Introduction to the Appendix: A Kairos Open Audio Peer-Review Conversation
By Erin Kathleen Bahl, Managing Editor
Hi, I'm Erin Kathleen Bahl, managing editor at Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy. Hannah and Stacey graciously invited the editorial team to say a few words about the experimental peer review process behind reviewing this webtext, and I'm excited to share a few thoughts. Their webtext encouraged and challenged the editorial team to think about and structure the review process in a different way that resonates with both the design and spirit of this excellent piece. In particular, Hannah and Stacey encouraged us to rethink our assumptions about the textual nature and format of peer reviews, and they also challenged us to expand on our commitment to even greater transparency in the review process.
We're grateful especially to the team of peer reviewers who gave their time, insights, and expertise to make this review possible, and who gave their generous permission to share this conversation as an appendix in the published webtext. The Tier 2 peer review team included Harley Ferris, Bill Hart-Davidson, Ames Hawkins, Alexandra Hidalgo, Johndan Johnson-Eilola, and Kyle Stedman.
Goals behind audio review
The possibility for doing an audio review came up when our editorial team did an initial review of this submission at one of our monthly Tier 1 editorial meetings. Like the authors, and as is the mission and heart of Kairos, we were excited to explore possibilities for conducting scholarly publishing processes through the modalities most appropriate to the webtext being reviewed, and to engage it on its own terms in its own primary semiotic channel. I've written in the past on the importance of using webtext formats to review webtext publications, so this was a process especially near and dear to my heart when expanded to include peer review procedures.
In particular, the Kairos team saw this as an opportunity to build greater transparency into the review and production process in coordination with our commitment and ongoing efforts toward anti-racist editing and publishing practices. Like the authors, we want to continue to disrupt assumptions about modalities of knowledge production and where, how, and by whom it should take place by pushing back against text-only communication as the default, and by creating spaces to foreground the embodied voices of the people doing this work.
Process of conducting audio review
At Kairos, Tier 2 peer review takes place by our editorial board members through an open conversation via email, and reviewers' comments and names are shared with the authors along with a letter synthesizing editorial feedback and decisions. In the past, individual Kairos reviewers have provided experimental feedback via annotated images or even zines. However, this is the first time that Kairos editorial board members have come together collectively for a more holistic multimodal review process.
For this particular webtext, we solicited reviewers who were experts in audio production and soundwriting/digital rhetoric, and had hands-on podcasting experience. In the review invite, we opened up an invitation to produce an audio recording. Responses were mixed at first, but reviewers were inspired by the ideas and energy of the webtext itself, and they collectively expressed interest in trying out a synchronous audio review format. We do want to note that not all reviewers were available for a synchronous meeting, and some chose to submit feedback via email. We are grateful for all channels of feedback and value that as an important part of making the review process as fully accessible as possible.
Once those available for a synchronous review session settled on a time to meet via Zoom, we followed guidelines and recommendations from Kairos editor Cheryl Ball, who along with editor Michael Faris had been part of a similar experimental audio review process for co-author Hannah McGregor's podcast Secret Feminist Agenda. For Hannah and Stacey's Kairos webtext, I was present as managing editor during the review session to facilitate the conversation, but did not provide further review feedback (similar to how a managing editor would follow along with the reviewers' conversation via email without intervening).
The conversation was structured around the typical questions for a Tier 2 Kairos review, with some adjustments specifically for this piece. We opened up conversation on each point for about five to ten minutes, or until everyone had had the chance to share their thoughts. The overall conversation lasted just under an hour. I then transcribed the audio, made a few minor edits to trim opening and closing chatter, and sent both authors and reviewers the final audio file and transcription along with the final decision letter.
The review conversation that follows is robust, collegial, supportive, critical, and generally enthusiastic. It is still clearly structured, but a little more informal and conversational, echoing some of the intimacy of the personal voice that the authors describe. This process was also helpful for me as an editor in synthesizing feedback and highlighting key threads by listening to how reviewers responded to each other in real time and directly built off one another's points. This process helped shape feedback into a coherent conversation, instead of potentially going off in separate directions.
One constraint to note with this process is that it required a major commitment on reviewers' part to synchronize schedules, and not everyone was able to participate in the recording. As conversation facilitator, I tried to build in plenty of time and space for individual response, but some ideas may have been silenced or taken alternate directions in a way that asynchronous responses might have otherwise facilitated. Additionally, creating the transcription did add some time to the review process.
Overall, the result is a review that we hope engages the webtext's focal modality on its own terms, and in a similar spirit of the transparency and experimentation that the authors argue for. We hope this review process serves as one model to suggest possibilities for future multimodal reviews at Kairos and other scholarly publishing venues. We are inspired by the authors' commitment to openness and embodiment in producing scholarship; to the value of audio work as a channel of communicating knowledge; and to supporting amateurism in just jumping in and getting started. Most especially, we're excited for the impact we hope their excellent work will have on the field in supporting the continued growth of podcasting as scholarship.
A Kairos Open Audio Peer-Review Conversation
Synchronous Review Conversation: Held on Friday, October 1st, 3:00-4:00 ET via Zoom
- Harley Ferris
- Bill Hart-Davidson
- Ames Hawkins
- Johndan Johnson-Eilola
- Kyle Stedman
Facilitated and transcribed by Erin Kathleen Bahl (Managing Editor Kairos)
Erin Kathleen Bahl: Okay! Well, welcome. Thank you all very much for being here. Thank you for your time, especially at such a busy point in the semester. I'm Erin Bahl, I'm one of the managing editors for Kairos, and again very much a pleasure to have each of you here. Okay. So we'll follow Cheryl's guidelines as recommended for keeping time in terms of questions and such. I'll open with a brief reading of the abstract of the piece and then ask everyone to introduce themselves briefly, just so we have an aural record of everyone saying their names and a record of the voices for the conversation coming forward. And then I will proceed then with timekeeping and based off of the questions that we posed as part of our initial framing for the review. And then I have two additional questions at the end if time permits, if we don't already address them in the conversation, just tailored specifically to this piece and to some of the questions that have come up so far in the conversation and in the email thread. Any questions at all before we get started, any technical issues at all going in on anyone's end?
Johndan Johnson-Eilola: No.
Erin: Okay, awesome. I will also admit that y'all are much better at sound than I am, so if at any point you have any sound recommendations and/or best practices to recommend, they are warmly welcomed and accepted. I believe there's some construction going outside of my room at the moment, so when I am not speaking I will mute my mic.
Okay! Welcome. Again, we are here for the Kairos Tier 2-level editorial review meeting to review Hannah McGregor and Stacey Copeland's webtext for Topoi section, "Why Podcast? Podcasting as Publishing, Sound-based Scholarship, and Making Podcasts Count." Just going to briefly read the abstract: "This is a three-part podcast miniseries written and produced by Stacey Copeland and Hannah McGregor. It asks, why does podcasting lend itself to the communication of scholarly knowledge, and what new possibilities does podcasting open up, especially for those of us interested in publicly accessible or community-engaged scholarship." So specifically as a Topoi webtext, this should offer a scholarly analysis of issues related to rhetoric, technology, and pedagogy, theoretically framed for Kairos readers.
And with that, I will ask each of the reviewers to please introduce yourself. Your name, and just maybe where you're situated currently at this time. Thank you. And I can call on people if that's a little bit easier to manage. Harley, I see you first on my screen.
Harley Ferris: Great. I'm Harley Ferris and I'm currently assistant professor of English at the University of Findlay in Ohio.
Erin: Thank you. Johndan, if you could go next, please.
Johndan: I'm Johndan Johnson-Eilola. I'm a professor of communication media and design at Clarkson University in way, way, way upstate New York.
Erin: Thank you. Kyle, you're next.
Kyle Stedman: I'm Kyle Stedman. I teach at Rockford University in northern Illinois.
Erin: Thank you. And then Bill, please.
Bill Hart-Davidson: Hi everybody. I'm Bill Hart-Davidson. I'm a professor in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures at Michigan State University.
Erin: Thank you. And Ames.
Ames Hawkins: Hi. I'm Ames Hawkins. I'm a professor in English and creative writing at Columbia College–Chicago.
Erin: Thank you all very, very much for being here. Okay. Starting with the first of the review questions, I'll pitch the question, and then please feel free to jump in as you'd like. I'm just here to listen and moderate rather than to offer anything to review, same as we would via email. I also want to note that some of the reviewers were not able to make it to the recording today, and they'll be contributing their feedback via email. We greatly appreciate and warmly welcome all different modes of response and review, and will consider all of these together in writing a letter of response.
So about five minutes each for each of the questions, just for moderating on time. But first question, does the rhetoric, design, and code of this webtext submission cohere in ways that would forward the argument? Yeah, rhetoric, design, code, do all of these fit together in the way that this piece is performing and presenting its argument?
Johndan: Yeah, I think the fact that it's a really well done podcast, production values are high, obviously very thoughtful. It sort of enacts the argument that it's making.
Kyle: The visuals are fairly simple, but that, like Johndan said, seems to focus us more on the audio, which is what it should be doing.
Ames: Yeah, I totally concur. I was thinking about, knowing some of Hannah's work with Secret Feminist Agenda and how it's not just a redux or using the same format. And it's beyond an audio essay, what we would think of as an audio essay. I was super impressed with pulling audio that's from something else, that's recorded, and getting the people who wrote passages to record them so that they were audio and it was not just the two of them reading the quotations, which is a common thing that I've heard for years that I loved that they moved beyond.
Johndan: Yeah, that was one of the, I was frankly dreading listening to the podcasts because I've heard a lot of really bad low-production academic podcasts and in general. This was professional, and I thought it worked really well, especially the weaving in of the quotes as you said.
Bill: Yeah, I agree. I would also add that the visual presentation has some of the academic apparatus that will make this useful in a research way too, like the Works Cited is really nicely done. I like that the audio clips and everything are in there parallel to the academic sources that they cite. That's really kind of cool and something, I think it would be fun to have students do, to try to attribute all of their source material, including the audio.
Harley: Mm-hmm. Yeah, hard agree on all of that and even just noting the hyperlinking throughout all of those transcripts, just kind of another way to enact citation practices in the midst of that. I really liked this.
Kyle: I did have a question about that. I really liked all the hyperlinking throughout too, and I thought, I wonder is Kairos worried about that, are some of those links perhaps less likely to be as permanent as others? If the journal's okay with it, it lends, it does exactly what they're doing, it's enacting this blending of other, more "informal" communication into what they're doing, but I had an "uh-oh, I hope they're okay with that."
Ames: It just reminds me of things I've heard Cheryl Ball say, like, well, it might not be there in ten years. So what? I mean, so these kinds of—I don't know, but then again, is the value in the hyperlink or is the hyperlink just a place to take us? If the value remains in the piece, and even without them is still valuable, then I—and can do the work that it would need to do, be cited as itself, then I think it, my impulse is to say it's okay. And I gotta change because the light is just too weird with the—
Johndan: And it did just occur to me, I don't know whether or not you'd be open to discussing this with the authors, but in a textbook that I wrote with Pat Sullivan and Jim Porter, we did subsequent editions because of link rot specifically. And if the authors would be willing to revisit the essay in three or four years, or if it seems like there's a lot of broken links, to do revisions to bring in new material perhaps so it wasn't broken, and then publish that as a revised edition of the essay, or the podcast.
Harley: I think it's also in the second of the episodes where they mention something about the immediacy of just going straight forward with a conversation, and if listeners don't know what's happening, they can Google it, or they can search it. So there's sort of an interesting element too where if link rot occurs, well, Google the thing. It's probably out there.
Johndan: That might be a revision to have them make towards the start of the piece on the podcast if they can. Part of me hates to ask them to make revisions because it's such a polished piece at this point.
Harley: Right. Well, maybe that means they know what they're doing and this wouldn't be difficult.
Johndan: Yeah, that's probably true at this point.
Bill: Yeah, I had the feeling that I think a lot of novice writers have with more experienced writers, which is I had a hard time with my limited production knowledge thinking of what they could do to improve the audio product because they're already working at a level that I can't do. Like I want to know how to do all the ducking they do in this thing. And I barely can handle two audio streams, gain automation, in my own job, but they're doing some good stuff in here.
Johndan: Yeah, I mean I teach sound design, so I could do things like ducking, but it's also a lot of work that it would take to do this, yeah.
Harley: Not to mention the creativity of it as well.
Erin: Awesome. I'll call this question then here at 3:10, so five minutes into this one. I think we've largely addressed the next question, does the webtext include media assets that forward its goals and claims, I think we kind of built that into our discussion pretty well of the rhetoric, design, and code and such, so we'll move on to the next question here. And I think this also gets back at some questions that came up earlier in the email discussion thread too, so, does the webtext add new ideas and concepts to the field? These can be small or major, they can be praxis-oriented or theoretically oriented, contemporary or historical, so I guess what is this webtext adding to conversations within the field specifically.
Bill: Yeah, I'll start that one because I think I mentioned in my brief comment something that, I went back and listened again, and I thought it was really interesting how conscious they are of intimacy as something that you can convey in this medium and this register perhaps that you can introduce that's very difficult in other forms of academic publishing. And the way that sound in particular gives you some tools for conveying intimacy, right, you can provide a really dry mix so it sounds like you're up close to somebody, and not in a room with echoing and speaking from a podium. You can have compression so that you can talk quietly and still be heard, and all that kind of stuff, and I thought, that really got my brain going about, are there analogues to that in other forms of academic writing. And, you know maybe that's what people are reaching for sometimes when they go with, or when they feel constrained by a particular genre. And, so I thought that might be worth bringing up, you know, what are the, what are the tools that let you convey something like intimacy.
Johndan: So the, Anne Wysocki and I published that opinion piece in CCC a few years ago, and we intentionally wrote it in a very, I don't want to call "breezy," but very nonacademic in a way. I think it was to get the same kind of intimacy into it.
Ames: I do a lot of work—my immediate response is using, to say, using the form of a letter, which people do, they write essays in the form of a letter. And that does what you're talking about in print text, in a way that, that's what the audio does, that thing about the audio is it brings in multiple, literally multiple voices in one place. But you're trying, you're closing that distance, right, and bringing those folks into a room and into a space that really allows that next piece they talk about, which is the affect, which I thought, it—These things are things that we've all talked about in our field, and they're pulling them in together about the podcast in one of the first places I've seen in this way. The podcast I did with Trauman, Masters of Text, we talk about intimacy constantly throughout that podcast, but I don't know that they, it's like click, click, like, it's us, in a scholarly essay-ish format in the same way.
Harley: Yeah, I thought there were a lot of really, excuse me, I thought there were a lot of really useful updates to, like you say Ames, these concepts we've been thinking about for a long time. I was thinking about Cindy Selfe and "The Movement of Air," I was thinking about Charles Bazerman, and even David Bartholomae and the ways that we think about how our forms of discussion and discourse shape the way that we claim what is knowledge and what isn't, and even the ways that we have to invent the university over and over and over again. And so, in terms of thinking what's new, my initial thought was like, these are all things we've talked about, but to your point, exactly, they're talking about them specifically about the podcast and making just a real clear case for why we need to take this seriously and the affordances it gives us that especially for those who may be feel those barriers of access to scholarly publication, even while in the field, so.
Johndan: One of the things I think—
Ames: I want one more add too in a second—just to add on that, the phrase that I think is super powerful that I keep thinking about and want to work and work with is "the economy of intimacy." So when they talked about that, I was like, oh, that has legs, that has something that's going to take us somewhere else. Not just lining up what we've done in a different way, but take me somewhere else. And so I found that very, very powerful.
Johndan: Yeah, I think you're right. What I was going to say was, I think a lot of their barriers they're saying we have to things like podcasts and scholarship, that's, a lot of that's local, because, and maybe that's just because in my department we have a digital arts program, and it's, the faculty members are practicing digital artists with MFAs, not PhDs. And they, they're tenured, both of them are tenured at this point and included exhibitions primarily. So there was not the same thing, so one of them, I thought it would be possible for them, the authors, to look at other fields and how they define "scholarship," because I don't think they define scholarship. And I don't think that necessarily podcasts are discounted to the degree they think they are, because I think if I did podcasts like this, they'd count towards my scholarship at Clarkson. [indistinct]
Kyle: I want to put a pin in that and come back to that question of, are podcasts as seen as badly as they say they are, because I'm curious, I don't know what everyone thinks, what their experience is. But on the question of, what do I feel like most challenged by, or what do I feel is the biggest new idea for me, is for me personally it's the celebrating of the amateurism specifically in the world of podcasts. And I know we have Karl Stolley, I know we have pieces about this in our field, but I and I think a lot of other people, I have it sitting right here, when I teach audio, I often use this Out on the Wire book by Jessica Abel, which is interviews with all of those NPR, WNYC radio shows that are really polished but have a particular kind of affect.
And so I felt like, listening to this, as someone who feels like I know sound, it feels like I know a lot about podcasts, I felt like I was seeing this whole new world. And almost embarrassed that I, one, didn't know about a lot of it, but two, am not always teaching my students to be as genre-breaking. I talk to them and I say, hey audio, there's so many ways you can do stuff that goes beyond just like an audio essay, but then I say kind of like, figure it out, or here's a couple examples from Third Coast or something. And I feel really enlivened. There's so much out there, and I feel like our field needs to hear that in specifically that way of saying, there's this scrappy amateurism that is not nothing, that really matters and it goes back to the old ethos of blogging, that we need to not lose, we need to not let corporations take from us. So I'm going to be thinking about that for a long time.
Erin: Awesome. Any additional thoughts, or anyone want to jump in on this question there? Okay. We'll call that one there then. Thank you again all for your excellent insights here. Ah, so now we're moving on to questions of citations, which we'll kind of maybe take a little bit of a different angle on this one versus how it's initially phrased in the review questions. So first, the initial phrasing of the question, I guess, is does the author cite inclusively. So, that is, does the scholarly review draw from a range of relevant feminist and cultural/rhetorical traditions, including scholars from multiple identities, gender, race, disability, etc. if known, or include research in multiple forms, open versus closed access, so that's kind of one of the angles of citation there to sort of consider and address. And coming up as sort of a second angle of that question is, specifically building on some of the email questions that have come up so far, how to best support the authors in bringing this webtext into conversation with a Kairos audience without necessarily requiring them to rewrite the entire piece with a rhet/comp framing.
So that's definitely one of the sort of principles we're trying to think about in review of Kairos, thinking as inclusively as possible, welcoming work that's going on in other disciplines without necessarily requiring them to translate it into all of our latest, greatest hits of scholarship in certain areas, but still entering into those conversations strategically. So, your recommendations especially as reviewers are appreciated along both of those angles. Again, citing inclusively and how to think about bringing this into conversation for a Kairos audience specifically.
Harley: I can start, if that's all right. One of the most exciting things about inclusive citing is hearing the authors cite, speak for themselves, right, and so that's, not only I think are they really hitting a wonderful range of backgrounds and identities with that, but just hearing that in the authors voices to me adds a new layer of inclusivity. So I'm really excited about that. And I was chuckling at reading through the email thread just before I got on because I was absolutely thinking of those same things and really feeling of two minds about it. One, the first thing I did before I even listened, was go read through the references, right, because that's just often what I do. And I was like, yep, okay, so we're not having any of these folks that I was expecting.
And then to see the way that Cheryl phrased that question—sorry, the other mind of it was like, yeah, okay, but cool, more scholarship for us to check out. And the way that Cheryl phrased that question also made me think of the reverse of that, what ways can this text invite Kairos readers into other forms of scholarship? And so, if there does need to be a nod just for people to accept that this text exists without citing folks that we would expect, maybe a paragraph somewhere that can just say this instead of having them record it and put it, because I think that that would, drawing attention to that in the audio, my guess, would weaken the overall piece. If there's something that needs to go in there, certainly a footnote can suffice for some of that.
Bill: Yeah, I had a thought—
Ames: That's a possibility. Go ahead, Bill.
Bill: I'm sorry.
Ames: No, we're going to agree, you go first.
Bill: I was just going to, an adjacent thought, I had this notion that there might be a missing element which is kind of the channel promo, that is this kind of proto-genre that you'd normally expect to see before a set of episodes that isn't there. So that, maybe that could serve that purpose. Sorry about that.
Harley: Trailer episode.
Amers: Yeah, yeah. And so then it functions to my mind kind of like a letter to this audience to frame their work in terms of this specific publication, right. It doesn't mean you have to prattle through all the things that we're thinking through, like I, I added those and I was thinking, chapter two of Jason Palmeri's book and da-da-da, just things that I know to look for, but I actually thought, I really feel as though these are the things that Kairos as a publication, this is the kind of "risk" that it, that this publication ought to be taking, which is bringing this information, bringing this perspective to this audience.
I'm loving it because I'm familiar with Secret Feminist Agenda. That had got me into this CanLit and understanding what's going on there, to have them pull in a bunch of the podcasts that I already have listened to and frame them as scholarly work was interesting, so there are all these ways that it does us a huge service, and at the same time, I do want to know and recognize that it's not just airdropping in because you think they might, this might be a win on my CV. It's just a nod to an engagement and an acknowledgement that there's this other adjacent field to ours, which is why we chose this as the place, if that makes sense.
Johndan: Yeah. Can we ask them to do some of the framing in audio earlier on by just sort of acknowledging that primarily in these other fields that are adjacent to us, but they're thinking, like I mentioned before, it could be a rich conversation for both sides, or both of the areas. And so I guess that's tied.
Bill: Yeah, and I think the citational component there is an acknowledgement of, it would lend some credibility to how their story is landing with us because like all that stuff I was mentioning before, I should have cited. I didn't come up with the idea myself that you can, the drier the mix, the more close that it sounds, and that's a rhetorical choice. That's Steph Ceraso's argument. And she has a whole book about embodied listening that's really smart. And it would be cool to hear them acknowledge that that work exists over here and say, for that reason, we think you might like to hear this.
Kyle: So strategically to say, we're trying to cross boundaries here. We know what we're doing, we know we're stepping into Kairos for X reason, and we want to explain and defend that as a cool thing.
Bill: Yeah, yeah. And here's why we thought of you. Or—and I kind of like the idea of it being a letter in that way, Ames, that's interesting too.
Kyle: Fundamentally, I'm so honored they came to Kairos, I'm like, how cool that we get to share this stuff with our people. Not that we can't go to it wherever else, but I'm almost afraid of like, of being too critical and sending it somewhere else. Like, no, we need this, we do. One idea, a crazy idea I mentioned in my email, was inspired by a project I'm working on with Ben Lauren and Ames, we've talked about inviting Ames in as, to do like an afterward conversation-type thing for a different project and to strategically frame it as a conversation as that being important, conversation as a way of getting at certain kinds of content and affect and intimacy and those things. So that—I don't know, is it too much to suggest something like that, an afterword, an appendix, a recorded conversation specifically on this topic of how disciplinary boundaries could be gone over. If not a conversation, something else, I don't know.
Ames: I guess that's how and why I was so excited to do the review this way. Because I was sort of thinking at one point that this would also get published. But maybe not, maybe this just stays as a review, but if this becomes a compendium, like this becomes the appendix. So I was thinking about how this makes review processes more transparent, and that feels like it's in alignment with all of the work that they're doing to de-mystify these sort of, the barriers and the gatekeeping in the academy. We could have that conversation about podcasting and is it accepted as scholarship and I think it absolutely depends on place, and there's a lot of politics involved.
But, so I wonder about, they'll have this, and then if we gave their permissions, they could cut out snippets and literally in that letter or in a promo they could just pull that out and then respond to it, so that it becomes that conversation you're talking about, yet it doesn't require, you know, a complete remaking or yet another episode because again, this feels, it does feel like a tight-done piece. So, is there framing on the front? Is there framing on the back? I don't know, but that, that seems like a way, Kyle, that it's possible to take up these ideas at once. Which is, again, one of the affordances of audio that's pretty great is that you can mesh a lot of these different framings, you don't have to stay with linear text that does a particular thing in a particular way.
Johndan: So instead of a director's commentary, it would be a reviewers' commentary. Um, I like the idea of doing something like that. My only concern is that we might end up looking like amateurs compared to them. Which they say is fine, maybe that's a reason to do it.
Harley: Well, I also like the way that it shares, it distributes the labor and invites the readers and audience and really rhet/comp as almost a host field to collaborate in that whole process of building the bridge between the two, as opposed to just saying, look if you want in, these are, you know, the real gatekeeping mode of citational practices or whatever disciplinary framing we want to do. So that really excites me, just to think about, we can take on some of that work.
Bill: I like that too, Harley, because that's how I heard Johndan's reference a minute ago to that interdisciplinary after-writing piece, that wasn't a, hey I've already written, we've already written about this, it was, hey! We connect with that idea, I mean, we've invited exactly that kind of thing and we would love, I mean that was the spirit of that piece. And here comes a really rich example of it that happens to be in sound space. So it kind of reverses the polarity of a citation of a Reviewer 2 like, why didn't you cite my work, it's hey, you know what I mean? It's nice, I like that, it's a pull instead of a push.
Johndan: So could we leave this open to the, to them to decide whether or not they want to either have us try and produce a commentary that comes after or if they would like to weave in some of the audio. I don't know, I'd actually have to look at it and find out if there's an organic way to do that, otherwise it could play really badly.
Kyle: I like that, I like leaving it up to them, or leaving it up to the editorial conversation. What's so interesting, just in me right now just as we're having this conversation and as I wrote in my earlier email, is I keep thinking of more articles from our field that align. And then I find myself second-guessing because of their work, second-guessing why am I thinking of those, why do I want to deploy them, is there a part of me that in this white masculine sort of way wants to be like, hey I know something, I have an idea I want to share it with you. Am I trying to like mansplain citations to these people. And of course I don't want to , but there's a lot of, there's little voice in me that goes, why am I so interested in telling them the things that I know? And I need to ask that question of myself and I think a lot of people do. But I've—I wonder if that kind of self-reflexivity could be part of this, I don't know.
Harley: I'm also really feeling the "graduate school student" of like, no, I gotta prove that I know the foundations and the seminal texts and all that kind of stuff, so I push back for the same kind of reason, kind of.
Kyle: It's so weird! Why do we do that? [laughs]
Johndan: I think partly it's also, that's also how you engage, those are things that occur to you and you're trying to make the connections for yourself, but it is also like you said part of territorial and patriarchal—I get told that stuff a lot because I don't publish in rhet/comp anymore very much. The fields I publish in I'm not an expert, and I get the Reviewer 2 comments over and over again. The last thing I just published had, we had to make a citation at the last minute to something that had no influence on us, but it was related to the same topic before they'd accept it.
Ames: I think, Kyle, I so appreciate that you're, you have that question because that's exactly what I hear when this happens is that people are, they're staking their claim, and it's also what we've all been taught that disciplinarity is, what it means, how you do it. And I love the idea that's evolving here that, is comp/rhet a place, is it a place, is it a field that is, invites, to use, to repeat what Kathleen Fitzpatrick talks about with generous thinking, in a different way, can it be more capacious? Do we have to, do I need Cindy Selfe cited yet again to know what that article is? Do I actually? No, probably not. You know, because we all do come with it. But to talk about the idea of like, if we want to reach the readership we do have, how do we encourage these bridges to be built? Because I want to be able to use and work with the kind of stuff that Hannah and her peers are using and working with, and it's brought me a lot of new ideas and texts. You know, I guess, that's where I am with this. But I really appreciate you asking that question, and I wish more people would ask that question of themselves.
Bill: Yeah, I think one other, maybe, a way to enact that kind of generous thinking approach, too, is–– we are the field that thinks about composing and, where that kind of extended conversation about making a thing, like a podcast, is okay. It counts as scholarship. And maybe their home disciplines aren't that way. So maybe that is a component here. One of the first things that struck me about when I, as I was listening and reading the transcript and getting that idea that, oh yeah, they're doing the thing they're talking about, that sort of feeling, it reminded me of that old Spooner and Yancey piece on email, and about how we occasionally do that. We occasionally have a genre that enacts itself, sort of thing. Because a new genre will pop up, and we'll think, that's interesting! And we are a space where that kind of thing can happen.
Harley: I wonder, too, if there might be room, because I was thinking, as you were saying, Ames, about, oh, I'm going to lose my train of thought with what exactly you were saying, but what you said made me think about the ways that I still share—oh, you said, "how we all come with that." And of course we don't all come with that, right, there are certainly, I'm thinking new scholars in the field who may not have read Selfe, or whatever, right. And so there's a way of also showing to readers, like, yeah, this does connect with those pieces that you may want to read. There's also the aspect of us helping adjacent folks discover scholarship in our field that they might, that they've never read that. And so I was curious if we might even think about helping or even supplying a real small annotated bibliography or some other thing that just says that, this connects with these other things that are in our field, for your edification, not for gatekeeping, not for staking claims. So. Just another thought.
Johndan: It occurred to me that the lack of citation didn't bother me in the way I mentioned in the email, I complained about it when I was reviewing other stuff, about not citing stuff in our field. I didn't feel like I was being lectured to. Sometimes when people come from the outside, they act like they invented it and they're bringing me this gift that I should appreciate. The podcasts, they were a much more generous spirit, I thought. So I'm not sure to what degree the lack of citation really is an issue.
Erin: Thank you all very much for a robust discussion on that question there. Combining another question that I skipped with another kind of an angle that I'd love to sort of hear your thoughts on for this piece especially. So, one of the review questions I accidentally skipped over was, is the overall approach clear in the rhetoric and design, whether or not there's a specific methodology, experimental design, or anti-racist method employment. So that's the sort of general review question, you know, is the overall approach clear. The sort of additional angle that I'd like to consider for it is, how might the authors make their own process and methods in crafting this webtext more transparent or part of the webtext, support their encouragement of authors looking to do this work? So again, this is, it's a very beautifully crafted and beautifully done piece. Is there a way that they might bring in some of their, a little more technical making-of insight into this piece. Would that be beneficial to readers, or would that be of any enrichment to the piece, or is that not necessary in that they've already addressed that in ways that they talk through that in other angles. Um, yeah, just questions on sort of the overall approach, methods, and the degree or not to which those should be reflected explicitly in their discussion.
Johndan: I don't think I'd want this to turn into a how-to, I mean I think they do a pretty good job of explaining their processes, and at one point they do link to a bunch of resources for creating podcasts, it's a really nice list. It might be interesting to have some sort of behind-the-scenes, even just photos or something, but I don't think it's crucial, I don't know what anybody else feels.
Harley: We do have a tendency, we—the field—has a tendency to sometimes ask people to do more writing around texts that don't need to use writing. And so I, like Kyle mentioned earlier, I feel like the, doing anything additional with the visuals may end up detracting from what it's really capably doing with sound. So I feel super satisfied by the methods, the research, and design.
Kyle: What I want is like, after like WandaVision will be on DisneyPlus, and then there'll be like an hour-long "Making of WandaVision," that's what I find myself wanting, is an appendix. But I don't want to require or say it as a reviewer. Just me as a fan. I want more of that personally.
Ames: I think that that goes to, then you want to take their podcasting workshops. Because that's what they're saying, here's what I do, I do all these things all day long, we've done essentially hundreds of them. Here in Canada, we're doing all these cool things, come check us out. Um, I do think we tend to ask for more and we tend to want the thing, and I love that we want to know what the behind-the-scenes DIY thing is. I think I go back to what Bill was saying earlier, that they're doing feminist methodology. Like it IS feminist methodology, right there. And you can hear it and you can actually see it, because you see it in the transcript. And that's as alphabetic text. They've already got it. And so for us, I think that there's a lot of power in coming to this piece and then being able to recognize that as such, and not having to have explained to people that that is what that is. Yeah.
Bill: Yeah, I would agree with that, and to come back to my point I made about how helpful the citation layout is and all that, I feel like the key element there in academic writing that is not in writing for a more general purpose is it wants to present itself as useful to scholars later, and so it has to be more indexed. Like, you have to be able to point to a specific spot in it, in a way that's easy to come back to and remember and for other people to check. That's what all that, and just text in a row is easier to do that with than analog media. Scrubbing a timeline is a pain in the ass to do that with. So I think they've gone, they've met that standard here, as Ames is saying, in applying that layer of usability for future scholars while not killing it, killing the intimacy and enjoyable nature of listening to it. So, well done, that's really cool.
Erin: Thank you all. So then the last question that I'll throw out here, so the way that it's phrased in the review question list is, Does the submission have any major holes in form or content that need to be fixed? I think, again, this is a pretty well-crafted piece on many levels and respects already, so I'll reframe that instead as, you know, do you have any sort of final thoughts for the authors, additional commentary or things you'd like to leave them with, or any additional thoughts to share with them that weren't necessarily addressed in the previous questions that have been asked so far?
Johndan: I would just thank them for letting us read it, listen to it.
Ames: I—yeah, I was very excited to read it and listen-read, to listen and read, which is how I did it. I actually followed along as I was listening. It wasn't completely podcast experience for me. Um, I guess two things. First is, I, talking about needing for scholarship to be indexical and also this idea of the way that audio sort of pushes people to sit with having it be experienced, I really appreciated that, so you're on a timeline that is analog and experienced and not just me skimming, which is, I read in a particular way when it's alphabetic text, and this you have to listen to all of it. And there's a full-body experience there that I think is really important. And then the second point does sort of turn back to where we started, which is, which has to do with, what about this for tenure and promotion?
Um, so I can tell you in my letters for full professor, nobody mentioned my scholarship that is in/around podcasting. Nobody even touched it. And so, what does that say? That doesn't say, that's not the best, that's not what I wanted to have happened. So I do think there's a huge space here. And I'm glad that they opened it. What they did is say, hey, there's this whole thing here, and we're not doing that right now. But we invite somebody else to do that. There are multiple times of doing that, saying, hey, and we're not doing this right now, and yet, here, let me serve up this as future work. And I think that that is, that makes this an incredibly valuable piece of scholarship as well, that they're generously serving up somebody else's investigative track, so to speak.
Johndan: So I think, we talked about this a little bit earlier. Like I said, the digital arts people in my department use exhibitions. My department chair's a documentary filmmaker, he's got almost no academic publications. Um, it might be useful to talk about how you change these things. So before our digital arts program started, I was in the faculty senate, and I pushed through revisions to the tenure and promotion processes to open it up. Because Clarkson's a technical and business school. Um, and so, those are probably the kind of changes that need to get made in the tenure and promotion guidelines. Because without those changes, things like this are going to be invisible at some institutions. So that might be something they would address. I mean, we do a lot of conference papers, to be considered academic, as scholarship, so maybe there's a model that parallels that for podcasting.
Bill: Yeah, there's a little reference to a project that is anchored here at MSU in their podcast, the Humetrics HSS project, which is, I would say we're actively trying to do this. We're trying to shift the category from publication to sharing knowledge, and to think about the sharing the ends rather than the means, and then ask questions about, like we would with any attempt to do that, okay, so how did it happen, who were you trying to share with, you know, how did you attend to the quality of it and the reach of it and equity and justice issues and all that stuff. And that, there's no reason what that can't apply to a lot of different media, and I think our reasons were a lot of the same as Johndan was mentioning. We have people who are filmmakers primarily, and we have people who are exhibition artists, performance artists, in our college, and we have to, we have to have a consistent way to support all their work. We can't just say, oh now that you're here, you also have to write a book in addition to making these sculptures. [laughter]
Johndan: Yeah, it might not.
Ames: Yeah, and I'm at an institution where, if you're in the communication department, it would count, but it doesn't in English and creative writing necessarily. So that's really, that's what we're talking about. We're talking about, you know, Bill's project is like, what are we talking about at the university level, not the discipline/department level. And it's the discipline/department level where people double down on what it means to be an "X" kind of scholar, and want to push this work out because somehow if new stuff comes in, that denigrates or minimalizes or whatever the work that they've done, and that's, that just makes no sense to me, although that's what I'm seeing and experiencing, because I'm at a school where it's, they're a third artists, a third practitioners, and a third scholars, and they all seem, there are a lot of us that do a bunch of things across disciplines. And that's okay as long as you have enough that really keeps you over "here." Because if you don't, then, you can do all this other cool stuff, we're not going to say no, that doesn't count for performance-based increase, but it's not necessarily going to get you promotion. Uh, those are different, tenure or promotion. So I think that there's a lot of work to do in how we describe this in, you're saying, tenure documents, and it's a both—and, it's both at the level of the institution or the department and it's people individually in their departments pushing back on other colleagues who are just doubling down on their position of, this isn't scholarship.
Bill: Yeah, this is where, the progressive stance here is what I think what Johndan is saying, we vibe on this point for many years because I learned it in part from him, is the change here is in incredibly boring genres like bylaws and committee charges and letters to external reviewers that say, please consider this and not this. Um, and you have to get excited about revising those as the place where all this stuff gets enacted.
Harley: And that's part of what—oh, sorry, go ahead, Johndan.
Johndan: This is the closest to excited I've been during faculty senate work.
Harley: Part of what's exciting about this particular text would be, too, is that it gives anyone language that they can poach right out of it and put into their tenure documents and into their justifications, so.
Johndan: Well, and the fact that it's in Kairos helps too.
Kyle: I want to ask a question on a much less big-deal thing, just in the picky range. Ames, you said you were reading along, I kind of was back and forth. I was sort of scrolling down, and I'd look out the window a bit, and I'd scroll down. Um, but I did notice that the transcript isn't particularly rich when there's an audio effect, you know, they maybe add something, that's not reflected. Not all the music is described or marked. Part of me wants to ask for more, and part of me doesn't know in different fields, even in the podcast genre, if there is kind of a standard for transcripts, but it did feel to me a little lighter than I would have expected. You know what I mean by light, right, not including all that rich audio.
Ames: Actually, that did cross my mind as well, so I'm glad you brought that up. Because if I think about some conferences where I'm asked to, if I have a PowerPoint, I'm asked to describe every image and, you know, translate it for somebody who can't see it and that kind of thing, and the reverse is true if I can't hear language, there's closed captions, or whatever, you know. So part of it is a question of accessibility, not just in the making. And so that is something I think that would not be impossible to ask of them to add to the transcripts, and it would enrich, it would also bring that attention to the person who's interacting with it as, oh, this needs to be part of the standard.
The second thing is, it felt like to me, if we're being actually nitpicky, is like, the intro music just feels like it's just a skosh too loud and it goes on a little too long. So I mean if you want to talk about making and you're going to open that back up, pull that down a little bit and think about some fade a little earlier. Other than that, I didn't have that too often, but that just was like, whoa, this is just, I'm having a hard time deciding am I supposed to be listening to the music, am I supposed to be listening to talk. What am I doing. And that tells me about the register of those two, the music needs to come down a little bit, so. That's really, really nitpicky, but I know they can open up the file and do that.
Johndan: Yeah, that's easy to do. You know, oddly I didn't read the text at all, and partly, I didn't bring this up earlier, but, did any of you multitask when this was going on? I just put it in the background like a podcast I'd listen to while I worked on other stuff. And that meant that occasionally I had to double back because I realized I wasn't paying attention. Um, I guess I was the only one. I'm just getting old.
Bill: I have some, I have like, uh, almost daily podcast time as my unwind time, so I just listened to it during then. So I kind of did that. I was cooking, you know, making dinner.
Ames: I would've had to have been able to put 'em on my phone, sorry, and then take my walk with them. And then I would've had to do what you did, Johndan, which is, I often have to, I often like **record scratch noise**, and then I have to go back.
Bill: Yeah, if it was winter I would've been on the bike trainer, riding nowhere, but it's not, so, [laughs] I did it while I was in the kitchen.
Kyle: I think I would've done it like that if I weren't reviewing. I thought, if I'd seen this published, I would've put it on while I was cooking in the kitchen. But as it was, I was like, no I have a responsibility to take some notes. So I like, took some notes.
Bill: [laughs] I will say I went back after so I felt like I had to look at the thing since, when I saw the criteria we were supposed to respond to, I had to go back and look at it.
Johndan: Yeah, yeah.
Bill: The only other thing I would add is what I mentioned on the thread, which is, maybe in this conversation if there's a preamble or something, is, what would they ask of the Kairos audience that we might do with this that could help their project? Um, I think that's a common thing for podcasters to do, please like, share, and subscribe. But what is the academic equivalent of that? Um, after consuming a piece like this, what should we do?
Johndan: Please cite.
Bill: [laughs] Yeah, please cite, assign, and put on your syllabus, I don't know.
Johndan: I think that's where they could say, we want to be part of a conversation.
Harley: And perhaps part of a community, too, like Johndan, as you said, the fact that Kairos is willing to publish this is a really good argument that podcasts can count as scholarship. And so I think a big uptake is like, so how about more of you make some scholarly podcasts?
Kyle: I honestly, I mean, I've got a couple Simon Fraser people in a collection of mine from a couple years ago. It's gotten me like, wanting to go for a visit so I can learn some stuff from these people, but that's, I like that word "community" a lot. We're not too far from being able to do more of that.
Bill: I think uh, my sense, I think this is right, um. Cheryl Geisler was their founding dean in that school, in that school of media, so we have a little bit of a connection maybe in that.
Erin: Well, thank you all very much for your thoughts, for your thorough review, and for your discussion on this. And again, for your willingness to do a bit more of an experimental review format than we've kind of typically done with Kairos, um with both the text- based email threads and also an audio-based response. I think it'll really help to sort of provide the aural-based feedback as well as the written notes and such as well. Um, our next steps as editors then will be to transcribe this conversation. We'll provide them with probably both the transcript and more or less both the audio file as it stands, maybe a couple of tweaks and such here and there. Um, but then we will pass that feedback on to the authors, and we'll also synthesize all the recommendations into just a couple of key suggestions and main takeaways from them in moving forward with the piece, so. Yeah, I may potentially reach out to ask for permissions if you're willing to let them, I think Ames had mentioned, kind of remix a response and such, if that comes up in the conversation, I'll, we'll definitely make sure to ask for your permissions first, but the next step will be just to provide them with the feedback as it stands. Um, thank you again all for your time, especially at such a busy point in the semester. Thank you for your expertise and your insights, and really, really grateful for your feedback and for your review of this piece.
Note: Kairos is excited to publish this webtext as a work of interdisciplinary scholarship from scholars approaching soundwriting and podcasting through their expertise in publishing and communications. Rather than asking the authors to cite sources based on our own disciplinary expectations, the editors and reviewers instead offer a list of references to highlight how similar conversations have taken shape through related work in digital rhetoric and writing studies, and to open up possibilities for further conversation between fields on the disciplinary-transcendent work of scholarly podcasting.
Bowie, Jennifer. (2012). Rhetorical roots and media future: How podcasting fits into the computers and writing classroom. Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy, 16(2). http://technorhetoric.net/16.2/topoi/bowie/
Bowie, Jennifer. (2012). Podcasting in a writing class? Considering the possibilities. Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy, 16(2). http://technorhetoric.net/16.2/praxis/bowie/index.html
Ceraso, Steph. (2018). Sounding composition: Multimodal pedagogies for embodied listening. University of Pittsburgh Press.
Detweiller, Eric. (2021). The bandwidth of podcasting. In Kyle D. Stedman, Courtney S. Danforth, & Michael J. Faris (Eds.), Tuning in to soundwriting. Intermezzo. http://intermezzo.enculturation.net/14-stedman-et-al/detweiler.html
Droumeva, Milena, & Murphy, David. (2018). A pedagogy of listening: Composing with/in media texts. In Courtney S. Danforth, Kyle D. Stedman, & Michael J. Faris (Eds.), Soundwriting pedagogies. Computers and Composition Digital Press; Utah State University Press. https://ccdigitalpress.org/book/soundwriting/droumeva-murphy/index.html
Harley, Ben. (2018). Sounding intimacy. The Journal of Multimodal Rhetorics, 2(2). http://journalofmultimodalrhetorics.com/2-2-harley
Johnson-Eilola, Johndan, & Wysocki, Anne F. (2015). Interdisciplinarity after writing. College Composition and Communication, 66(4), 713–717.
Lambke, Abigail. (2019). Arranging delivery, delivering arrangement: An ecological sonic rhetoric of podcasting. Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy, 23(2). http://kairos.technorhetoric.net/23.2/topoi/lambke/index.html
Palmeri, Jason. (2012). Remixing composition: A history of multimodal writing pedagogy. Southern Illinois University Press.
Selfe, Cynthia L. (2009). The movement of air, the breath of meaning: Aurality and multimodal composing. College Composition and Communication, 60(4), 616–663.
Stone, Jonathan W. (2021). Composing the sonic sacred: Podcasting as faith-based activism. Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy, 26(1). http://kairos.technorhetoric.net/26.1/disputatio/stone/index.html
Additional Sources on Multimodal and Open Peer Review
Note: A few selected sources from the editorial team on open peer review and other journals' explorations of multimodal review processes.
Anti-racist scholarly reviewing practices: A heuristic for editors, reviewers, and authors. (2021). Retrieved from https://tinyurl.com/reviewheuristic.
Bahl, Erin Kathleen. (2017). The magpie's nest: A webtext review of webtext scholarship. Computers and Composition Online. http://cconlinejournal.org/BahlReviewEssayWeb/
Fitzpatrick, Kathleen. (2011). Planned obsolescence: Publishing, technology, and the future of the academy. New York University Press.
Fitzpatrick, Kathleen. (2021). Generous thinking: A radical approach to saving the university. Johns Hopkins University Press.
Ford, Emily. (2021). Stories of open: Opening peer review through narrative inquiry. Association of College and Research Libraries. https://pdxscholar.library.pdx.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1338&context=ulib_fac
Foster, Audrey. (2018, September 12). Gallaudet University receives grant award from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Announcements Archive, Gallaudet University. https://my.gallaudet.edu/intranet/announcements-archive/gallaudet-university-receives-grant-award-from-the-national-endowment-for-the-humanities
Ketchum, Alex D. (2022). Engage in public scholarship! A guidebook on feminist and accessible communication. Concordia University Press. https://www.concordia.ca/press/engage.html
McGregor, Hannah, & WLU Press. (n.d.) Secret Feminist Agenda: Scholarly podcasting open peer reviews. Wilfrid Laurier University Press. https://www.wlupress.wlu.ca/Scholarly-Podcasting-Open-Peer-Review/Secret-Feminist-Agenda