ENG 467, Technology and English Studies, is a graduate course offered at Illinois State University. The focus for the Fall 2009 semester is Race, Rhetoric & Technology.
Drawing on rhetorical, cultural, and critical race theories, this course interrogates the complex relationships between cultures, rhetorics, and technologies in an effort to migrate away from studies of a monolithic technological culture and toward studies of specific, multiple and varied cultures of technological expertise. Specifically, we will study the everyday technological theories and practices of specific, culturally-situated communities and the intersectionality of those practices with race, ethnicity, nationality, class, gender, generation, sexuality, (dis)ability, and religion. Further, in response to Western obsessions with new media, we will examine rhetorics that employ broader, more flexible, and more historically-situated definitions of technology and considerations of technological theories and practices that allow us to develop a deeper understanding of the relationships between older and newer technologies. Ultimately, this course serves a response to calls from cultural rhetoric scholars like Villanueva, Royster, Gilyard, Powell, Lyons, Ming Mao, Monberg, and Young to decolonize the Western rhetorical canon and epistemology, from computers & writing scholars Selfe & Selfe (1994) for writing faculty who teach with technology to be more cognizant of the colonial constructs that we may inadvertently reinscribe in our classrooms, and from technical communication scholars Scott and Longo (2006) for our discipline to make a cultural turn and to re-theorize our theories and practices as assemblages of “contested, localized, conjunctural knowledges” that must be put into dialogue. Further, our inquiry in this class will contribute to intellectual trends over the last decade that recognize technology not as transparent things but as cultural artifacts imbued with histories and values—histories and values that shape the ways in which people see themselves and others in relation to technology.