Tag: academia

PhD Complete - Stage Next

Graduation Cap

Three months ago, on April 24th, I defended my dissertation and earned my doctorate. I was, at long last, Doctor Geoffrey Gimse. There was an almost jarring sense of the surreal when I realized that I had come to the culmination of of an 11 year sojourn. A sojourn that began when I decided to return to school at the University of Iowa and major, of all things, in English. At that moment, I told myself that if I was going to to do this, I was going all the way to the PhD.

It certainly hadn’t been an easy run, but there I was. I was done and that nagging question kept sitting there in the back of my head. It was a question that I had studiously avoided thinking about during the final push of dissertation writing, but it was always there waiting for me.

What next?

Here is the reality: I like teaching and research. I am fascinated by rhetoric and technology. I love writing with a passion I can’t ever fully express, and I find particular delight in creating new avenues of thinking in the world of technology and communications. I could have …

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Critique and Action: Post-Critical Reflections

I have been thinking a lot about Latour’s 2004 article, “Why Has Critique Run out of Steam? From Matters of Fact to Matters of Concern” in Critical Inquiry. In rhetoric and tech comm it is an old article, not yet a venerated ancient text but old enough to be talked about as a historical trend (which raises a whole slew of other questions that can be addressed later). In it Latour talks about the limits and potential danger of critique in, what was then, the coming “post-truth” age.

He wonders if critique and constructivism have helped to usher in that age. Certainly, modern academia has dealt with that accusation for quite some time. By showing how facts and truth are constructed, socially or otherwise, it is suggested that we undermine a universal faith in that truth. We do. We should. Indeed, we are at our best when we are peeling back the veneer of truth and fact to reveal the deeper relationships involved. Yet, it is difficult to believe that critique, alone as it stands, is enough. For Latour, and I tend to agree, critique has its own adherents who take great pleasure in tearing down the social and …

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Digital Mythology: The Internet That Never Was.

Can we stop pretending that there ever was a golden age of the Internet? Even better, can we stop pretending that “something went wrong” with the Internet? Maybe, just maybe, it was always a little messed up.

I was one of those people who really believed that the explosive growth of the Internet and computer technology in the late 80s and early 90s was going to usher in a new form of public engagement and discourse. I saw technology as a way to connect us to one another. I envisioned it as part of an effort to breakdown the cultural barriers that had developed and, in many cases, ossified into our society.

I was wrong.

I was young, stupid, and far too full of my own perspective to look beyond my own nose and glasses 1. It was easy to see a utopia when I went online. After all, the people I was talking to were a lot like me. They all had a level of know-how and access provided to them by the very same barriers they imagined they were breaking down. My “utopia” was nothing more than a form of narcissism 2. Whenever I hear people pine for …

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Scenes from MLA 2018: New York

This is my last night in New York. It is the last night of MLA 2018, and I must confess that I have been pleasantly surprised by the experience. I didn’t know what to expect coming in. The MLA conference is impressive. There are hundreds of panels filled with incredibly competitive and successful scholars many of whom have decades of research and publication experience behind them. The sheer immensity of the content can be intimidating.

It can also be inspiring. It is exciting to be a part, however small, of such an undertaking. I know that, for me, the experience is one that I will certainly value as I continue to pursue my research interests and goals. After all, that is why I came.

Indeed, I came to MLA 2018 for two reasons.

First, I was lucky enough to be accepted to present with an incredible panel of scholars on “Open Pedagogy: Practices in Digital Citizenship and the Ethics of Care.” In the panel, I talked about on software practices in the classroom with a focus on open source technology and the opportunities and challenges that using such software presents. The panel discussion that resulted was delightfully productive and …

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Headed to HASTAC 2017

At this time tomorrow, if all goes according to plan, I will be safely ensconced in a hotel in Orlando. I am attending and presenting at HASTAC 2017.

This is a different type of presentation for me. It is a soapbox talk which means I am restricted to 5-8 minutes of speaking time. Honestly, that works well for this talk; although, I need to rehearse more before Saturday. My talk is on the gaps in the digital humanities and the role that Digital Humanities labs can play in addressing those gaps. In a very real sense, it is me on a soapbox. I don’t really feel I am sharing anything ground-breaking. This isn’t cutting edge research. This is me saying, “We need to look beyond ourselves and our research and evaluate how we are actively reaching out to others.” In this instance, I am talking specifically about other scholars, but I believe that we need to do the same in terms of the broader public as well.

So mostly, my talk on accessibility and outreach within digital humanities labs, and the roles labs can play as spaces for human-to-human interaction on digital humanities topics. We do a great …

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