Logging On: In This Issue, In The World
Cheryl Ball, Editor
As we publish this new issue of Kairos, we are five days away from the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States. The last few months have been [insert your adjective of choice here—I cannot hope to satisfy all of our feelings with a single word], as we rhetoricians try to reconcile our deep knowledge and study of how communication works in the world amidst a year filled with hate and loss, on so many levels. You do not need another saddened thinkpiece on these issues from me. And I do still have hope—in the importance of our discipline, the usefulness of our methodologies, the power of our abilities to critique and teach.
I am astounded at the level of thought and critique the authors in this issue have put into their webtexts, some of which they began crafting years ago, in other moments we thought were dire: Sean Morey presents us with a MEmorial on the 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, titled "The Deepwater Horizon Roadkill Tollbooth," which offers readers an interplay of maps, videos, and critical reflections memorializing the animals who suffered and were killed as a result of this disaster. It is a personalized story that Morey brings to a public forum, and it is an incredibly powerful, ecocritical examination of our oil-use on this planet. For readers, such as myself, who are sensitive to images of dead animals, be forewarned that Morey uses several photographs and videos of oil-slicked fish and fowl from the Gulf that were presented in news outlets at the time. It may take a strong stomach for a few of the videos, but the overall effect of the piece is affectively, emotionally, and intellectually significant. It is an apropos time to remember and memorialize this environmental disaster. Although Morey laments that his roadkill tollbooth may never collect actual money for the animals harmed during that event, you may still want to donate to the National Wildlife Federation.
I have mentioned hope twice already in this column, and not without its intended fairwell to President Obama, a top rhetorician among presidents. The Obama Hope posters that signified his 2008 presidential campaign and spun off into a myriad of parodies is the subject not only of Laurie Gries's webtext, "Visualizing Obama Hope: A Data Visualization Project for Mapping Visual Rhetorics," in this issue, but also Angelia Giannone's review of Gries's book on the Obama posters, Still Life With Rhetoric: A New Materialist Approach for Visual Rhetorics. Gioannone provides a detailed summary of Gries's use of the Obama Hope posters as a visual, digital artifact traceable into a visual–rhetorical methodology for the field. We are pleased to be able to run Gries's own webtext alongside the review of her work (another unplanned serendipity for Kairos). In Gries's webtext, she presents an interactive version of her methodology to track visual images across digital media. Readers familiar with Jeremy Tirrell's and Derek Mueller's previous work on these issues within Kairos's pages will find Gries's addition to that discussion rich and productive. Her webtext provides us a fitting, final, rhetorical fairwell to the 44th President. President Obama, you can come work with us at Kairos any time! ;)
Author Way Jeng offers readers a spin on hope and despair in this age of uncertainly through the video game, "How I Learned to Love DESPAIR: Using Simulation Video Games for Advocacy and Change," in the Disputatio section. Please go play this game now. See if you are able to run a composition program with zero adjuncts for 10 semesters in a row! If you can, you win. The simply beauty of Jeng's game is its ability to enlighten many of us to the combined struggles of adjuncts, curriculum design, programmatic assessment, and economic worries for individuals and university entities. This webtext speaks volumes to the precarity of the lives of humans and ecologies around us in academia and does so in just a few words. After you play this, ahem, game, consider donating to Precaricorps, an organization that collects funds for adjuncts in times of significant need.
We continue our activism in this issue with a documentary video by Alexandra Hidalgo and Katie Grimes on ""A Feminist Approach to Social Media." In this webtext, they respond to Kristine Blair’s call to make online spaces more hospitable to women’s social professional and political goals, and they develop six social media guidelines rooted in feminism, a foundational principle in the field of writing studies. Dànielle DeVoss and 12 students from a class at University of Louisville (while she was the visiting Watson scholar) continue the thread of feminist multimodal composing practices (historicized by Jen Almjeld in the 20th anniversary issue of Kairos) in their webtext, "On Multimodal Composing." They ask, what does composing look like in and across digital, networked spaces and the physical spaces our bodies inhabit as we compose? What does multimodal composing look like as we choreograph alphabetic text, images, sound, video, and more? In this project, the authors take on these questions as they capture and share their composing processes across mediums, platforms, localities, and languages, presenting a dozen videos that address and reflect on these issues at the heart of our discipline—a Praxis-section piece that will be highly useful to instructors of need of both theorization of multimodal composing and examples of student texts to show.
Alisha Karabinus and Bianca Batti go in-depth, providing a critically insightful view of "Her Story: A video game by Sam Barlow," to show that the first-person video genre of video games is making a come-back with Her Story. This review will provide game enthusiasts and initiates, such as myself, as well as instuctors who are interested in using games in the classroom a perspective that is translatable across all of these audiences. We hope to see more video (and other media) reviews in the future, so if you're interested in composing one, email the Reviews Editors, Elizabeth Fleitz and Chris Andrews.
The Praxis Wiki section concludes its robust, year-long focus on digital methodologies (although, we always welcome more!), with the following four pieces:
- Using ELAN Video Coding Software to Visualize the Rhetorics of Translation, by Laura Gonzales
- Using Evernote to Encourage and Monitor Student Research, by Steve Marsden
- Critical Exploration of Learning Management Systems, by A. Nicole Pfannenstiel, Tenie Zarifian, and Jordan Watson
- 3D Interviewing with Researcher POV Video: Bodies and Knowledge in the Making, by Ann Shivers-McNair
Check out each of these webtexts for some really awesome, step-by-step methods for using each of these technologies in your classroom. And consider having your students draw up their own Pwiki text as a course assignment! We have a kind, mentoring editorial board for Pwiki pieces, and the editors—Kristi McDuffie and Matt Vetter—will be happy to walk you through the submission process!
We are also always looking for more smart folks to conduct more interviews of scholars in our field or in related fields. I am pleased we can publish this interview by Jessica Lauer with Leonardo Flores, originator of the I ♥ e-Poetry blog and author of too-many-to-count Twitterbots. Flores's work in electronic literature has helped make it more well-known across the globe, and he speaks in this interview about the purpose of Twitterbots and their relationship (if any) to e-lit.
This issue also features two KairosCast episodes produced by Courtney Danforth and Harley Farris. Episode 8, which kicks off the third year of the podcast series, introduces inaugural KairosCast fellow Lauren Neefe and then provides a conversation with Cydney Alexis about her Instagram project, #writinglandscapes. Episode 9 features technorhetorician Karl Stolley, who discusses his initial "Lo-Fi Manifesto" webtext, its more recent "reboot" version, and his approaches to teaching (with) technology.
We round out the issue with our annual publication of session reviews from the 2016 Conference on College Composition and Communication (aka CCCC or the 4Cs), directed by Andrea Beaudin and edited by Cheryl Ball, James Jarrett, and Michael J. Faris.
Are you working on a digital humanities project? Do you want to learn more about designing and editing your multimedia work? Do you wonder how peer review is conducted with digital media projects? Are you interested in publishing digital humanities scholarship? If so, come to KairosCamp!
Thanks to a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Digital Publishing Institute (DPI) at West Virginia University is proud to host two sets of institutes for authors and editors in the digital humanities over the 2017-18 academic years. KairosCamp’s goal is to help authors and editors produce digital scholarship in all forms. These workshops aim to help authors and editors build, edit, and maintain digital humanities projects. By offering hands-on workshops, we hope to spread best practices in scholarly multimedia production through sustainable and collaborative publication outlets.
The first Author Workshop (which includes funded transportation and free lodging) will run July 24 to August 4 at West Virginia University. The focus of this workshop will be on invention—from concept to work plan. Authors attending the Summer 2017 workshop might also leave with proposal materials suitable for applying to the NEH-Mellon Fellowship for Digital Publication.
Comings and Goings
Three of our accomplished editorial staff are moving on to tackle new projects and new roles, and their expertise and hard work will be sorely missed. Jill Morris has been a long-term co-editor of the reviews section, and has been instrumental in pushing for reviews of new kinds of texts and media (such as the "Her Story" game review in this issue). Praxis Editor Chris Tulley, who has helped to stabilize and shape the Praxis section since 2010, will be leaving at the end of the spring semester to run the 17 programs she is in charge of at Findlay, and we are excited to wish her well in person at C&W 2017! Finally, Associate Editor Josh Mehler is is pursuing a well-paying job in technical editing outside of academia. Of course we expect all of our former colleagues to stay in touch, join the editorial board, and submit webtexts for future issues!
But even as some of our well-loved and stalwart staff members leave, we are happy to announce new roles for three of our experienced Associate Editors, each of which will be taking on more responsibilities as they transition into the role of section co-editors through a new internal training and professional development process we have recently implemented. Elkie Burnside will be joining the Praxis section, Chris Andrews will be joining the Reviews section, and Ashley Holmes will be joining the Topoi section.
And of course, as we experience changes in our staffing, we find ourselves in need of new assistant and associate editors—a great opportunity for editorial training and professional development await those who join us, so keep an eye out for hiring announcements in the near future.