New Material for Digital Rhetoric

TRACE’s fourth issue, Writing New Material for Digital Rhetoric, aims to explore new materialist approaches to the digital. For new materialist and object-oriented philosophies continue to play a prominent role in discourses on digital media. Theorists such as Bruno Latour (2005), Jane Bennett (2010), and Ian Bogost (2012)  prompt us to conceive of the material world as a “vibrant” network of objects endowed with agency, intention, and desire. Scholars in rhetoric and new media, such as Alexander Reid (2012), Jussi Parikka (2015), and David Rieder (2017)  have begun to extend new materialist philosophies into an examination of our historical and contemporary relationship to electronic media and digital culture. This emerging trend posits that digital artifacts not only enact material effects but actively resist the strict binaries between “the digital” and “the physical” that often circulate in discussions of new media.

In Still Life with Rhetoric, Laurie Gries outlines her new materialist approach to rhetoric by claiming that “a thing’s rhetorical meaning is constituted by the consequences that emerge in its various material encounters, affects, and intra-actions” (29). Gries pursues her new materialist rhetoric by tracing the digital and material circulation of the famous Obama Hope image. In a similar vein, Nicole Starosielski takes a new materialist approach by bringing to surface the overlooked structures of undersea cable networks that physically support Internet services. Lastly, Lori Emerson’s work with the Media Archaeology Lab at UC-Boulder demonstrates the importance of engaging with the material traces of our digital histories, from magic lanterns and typewriters to early modems and video game systems. The diverse methods taken up by these scholars serve as just a few examples of how new materialism offers a productive framework for grounding the study of digital rhetoric and media.

Trace encourages submissions to this issue in a variety of media and formats about a variety of media and formats, including commercial technologies, new media art and electronic literature, games and game platforms, etc. Potential submission topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Rhetorics of specific digital or material texts and artifacts

  • Transmedia/multimodal writing pedagogies

  • Material effects of planned obsolescence and e-waste

  • Emerging ubiquitous computing technologies

  • Materialities of writing, narrative, and information design

  • Media archaeological approaches to old and new media

  • Embodied computing and posthuman rhetorics

  • Augmented reality and locative media

  • Ambient rhetorics and literatures

Multimedia submissions are accepted and encouraged - Trace can support text, video, image, sound, game, and other file formats. Completed articles will be peer-reviewed and should be between 5000-8000 words in length. Please use MLA 8 formatting. If you are interested in contributing to the TRACE Innovation Initiative’s fourth issue, please submit your finalized project to trace.submittable.com by March 1, 2018.

If you would like to propose topics or discuss ideas, feel free to email questions to the issue co-editors: Caleb Milligan (camilligan@ufl.edu) and Jacob Greene (jacobwgreene@ufl.edu).

For more information about Trace, please visit trace.english.ufl.edu

For information about peer-review or if you would like to participate in the review process, please email trace@english.ufl.edu
Ends on December 1, 2017

How We Make

The third issue of Trace, How We Make, explores how we make “through, with, and alongside” (N. Katherine Hayles) a larger ecology of technology, society, and design. The growing availability of cheap and easily hackable technology has captured commercial and scholarly attention worldwide, instigating a new type of DIY citizenship built from a hybrid economy of material, conceptual, and digital production. Publications like Make Magazine, online tutorials like Instructables, and community makerspace labs like Artisan’s Asylum offer multiple platforms for ‘how to’ projects– anything from building a home to hacking software or 3D-printing a prosthetic limb. But is it enough to make for making’s sake? And how do we attend to the longer history of makers and makerspaces? This issue offers a critical forum to discuss how technology changes the way we make theoretically and practically.  

 Scholars from communication, design, and media studies, such as Matt Ratto, Victor Papanek, and David Gauntlett, theorize a material-semiotic approach that emphasizes either process or product – the ‘how,’ ‘why,’ or ‘what’ of making. While “critical making” reflects conceptually on the making process, “sustainable design” connects the designer’s role in society with the impact of the final product. Making has also been approached through “DiDIY” (digital do-it-yourself), focusing on digital technologies’ impact on creative projects. Building off this scholarship, “How We Make” asks scholars and makers to critically reflect on the making process in their communities, makerspaces, and classrooms in order to reveal new insight into the maker movement.

 Using the momentum generated by recent digital humanities scholarship, Trace invites submissions in the following categories:

1) Theory – The theoretical section asks scholars to be critical of making, investigating process, history, ecology, and trends. Potential projects may explore how theories of making engage or neglect race/class/gender/accessibility issues, how making is beneficial to society and could empower traditionally oppressed social groups, how the nonhuman participates in making, or how making challenges traditional consumer/producer models or privileges specific skills.  

2) Praxis – The practical section calls for maker submissions detailing approaches to making and the results/impacts. Potential projects may discuss issues of accessibility, learning by doing, spaces (virtual or actual) of collaboration, best practice for amateurs learning DIY electronics, funding scholarly making, the use of maker labs, or making as serious scholarship.

3) Pedagogy – The pedagogical section calls for educational submissions detailing making in the classroom. Potential projects may cover connections between ‘making’ and education or invention, low-tech making in the classroom, definitions of making for education, pedagogical implications when asking students to think of writing/composing as making, or reflections on course outcomes including syllabus and course assignments.  

Multimedia submissions are accepted and encouraged - Trace can support text, video, image, sound, game, and other file formats. Completed articles will be peer-reviewed and should be between 3000-8000 words in length. Please use MLA 8 formatting. If you are interested in contributing to the TRACE Innovation Initiative’s third issue, please submit your finalized project to trace.submittable.com by December 1, 2017.

If you would like to propose topics or discuss ideas, feel free to email questions to the issue co-editors: Emily Brooks [emily081390@ufl.edu] and Shannon Butts [shannon.butts@ufl.edu]. We are happy to discuss topics before the due date.


For more information about Trace, please visit trace.english.ufl.edu

For information about peer-review or if you would like to participate in the review process, please email trace@english.ufl.edu

Our second issue, “Ecoplay, Digital Games, and Environmental Rhetoric,” focuses on digital games and asks how play contributes to ecological thought and rhetoric. The issue builds on M. Jimmie Killingsworth and Jacqueline S. Palmer’s Ecospeak: Rhetoric and Environmental Politics in America as well as Sidney I. Dobrin and Sean Morey’s Ecosee: Image, Rhetoric, Nature. Both texts explore how rhetorical forms encourage support and sympathy for environmental movements. Ecospeak identifies rhetorical patterns in writing about environmental politics and argues that discourse is a fundamental part of the environmental problem. Meanwhile, Ecosee claims that image-based media plays a powerful role in shaping arguments about ecology, environment, and nature. Our issue, therefore, examines play as a catalyst for environmental discourse, critically considering rhetorics of digital ecologies and how games make arguments about nature.

Games often perpetuate problematic ideologies about human-nature-technology relationships by offering a platform for environmental consumption, resource management, colonization, cultivation, etc. At the same time, game designers and players can challenge entrenched ecological narratives or promote conservation efforts through digital worlds. The second issue of Trace seeks a comprehensive way of engaging the interplay between forms of ecological rhetoric in digital games and “plays” with how the multi-modality of games enables rhetorical forms to interact. Thus, contributions to this issue of Trace should explore how digital games configure our understandings of ecologies and ecological issues through their design, play, and materiality.

Submissions to this issue will be peer-reviewed and should be 4,000-6,000 words in length. We encourage submissions in a variety of media and formats about a variety of media and formats, including commercial technologies, new media art and electronic literature, games and game platforms, etc. Potential submission topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Ethics and rhetorics of play, interface, or design
  • Representations of nature, ecology, or environment
  • Wildlife or resource management
  • Ecological conservation or preservation
  • “Green” games
  • E-waste and pollution
  • Built environments, construction, and destruction
  • Agriculture, gardening, and urbanization
  • Media ecologies
  • Posthumanism

If you are interested in contributing, please submit full text articles and/or final projects to the Issue 2 Submittable page by September 1st, 2017.





Call for Comics:

The TRACE Innovation Initiative, a research endeavor maintained through the University of Florida’s Department of English, is proud to introduce Sequentials, a new hub for scholarship drawn in comics form. Following Scott McCloud’s 1993 publication Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, as well as other visual comics scholarship from authors such as Nick Sousanis and Neil Cohn, Sequentials solicits and publishes interpretations of various academic subjects or themes drawn and explained through the comics medium. As a TRACE Initiative project, Sequentials contributes to the flourishing field of comics scholarship and seeks to expand the production and circulation of knowledge.

This long-term project asks contributors to (re)imagine the meanings of both the subject they are drawing about and the form that their interpretation takes. By encouraging contributors to conceptualize their work in a distinctly visual way, this project highlights the unique creative capabilities of the comics medium and reflects TRACE’s overall focus on innovative research, writing, and knowledge production.

The Sequentials team invites scholars, artists, and critics to submit original visual scholarship on any academic, social, or artistic subject. Submissions may be of any length and may be either a large, single image or a series of “pages” to be displayed sequentially. All submissions will be blind reviewed by the Sequentials editorial team and accepted comics will be published online on a rolling basis.

We strongly encourage contributors to consider how the comics form can interpret, envision, or reflect meanings associated with the given topic. To submit, please follow the directions outlined by Submittable. Any questions or comments can be referred to Ashley Manchester at manchester@ufl.edu or Sid Dobrin at sdobrin@ufl.edu.

Call for Comics:

The late-20th Century ushered in a multi-disciplinary reaction to modernism that influenced various disciplines, artists, and thinkers. Since this time, postmodernism has been taken up in literature, film, music, philosophy, architecture, theory, and more. Despite its widespread influence, however, postmodernism remains a debated movement with many scholars and creators arguing that it lacks clarity and meaning. Characterized by an emphasis on deconstruction and critical theory, postmodernism has evolved in past decades to include innovative, if contested, ideas and structures.

For Sequentials’ first Call For Comics, we seek visual interpretations of the concept of postmodernism (please refer to a more in-depth description of Sequentials below). Submissions must be illustrated in comics form and can visualize a particular aspect of the concept or the movement as understood through a particular discipline. Additionally, submissions may visualize an explanation and/or critical inquiry of the subject. 

Possible topics may include, but are not limited to:

·      Postmodernist literature, music, art, or history (or another relevant discipline)

·      Postmodernist architecture

·      Postmodernist thinkers and/or their theories

·      Digital postmodernism

·      Postmodernist representations

·      Critiques of postmodern texts, art, or music pieces

By “comics,” we loosely mean illustrated, sequential images that may or may not incorporate words and may or may not be bounded within panels or other boundary markers. We invite submissions from individuals in all academic disciplines, regardless of their level of experience with comics or illustration “skills.” Further, submissions will be welcomed from non-academics, as well, and the editorial team at Sequentials will consider all submissions equally.

We strongly encourage contributors to consider how the comics form can interpret, envision, or reflect meanings associated with the given topic. To submit, please send high-resolution image submissions to https://trace.submittable.com/submit by February 1, 2017. Submissions may be of any length and may be either a large, single image or a series of "pages" to be displayed in a given sequence. All submissions will be peer-reviewed by the Sequentials editorial team and accepted comics will be published online at the TRACE Innovation Initiative’s journal site. If you have any questions, please contact Ashley Manchester at manchester@ufl.edu or Sid Dobrin at sdobrin@ufl.edu. 

 

Description of Sequentials:

Following Scott McCloud’s 1993 publication Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, as well as other visual comics scholarship from authors such as Nick Sousanis and Neil Cohn, Sequentials solicits and publishes interpretations of various academic subjects or themes drawn and explained through the comics medium. As a TRACE Initiative project, Sequentials contributes to the flourishing field of comics scholarship and seeks to expand the production and circulation of knowledge. 

This project asks contributors to (re)imagine the meanings of both the subject they are drawing about and the form that their interpretation takes. By encouraging contributors to conceptualize their work in a distinctly visual way, this project highlights the unique creative capabilities of the comics medium and reflects TRACE’s overall focus on innovative research, writing, and knowledge production. The Sequentials project seeks to display and circulate original visual scholarship, providing alternative modes of meaning making and centralizing issues of form. 

Visit the TRACE website here.

View TRACE’s informational video here.

Call for Comics:

In the complex and rich history of queer theories, activisms, and practices, the term “queer” has been deployed in a variety of ways. In “Sex in Public,” Lauren Berlant and Michael Warner look at queerness and queer culture as “a world-making project,” a process of continual action with subversive potential (Berlant and Warner 558). José Esteban Muñoz, too, considers queerness to be a sort of horizontal (rather than teleological) temporality that comprises a utopian futurity and potentiality. In Time Binds, Elizabeth Freeman discusses “queer” as simultaneously a way of being and a mode of action, positioning queers as “denizens of time out of joint,” and queerness as “rhythmic improvisations of the social” (Freeman 19, 172). Judith Butler, in Bodies That Matter, looks at queerness’ relations to discourse and performativity, arguing that “queering” is a “sudden gap in the surface of language” (Butler 130).

For Sequentials’ second Call For Comics, we seek visual interpretations of the complexity of queer existence, discourse, and theoretical concepts. We are particularly interested in submissions that comment on the relationship between various deployments of the term “queer” and concepts of visibility, visuality, and art-as-activism. Submissions must be illustrated in comics form and can visualize a particular interpretation of a given theorist’s concept(s), a unique contribution to the field of queer theory, or the possible connection between comics and queer theory. 

Possible topics may include, but are not limited to:

·      “Queer” as noun, adjective, and/or verb

·      Queer performativity

·      Intersectionality (queerness as co-constitutive with race, class, gender, etc.)

·      Queer futurity

·      Queer utopias

·      Theories of negativity and anti-relationality

·      Queer time and/or space

·      Queer history

·      LGBTQ+ activisms

By “comics,” we loosely mean illustrated, sequential images that may or may not incorporate words and may or may not be bounded within panels or other boundary markers. We invite submissions from individuals in all academic disciplines, regardless of their level of experience with comics or illustration “skills.” Further, submissions will be welcomed from non-academics, as well, and the editorial team at Sequentials will consider all submissions equally. Submissions may be of any length and may be either a large, single image or a series of pages to be displayed sequentially. All submissions will be blind reviewed by the Sequentials editorial team. 

We strongly encourage contributors to consider how the comics form can interpret, envision, or reflect meanings associated with the given topic. To submit, please upload a submission title, cover letter, and high-resolution image(s) to the “Sequentials 2 – ‘Queer’ as Noun, Adjective, and/or Verb” category of the Submittable platform here: https://trace.submittable.com/submit by September 1, 2017. If you have any questions, please contact Ashley Manchester at manchester@ufl.edu or Sid Dobrin at sdobrin@ufl.edu.