The Rhetorical Work of Digital Archives: An Interview with K.J. Rawson

Every year, the DWRL holds a Speaker Series event, inviting scholars from across the country to present research that sits at the intersections of rhetoric, writing, and digital technology. In past years, the lab has hosted Cynthia Selfe, Victor Vitanza, DJ Spooky, Gregory Ulmer, Cynthia Haynes, Rita Raley, Jody Shipka, and Collin Brooke. In 2016, we had the pleasure of hosting Dr. K.J. Rawson, Assistant Professor of English at The College of the Holy Cross and Director of the Digital Transgender Archive.

His talk in the DWRL was entitled “The Rhetorical Work of Digital Archives.” In that talk, based on Dr. Rawson’s work with the Digital Transgender Archive, he situates the rhetorical work involved in constructing the DTA within the broader archival turn in the field. 

Before his talk, Dr. Rawson sat down with me to discuss his work with the Digital Transgender Archive. We talked about how this project has grown out of Dr. Rawson’s work in the History of Rhetoric, and about the particular rhetorical challenges that have emerged in constructing this important archive. 

We hope you enjoy this discussion with K.J. Rawson, and we also encourage you to check out his lecture, “The Rhetorical Work of Digital Archives,” which he gave shortly after we conducted the interview. Video of all Speaker Series lectures, including Dr. Rawson’s, are available on our Speaker Series page.

A full transcript of this interview is available.

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