Participants 2017

Talea A. Anderson
Washington State University

In 2015, presidential candidate Donald Trump drew criticism for mocking a disabled New York Times reporter at a campaign rally. While criticizing Serge Kovaleski’s reporting, Trump mockingly imitated the reporter’s disability, a congenital joint condition. In the leadup to the 2016 election, Kovaleski’s body—his disability—became a symbol of resistance to Trump. However, curiously, following Trump’s election as protestors organized events such as the massively attended Women’s March on Washington, little attention went to including disabled protestors or featuring disabilities issues. Disabled protestors pointed out that the Women’s March in particular assumed a level of mobility and physical endurance that not all possessed. As a result, some disabled protestors organized the “Disability March” (, a website featuring more than 3,000 stories of marchers who were unable to participate in person. I propose in this project to analyze this website as a rhetorical artifact that positions disabled persons as individuals with agency in a political environment that has denied them agency on both the right and the left. The contributors to the website present their bodies, not as objects, but subjects of their own personal narratives.

I would like to enact for readers some of the exclusionary devices experienced by people with disabilities. For instance, in laying out the top-level contents of the article, I would like to allow readers to navigate as one would using a screen reader. I believe this experience, while somewhat tangential to the protest rhetoric at issue in the article, will reinforce the central theme of cultural and political exclusion experienced by disabled persons. If I can also represent low vision in the text itself—perhaps demonstrating hazy and then clear text—in the article itself, I would also like to do so.

At the institute, I would like to sharpen my proposal by more fully marrying the analysis with the design of the project. I would also like to deepen my understanding of the process for elaborating a project like this one, as I am not an expert in programming. I perceive this to be my greatest obstacle—the need to develop technical skills to realize the project.

Erin Kathleen Bahl
The Ohio State University

My project is a dissertation on intersections between invention, organization, and design in the creation of webtext scholarship. This project responds to calls for further investigation into the composing practices behind multimodal scholarship (Burgess and Hamming 2011, Eyman and Ball 2015, McElroy et al. 2015, Siddiqui 2015). As Ball (2004) notes, the design of a scholarly webtext plays an integral role in communicating the project’s argument. A significant component of this design is a webtext’s organization, understood here as the fundamental principles guiding arrangement of the project’s various modal components. Whether as striking as a Wunderkammer (Delagrange 2009) or as subtle as a navigation bar, these organizing principles involve rhetorical choices enacted in negotiation with a range of material conditions and contextual pressures. If webtext composers have the supposedly “infinite canvas” (McCloud 2000) of digital space at their fingertips, what principles do they use to map out their arguments in such a space? How does this organization change throughout their composing process based on encounters with various tools, sources, people, and obstacles, and what implications do these organizational shifts have for the webtext as a knowledge-making work?

To investigate these questions, I am conducting longitudinal autoethnographic case studies of invention practices for three in-progress webtext projects:

  • a book chapter on remediating religious literacy narratives;
  • a collaborative article on motion capture and classical Indian dance; and
  • a review essay on scholarly storytelling in three recent ebooks.

Chen Chen
North Carolina State University

I plan to work with data from my dissertation project which explores the disciplinarity of rhetoric and composition by investigating informal communicative practices of disciplinary members. I will mainly focus on two case studies at the following disciplinary sites: the listserv for writing program administrators (WPA-L), and the national Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC). As part of the exploratory effort of these two communication sites, I have been collecting some of the evidence of informal communication on WPA-L and CCCC, namely the entire archive of the listserv since 1993 and the conference tweets of CCCC collected every year since 2015. At KairosCamp, I will work on a project that analyzes and visualizes these large sets of data rhetorically in order to examine how these digital spaces act as sites of disciplinary enactment and knowledge-making. The project will be part of my dissertation research as well as a continued effort to paint a broader picture of where and how our informal communications shape our disciplinarity. In this document I will outline the current state of my project, where I plan to publish it, how I plan to move forward, and what I hope to accomplish at the institute.

Sherri Craig
Purdue University

Unicorn has two goals: (1) to offer a central database for women of color of similar interests to connect and network; and (2) to provide a digital space that highlights the work of women of color in rhetoric and composition through annotated bibliographies, books reviews, and conference presentation reviews and discussion. Ultimately, Unicorn would offer a digital space for professional development and mentoring opportunities for an underrepresented population.

I have spent the last four months having informal discussions about the project with my network of teacher-scholars of color (n≈15) who are enrolled in doctoral programs or are junior faculty at universities around the US. Facebook and other social media platforms offer secret groups for women of color to have a safe space for collaboration and the sometimes-hourly rant or injustice story, but in addition to an overwhelming amount of information to read and irrelevant conversations to scroll past, social media can be difficult to search, archive, update, and navigate. A stable digital space like Unicorn would reduce the social media “noise” and create a flexible resource for teacher-scholars to reduce feelings of isolation and mystification. If the digital project was successful, Unicorn would expand its efforts to include other women of color, and potentially, men of color within and outside of Rhetoric and Composition and Technical Communication.

Patricia Fancher
University of California, Santa Barbara

In collaboration with Gesa Kirsch, I am designing a digital humanities project that studies the networked relationships and communications among women physicians, as seen in the Woman’s Medical Journal (WMJ) from 1890-1920. Our goal in this research is to use Digital Humanities methods to visualize the network of women and the shape of progress as these women worked together to succeed in male-dominated professions.

In this project, we hope to better understand these how women create communities and work collaboratively towards progress for women physicians. We are focusing on these research questions:

  • What rhetorical strategies do these women use to build communities?
  • Where are these communities located and who are the major actors?
  • How do these communities shift in location based on cultural/political events?
  • Across time, what changes do we find regarding the community’s key concerns, actors, and locations of importance?

We hope to use DH methods to visualize changes in this community, looking specifically at key actors, locations, and themes of discourse. We would like to visualize this work both across time and in space.

David Hochfelder
University at Albany, SUNY

At KairosCamp I will advance the publication of a digital history project on urban redevelopment in Albany, New York. The heart of this project is a map-based website that will digitally reconstruct and repopulate a 98-acre area in downtown Albany, New York, cleared by the State for construction of a massive Modernist capitol complex.

In collaboration with historians Ann Pfau and Stacy Sewell and sociologist Christopher Rees, I propose to construct a social history of urban redevelopment using digital and spatial tools. Our approach to this topic shifts the focus away from planners and politicians to the lost places and the people who once inhabited them. Drawing on a wealth of archival and community resources, we plan to design a responsive website around a georectified map of Albany’s lost 98 acres. This project has three major goals: 1) to tell a fuller story of urban redevelopment than is found in traditional histories; 2) to collect memories and images of the lost area before demolition and during reconstruction; and 3) to foster a more informed public conversation about the meaning of urban redevelopment to residents and the built environment. An important purpose of this work is to foster greater public engagement about the impact of urban redevelopment in Albany. We also believe this project will inform scholarly debates on the national history of urban redevelopment and serve as a model for many other cities across the U.S. that experienced the same disruption and transformation.

Jason Palmeri, Miami University
Ben McCorkle, The Ohio State University, Marion

During KairosCamp we will work on our collaborative born-digital book project, 100 Years of New Media Pedagogy. Specifically, we plan to use our time there to 1) revise a proposal and sample chapter for University of Michigan Press; 2) develop a project plan for completing the digital book manuscript; 3) find joy and insight collaborating with fellow digital scholars.

In 100 Years of New Media Pedagogy, we employ “distant reading” (Moretti, 2013) and related data-driven methodologies (Faust and Dressman, 2009; Miller, 2014) to elucidate previously unrecognized trends in how the discipline of English has incorporated, resisted, and naturalized new media technologies. In conducting this research, we have systematically coded 766 media-related articles from 100 years of English Journal–the longest running pedagogical journal in the discipline (inclusive of both K-12 and university-based English instruction). We also work to place this distant reading of our corpus in dialogue with close readings of related archival materials.

William Penman
Carnegie Mellon University

In my project, tentatively titled “Identity categories in AI: How people on the margins use humor to show Siri is a straight, white, unaccented, nonreligious speaker,” I am interested in how race and other identity categories emerge in artificial intelligence (AI) voice systems. In order to address this question, I analyze YouTube videos that appear through searching “(identity) siri,” that have signi cant viewership (>90,000 views), that are humorous, and that implicitly or explicitly make claims about Siri’s identity.

These humorous videos expose and/or subvert Siri’s identity, as well as imagine what alternatives would look like. For instance, in the Japanese TV show episodes that NeKo JGT posted, a game show host surprises celebrities with an English “test,” in which Siri’s listening adjudicates their English pronunciation. One woman fails the contest, for example, when Siri hears her pronuncia- tion of “adult” as “I don’t.” In this process, Siri is humorously taken up as a speaker/listener of un- accented, pure English, and in that social position can discipline the contestant’s speech. However, some of the participants reject Siri’s judgment in various ways. us, my project to analyze these videos shows the ways that identity is constructed/resisted in speech, even AI speech. I expect my analysis to be significant for AI researchers in showing that not making a decision regarding a conversational agent’s identity still makes a decision: Siri is taken up as straight, white, unaccented, and nonreligious. This project also lays the groundwork for imagining AI speech interaction models based on non-dominant discursive norms.

The videos in this corpus are made almost exclusively by people who are black or Hispanic; Japanese, Scottish, Hawaiian, Indian, Italian, or Filipino; gay; and Muslim, Jewish or Mormon, respectively. Siri’s dominant identities are most noticed by people on the margins.

Katrina M. Powell
Virginia Tech

This digital project operates from the assumption that archives are power-laden spaces. For Foucault, the archive is “the first law of what can be said, the system that governs the appearance of statements as unique events” (p.129). In this way, the archive is not merely a neutral repository. It is a system governed by those who have the power to choose what gets archived and therefore produce meaning through that discursive formation. I would like the digital archive of these materials to operate from what I call a theory of “alternative ledgers”—a kind of non-linear story telling created from “fragments” (Anne Carson) and hidden narratives not often included in historical archives. As a theory, alternative ledgers tries to account for the “interior”—the local, anecdotal knowledge that is often eclipsed by the official record. The digital archive I would like to create would be designed from a theory where archives do not tell a complete story, but rather include pieces of the story, highlighting the potential for further connections and charting despite and because of the unknown and unknowable. Despite these limitations, the digital archive is developed via a methodology toward this theory, as a way to fill in the gaps of the standard archive and to facilitate interaction and participation with those archives. Wernimont proposes a “radical feminist approach” to digital archives where “the facilitation of such interactions is crucial for ongoing feminist work in digital literary studies. ‘Interaction’ resonates with the ongoing emphasis on collaboration in the field, but also suggests the use or inhabiting of the space between actions—between ‘use’ and ‘creation/making,’ or between ‘making’ and ‘theorizing.’ As ‘thresholds,’ digital archives are complex negotiations of the spaces between ‘thing and theory’ –where ‘thing’ signified both the media through which a user interfaces and the material object being represented or reproduced (Freshwater 2004, 276)” (Wernimont online).

For the Kairos Camp workshop, I would like to develop the digital space with the theoretical underpinnings of feminist maker spaces in mind, while at the same time providing access to unique archival documents not typically available for research.

Wendi Sierra, St. John Fisher College
Jennifer Justice, Northern Illinois University

In our project, we hope to explore the challenges in using games to make scholarly arguments, connecting strongly to the research on games and pedagogy. If, as we believe, games make good vehicles for classroom-based learning, why are they so rarely used as a vehicle for scholarly argument? We envision this project as containing three main sections. The first, and most traditional, will be an overview of the relevant research. This section will discuss persuasive/newsgames research, learning and pedagogy research, and provide a brief overview of existing scholarly games. The second section will be a design journal, as Sierra and Justice both build their own scholarly games and reflect on the design process. This section will include code snippets, design ideas, possible screenshots or videos of prototypes/beta versions, and other in-progress materials. We feel that this section is particularly important, as it shows the messy work of game design, something few have access to seeing. Finally, we will conclude this project with two games designed in Unity and distributed in HTML 5 format.

Mary P. Sheridan
University of Louisville

The University of Louisville hosts a bi-annual conference called the Thomas R. Watson Conference. I am Director of the 2018 conference. With this year’s theme, Making Future Matters, we are asking participants to explore the ways that our work comes to matter, for whom, to what ends, and how we might direct that work to encourage futures that matter.

For this conference, we publish the keynote compositions ahead of the conference so that they can guide the presentations and discussions at the conference. I will write the introduction to that publication, providing the context for the conference and for the compositions that follow. During KairosCamp I will draft my introduction to the collection.

I want this edited collection to be digital because I believe digital production matters to our field in both senses outlined above. First, digital production can help us to matter. Composing as a concept has long expanded beyond text-only, and as composition scholars, digital composing is something we need to do and teach. Many of us do. Many more could do more. In addition, our field is steeped in recent calls for responsive action (e.g., conferences such as CCCC’s 2016 Writing Strategies for Action; RSA’s 2016 Rhetoric and Change; CWPA’s 2017 Solving Problems Together: Agency and Advocacy in an Age of Austerity). Digital compositions can be more timely than print and often have the possibility of reaching a wider audience, both of which can help us be more responsive in addressing pressing societal concerns. The Watson 2018 collection will call us to both develop deep disciplinary skills and share those skills with wider audiences that we traditionally have. I believe digital composition can be central to that project.

Julie Velasquez Runk
University of Georgia

This project uncovers changes among human-environment relationships during Panama’s last decade of rocketing economic growth and concomitant westernization. I use rosewood as a lens to view differences among indigenous Wounaan and capitalist valuation, which recently came to a head in Panama during the volatile worldwide rosewood logging rush. I show how for indigenous Wounaan, cocobolo rosewood loss from illegal logging highlights the entanglements among western and non-western ways of being and acting in the world, and furthers their efforts towards persistence. I will use already completed participant observation, interviews, landscape walks with video, photographs of material culture collections, and market and media data to show how rosewood-related meanings diverge, converge, and produce effects from the forests of Panama, to ports of China, to literature in Paris. To best complete this work I would like to combine and entangle the multiple media, using the digital components to illustrate the everyday complexities of the rosewood. By recounting multiple meanings, ethics, and politics of a global commodity, Entangled Rosewood contributes multi-disciplinary ethnography to digital humanities, celebrating cultural persistence in an era renown for its loss.

Sarah Elizabeth Welsh
The University of Texas at Austin

Mayer-Schӧnberger argues that digital memory “represents an even more pernicious version of the digital panopticon” (11). Brad Vivian poses forgetting as an agreeable, if not virtuous, solution “to the apparent dilemma of information overload.” Whereas forgetting was memory’s antagonist through most of the classical rhetorical tradition, forgetting as a possible solution is a new dilemma. If every web page housed in something like the Internet Archive was set with an expiration date (what Mayer-Schӧnberger presents as a possible solution), scholars and researchers, for instance, would know that they were going to lose access to certain pages (once they knew they needed them). But rather than anticipating what might be valuable, like you do when you build an archive, would the expiration date itself would aid in determining the information’s value? Scholars working with digital materials generally have fairly narrow research trajectories and may be able to plan ahead for such an expiration of data (say, 10 years away), or choose certain pieces of scholarship to save on their own as they pertain to those research agendas. What would a platform look like that is set to deliberately forget its data?

What I would like to work on at KairosCamp, is a project that deals more concretely with forgetting, deletion, and traditional notions of the archive, in a webpage that forces text to deteriorate over time or expire at a set date. This would be a companion piece to a scholarly article continuing to wrestle with the argument above (posed by Vivian, Mayer-Schӧnberger, and others). This project, which I see as potentially publishable in Enculturation or Kairos, would bring together the theoretical questions posed above, while continuing the recent embrace of ephemerality online in more commercial platforms.