What happens when we build a prototype? One last accumulation

I’m certainly not the early bird, so I figured that I would forego the Wordle this time around. Clearly I did succumb to the impulse to include an image though. And it does seem worth dwelling on a few of the terms and thought-directive-words that have preoccupied me in relation to our work together. Some, entirely predictable (materiality, for instance, or novelty). Some, things that I might not have predicted my own fascination with (accumulation, perhaps, or capacity, or history, or taxonomy, or inheritance, or even code, which I was more peripherally interested in at the beginning of the term than I am now).

In addition, I rarely use the word delivery, and I don’t expect to take it up or put it on my calling card, but I’ve started to think that it is, in fact, elements drawn from the canon of delivery that interest me most in a lot of situations—both in terms of poetics and in terms of objects (or technologies; I like to think of interfaces here). So, thanks, Peter. I also continue to be interested in the conversations about genre/literacy/technology that Justin and Lauren launched, especially their forward-moving question about genres as inscription technologies. Of course, once I’m on this track, I also like to think about relationships between genres and composing situations (or spaces) and different materialities or modes, and I’d like to think more about these relationships in the future.

Probably the biggest thing for me, as someone relatively new to literacy studies, was the early-semester suggestion that literacy and material intelligence are intricately linked. This grounded me as a I started to appreciate all the different ways in which we talk about materiality in relation to different technologies, which allowed me to start really thinking about how/why/when I might utilize some of the ideas from our class in the classes that I will soon be teaching here.


Two mind-size bites that I’ll keep near the front of my brain for awhile:

(1) The idea of the sweet spot mentality. That there’s a stage at which something can be designed/composed so as to really encourage continued compositional-participation from a community, and that this requires the starting piece to be composed well but not too well. (Maybe this shouldn’t have been novel to me, given the way I tell my students not to bring something “perfect” or “finished” to a writing workshop because our time is for working on things you want to change, not things you love and don’t want to change.)

(2) The problem of scale. To be fair, I’ve been obsessed with this problem for a pretty long time. With questions like: what’s the difference between a poem and a book of poems? Or: what’s the difference between the social life of a small city and the social life in a medium-sized city? So maybe it shouldn’t surprise me that, beginning with our discussions of orality, manuscript culture, the printing press, and related circulation issues, that ProfVee’s “more is different” premise would resonate for me.

And, of course, there’s what to do about the relationships between futurity and invention and expressivity? And the problem of the existence of newness vs. the impossibility-of-newness. I guess we could put it like this: I’ve got a lot of questions. I like to think of that as a good thing. Thanks to all for helping me refine a few of them.

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