Archives Re-Imagined

archives (re)imagined

As the lab has grown older and alongside the constant flux of new staff members, archiving has taken a more central role in both our day-to-day and long-term thinking and practice. Archival theories and practices have long been central to scholarship on rhetorical history. With the emergence of technologies in digital archiving, however, and as … Read more

Invisible Knowledge

Screenshot shows that "trump meme" is the top result.

Since you’re reading this online publication, I imagine that you, like me, leave hundreds of digital traces every day. A lot of these traces are things we can see–things like emails, texts, blog posts, twitter posts, photographs, Youtube comments, or Facebook likes. But today I’m particularly interested in the invisible, unintentional digital traces we leave–things … Read more

A visit to uncanny valley

This image shows a humanoid robot called Repliee Q2.

In a post last semester, we used a digital archive to create new objects by designing a little tweeting machine. This technique – using an archive to create an “intelligent” machine – is not only useful for such coding exercises or publicity stunts like the Next Rembrandt. These computational methods are also at the heart of one of Silicon Valley’s trendiest technologies: the interactive “chat bot”.

Everyone does bots – short for “robots” – now: at its most recent developer conference, Facebook announced Messenger Bots for interaction through the Facebook Messenger service; Microsoft is integrating chat bots into Skype; the messenger service Kik is starting a “Build your bot” campaign and its competitor Telegram is offering $ 1 million in grants to bot developers.  “Right now”, the Wall Street Journal writes, “Silicon Valley’s hopes seem to be pinned on the prospect of a bot revolution”.

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Accessible Data for Austin

Star Trek's Data standing in front of the Austin skyline.

The various features of built environments can allow us to access the spaces in which we conduct our everyday lives. But for some individuals, the very same features that are meant to provide access to spaces render these spaces out of reach. Barriers in public environments often prevent mobility-impaired people from being able to move and participate freely within a space. In the space of a college campus, for example, many individuals face the challenges of navigating barriers like a randomly placed step, narrow doorways, and uneven sidewalks.

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Archiving in the Age of Writing Productivity

The Digital Archiving team is currently working on the creation of an app that aims to explore what rethinking the “archive” would mean for pedagogy and writing. One implication of rethinking “archiving” and “writing” might be that writing in digital media is always already a process of archiving. How might our daily academic writing change? What technologies aimed at “everyday writing” already exist?


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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.

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Object of the Archive, Part III: What is an Archive?

a gif of Heidegger dancing
Heideggers gonna Heidegger

In my last couple of posts, I interrogated what might be meant by common words like “object” and “thing” in a digital context. Utilizing distinctions made by Martin Heidegger, I suggested that we experience the world around us in terms of objects when we look only for what is present, what is scientifically verifiable, what is calculable, in a manner the philosopher calls Vorhandenheit, or present-at-hand. Alternatively, Heidegger offers us the notion of a thing, which gathers its surrounding context together in its use, which becomes real for us when we put the thing to some end, underscoring what is not (yet) there; Heidegger calls our relationship to such things Zuhandenheit, or ready-to-hand.

Read moreObject of the Archive, Part III: What is an Archive?

The Rhetorical Work of Digital Archives

In this Speaker Series presentation K.J. Rawson discusses the rhetorical underpinnings of the Digital Transgender Archive. The DTA was launched just over a week before this presentation, and we’re pleased to present this talk in full.

Dr. Rawson, Assistant Professor at the College of the Holy Cross, is the founder and creator of the DTA, for which he received a grant from the American Council of Learned Societies. This presentation was delivered on February 19th, 2016 at the University of Texas at Austin.

Captions for this video are forthcoming.