Following our most recent class meeting, in which we took a stab at applying Foucault to our objects of studies, I found that my rhetorical antennae were tuned up enough to capture a few interesting extensions of our work.
For example, thanks to a discovery by Daniel about blogging as scholarly work (published in Inside Higher Education), I wanted to explore some of the recent publications in Composition Studies on the accepted place of blogging as scholarly work. I know there are a number of articles “out there” on how we as composition instructors can use blogs in the classroom (such as this article by Moxley), but I also wanted to see how our field is or isn’t moving to accept digital-media based scholarly publications as professionalization cred. (I’m sure that will impact my OoS on Composition MOOCs as one of the network hubs involved.)
In my search, I found an interesting online publication that blends multimedia with text: The New Work of the Book in Composition Studies. I’ve only begun to read through it, but I’m already intrigued by the possible applications to our course work, and the theorizing of a MOOC classroom — especially since one of my early ideas for my OoS was on the subject of textbooks. I was especially excited (antennae pinging) when I read this passage from “Re-Inventing Invention: A Performance in Three Acts”...
Along with incorporating associative, remixed composing into our pedagogy, it’s also important that composition and rhetoric specialists (at least sometimes) compose scholarly texts that resist linear print models–that we compose texts which show rather than tell (Ball 2004) about the ways in which associative juxtaposition can provoke new insight.
The authors of this chapter (or “theme”) — Bre Garrett, Denise Landrum-Geyer, and Jason Palmeri — seemed to me to be echoing the Foucault concepts of resisting the linear, or texts grounded in models of received history, as well as the concept of archive.
Then there was Lego building — “Build with Chrome” — an online building space for creating multiple variations. Yet, it begins with a controlled practice session, in which the number of potential constructions are pre-designed, seemingly much like the author’s way of indoctrinating the new member / user into the discourse of the digital building space. Set user protocols or rules, and all that (thanks Foucault). To simply begin building, there seems to be more options, but thinking about the “trace” of what is not seen, I wondered about the ways users / builders are limited by the technology space itself – the inner code. I couldn’t help but think of some of the wild shapes produced by my kids when they were younger, faced with a mountain of assorted Lego pieces. Sure, they could follow the “guide” on the box to get that cool-looking Star Wars ship, but just as often, one of them would go off solo (not Solo) and attach pieces in ways that made no “visible” sense. Granted, these would often be forever stuck together, but it was still a choice. How much does the online system of Build with Chrome offer the user such creative license? And how much of an expert in code must one be to subvert that order?
In sum, I’m amazed how much depth the theories of Foucault, Hardware, and Rhetorical Situation have already added to my typical internet browsing / thinking. Transformational.