This episode features two interviewees: Dr. Jonathan Alexander and Dr. Jackie Rhodes. Rhodes and Alexander are not only prolific writers and media makers, but prolific collaborators. Together, they’ve edited The Routledge Handbook of Digital Writing and Rhetoric as well as Sexual Rhetorics: Methods, Publics, Identities. In this episode, we discuss two of their other collaborative projects: On Multimodality: New Media in Composition Studies and Techne: Queer Meditations on Writing the Self. Techne won the 2015 Lavender Rhetorics Award for Excellence in Queer Scholarship.
Beyond their co-creations, Jonathan Alexander is the Chancellor’s Professor of English and Informatics at the University of California, Irvine. He’s also the current editor of the journal College Composition and Communication and the author of the critical memoir Creep: A Life, A Theory, An Apology, which is a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award and being turned into a podcast.
Jackie Rhodes is a professor of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures at Michigan State University and the incoming editor of the journal Rhetoric Society Quarterly. She’s also currently working on a documentary called Once a Fury, which is about a 1970s lesbian separatist group called the Furies.
The following interview was recorded at the 2017 Conference on College Composition and Communication in a defunct alcove that was once full of pay phones. In addition to Techne and On Multimodality, Drs. Rhodes and Alexander discuss the creepiness of academic disciplines, why it’s important to understand the history of media forms, and the personal, narrative, and scholarly possibilities of digital publications.
This episode of Rhetoricity is a collaboration with Rhetorics Change/Rhetoric's Change, the digital proceedings collection from the 2016 Rhetoric Society of America conference. You can download a free copy of this open-access collection via Intermezzo or Parlor Press.
In 2014, Verso Books published Radio Benjamin, which contained English translations of radio plays that critical theorist Walter Benjamin helped write and produce in the 1920s and '30s. I was fascinated with these plays as a sort of precursor to the audio projects scholars and theorists are producing today. So at RSA 2016, rather than give a traditional academic presentation, I staged and recorded a live performance of one of the pieces in Radio Benjamin. Titled "Lichtenberg: A Cross-Section," the play is about an eighteenth-century physicist and satirist named Georg Christoph Lichtenberg.
This episode is also included as part of a chapter in Rhetorics Change/Rhetoric's Change, along with an essay in which I discuss Benjamin's radio plays and the possibilities of audio scholarship. The collection also includes a set of soundscapes that I edited, so there's plenty to interest the sonically inclined scholars. So check it out!
This episode contains clips from the following:
All clips are used under the fair use provisions of US copyright law.