on the “many sides” and moral equivalencies of free speech

I’m starting this post wondering if I will finish it, if I actually have something to say that hasn’t already been said. I am unconditionally opposed to the ideologies of the kkk and nazis, and I am as sickened as anyone that such statements even need to be made. I am not only opposed to…

near futures of professional-technical communication

Over the last few months I’ve been going through the process of proposing a graduate certificate in digital communication and professional writing. It’s a long bureaucratic slog in the SUNY system but, with fingers crossed, we’ll have full state approval in the next few months. In any case, it certainly has me thinking about what…

the digital cul de sac in rhetoric and composition

I’ve been catching up on some reading this summer and took a look at Courtney Werner’s article in the most recent CCC issue, “How Rhetoric and Composition Described and Defined New Media at the Start of the Twenty-First Century.” She looks at definitions of new media in some 70 articles across four journals: CCC, Research in the Teaching…

republicans and colleges

Last week the Pew Research Center reported on “Sharp Partisan Divisions in Views of National Institutions.” Though the survey covers a range of institutions–churches, banks, unions, news media, and colleges–it was the last category that drew the most attention (predictably) among people I work with. The report notes that 58% of those who identify as…

Reflections on serving as a WPA

I have served as the director of composition at UB for seven years. Technically I’m still director for another month, but at this point, I’m basically done. In a way it was a strange job for me to do because I have always been and remain something of an abolitionist in relation to FYC, though…

politics, free speech, and academic freedom

Trump on Twitter; Kathy Griffin, Stephen Colbert, and Johnny Depp’s remarks about Trump; academics being threatened or losing their jobs for political statements; academics being threatened or losing their jobs for making racist or similarly inappropriate comments online; conservative speakers having their campus talks either disrupted or cancelled due to security concerns: what do all…

tolerance in the late age of deliberation

I started this post about a month ago. Unsurprisingly, concerns with in/tolerance have not subsided. It was just two weeks ago that the shooting of Republicans during a baseball practice inspired a response that political rhetoric needed to change. As you probably recall, at the time Trump said “We may have our differences, but we…

rhetoric in the late age of the internet

Some 25 years ago, Jay Bolter described the “late age of print” not as an era when print media were disappearing but rather as time when the question of an impending end began to characterize how we understood the technology. In imagining a late ago of the internet, some semantic clarification is necessary. I do…

academia’s weird pseudo-productivity: the summer edition

First off, what a bizarre intractable rhetorical situation this is! There is the broad cultural characterization that professors do little work because they teach so few classes, which even in itself is accurate characterization of many professors’ workloads. This is followed by a whole sub-genre of essays describing the intense demands placed on academics, how…

the social-rhetorical challenges of information technology

I spent about an hour this morning responding to two different institutional surveys about technology: one coming from the library and asking about digital scholarship and the other coming from IT and focusing on their services and classroom technologies. What technologies do scholars in your field use? What do you use? What frustrations do you…