Through my graduate and post graduate work, I continue to study how people use rhetoric to shape the meaning of their identities and how digital, cultural, and historical contexts constrain and afford their advocacy for themselves and their communities. The academic disciplines of Communication, English, Psychology, and Sociology have guided my research context and use of terminology by shaping how I conduct my research and what I feel ethically compelled to engage. Through my interdisciplinary and intersectional rhetorical and media scholarship, I seek to understand the multiplicity of identities we embody within contextual spaces of the internet/www with consideration of access to civic, cultural, and political boundaries and ethics of play.
Thursday, January 22, 2015
Monday, January 19, 2015
Friday, January 16, 2015
Abstract: We are living in a technological era of coded whiteness. Although techno-optimistic accounts of mediated space abound (Bolter & Gruisin, 1999; Dertouzos, 1997; McLuhan, 1967), many designs and uses of digital spaces perpetuate an epistemology based on assumed whiteness. With design and access defaults set to “white” (Blackmon, 2007; Chidester, 2008; Daniels, 2009a, 2009b; Nakamura, 2002; Nakayama & Krizek, 1995), technology continues to be designed, coded, and classified (such as through hashtags) for individuals who fit within the constraints of the code. In addition to silencing many people of color, digital systems allow space for White Nationalist organizations and individuals spread “pro-social,” civil rights sounding rhetoric. In this study I assess the design and use of White Nationalist digital rhetoric directed at women and girls to clarify how White Nationalist construct digital rhetorics by content and form. By applying a modified Critical Technocultural Discourse Analysis (CTDA) analysis (Brock, 2011), I offer means for scholars to “develop literacies of racism, anti-racism, and social justice” (Daniels, 2009, 678) necessary for understanding and cultivating a multicultural digital sphere. Further I introduce my concept of “digital paranoia” to articulate how options rhetorically organize a perception of choice and identity for people in digital contexts.
Date: Wednesday, January 28th at the University of Minnesota at 12:15 in Vincent Hall 16
Friday, December 19, 2014
Dear Mr. President,
It is 3:30am and I find myself staring at the constitution. Why would a breast feeding mother, behind on her grading, short on sleep be looking at the constitution at 3:30 in the morning? Because I cannot stop thinking about the preamble. “We the people…” It begins strong. “We the people” tells us that we as the people decide. We as the people choose. We as the people have agency. We as the people are the embodiment of what this country is.
The next part gives me pause.
We are not United within our States. We never were. Not all the people were or are included in the democratic “experiment” that was so “improbable.” Growing up in Minnesota, Dakota County nonetheless, and studying the many perspectives of the history of this land, time, and location, I realize that there are many people not included in those “United States.” The United States was built on displacement and slavery and it is our “unfinished business.” These things hold us back in uniting our country because we still haven’t addressed them in our binding contract. Our constitution.
We the people.
It is time to find out what that means.
This past semester my students read your “A More Perfect Union” speech. As you spoke eloquently about your background as representative of a blend of people you hoped to represent, I found myself reminded of the various histories and experiences that make up who I am. I am the daughter of a chemical engineer who lost his father early in his life and a mother whose was a social activist for the Jane Project in Chicago. My grandmother was a kindergarten teacher in Chicago; my other grandmother emigrated here just before WWII. I am German, but also French, as well as a whole host to many other cultural influences. I come from a visually and ethnically diverse family and communities. My cousins are Black, Chicano, Mexican, Jewish, Italian, Irish, etc. Some are practicing Jews others Catholics and still others Protestant. I grew up in Minnesota, but lived in England as well as various places around the Midwest. All these influences have helped me not only survive but thrive. I am American, but also what Gloria Anzaldúa called metiza.
I am a mother. I am a scholar. I am a feminist. I am a partner, sister, cousin, and friend. I am a daughter and a daughter in law. It is not easy to be all these parts of my identity-sometimes conflicts happen due to the constraints of attempting to unify my identity, but that is what prompts me to learn-to formulate new ideas and become more flexible in my understanding of myself. But what binds me together as well as this country together is not our unified conception, but our desire to continue to unify ourselves through connections with one another. It is the associations we make that inspire us to be more than the narrow conception and value systems that other single countries have and attempt to preserve. It is our very nature as a blended, multifaceted, and that make us a generative country.
I would imagine that if I was in your shoes a lot of things have changed since that speech. You are not on the campaign trail seeking election. Instead, if I was in your shoes I would be thinking about legacy. Such a weighty term for someone so young, but necessary considering what you have already accomplished and the responsibility of your position. I support you because you are the person who I believe can embody change. You’ve accomplished so much already, and so much this last month, that your legacy is secure. But what I call to is your desire for a more perfect union. Can this be a part of your legacy too? What meaning is necessary to unify us all into the people we hope to be? How might we be more mindful of ourselves and our community/ies so that we can embody a united sense of our people?
I do not offer you easy questions, only ones that I hope you will engage them deliberatively.
Thank you for your time, attention, and (hopefully) engagement.
Wendy K. Z. Anderson