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Crafting Multimodal Rhetorics

Workshop Leaders:

Jason Palmeri, Miami University
Ben McCorkle, Ohio State University

Although rhetoric in practice has long been recognized as a profoundly multimodal art that includes alphabetic, visual, gestural, and auditory communication, scholarship about rhetoric has traditionally been confined to print-based alphabetic forms: the journal article, the critical essay, the monograph. Recognizing that rhetoric is both an analytical discipline and a productive art, this workshop engages participants in analyzing and producing multimodal works of rhetorical scholarship—placing a special (though not exclusive) emphasis on potential uses of digital video production for rhetorical critique and cultural intervention. Throughout this workshop, participants will explore questions such as: What are some of the affordances and constraints of composing rhetorical scholarship with images and sounds? How might our processes for composing and evaluating rhetorical scholarship need to be modified in order to account for online video and other digital media? How might multimodal scholarship productively blur the traditional lines separating research, teaching, and administration? What can multimodal forms of scholarship tell us about rhetoric that traditional print-based research cannot?

To begin engaging these questions, we will collectively analyze a wide range of examples of and writing about multimodal rhetorical scholarship. This will include works by Ball, Alexander & Rhodes, Wysocki, Shipka, Kyburz, Reid, Juhasz, Fulweiler & Marlow, Selfe & Lee, Wesch, Arola, and others. As a whole these scholars not only theorize multimodal rhetorics in compelling ways, they also enact their arguments through innovative experimentation with non-alphabetic modalities and emerging digital genres. With an eye towards considerations of the job market and tenure, we will pay special attention to uncovering strategies for making innovative multimodal scholarship legible and persuasive to more print-minded audiences. At the same time, we also will consider how current standards for evaluating scholarship will need to be radically transformed if we are to sustain multimodal work in the field.

In addition discussing strategies for evaluating published works of multimodal scholarship, participants will also develop and workshop their own multimodal arguments. We'll ask participants to come to the institute with a proposal for a multimodal project as well as a collection of digital assets and/or rough draft. Once there, participants will work in a collaborative, production-intensive environment with the goal of creating, revising, and refining their creative scholarly projects. We’ll have time to play, to learn new technologies, to talk out ideas in small and large groups, to give and receive meaningful feedback on multimodal work in progress, to consider opportunities for collaborative publishing, and to build a network of support for multimodal scholarship that can extend beyond the limited time of the workshop.

Questions should be directed to Jason Palmeri, palmerjr@miamioh.edu


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