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.