CHAT creators’ second remapping of that classical canon.  I put both lists up here because the classical canon ties directly to the works of Bitzer, Vatz, and Biesecker, which are exactly what  the CHAT creators seem to be working to revise. I also connected the remapping list to Spinuzzi’s three scopic levels of analysis as I am interested in seeing what comparisons can be made between his macrosopic, mesoscopic, and microscopic to CHAT’s laminated chronotopes, functional systems, and literate activity. They may have very little in common (or nothing), but I am curious as to how each is applied to different kinds of networks and how those setting up of systems are similar.

For the third node I added, I integrated a quote of what CHAT is and is not (essentially, what it rejects and wishes not to be associated with). I included this because it will help me to remember what the creators of CHAT were trying to accomplish and why, what they were working against and what theory they are using to accomplish their goals. This also helped me to understand how they saw the network they were proposing of rhetorical activity in a digital world. I tied this node to the overarching node of rhetorical activity that I had set up for Bitzer and Vatz, but then also linked it with Bitzer’s idea of the rhetorical situation that “rhetoric is situational.” I made this particular link because their definition, with its focus on activity that is both local and historical, seems to decouple and then reestablish how views of rhetorical situations that Bitzer had held as true since CHAT seems to give more agency to everything and everyone that would be involved in the emergence of a rhetorical situation (and, in a way, their definition reminded me of both Foucault and Spinuzzi in their discussion of the historical but also the local).

The last node I added had very similar links as the third node since it discusses why the classical canon needed to be (basically) stripped down, tossed out, and replaced with newer concepts that not only fit a digital age, but also helped to capture the entirety of classical rhetoric. The creators of CHAT declared in their “Core Text” that the five original canons were not even enough in terms of ancient Greece’s relationship with rhetoric, which I find interesting, though I wish I understood their perception of deficiency a bit more.

And So the Sunshine Returns: