Category Archives: RTC

HU Alum Nathaniel Gbessagee Named President of Grand Bassa Community College

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has appointed Michigan Tech alumnus Nathaniel Gbessagee ’12 as president of Grand Bassa Community College, three miles north of Buchanan on Liberia’s Atlantic coast.

Gbessagee received his PhD in rhetoric and technical communication from Michigan Tech in 2012. His dissertation research focused on improving risk communication about malaria in Liberia.

After completing his doctorate, Gbessagee returned to Liberia, where he accepted a faculty position in the Department of Arts and Sciences at Tubman University. In 2016, Gbessagee was appointed a senior aide to the chairman of Liberia’s National Elections Commission. His responsibilities as president of Grand Bassa Community College will begin in August.


Rhetoric Theory and Culture PhD Graduates

PhD Grads 2017The Rhetoric Theory and Culture PhD program had five graduates receiving their degrees at Michigan Tech’s Spring Commencement on Saturday April 29.

Pictured here are faculty advisors and graduates, from left to right, Jennifer Slack, Nate Carpenter, Kirsti Arko, Joel Beatty, Stefka Hristova, Vicky Bergvall, Ann Brady, Ron Strickland and Yunana Ahmed.

Also participating in the ceremony but not present for this photo was Professor Emerita Beth Flynn.

Congratulations!



RTC Graduate Student Colloquium Series Presents “Visual Rhetoric in the Polis”

RTCColloquiumPosterCorrectedThe Humanities Department’s Rhetoric, Theory and Culture 2015-16 Graduate Student Colloquium Series will be holding an event, “Visual Rhetoric in the Polis” on Friday, October 2, 2015 from 4-6 PM in Walker, Room 120A. Two of our esteemed graduate students, Thomas Adolphs and Heather Deering, will be presenting papers, respectively titled “Solidarity and the Life-World: Facebook and the Image that United the LGBTQ Marriage Equality Movement” and “The Whitewashed Eye: Le Corbusier’s Refashioning of Subjectivity.” Dr. Karla Kitalong will be offering commentary and moderating discussion. These papers both deal with questions about visual rhetoric and its political implications.

This event will inaugurate a series of colloquia in which graduate students and faculty will have opportunities to share their work in a format modeled on a typical academic conference panel. The goal here is, in part, to create opportunities for graduate students to gain experience presenting their work among peers and colleagues, but it is also hoped that this will be a venue for the sharing of scholarly work and questions across the various disciplines that make up our department. I hope that everyone will be able to attend and contribute to a lively, collegial discussion.

Light snacks and Dionysian refreshments will be provided. All are welcome.

Here are the abstracts for the papers to be presented:

“Solidarity of the Life-World: Facebook and the Image That United the LGBTQ Marriage Equality Movement”

This presentation will focus on the red and pink marriage equality logo, developed by the Human Rights Campaign’s to provide a sense of unity for the LGBTQ movement through digital space. The distribution of the logo began on March 25th, 2013, through the peer-to-peer website, Facebook. The intended symbolism of this event was, as described by the HRC, to display a sense of solidarity among the LGBTQ community and its advocates as the U.S. Supreme Court came to a decision on the case United States v. Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry. The response to this logo, however, could not have been predicted. Facebook saw a 120% increase in the number of profile images changed during only a twenty-four hour period, roughly 2.6 million individuals. Seemingly overnight, the red and pink logo was a cultural phenomenon, with corporate entities as diverse as Kenneth Cole and Bud Light displaying their support for the cause by replicating the logo with their own products. How and why did this viral event happen? What impact has the event had on our cultural cognition of LGBTQ rights after we “unplug” from our digital devices? By investigating the phenomenological theory of the life-world, it is the author’s intention to address such questions.

“The Whitewashed Eye: Le Corbusier’s Refashioning of Subjectivity”

In the initial stage of his architectural career, Le Corbusier promoted whitewashing as the communicative medium that could restore order and rationalism to the larger society. Through its ability to define the very lines of architecture and to erase impurities associated with expression of ethnicity and class, whitewashing was the means through which Le Corbusier desired to reform the human eye—to condition it to see that which was worthy of its gaze.  This paper explores his work through Foucault’s theories of spatiality and subjectivity to address how whitewash could impact the larger society, leaving behind inscribed lines of class and racial segregation.  Furthermore, through establishing this new way of seeing through the fashioned form of a rational human, Le Corbusier instituted a new subjectivity, a new inhabitant of living spaces. In an environment devoid of sensual identities, this human becomes the product of a systemic machine powered by pervasive binaries.



Gareth Williams to Speak on Violence in Contemporary Mexico

williams_colloqThe Humanities Department’s Rhetoric, Theory and Culture 2014-15 Colloquium Series is pleased to welcome Gareth Williams, Professor of Spanish and Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Michigan. Professor Williams’ talk is entitled “2666, or The Novel of Force.” It will take place on Friday, April 3rd, at 5 pm, in Forestry G002 (refreshments will be available). All are welcome!

Here is the abstract for Professor Williams’ talk:

Upon the Nazi invasion of France in 1940, Simone Weil penned one of her most renowned essays dealing with the relation between force and the foundation of the city, titled “The Iliad, or the Poem of Force”.  Roberto Bolaño’s 2004 novel 2666 is a fictionalized attempt to approach the murder of hundreds of working class women in and around the city of Santa Teresa (Ciudad Juárez) in the deserts of northern Mexico from the 1990s to the present.  The novel also offers a sustained reflection on the double originality of the political, that is, the constitutive relation between reason and force.  At the heart of the novel’s aesthetic is the questioning of the relation between war as the register and experience of the everyday and the contemporary grasped as (im)possible metaphorization, which in turn raises the question of what is possible in literature, in life, in the face of death.

Professor Williams is the author of The Other Side of the Popular: Neoliberalism and Subalternity in Latin America (2002), The Mexican Exception: Sovereignty, Police, and Democracy (2011), and numerous articles examining the relation between cultural history, literature, and political philosophy. He is one of today’s key thinkers about Latin American politics and culture.

For more information, please contact Marcelino Viero-Ramos.

Photo credit: Shaul Schwarz for The New York Times


MTU Alumna Cheryl Ball Receives Grant From the Mellon Foundation

WVU photo by Brian Persinger
WVU photo of Dr. Cheryl Ball by Brian Persinger

Twenty-first century research and scholarship is changing. At one time, researchers could only submit written manuscripts to academic journals. The journals would send copies of the text to experts in the field who would determine if the manuscripts were fit for publication (peer review). Nowadays, both the content of those manuscripts and the process for evaluating them is changing.

Cheryl Ball is a 2005 PhD alumna of MTU’s RTC graduate program, and she’s now  an associate professor of digital publishing studies in the Department of English in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences at West Virginia University.

Ball has been rethinking the process for publishing multimedia-rich scholarship. Along with Andrew Morrison, professor of interdisciplinary design and director of the Centre for Design Research at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design in Norway, Ball is co-principal investigator for a project that that will build a digital tool that will allow experts in a variety of disciplines to review, critique and edit these 21st-century manuscripts.

To support these innovations the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded West Virginia University a $1 million grant, the University’s first Mellon grant. The three-year Mellon Foundation grant will support the development of Cairn, an online, free and open-source system that will help editors of scholarly multimedia journals, books and data sets engage in building and reading multimedia-rich, peer-reviewed content.

You can learn more about the Ball’s work and the grant here.


CPTSC 2012 Conference a big success!

Last year’s Council for Programs in Technical and Scientific Communication Conference was held at Michigan Tech’s campus back in August of 2012. The goal of these conferences is to bring together directors and administrators in the field of Technical Communication from across the United States and abroad. It was an international conference that brought about a lot of questions regarding diversity in interesting and innovative ways. The featured speakers talked about their experiences in the field as well as the issue of diversity in Technical Communication. Their topics of discussion ranged from honoring diversity in the field to usability testing to bringing diverse perspectives to programs. Overall, the conference posed many questions about the future of Technical Communication and the importance of diversity in the classroom. It offered a real-life experience to students who were able to attend and allowed for great networking opportunities for faculty and students alike.