Well hello there. I’m that random person from the English department, currently in my last semester of the MA program in rhetoric and composition. As I explained in class, I don’t study literature. Rhetoric and composition is a discipline that arose in the 1970s out of the required writing class that has become nearly universal in U.S. higher education. Our discipline combines the study of writing and writing instruction with the formal study of rhetoric (think Aristotle and Burke). My coursework has been almost exclusively in the “composition” part of rhet/comp, so I’ve encountered rhetoric primarily through ways that scholars have theorized writing instruction through rhetoric. My background in Theory (with a big T) is…er…well let’s just say that I have read more theory outside of class than inside. I am looking forward to engaging with theory more meaningfully in this course!

My research interests in rhet/comp include writing program administration, writing across the curriculum (writing in the sciences, writing in history), language politics, textual ownership, and digital media. My thesis explores ways that writing program administrators can work strategically to reframe stories about students and plagiarism. I argue that the dominant narrative that positions students as cheaters, teachers as detectives, and the internet as an enabler of loose moral behavior is in conflict with our disciplinary values (valuing student writing, teaching writing as rhetorical communication rather than a set of conventions, demystifying academic practices, understanding students' digital literacies as resources).

Lately I’ve been tinkering around with HTML/CSS and digital production software, which has sparked an interest in information visualization and digital humanities. Three recent projects along these lines:

  • Here is a link to a project I did for a seminar last semester on “Teaching with Technology” that touches on how information visualization is relevant to writing instruction.
  • Here is a timeline of digital literacies and composition, also created for the “Teaching with Technology” course. The timeline engages questions of the digital divide. Kinda.
  • Here is a personal academic website that I created to put on my PhD application materials.

Clearly not as awesome as Tiffany’s original music or sweet video, but yeah.

Other than working on my thesis and taking classes, I teach English 105 (composition for multilingual students) and do some administrative work for the Writing Program. I am currently organizing a faculty development event series this semester. You all should check it out!

That is enough academic talk for now, right? 

So--I am a New Englander, as you can tell by my swift walking speed and seemly-cold demeanor. (I promise that I am really a big softie!)  I did my undergraduate at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and then spent two years teaching before coming to WSU. The first year I taught English at a high school in southern France, and the second I taught language arts at an inner-city academic preparation program in the States. Moving to Pullman was a bit of a culture shock for me. After feeling isolated geographically and culturally for the first semester or so, I have found some comfort in jogging and biking the local paths. I also enjoy dancing and making things (food, perfume, digital texts, whatevs). I listen to Radiolab religiously. One of my most important life goals is to adopt a dog. Until that glorious day I must limit myself to google-searching adorable dog pictures.  

Tiffany Christian
1/8/2013 11:50:52 pm

"Clearly not as awesome as Tiffany’s original music or sweet video, but yeah." LOL I don't know about that! I started teaching composition in 2005 in the vocational schools and community colleges of southern California, so I have a super high interest in your work. AKA, seems pretty "sweet" to me!

1/9/2013 12:03:32 am

This is great! Rhetoric folks are doing a ton of great work at the intersection of theory and digital practice/tool making. Thanks for sharing your projects. I am hoping we might all delve into making something this semester too...


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