Vegas, Baby: My CCCC Post-Mortem

Posted: March 18th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Research, Rhetoric, Self-Promotion, Teaching | No Comments »

Back from this year’s CCCC, located in the slightly grimy Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas, and not too much worse for wear, surprisingly. I wanted to share a couple of professional tidbits from the trip…

First of all, my Digital Pedagogy Poster Presentation, a synopsis/highlight of the BACKtalk student presentation assignment (thanks, Dickie Selfe and Doug Eyman, for organizing another strong collection this year):

Citation: McCorkle, Ben.”Looking Back at BACKtalks: One Instructor’s Reflections.” Conference on College Composition and Communication. Session Coordinators Dickie Selfe and Doug Eyman. Conference on College Composition and Communication. Las Vegas. 15 March 2013.

And secondly, a publication that dropped just in time for the conference: Stories That Speak to Us, edited by Cynthia Selfe, Scott Dewitt, and H. Lewis Ulman. Jamie Bono and I had a co-curated piece in there (and available as either a publicly accessible or downloadable Prezi, or as a PDF “walkthrough” transcript):

Citation: McCorkle, Ben and Jamie Bono. “Ludic Literacies: Mapping the Links Between the Literacies at Play in the DALN.” Stories That Speak to Us: Exhibits from the Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives. Ed. H. Lewis Ulman, Scott Lloyd DeWitt, & Cynthia L. Selfe. Logan, UT: Computers and Composition Digital Press, 2013. Web.

Upcoming Presentations (aka Rhetor Tour 2013)

Posted: January 26th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Research, Rhetoric, Self-Promotion | No Comments »

Prlecternesentation season is almost underway, and for those curious onlookers wanting to know more about the where and when of my public pronouncements (or wanting to know when the house’ll be empty so you can loot it), look no further than this post:

  • Feb. 2: Writing Matters in a Changing World (OSU). “Stirred, Not Shaken: An Assessment Remixology” (with Susan Delagrange and Catherine C. Braun)
  • Mar. 14: CCCC Digital Pedagogy Poster Session (Las Vegas). “Looking Back at BACKtalks: One Instructor’s Perspective”
  • April 19: CRDM Research Symposium,Emerging Genres, Forms, Narratives—in New Media Environments,” (NCSU). Title TBD
  • June 6-9: Computers and Writing (Frostburg MD). “A Distant Reading of English Journal  and CCC, 1912-1984″ (with Jason Palmeri)

2012: The Year in Review(s)

Posted: December 31st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Bookshelf, Research, Rhetoric, Self-Promotion | No Comments »

Now that my book Rhetorical Delivery as Technological Discourse has been out for just about a year (get it here or here), a crop of reviews have begun to emerge, and for the most part, they’ve been pretty positive. In fact, the biggest quibble in the lot, and it’s not an entirely unfair criticism, is that while I take great pains to avoid whiffs of technological determinism in my argument, a kind of rhetorical determinism creeps into my phrasing from time to time. Otherwise, the reviews are decidedly blush-inducing; it’s a great feeling of validation to see that people in the wider field get what it is you’re trying to do. And now for a highlights reel:

  • Peter Wayne Moe, in Rhetoric Society Quarterly: “Rhetorical Delivery as Technological Discourse is an invaluable addition to recent discussions concerning delivery, broadening our understanding of delivery beyond the body, beyond medium, and into the myriad ways technology and the canon remediate each other.”
  • Mariana Grohowski, in Enculturation: “McCorkle’s aim is ultimately one of agency—to equip teacher-scholars of rhetoric with the imperative to understand the processes of remediation on our writing and our thinking, to harness a greater understanding of our otherwise enculturated communication practices.”
  • John Frederick Reynolds, in Rhetoric Review: “This is a good book. Maybe the best single-authored academic book I’ve read since Sharon Crowley’s The Methodical Memory (also SIUP) in 1990.”

MIX 2012: The Aftermath…

Posted: October 6th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Research, Rhetoric, Self-Promotion, Teaching, Typography/Graphic Design, Writing | Tags: , | No Comments »

You’ll recall in my previous post that I presented a talk this past Friday on using comics to teach rhetoric at the MIX 2012 Conference, CCAD’s Celebration of Comics. My panelists, Wendy Chrisman (CCAD), Nathan Wallace (OSU Marion), and Gretchen Scharnagl (Florida Int’l U) all gave great talks as well on, respectively, representations of psychiatric and mental disorders in comics, using comics to interpret British literature, and a service learning project which involved a team of art students producing a comic book for a hospital to raise awareness about childhood cancer. If you’re curious, here’s my slideshow from the event (and, if you’re even more curious, shoot me an email at; I can send you the transcript of my remarks).

Two Recent Pubs… From Lil’ Ol’ Me

Posted: August 17th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Bookshelf, Research, Rhetoric, Self-Promotion, Teaching, Writing | No Comments »

I would like to bring my dear readers’ attentions to a couple of recent publications penned by mine own hands (or, if you prefer, “typed,” although in one case, a good bit of video editing was involved… you know what? why are you insisting on me being so literal? “Penned” is a perfectly good bit of figurative flourish). One is a smaller piece in the current edition of Kairos. “Keeping It Real: The Spaces and Places of the Digital Citizen” is a short film (with some write-up) chronicling my digital media composing course’s participation in a student philanthropy program from two years ago. The other piece, “Whose Body? Looking Critically at New Interface Designs,” is a chapter in an edited collection entitled composing (media) = composing (embodiment), and it argues that we need to develop a critical stance for analyzing the next-gen crop of user interfaces in order to avoid repeating the same old practices of marginalizing and ignoring certain types of bodies (I just re-read it, and I think I actually make sense in this one, if I do say so myself). Here’s me enjoying the collection, hot off the presses:

The author, pleased to be included in this collection...

McCorkle, Ben. “Whose Body? Looking Critically at New Interface Designs.” composing (media) = composing (embodiment). Eds. Kristin Arola and Anne Wysocki. Logan, Utah: Utah State University Press, 2012. 174-187. Print.

McCorkle, Ben. “Keeping it Real: The Spaces & Places of the Digital Citizen.”  Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy (PraxisWiki section) 17.1 (Fall 2012): n. pag. Web.

How I Got Here: An Autobiographical Audit

Posted: July 25th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Research, Self-Promotion, video, Writing | No Comments »

The blogger as a young man...The other day, I found myself in a reflective, Benjaminian mood brought about by cleaning out my office and finding notes from an old grad school presentation that dealt with the historical contours of textual design and medium–specifically, positioning the Cixous/Calle-Gruber book Rootprints on a continuum flanked on one side by medieval manuscript culture, on the other by the emerging hypertext culture of the late 20th century. It reminded me that I had been pursuing my current interest in the connections among rhetoric, technology, and textual production for a long time; as a graduate student, this topic began taking shape before the turn of the century.

But really, my professional identity was quietly taking shape in the background for much, much longer… As I began pondering how this incubation process unfolded, I realized it reached well into my early childhood, and thus began this audit of the hobbies, interests, and external factors that led me to where I am today:

  • Getting an Atari 2600 when I was 6 years old led to a lifelong interest in gaming and computers.
  • The Commodore 64 fueled this initial fire ignited by the Atari. Even in those early days (3rd grade on), I was interested in coding in BASIC, but the machine would become a big part of my later interests in digital media production. And more gaming. And file swapping.
  • My brother and I had our own newspaper for part of a summer, which we produced in geoPublish on the C64 (we got our “scoops” by watching the evening news and interviewing our grandparents).
  • Cassette tape recorder: For a number of years, I had a wonky cassette recorder that I used to record various radio dramas (I used my action figure and stuffed animal collection for inspiration on plot points, local radio station for soundtracks, and assembled a slew of items like margarine containers and aluminum cans for sound effects).
  • QUEST: in elementary school, I was in one of those nerd programs, where we got to do special projects and what-not… I remember hand-making a series of children’s books, featuring a young rhinocerous (Li’l Rhino) and an elderly space alien (Zolly) getting into various adventures. Written, illustrated, and bound by moi. I also did a couple of “issue” brochures featuring the pair, on topics like responsible energy consumption and environmental tips. I need to dig up those gems from my childhood closet, for sure.
  • Radio-controlled car racing: this was a big hobby for about 5 years or so, and it involved a lot of technological knowledge and skills, surprisingly. How electric motors work, as well as radio frequencies, servos, batteries, etc. We used soldering irons a lot during this spell, in addition to hoes, shovels, and axes (we specialized in 1/10-scale off-road cars, so we spent a lot of time in the woods building elaborate tracks with berms, jumps, ruts, and ditches.
  • VHS Camcorder: My parents got one when I was about 10, and my brother and I used it for all sorts of movie projects. Because we didn’t have a fancy AVID video-editing bay (or iMovie, or Final Cut, etc.), we had to edit linearly, re-recording new takes on top of the bad ones. These were mostly stupid little shorts about wars, zombies, music, and skateboarding, but we experimented with incorporating some production values into them, including audio overdubs, video effects, and even title sequences that we designed on the C64 and recorded indirectly off of the monitor (I may try digitizing some of these in the near future, for kicks).
  • Skateboarding: this sport/lifestyle was in itself creative enough, but it actually led to a whole subculture that was extremely invested in graphic design, amateur filmmaking, photography, ‘zine production, music, etc. Skate culture had its own ethos and aesthetic characterized by a sense of independence, of DIY… The scene often challenged the staus quo of mainstream athletic/popular culture, oftentimes using parody in its visual designs.
  • Music: as with skateboarding, the hardcore/punk/DIY scenes that I was into contributed to my interest in guerilla-style graphic design… when I started my own band, one of the most satisfying aspects aside from composing and performing, was coming up with our own marketing materials–gig flyers, tape/album designs, web content (back in the early/mid 90s, mind you).  To this day, I’m a font junkie–not a professional designer by any stretch, but definitely an enthusiast with a fondness for sharp layouts.
  • My uncle’s printing presses: my first semi-legitimate summer job was with my uncle’s printing business, where I saw first-hand how the so-called sausage was made. He had a bunch of mid-century Heidelberg presses, which I’d oversee, re-stock, and bundle jobs. For me, this reinforced quite intimately the fact that printed texts are designed, manufactured products.
  • Newspaper biz: for about three years, I worked on the editorial (arts/entertainment reporter) and production (paste-up/layout artist) sides of the process, so I was intimately tied up in both the form and content sides of print culture. Also, I was lucky to be working at a time of technological transition, when the industry moved from tools like hot wax, x-acto blades, and acrylic rollers to Macs, Quark, and Photoshop.

Oh, and obviously my lifelong interest in reading/writing has greatly informed my professional trajectory, but I won’t belabor that point…

PKP Forum Highlight

Posted: July 8th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Bookshelf, Research, Rhetoric, Self-Promotion | No Comments »

Kindly readers most curious about the goings-on in my professional life, take note: the Summer 2012 issue of Phi Kappa Phi Forum has seen fit to blurb my book.  See for yourself (click on image to enlarge):

PKPforum clip

Updated CV (and website soon to come…)

Posted: June 12th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Research, Self-Promotion | No Comments »

Curriculum Vitae

O Brave NUI World! Computers & Writing 2012 Follow-up

Posted: May 22nd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Research, Rhetoric, Writing | Tags: , , | No Comments »

A couple of folks mentioned wanting access to my presentation at last week’s Computers & Writing Conference at NCSU–which was loads of fun, incidentally–so here goes (warning: may not make sense decontextualized like this):

New Article Announcement…

Posted: April 17th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Research, Rhetoric, Self-Promotion | No Comments »

My latest bit of shameless self-promotion: the new issue of Harlot includes a web article penned by yours truly, along with co-author Matt Howard. It’s a series of quick rhetorical observations about GoonSwarm, a loose collective of players in the game EVE Online. Give it a gander, won’t ye?

McCorkle, Ben and Matt Howard. “A Rhetoric of Bees: A Case Study of Emergent Community Building Practices within an MMO Rule Set.” Harlot: A Revealing Look at the Arts of Persuasion. 7 (2012). Web. 15 April 2012.





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