Blade Runner 2049 and electrate film criticsm

Blade Runner 2049 is a film that has generated some divided criticism. To borrow from the comedian Mitch Hedberg’s story about his experiences in a band: “Some people loved us. Some people hated us. Some people thought we were ok.” And really what more is there to say about aesthetic judgment after the fact? Describing the…

the late age of close reading and the data humanities

I have been working on my book, so I haven’t found as much time to write here, and this post comes out of the work I’m doing there rather than any particular current event (though I’d like to think it has some currency!). In the broadest terms the manuscript considers the value of a particular…

thinking with Manuel Delanda in rhetoric and composition

Perhaps you are familiar with the recent and excellent essay collection, Thinking with Bruno Latour in Rhetoric and Composition (edited by Paul Lynch and Nathaniel Rivers). If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it, but I’m not here to talk about it today. It’s just the inspiration for the title of this missive, where I…

de-baits in the digital humanities

The LA Review of Books has published 4 interviews so far in an ongoing series on the digital humanities conducted by Melissa Dinsman. The series promises “Through conversations with both leading practitioners in the field and vocal critics, this series is a means to explore the intersection of the digital and the humanities, and its impact…

what if wolves and elephants were writing students?

Despite the title, this isn’t really about animal rhetoric, instead a video and a recent article about evolution. The video below explains how the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone Park not only altered the ecosystem but the physical geography. (Spoiler: wolves chased the deer out of certain areas of the park, allowing for trees and…

rhetorical organization and Latourian modes of existence

Organization is a common topic of discussion in writing instruction. Often, students are asked to produce “well-organized” essays and organization is a familiar criteria for assessment. Organization generally refers to the rhetorical cannon of arrangement, but somehow it makes more sense to say to students that their essays should be well-organized instead of well-arranged. Organization also…

The empiricist-idealist divide in composition studies (and the role of realists)

I’ve been thinking about this big picture disciplinary issues primarily in terms of my Teaching Practicum, but maybe it is useful to share this here as well. Manuel DeLanda has a helpful brief piece on “Ontological Commitments” (PDF) in which he identifies three familiar categories of philosophical positions on ontology: idealism, empiricism, and realism. I…

alien languages and rhetorical procedures

Ian Bogost writes about Star Trek: The Next Generation and the unique language of the Tamarians, an alien race encountered in one episode. Picard and the crew eventually figure out how to speak with the Tamarians by interpreting their language as a series of metaphors. Bogost, however, suggests that metaphor is the wrong concept, Calling Tamarian…

Underwood, Jockers, and literary evolution

To begin with a caveat: I’m not in the literary studies business, let alone in the digital humanities area of literary studies. So my interests in these two recent books (Jocker’s Macroanalysis and Underwood’s Why Literary Periods Mattered) are likely idiosyncratic when viewed from within the context of those fields. [Let me say by way of immediate…

genre, data, and objects

After the very busy administrative time at the beginning of the semester, I’ve been catching up on my reading. Ted Underwood has an interesting post on the relationship between data and genre as he investigates genre through an analysis of large digital collections. He observes: The biggest problem was even less quantitative, and more fundamental:…