Part Three: the university of a tiny rhetoric

The last part of a three part essay. Here are parts one and two. This brings me momentarily to the Stover article, but Latour’s interview ends with some remarks about the university (and rhetoric). Latour notes that rhetoric, from the start, is fundamentally a way to teach people: It means that you can take someone…

Part Two: Making a Move on Ontology

Here are links to parts one and three of this essay. Instead the purportedly “big” new materialist rhetoric is instead tiny, minimal even. Rhetoric is not so huge as to cover civilization. It does not take over after psychology explains coming to salience. I don’t believe there is a “realm of rhetoric,” neither in consciousness…

A tiny rhetoric in a big univers(ity): three parts

This morning I’m writing about the place of rhetoric in a new materialist, plural ontology (starting with some comments from Latour) and moving into rhetoric’s place in the humanities (starting with a recent article in American Affairs, “There is no case for the humanities” by Justin Stover). I’ve divided this into three posts, so here…

the usual waffle on the plight of English Studies (holiday edition)

Many of the challenges we face in English at UB are not unique. In particular we share them with other public research university English departments who need to think about phd programs. The academic job market is awful, which raises all manner of questions about doctoral education. The STEM and business orientation of our undergrads…

Invention, curriculum, and digital humanities

In the humanities’ ongoing struggle to find its way back to wherever the students are (or lead the students back from wherever they are), one of the more written about tactics involves the digital humanities. Basically the premise is that many students are STEM focused, so connecting with more technical matters is a way to…

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…

looking at college from the other side

I’m sure many of many colleagues and gentle readers have been through this experience, but this fall my daughter is headed off to college. Briefly, her college application story goes like this: she’s a national merit scholar with a load of AP classes; she was accepted at three ivies and some other very good privates;…

laptops, classrooms, and matters of electrate concern

Last week, Inside HigherEd reported on this study (by Susan Payne Carter, Kyle Greenberg, and Michael Walker), which shows, once again, that students who use laptops in classrooms do not perform as well as students without laptops. Steve Krause wrote about the study a few days ago, wondering what might happen in a laptop-mandated classroom as opposed to…

otters’ noses, digital humanities, political progress, and splitters

Here’s the thing that confuses me the most about this DH conversation. See, for example, the recent defense of the digital humanities in the LA Review of Books (which, at least from my experience of it, needs to consider a name change) by Juliana Spahr, Richard So, and Andrew Piper, which responds to this other LARB article byDaniel Allington,…