CTW: Humphrey and Hulin

“Where can we find authority in a book with multiple authors working in different modalities? (Humphrey 5)” In his comic “Multimodal Authorship and Authority in Educational Comics: Introducing Foucault and Derrida for Beginners,” Aaron Humphrey explores the idea of authority and how it is embodied through multimodal texts with multiple authors. He does this by examining various examples of “An Introduction…” and “For Beginners” books, specifically those that speak on the theories of Foucault and Derrida. Experimenting with writing in a comic and analyzing collaborative comics allows Humphrey to question how we have previously viewed academic writing, and his techniques aid in decentralizing the voice of authority that is so prevalent in the academic sphere. Rachel Hulin pioneers a new kind of composition in her novel “Hey Harry Hey Matilda.” One of the captivating elements of her work is that it exists in two spaces: Instagram and a blog-style website. Her story follows twins Matilda and Harry Goodman as they navigate adulthood together; their dialogue features everything from relationships and psychological states to genetic testing and aging. The secret to their relationship, though, is that they seem to be fighting feelings for each other. Their conversations are nostalgic, yet modern and laced with anxiety. Hulin posts new segments of their story on Instagram every few days or so, sometimes every day, but it varies; alternatively, on the website, Hulin provides segments in posts that the audience can scroll through in chronological order. How do these pieces interact? Hulin’s work directly embodies Humphrey’s decentralization of authority. Whether the audience is looking at the story through Instagram or through the website, it...

CTW Response #3

Multimodal composition is more prevalent in digital writing and publishing now more than it ever has been since the Internet came into America’s homes less than twenty-five years ago. With writing being present in more digital spheres, an author must learn to create a piece that works together, and not against, with the medium that he or she is using. In Aaron Scott Humphrey’s article, “Multimodal Authoring and Authority in Educational Comics: Introducing Derrida and Foucault for Beginners” for Digital Humanities Quarterly, these questions arise when he examines educational comics. On the reversal, Rachel Hulin challenges these ideals in her visual novel, Hey Harry Hey Matilda, as the first-ever novel published entirely on Instagram. In Humphrey’s article, he discusses the educational comic books Foucault For Beginners and Derrida For Beginners (that is, the French theorists Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida). These books are learning devices, meant to teach the readers the basic theories of Foucault and Derrida using visuals and hand-written texts. He argues that while these texts were great examples of multimodality, the issue of agency comes into play. He divides the labor put into each book as three major roles: writer, artist, and designer. Each book had two different publishers, and this division and collaboration differed from each, for example, an edition of Foucault For Beginners had a two-to-one ratio; one writer to two artists and two designers. This type of relationship, however, can have a grave effect on the book (and sometimes) the writer’s overall meaning. Here, Humphrey examines Foucault For Beginners, published in 1993 by Writers & Readers, Inc. He argues that at times the...

CTW Response #2

Teresa Rizzo and Dustin W. Edwards have written articles on rhetorical emergence, as supported in the realms of television and remix culture. Both articles discuss assemblage or, the “building [of] a new text by compiling, aggregating, and juxtaposing a combination of already existing texts” (Edwards 47) and apply the concept to their arguments. Both articles work in unison to interpret modern-day rhetorical devices. Teresa Rizzo discusses the idea of television and its shift as a closed system, a very strict and restricted structure, to an open system, one that is diverse and massively accessible. In her article “Television Assemblages.” She argues that television, which was once a binary system, has changed to a multiplatform construction that can be controlled and accessed much more frequently and, almost, at any time and any place. Television, first popularized in the 1950s, was first restricted to one television set per household on a one-to-one basis. It was an event. It adhered to a strict programming schedule and its audience had to adjust their schedules in order to watch a program. Families would gather around the television set at a certain time and watch a show together as a unit. Still, there was little to no audience interaction. Rizzo interprets this structure as being binary, with no audience participation. She uses the term, “reciprocal determination,” to explain this structure: The concept of reciprocal determination is important for challenging the centrality of broadcast television and the idea of television and television culture as something with a fixed and stable structure based on fixed roles, binaries and hierarchies such as production/consumption, producer/audience, industry/consumer and even technologies/text....

CTW Response: Clemens/Nash and Rizzo

“Since the very concept of media by definition presumes that there are media, plural (for example, differentiated media), and since the digital converges all media into a single state (that is to say digital data), then by definition the concept of media simply disappears. In other words, data is the Great Leveler” (Clemens and Nash). In their piece “Being and Media: digital ontology after the event of the end of media,” Justin Clemens and Adam Nash discuss their ideas of digital ontology. Clemens and Nash argue that the digital age has unified our media into a single medium, data, and that data is simply modulated into the various forms that we recognize today. In “Television Assemblages,” Teresa Rizzo speaks on the multiplatform nature of modern television and how it has transformed the television viewer. She calls into question the traditional mass audience of television and uses three modern functions of television as evidence of this shift: “pay per view,  search and retrieve, and and upload and share” (Rizzo). Additionally, she analyzes assemblage theory and discusses how it disrupts typical social (and therefore, rhetorical) constructs. The Emergence of Digital Rhetoric The emergence of rhetoric in the digital space has disrupted the way we think about rhetoric. In their article, Clemens and Nash argue that instead of having multiple mediums, data has become the one true medium through which we communicate. This is an interesting way to think about rhetoric’s emergence because it shifts our previous conceptions of rhetoric and composition studies. “For anything to appear in the digital realm—here, in the usual acception of ‘digital media’—it must first be digitised to data,...
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