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Rhetoricity

Rhetoricity is a quasi-academic podcast that draws on rhetoric, theory, weird sound effects, and the insights of a lot of other people. It's something that's a little strange and, with luck, a little interesting. The podcast's description will evolve along with it. Most episodes feature interviews with rhetorically oriented rhetoric and writing scholars.

The podcast is a project of Eric Detweiler, a PhD candidate specializing in rhetoric at The University of Texas at Austin. If you are interested in more information, or in episode transcripts, you can get in touch by sending a direct message to @RhetCast on Twitter.

Rhetoricity is supported by a grant from the Humanities Media Project.

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Now displaying: 2015
Nov 10, 2015

This episode of Rhetoricity features not one but two interviewees: Drs. Annette Vee and Jim Brown, who together led a workshop called "Rhetoric's Algorithms" at the 2015 Rhetoric Society of America Summer Institute in Madison, Wisconsin. They're also co-editing a forthcoming issue of the journal Computational Culture that will focus on rhetoric and computation.

Annette Vee is an assistant professor in the English Department at the University of Pittsburgh. Her work has appeared in such journals as Computers and Composition, Enculturation, and Computational Culture. She's also the author of the book Coding Literacy: How Computer Programming is Changing the Terms of Writing, which is forthcoming from MIT Press.

Jim Brown is an assistant professor and director of the Digital Studies Center at Rutgers University-Camden. He's been published in the journals Philosophy and Rhetoric, College Composition and Communication, and Pedagogy. His book Ethical Programs: Hospitality and the Rhetorics of Software, was recently published by the University of Michigan Press.

In this interview, I ask Brown and Vee about the subject of their RSA workshop: What exactly do they mean by "algorithms"? What do algorithms have to offer rhetoric and vice versa? They respond by discussing Ada Lovelace, 1970s cyberthrillers, and the French writing collective Oulipo. Before wrapping up, I also ask them to perform some experimental rhetorical algorithms.

This episode includes music generated using Musicalgorithms, a resource created by researchers at Eastern Washington University.

All Rhetoricity episodes are also available via iTunes and Stitcher.

Oct 27, 2015

This episode of Rhetoricity features an interview with Casey Boyle, an assistant professor in the Department of Rhetoric and Writing at The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Boyle’s work has appeared in such anthologies as Rhetoric and the Digital Humanities and Thinking with Bruno Latour in Rhetoric and Composition. He serves as assistant editor for Enculturation: A Journal of Writing, Rhetoric, and Culture and has forthcoming articles in both College English and Technical Communication Quarterly. At UT-Austin, Dr. Boyle teaches courses on writing with sound, digital rhetoric, and network theory. He is currently co-editing an anthology entitled Rhetoric, Through Everyday Things with Scot Barnett and working on a monograph entitled Rhetoric as a Posthuman Practice.

The starting point for this episode's conversation is "The Rhetorical Question Concerning Glitch," an article of Dr. Boyle's that appeared in the March 2015 issue of Computers and Composition. We beginning be discussing points of overlap between "glitch art" and rhetoric. From there, Dr. Boyle discusses how his work with glitch troubles the boundaries between "theory" and "practice" as well as so-called "creative" and "critical" rhetorical work. We wrap up by talking about another of his current projects: a series of interviews with humanities scholars about their failed projects.

This episode contains some glitched audio files, so there are a few moments of sudden volume change--not enough to damage listening ears, but enough that it seems worth a warning.

Specifically, this episode includes gliched clips from the following:

  • "The Tourist" - Radiohead
  • "The Tourist" - Sarah Jarosz
  • "The Tourist" - Flash Hawk Parlor Ensemble
  • "It just works. Seamlessly." (YouTube video uploaded by all about Steve Jobs.com)
  • "Search and Destroy" - Peaches
  • "Search and Destroy" - Iggy and the Stooges
  • Brazil (film)
  • Spartacus (film)
  • "Crystal Blue Persuasion" - Tommy James and the Shondells
  • "The Internet" (episode of the TV series Computer Chronicle)
  • freesound.org
Oct 5, 2015

In this episode of Rhetoricity, I talk with Shyam Sharma about global citizenship, transnational writing, and the globalization of writing classrooms.

Dr. Sharma is an assistant professor of writing and rhetoric at Stony Brook University in New York. His research focuses on writing in the disciplines, but he also studies translingualism and multilingualism, cross-cultural rhetoric, and multimodality in writing studies. He is currently working on a book project about international graduate students in the U.S. and has a piece in the September 2015 issue of College Composition and Communication.

In this interview, which was conducted at the 2015 Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC), we discuss Transnational Writing, a Facebook group that Dr. Sharma helped launch. We also talk about "Engaging the Global in the Teaching of Writing," a CCCC workshop that he participated in and helped facilitate.

Post-introduction transition music: "Eastbound & Down" by Cherlene.

Sep 21, 2015

This episode of Rhetoricity, recorded at the 2015 Conference on College Composition and Communication, features an interview with Dr. Justin Hodgson. Hodgson is an assistant professor at Indiana University. He serves as general editor for the Journal for Undergraduate Multimedia Projects and is currently working on a book project entitled New Aesthetics, New Rhetorics. In spring 2015, he and Dr. Scot Barnett organized and hosted the Indiana Digital Rhetoric Symposium (IDRS).

We begin by talking about what distinguishes (and doesn't distinguish) "digital rhetoric" from the "digital humanities." From there, Dr. Hodgson discusses what he hoped would happen at IDRS, which had yet to take place at the time of this interview.

From there, we turn to digital rhetoric pedagogy. Specifically, Dr. Hodgson discusses Rhetoric, Play, & Games, an undergraduate course he's been teaching for a number of years. In addition to asking students to examine, play, and write about video games, the course functions as a game. We talk about both the possibilities and problems Hodgson sees in current conversations about "gamifying" education.

The episode ends with some follow-up reflections on IDRS that Dr. Hodgson recorded after the symposium wrapped. He and Dr. Barnett are currently putting together a special issue of Enculturation: A Journal of Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture that will build on the symposium's proceedings.

This episode features clips from Led Zeppelin's "Rock & Roll," Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings' "Long Time, Wrong Time," and The Pharaos' "Mission Bucharest." The latter tune is licensed under Creative Commons; all other music and samples used within the provisions of fair use.

Jun 29, 2015

This installment of Rhetoricity zags away from the interview format of the last few episodes. Instead, I'm bringing you a response to a question I've started getting from a handful of rhetoric and composition scholars: what technologies do I use to put this podcast together?

Rather than jumping straight into a pile of microphones, though, I begin with some brief thoughts on the rhetorical decisions that can go into how and why a podcast sounds the way it does.

After running through some very quick notes on the history and politics of podcasting (and why the TV show The Good Wife is so great), I use a handful of audio setups to walk listeners through the pros and cons of these different technologies--from clip-on mics and handheld recorders to slightly (but still grad-student friendly) higher-end equipment. Along the way, I offer cursory nods to fair use, Creative Commons, my editing process, and robot chipmunks.

This episode includes clips from The Good Wife, the film In a World..., and the songs "Rebel Girl" (Bikini Kill), "Freakin' Out" (Death), "Now I'm Here" (Queen), "Daybreak" (Michael Haggins), and "Wipe Out" (The Surfaris), as well as a quote from Judith Butler's Gender Trouble and various clips from the website freesound.org.

Jun 3, 2015

This is the second half of a two-part interview with Victor Vitanza, the Jean-Francois Lyotard Chair at the European Graduate School and a Professor of English and Rhetoric at Clemson University. You can find the first half here. The interview was conducted at the 2014 Rhetoric Society of America conference in San Antonio, Texas, and originally published as part of the Zeugma podcast's 2014 summer interview series.

In this half of the interview, Vitanza discusses the futures of Pre/Text: A Journal of Rhetorical Theory, including upcoming issues on "cat theory," Geoffrey Sirc, and the Italian writer Mario Untersteiner. I also ask him about Clemson's Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design PhD program, and we end with a brief discussion of typos and silence.

Jun 3, 2015

This episode of Rhetoricity features an interview with Victor Vitanza, the Jean-Francois Lyotard Chair at the European Graduate School and a Professor of English and Rhetoric at Clemson University. The interview was conducted at the 2014 Rhetoric Society of America conference in San Antonio, Texas, and originally published as part of the Zeugma podcast's 2014 summer interview series.

Dr. Vitanza founded the Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design (RCID) program at Clemson, has written such books as Negation, Subjectivity, and the History of Rhetoric and Sexual Violence in Western Thought and Writing, and serves as editor of Pre/Text: A Journal of Rhetorical Theory. He's currently working on a film and companion book entitled The Returns of Philology: This Time, Anachronistics. In this interview, Vitanza discusses Kenneth Burke and Geoffrey Sirc, rhetorics and media old and new, and Immanuel Kant and Internet cats. There's also, I should promise and advise listeners, quite a bit of talk about scatology.

Since this interview is a little longer than other Rhetoricity episodes, I've split it in two. You can find the second half, during which we turn our attention to cats, Sirc, and the RCID program, here.

This episode cites the following sources:

It also includes sound clips from

All other music and sound clips are from GarageBand's loop library and the website freesound.org.

May 20, 2015

This episode of Rhetoricity finds me interviewing Collin Brooke. In March 2015, Dr. Brooke was the featured speaker at The University of Texas at Austin's Digital Writing and Research Lab's annual Speaker Series. He was kind enough to sit down for two interviews--one for the lab and one for this podcast. In some ways, this interview builds on the other one; if you're interested in a little more context and conversation, then, you can find that lab interview here.

Brooke is an associate professor of rhetoric and writing at Syracuse University, the Director of Electronic Resources for the Rhetoric Society of America, and author of the book Lingua Fracta: Towards a Rhetoric of New Media. The talk he gave in Austin was entitled "Entropics of Discourse: Post/Human Rhetorics Amidst the Networks," and a video of it is available via the DWRL's YouTube channel. That talk is part of his current book project on rhetoric and networks, which is tentatively titled Rhetworks. If you're interested in more on networked rhetorics, you can also check out "Bruno Latour's Posthuman Rhetoric of Assent," Brooke's contribution to the recent anthology Thinking with Bruno Latour in Rhetoric and Composition. He'll also be leading a workshop on rhetoric and networks at the 2015 Rhetoric Society of America Summer Institute in Madison, Wisconsin.

In this interview, we talk about the concept of entropy and rhetoric's "master tropes," focusing specifically on the relationship between entropy and irony. We also discuss Rhetsy, a weekly email newsletter of "rhetorical miscellany" that Brooke curates.

This and all other Rhetoricity episodes are also available on iTunes and Stitcher.

May 5, 2015

In February, Laurence Rickels stopped by Austin, Texas. Dr. Rickels, who is the Sigmund Freud Professor of Psychoanalysis at the European Graduate School as well as Professor of Art and Theory at the Academy of Fine Arts in Karlsruhe, Germany, was in town as part of the tour for his latest book: Germany: A Science Fiction. During his visit, he also swung by UT-Austin's Digital Writing and Research Lab and was generous enough to sit down for the following interview.

In his new book, Rickels focuses on psychopathy as, quote, "the undeclared diagnosis implied in flunking the empathy test." He does so via an exploration of Germany's role in Cold War-era science fiction: from the Thomas Pynchon novel Gravity's Rainbow to B movies like 1962's The Day of the Triffids to the science fiction of Philip K. Dick. In addition to Germany, Dr. Rickels has written numerous works tracing connections between psychoanalysis, popular culture, critical theory, science fiction, and mourning. His books include The Case of California, The Vampire Lectures, a three-volume series entitled Nazi Psychoanalysis, and Spectre, in which Rickels turns his attention to Ian Fleming's James Bond. He's also the author of a recent article entitled "The Race to Fill in the Blanks: On (Animal) Testing in Science Fiction," which appeared in the 2014 issue of Philosophy & Rhetoric touched on in this podcast's premiere episode.

In our conversation, I ask Dr. Rickels about his use of the term "psy-fi," the impetus behind his new book, the relationship between his work and that of the late media theorist Friedrich Kittler, as well as the puns and juxtapositions that punctuate his pages.

This and all other Rhetoricity episodes are also available on iTunes and Stitcher.

Apr 20, 2015

In this episode of Rhetoricity, I interview Dr. Jenny Rice, an associate professor in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies at the University of Kentucky. In addition to appearing on this podcast's episode on small talk, Dr. Rice has made extensive contributions to rhetorical studies: she’s the author of the book Distant Publics: Development Rhetoric and the Subject of Crisis as well as articles in the Quarterly Journal of Speech, Argumentation and Advocacy, College Composition and Communication, and Rhetoric Society Quarterly (RSQ, for short). She’ll also be co-chairing the 2016 Rhetoric Society of America conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

In this episode, I talk with Dr. Rice about her current book project, which is tentatively titled Awful Archives. In February 2015, she presented part of that project at The University of Texas at Austin's Digital Writing and Research Lab. A video of that presentation, which was entitled "Archival Magnitude: Quantities of Evidence and Insights into Reality," is available here. We also discuss a forum she's organizing for RSQ, an anthology she's co-editing with UT's Casey Boyle, and her approach to social media.

This and all other Rhetoricity episodes are also available on iTunes and Stitcher.

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