The Department of English Language and Literature is pleased to invite you to “Mediated Bodies,” the first event in our Faculty Research Series. Come hear English authors Beth Coleman and Jay Dolmage speak about their recent books, and stay for discussion and refreshments.
About our authors:
Beth Coleman is the author of Hello Avatar: Rise of the Networked Generation (MIT Press). Hello Avatar examines a crucial aspect of our cultural shift from analog to digital: the continuum between online and off-, what she calls the “x-reality” that crosses between the virtual and the real. Coleman looks at the emergence of a world that is neither virtual nor real but encompasses a multiplicity of network combinations. And she argues that it is the role of the avatar to help us express our new agency--our new power to customize our networked life. By avatar, Coleman means not just the animated figures that populate our screens but the gestalt of images, text, and multimedia that make up our online identities--in virtual worlds like Second Life and in the form of email, video chat, and other digital artifacts. [...]The star of this drama of expanded horizons is the networked subject--all of us who represent aspects of ourselves and our work across the mediascape.
Jay Dolmage is the author of Disability Rhetoric (Syracuse University Press), winner of a 2015 PROSE Award. Disability Rhetoric is the first book to view rhetorical theory and history through the lens of disability studies. Traditionally, the body has been seen as, at best, a rhetorical distraction; at worst, those whose bodies do not conform to a narrow range of norms are disqualified from speaking. Yet, Dolmage argues that communication has always been obsessed with the meaning of the body and that bodily difference is always highly rhetorical. Following from this rewriting of rhetorical history, he outlines the development of a new theory, affirming the ideas that all communication is embodied, that the body plays a central role in all expression, and that greater attention to a range of bodies is therefore essential to a better understanding of rhetorical histories, theories, and possibilities.
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