Digital Humanities

Nathalie's Thoughts

More Digital Rhetoric

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I chose to research another online project that focuses on digital rhetoric. After the website I posted last week, I was interested to see what else was available out there. One of the writers for the Sweetland Digital Rhetoric website is Cheryl Ball, which led me to the online journal Kairos. Kairos is an open-access online journal that includes works that explore rhetoric, technology and pedagogies, (digital rhetoric, which is one of my interests as another form of exploring multimodal work in the classroom). Since the journal is free, it is widely read. It has over 45,000 readers monthly, which is huge! This is one of coolest parts of the digital humanities and digital work that interests me, how expansive the audience becomes. Kairos has been publishing since 1996 and everything that has been published since then, is available online for free. What I really like about the journal is that if you wish to submit and publish, your work must be multimodal. If you submit a traditional word document, Kairos will not publish it. I point this out because some times we see scholars pushing for multimodal work, yet they’re writing using strictly text! Kairos is emphasizing the need to put theory into practice. If you explore the archive, there are a variety of kinds of presentations available, which makes the journal engaging, fun and inspirational to continue to think about these kinds of presentations and expressions. For example, journal 17.3 is a website titled Crossing Battle Lines, which offers a syllabus, and a list of ArGs, which is “alternate reality games” online that offer students a place to collaborative, find clues through blogs, youtube, etc to find a conclusion. The choices students make leads to the unfolding of the game. During the game, students are required to complete certain tasks such as paraphrase. Students are made to work with different literacies such as using platforms such as Garage Band, You tube, Photo Shop, etc. In the same issue, there is a great piece titled “Writing a Translingual Scipt,” theorizes diverse linguistic choices and the negotiations involved in cross language work. Below is what the article looks like – it’s designed in a tv space, which is kind of cool. The reader is able to click the different buttons, which leads to different parts of the article, including graphs, and pictures and videos. To get a just of the webtext, I’ve included some excerpts from it. From the Introduction: “This webtext, then, argues that closed captions of television and film can be used to highlight for hearing students the complexity and rhetorical significance of language choices and textual representation. I argue that even so-called monolingual writers and speakers engage in complex language negotiation—akin to, if not commonly named, translation (see Steiner, 1975)—that is made visible through such multimodal activities. In using closed captions to distance “monolingual” language users from their own discursive resources and assumptions, this activity sought to elucidate the ways in which all language is contingent and translated.” About the use of captions: “Whose voice does the captioner mark as accented? When does one standardize speech to make it more readable, and what values and assumptions are operating in that choice? How are non-standard varieties of English and non-English languages represented when the captioner does not know the language in its original and is advised not to translate it to standard English?”


From the Conclusion:

“Overall, the results of this experiment suggest that these students may want to be flexible language negotiators in spite of being influenced by a cultural pressure towards standardization and a notion of the cultural value of standard English as a marker of education and status within and beyond the academy.”

Many of the major ideas in this web text fall under my interests about language, multi literacy work, code meshing and specifically how multimodal composition and digital rhetoric can allow students more choice and opportunity in thinking about expression.

Back to Kairos . . .

The editorial board and staff is made up of many many scholars that are from within the United States and international, again emphasizing the collaboration that is possible because of a open source like this one. There is a long list of about 20-30 people involved from different universities, although I don’t see titles, so I don’t know if some of these people are grad students, or if they are all professors. Many of the names I do recognize as leading scholars. In addition to the open access journal archive available on the site, there’s a tab called KairosCast, which offers episodes that can include chat rooms, audio chats, videos, etc. There are lots of way to participate. For example, you can record a conversation and submit it as a “chat.” This is a different kind of site than the one I posted last week about Sweetland’s Digital Collaborative. Both websites focus on similar themes and work of digital rhetoric and pedagogies. Kairos is a journal while Sweetland’s site is a resource full of different kind of publications that include “blog carnivals.” Even though the modes are different, they are  both free to those who are interested in the field, which is, I think, one of the most valuable parts of the digital humanities, which was very much emphasized in this week’s readings.

things the digital world offers us, open access, collaboration and sharing ideas.


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