Hypermedia and Digital Rhetorics
ENC 3414 - University of Florida - Spring 2019

“The ancient civic space that led to the emergence of rhetoric has been replaced by contemporary network space”
— Byron Hawke, “Toward a Rhetoric of Network (Media) Culture”

This course will familiarize students with the emerging academic field of digital rhetoric. Digital technologies profoundly affect the ways in which we produce and circulate writing, and digital networks create new possibilities and obstacles for writing that require new theories, methods, and rhetorical practices. This course examines the history of writing as a technology, looking to contemporary scholarship on digital rhetoric and multimodal composition in order to theorize and invent new methods for networked writing. Readings will challenge students to consider how digital media reshapes the ways we research, compose, and distribute knowledge. Course readings tap a variety of media, including linear text, video essays, podcasts, and videogames, all of which are available for free online.

Students will study and use emerging writing technologies as they address the new ethical challenges facing contemporary writers in digital media environments. Students will learn digital research methods and create critical multimedia projects as they consider how new media affect the rhetorical frameworks through which we communicate and think. Assignments follow a project-based learning model and include print media writings, a digital image-tracking project, and a location-based augmented reality installation. Students will learn rhetorical practices that bolster their ability to better describe the effects of digital media as they familiarize themselves with emerging tools for digital writing.

Writing through EcoMedia
ENG 1131 - University of Florida - Spring 2018

In this course, students will study, and in turn write through, non-print media as it relates to ecological discourse and action. Students will read and research across a wide variety of environmental media, such as ecocriticism, augmented reality activism, environmental visualization, climate change denialism, and greenwashing campaigns. The course will culminate in a web portfolio, an on-site augmented reality installation at Payne’s Prairie Preserve State Park, and a visualization project that uses digital media in order to “see” an environment in a new way. Through the creation of these digital projects, students will become stronger analytical thinkers, critical writers, and interdisciplinary makers as they write across a variety of genres and disciplines.

Transcendental, Radical, Wild: American Environmental Literature
AML 2070 - University of Florida - Fall 2018

“From the beginning American writing has concerned itself with the story of people and the natural world. . . ‘Environmental writing’ takes as its subject the collision between people and the rest of the world, and asks searching questions: Is it necessary? What are its effects? Might there be a better way?”
— Bill McKibben

Throughout this course we will examine the roles the environment plays within American literature and vice versa. This course is by no means an extensive overview of all things environmental in American literature, but rather an exploration into some of the ways American writers have written in, through, for, and against their physical, “natural” environments, spanning from early Native American oratories, to transcendental literature, to twenty-first-century climate change fiction, with some pit stops in poetry, film, video games, and beat lit. If we are to take seriously Kenneth Burke’s claim that literature is “equipment for living,” this course asks what might be gained from a sustained look at the strange relationship American writers have with their ecological surroundings. Over the course of this semester, students will examine a wide range of environmental ideologies as we read, discuss, and respond to works that are playful, tragic, hopeful, evil, and strange.

Paranoid Rhetoric
ENC 1145 - University of Florida - Fall 2017

Alternatively titled “Writing about Writing about Paranoia,” this course will focus on the roles that paranoia, propaganda, and pseudoscience play in contemporary discourses, particularly those mediated by digital media. Paranoia has long been an inseparable facet of American identity, especially as it relates to the news and other forms of media, and this course will examine some of those histories in order to develop strategies for conducting research in an age of paranoid media. We will explore historical examples of paranoia, from witch hunts and cults to secret societies and government cover-ups, as well as literary examples such as Don DeLillo’s White Noise, Zadie Smith’s “Meet the President,” and Shirley Jackson’s “Paranoia.” We will also examine contemporary conspiracy theories such as holocaut denialism, modern flat Earth societies, the phenomenon of “fake news,” and climate change denialism. Students will administer skeptical inquiry, rhetorical analysis, and the scientific method in developing a praxis of suspicion that will aid in delineating fact from falsehood. Drawing from classical rhetoric, critical theory, and contemporary scientific inquiry, we will create our own paranoid writings in the form of skeptical critiques, as well as diagnosing the unfounded skepticism (propaganda, pseudoscience, etc.) of others, in the hopes of finding a balance between “good” and “bad” paranoia. Students will become interdisciplinary makers and writers as they compose skeptical inquiries and prolonged argumentative pieces that deal with contemporary paranoid topics in a wide variety of digital modalities.

© 2021 Jason Crider