This Rhetoricity episode takes a return trip to the 2016 Modern Language Association Convention in Austin, Texas. At the convention, Dr. Byron Hawk presided over a session called "Writing with Sound." In this episode, Dr. Hawk discusses his work at the entangled intersections of sound, composition, writing, and the rhetorical.
Byron Hawk is an associate professor in the Department of English at the University of South Carolina. Hawk is the author of A Counter-History of Composition: Toward Methodologies of Complexity, and his work has appeared in Technical Communication Quarterly, Enculturation, Kairos, and PRE/TEXT. His current book project is entitled Resounding the Rhetorical: Composition as a Quasi-Object. That project is the focus of our conversation. Hawk draws the concept of the "quasi-object" from Michel Serres. Two of Serres' essays, "Noise" and "Theory of the Quasi-Object," might make for informative reading before or after listening to this episode. Hawk also discusses the work of Karen Barad and Bruno Latour.
As we discuss his book project and what might happen if we were to approach "composition" as a quasi-object, Hawk riffs on soccer, recording studios, the punk band Refused, and the sound art of Thomas Stanley. Throughout, he remains focused on these questions: How is composition and how are compositions co-produced as quasi-objects? How do rhetorical energies circulate through and as sound, exceeding and generating the power of human production?
This episode features clips from the following songs and sonic performances: