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Notes Mar 1

Multimodality, Translingualism, and Rhetorical Genre Studies (Gonzales) (Dani):

  • Rhetorical genre studies expands previous conceptions of genre to “fuse text and context, product and process, cognition and culture in a single, dynamic concept”
    • Doesn’t focus on restricted types of genres
    • “one of the stronger and most promising developments for comprehending the sociality of discourse while allowing discursive freedom and agency to individuals”
  • “The aim of both RGS and multimodal composition is to understand writing in context”
  • “translingualism (as it is used in this paper) provides a lens by which to examine (and value) “how writers deploy [and combine] diction, syntax, and style, as well as form, register, and media””
  • When asked to “draw on” a topic, a student literally drew her answer
    • English as a second language
    • An act of translanguaging, as she “adopt[ed] interpretative strategies,” to combine words and visuals in her multimodal reading response
  • The study
    • “Composition curricula at both institutions asked students to compose both conventional print and multimodal genres in the same semester. Students at both universities were asked to write a literacy narrative and rhetorical analysis assignment in a conventional print form, and were then asked to “remix” either the literacy narrative or rhetorical analysis through a multimodal genre”
    • 10 ESL, 7 native speakers
    • Recorded video, encoded with ELAN software
      • Tiered coding scheme enabled video to be labeled with layers of info at once
        • Used to enumerate specific occurrences for statistical analysis
    • Common problem of students (L1 and L2): transferring their ideas onto paper
      • Made gestures of pointing to head, then to table

Pt 2 (Tyler):

  • In a composition class, students were offered a chance to create a multimodal project, instead of a standard written paper
  • A majority of both L1 and L2 students chose to work on a multimodal project for different reasons
    L1 student wanted to reinforce the idea that she already had in her head
  • L2 students wanted to layer meaning, rather than reiterate
  • Study suggests possibly that students with stronger grasp of english would benefit less from a multimodal project
  • A large number of L2 students also consistently used hand gestures and waves, when referring to the bringing together of various mediums
  • Once again though this is a limited study
  • L2 writers, as evidenced by my focus group data, claim to not always have “the right words” when attempting to communicate in English, leading them to readily practice translanguaging as they leverage semiotic resources. The result is a complex, purposeful approach to multimodality illustrated through the narratives of L2 writers, an approach that could help begin to question how
  • L2 students, as experts in multimodality, can help the discipline better understand how to teach and theorize the rhetorical nature of genres.

Notes Feb 27

What’s in a Name (Lauer) Pt 1 (Dani):

  • The labeling and defining of new/multi/modal/digital/media texts is what this discussion is all about.
  • Investigate the terms “digital media” & “new media”
  • Sparked by a presentation by Cheryl Ball, in which “multimodal”, “new media”, and “multimedia” were used interchangeably inexplicably
  • Started with interview with Jonathan Alexander
  • Focused on 4 terms: new media, multimedia, multimodal, and digital media
  • New media
    • Cheryl Ball & Anne Wysocki
  • Multimodal
    • Cynthia Selfe & Gunther Kress
  • Digital
    • Scott DeWitt
  • Multimedia
    • No one came to mind
  • “The name of this webtext is a reference to Juliet’s famous question in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet about whether or not it matters what we call something”
    • What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
    • By any other name would smell as sweet.
  • “what we call something does not dictate what that thing actually is”

Pt 2 (Tyler):

  • A Technological Journey:
    • Describes it as an Odyssey.
    • A lot of new things to decide on when working with a webtext rather than a printed or written one.
    • Author becomes more of a composer
    • Aurality and the art of conversation:
    • “speech conveys a great deal of meaning through pace, volume, rhythm, emphasis, and tone of voice as well as through words themselves”(Selfe 2009)
    • The ability to play, pause, and rewind each clip can assist a user in their listening experience so that they can reflect on and absorb the words being spoken at whatever pace they prefer.
  • Developing Definitions:
    • Audience-Oriented: Definitions are neither static nor consistent, but can change depending on the audience to whom a term is being directed.
    • Contextual: A term’s definition originates from and cannot exist outside of the social, historical, political, and technological context in which it is developed.
    • Historically Situated: Terms do not exist in a vacuum but carry with them the multitude of past understandings, practices, and uses. Terms can, in their very names, call attention to or move away from their histories.
    • Limited: Terms are necessarily limited in scope and what they can represent.
    • Multiple: Terms can be appropriated and defined differently to suit the purposes of members of different discourse communities.
    • Precise: Terms are often defined using precise language.
    • Relative: Terms are often defined in relation to other terms and what is similar or different about each.

Attendance Feb 25

What is hypertext and what does it have to do with writing?

—Hypertext, in the context of the web, is text that redirects to another page when clicked. 

—In writing, hypertexts provide a way to connect separate pieces of text to another, in an unhierarchical way. As a result, creates a network of interconnected texts

Notes Feb 25

Wampum as Hypertext (Haas):

  • “We are not the ones who forget. We remember. … Our bodies hold everything we are told to forget.”
  • “This essay traces a counterstory to Western claims to the origins of hypertext and multimedia by remembering how American Indian communities have employed wampum belts as hypertextual technologies…”
  • Wampum – small, short, tubular bead, made from the quahog clam shell
    • White and purple beads
  • Wampum belts – used to record important civil affairs (treaties, alliances, wars, etc)
  • Memex (Dr Vannevar Bush) – an instrument designed to extend human memory by allowing us to associatively store and retrieve memories through nonlinear trails
    • Allows for associative indexing – tying two items together
    • “Allow for an associative system for indexing, storing, retrieving, and delivering of memories”
    • Was never built
  • Xanadu (Ted Nelson) – would “make all published information available to everyone adn to enable anyone to freely recombine any and all documents and add their own textual content”
  • Digitalis (latin) – “of or relating to the fingers or toes” OR “coding of information”
    • All writing is digital
  • Hypertext (Jay David Bolter) – “layered writing and reading” environment, where “[a]ll the individual pages may be of equal importance in the whole text, which becomes a network of interconnected writings”
    • Nonhierarchical
  • In the wampum network
    • Beads serve as nodes to topics
    • Sinew, hemp, tree bark twine, etc serve as links to associated information
  • Hypertext (Farkas & Farkas) – “the original term for interactive content”
  • “Wampum presents a hypertext visually and aurally via an accompanying oral story.”
  • The meaning of wampum belts does not change VS Western hypertexts can change easily
  • Wampum belts require a conscious human effort to be remember the encoded message
  • Wampum belts somehow prove American Indians as techno-savvy (?)
  • “While Western society has determined what it means to be technologically advanced, it does not mean we have to buy into that fiction.” (huh?)

Notes Feb 22

The Politics of the Interface: Power and Its Exercise in Electronic Contact Zones(Selfe Selfe Jr.) (Tyler)

  • Goal of paper is to “help teachers identify some of the effects of domination and colonialism associated with computer sue so that they can establish a new discursive territory within which to understand the relationship between technology and education.
    • This continuing pattern has encouraged many teachers of English to turn to-among other things-computer-supported writing environments as places within which they and students can try to enact educational practices that are more democratic and less systematically oppressive: for example, student-centered, online discussion groups in which individuals discover their own motivations for using language; online conferences in which students’ race, gender, age, and sexual preference may not figure in the same ways that they do in more conventional face-to-face settings; collaborative groups in which students learn to negotiate discursive power. To create and maintain these communities-to defend their use and value-we have often used what Hawisher and Selfe have identified as an overly positive “rhetoric of technology”(55) that portrays computer-supported forums-among ourselves, to administrators, to stu- dents-as democratic spaces, what Mary Louise Pratt might call “linguistic utopias”(48) within which cues of gender, race, and socioeconomic status are minimized; students speak without interruption; and marginalized individuals can acquire more central voices. And if this rhetoric is helpful in that it describes what we want to happen-and sometimes, to some extent, does happen-in our classrooms, it is also is dangerous.
  • Charles Piller, in a recent article in MacWorld, notes that minority populations and lower socioeconomic populations are America’s growing “technological underclass”
  • We have to educate them to be technology critics as well as technology users.
  • This reality is constituted by and for white middle- and upper-class users to replicate a world that they know and feel comfortable within. The objects represented within this world are those familiar primarily to the white-collar inhabitants of that corporate culture: manila folders, files, documents, telephones, fax machines, clocks and watches, and desk calendars.
  • Programs like Word are already predisposed specifically for English speakers
  • in training programmers to apply epistemologically diverse approaches to programming problems, and in representing non-hierarchically organized information structures like wicked or fuzzy problems (complex problems with no definite formulations or solutions)

Genre as Social Action (Miller) (Dani):

  • The urge to classify is fundamental
  • The semiotic framework provides a way to characterize the principles used to classify discourse, according to whether the defining principle is based in rhetorical substance (semantics), form (syntactics), or the rhetorical action the discourse performs (pragmatics).
  • “a genre is composed of a constellation of recognizable forms bound together by an internal dynamic”
  • Genre, in this way, becomes more than a formal entity; it becomes pragmatic, fully rhetorical, a point of connection between intention and effect, an aspect of social action.
  • Miller proposes that the term “genre” be “limited to a particular type of discourse classification , a classification based in rhetorical practice and consequently open rather than closed and organized around situated actions).
  • The classification Miller is advocating is ETHNOMETHODOLOGICAL!
  • Idea of hierarchical levels that area formed from source material.
  • 1. Genre refers to a conventional category of discourse based in large-scale typification of rhetorical action; as action, it acquires meaning from situation and from the social context in which that situation arose.
  • 2. As meaningful action, genre is interpretable by means of rules; genre rules occur at a relatively high level on a hierarchy of rules for symbolic interaction.
  • 3. Genre is distinct from form: form is the more general term used at all levels of the hierarchy. Genre is a form at one particular level that is a fusion of lower-level forms and characteristic substance.
  • 4. Genre serves as the substance of forms at higher levels; as recurrent patterns of language use, genres help constitute the substance of our cultural life.
  • 5. A genre is a rhetorical means for mediating private intentions and social exigence; it motivates by connecting the private with the public, the singular with the recurrent.