LAWRENCE — A renowned scholar will discuss digital rhetoric and genre studies for the 2017 John F. Eberhardt Memorial Lecture.
“Memoir, Blog and Selfie: Genre as Social Action in Self-Representations," sponsored by the University of Kansas Department of English, will take place 7-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9, in the Jayhawk Room of the Kansas Union. It is free and open to the public.
Carolyn Miller is the SAS Institute Distinguished Professor (Emerita) of Rhetoric and Technical Communication at North Carolina State University. A past president of the Rhetoric Society of America and former editor of the Rhetoric Society Quarterly, and author of more than 45 articles and books that have received multiple publication awards, Miller has given invited lectures around the world. Her recent work involves the study of genre change and emerging genres in new media such as blogs, webinars, scientific publication and video games.
Her upcoming lecture at KU argues that a rhetorical approach to genre can offer insight into the sociocognitive dimensions of the literary genres of memoir and autobiography: What do we expect from such works? Why and how do they appeal to us? By what recurrent social exigences are they motivated? What rhetorical actions do they perform?
The elaboration of a specifically rhetorical approach to genre over the past 30 years adds these questions to those that have driven linguistic and literary approaches to genre; moreover, the advent of multimodal digital media has reinvigorated genre studies, not only in rhetoric, linguistics and literature but also in film and media studies. At the same time, the energetic and experimental vernacular uses of the new media invite the extension of rhetorical approaches to genre into the digital and visual realms.
Miller’s presentation will review the rhetorical approach to genre, suggest its application to traditional old-media genres of self-representation, and extend it to new media genres, blogging and selfies. In doing so, it illustrates new challenges for rhetorical genre theory: multimodality, methodology and interdisciplinarity.