Month: August 2012

Nathan Carpenter, PhD candidate

Dissertation: Contextualizing and Rearticulating Collective Power in the Digital Era

Today’s technological culture tells us that computer networks and mobile communication technologies are producing powerful new kinds of collective activity, as evidenced through the widespread use of concepts such as “smart mobs,” “crowdsourcing,” and “collective intelligence.”  My work investigates these concepts as sites of cultural and political struggle and asks the following questions: How are these concepts used to reproduce power relationships?  For whom is collective activity powerful?  How can concepts of collective power be reconfigured to enable new forms of political efficacy?

Teaching: As a doctoral student and candidate, I have had the pleasure of teaching a number of introductory and advanced courses, including Perspectives (UN1001, Michigan Tech’s first-year-student seminar), Composition (UN2001), Introduction to Speech Communication (HU2830), Technical and Professional Communication (HU3120), Popular Culture (HU3860), and Media and Communication Theory (HU3871).

Department Activities: In addition to teaching, I have served in the following capacities: as the HDMZ’s Graduate Assistant Director; as the Assistant to the Director of the Communication, Culture, and Media undergraduate degree program; as the Web Coordinator for the Making Our Mark @ MTU diversity project; and as a cohort leader for the Pavlis Institute for Global Technological Leadership.

Student Life: I live with my family in the quiet village of South Range (about 10 minutes south of Houghton).  Besides appreciating having a great place to raise our children (I have a 5-year-old son and a 1-year-old daughter), my wife I and enjoy being able to participate in the thriving local arts community.

Cheryl Ball, Associate Professor of New Media Studies

“The PhD in Rhetoric and Technical Communication at Michigan Tech taught me to be a flexible, fun scholar. The program allowed me to pursue my own areas of interest within digital writing studies and
pushed me into new areas that resonated with a larger,
interdisciplinary community.”

“The PhD in Rhetoric and Technical Communication at Michigan Techtaught me to be a flexible, fun scholar. The program allowed me topursue my own areas of interest within digital writing studies andpushed me into new areas that resonated with a larger,interdisciplinary community.”Dr. Cheryl E Ball is an Associate Professor of New Media Studies in the English Department at Illinois State University. Her areas of specialization include multimodal composition and editing practices, digital media scholarship, and digital publishing. She teaches writers to compose multimodal texts by analyzing rhetorical options and choosing the most appropriate genres, technologies, media, and modes for a particular situation. Since 2006, Ball has been editor of the online, peer-reviewed, open-access journal Kairos: Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy, which exclusively publishes digital media scholarship and is read in 180 countries. She has published articles in a range of rhetoric/composition, technical communication, and media studies journals including Computers and Composition, C&C Online, Fibreculture, Convergence, Programmatic Perspectives, and Technical Communication Quarterly. She has also published several textbooks about visual and multimodal rhetoric, including most recently visualizing composition with Kristin L. Arola (Bedford, 2010). Her most recent book, RAW: Reading and Writing New Media (with Jim Kalmbach, Hampton Press, 2010), is an edited collection about reading and writing multimodal texts and administering writing programs with multimodal design components. She is currently at work on a new multimodal, genre-studies-based textbook project, a digital-media scholarly book collection, and a National Endowment for the Humanities-sponsored content-management system for Kairos. Her online portfolio can be found at