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Workshop 21: Digital Exclusions

Primarily Synchronous (June 1-4)

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Workshop Leaders:

Casey Boyle, University of Texas at Austin:
Jim Brown, Rutgers University:
Jennifer Sano-Franchini, Virginia Tech: 

Algorithmic inequality and digital profiling. Disinformation. Cyberbullying and online harassment. Dark patterns. Sexist apps. Toxic online communities. Gendered AI. Multimodal orientalism. Digital divides, digital redlining, and the New Jim Code. Dissemination of racialized media and yellow peril rhetoric in the coverage of COVID-19. While technologies have been used for purposes of systematic exclusion for millennia, the exacerbation of those exclusions in contemporary digital systems has led to sustained attention to such matters in rhetoric studies and related fields, perhaps an inevitable response to the ways in which digital technologies have pervaded everyday life. This workshop centers on the rhetorics of digital exclusions, or, the rhetorical processes by which digital technologies assemble and privilege certain communities while excluding others, whether in terms of access to information, rhetorical agency and sovereignty, or other material resources. In doing so, we will consider the affordances of rhetoric as an analytic for interrogating how communities are excluded in and through digital technologies, the wide ranging impacts of digital exclusions, and the various ways communities respond to digital exclusions, including how communities have subverted technical systems to make their voices and perspectives heard.

The workshop will consist of three parts. First, we will discuss scholarly readings on digital exclusions, with the goal of cataloging conceptual theories, strategies, and methods for researching rhetorics of exclusion in digital environments. Next, we will workshop research methods of participants’ projects related to digital exclusions (to be circulated in advance). Finally, we will work collaboratively to build a living bibliography that helps participants as well as others in the field who are working in this area.

Casey BoyleCasey Boyle is Associate Professor in the Department of Rhetoric and Writing at the University of Texas in Austin and Director of the Digital Writing & Research Lab where he researches and teaches digital rhetoric, media studies, and/as rhetorical history. His work has appeared in Rhetoric Society Quarterly, Amodern, Technical Communication Quarterly, College English as well as essay collections such as Rhetoric and the Digital Humanities, Thinking with Bruno Latour in Rhetoric and Composition, and Kenneth Burke + The Posthuman. He is a co-editor (with Scot Barnett) for the essay collection Rhetoric, Through Everyday Things, (with Lynda Walsh) Topologies as Techniques for a Post-Critical Rhetoric, and (with Jenny Rice) Inventing Place. His book, Rhetoric as a Posthuman Practice, explores the role of practice and ethics in digital rhetoric and is available from The Ohio State University Press. Casey is currently working on a very weird book about animals and digital media.

James J. Brown Jr.James J. Brown, Jr. is Director of the Digital Studies Center (DiSC) and Associate Professor of English at Rutgers University-Camden. He conducts research in the areas of digital rhetoric, electronic literature, and software studies, and his work has been published in journals such as Philosophy & Rhetoric, Computers and Composition, and College Composition and Communication. His book Ethical Programs: Hospitality and the Rhetorics of Software examines the ethical and rhetorical possibilities of a number of networked software platforms, and he is currently at work on a project called Hateware that addresses how digital infrastructures enable and sometimes even encourage online abuse and harassment. Brown is also co-founder of the Rutgers-Camden Archive of Digital Ephemera (R-CADE), which invites scholars and artists from around the world to do hands-on research and creative activity with digital technologies.

Jennifer Sano-Franchini Jennifer Sano-Franchini is Associate Professor and Director of Professional and Technical Writing at Virginia Tech, where she is also core faculty in the Rhetoric and Writing PhD program. She researches and teaches the cultural politics of design, cultural rhetorics and/of technology, and Asian American rhetoric. Her publications include articles in College Composition and Communication, Rhetoric Review, Enculturation, and Technical Communication, and chapters in Rhetoric and Experience Architecture, Rhetoric and the Digital Humanities, and Cultures of Copyright. She also co-edited Building a Community, Having a Home: A History of the CCCC Asian/Asian American Caucus with Terese Guinsatao Monberg and K. Hyoejin Yoon. Lately, she’s been writing about mediated intimacies on Facebook, Asian American sonic rhetorics, and emotional labor on the academic job search. Throughout her scholarship, she is committed to studying the workings of rhetoric as it exists within/as/among intersecting systems of power and oppression.

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