close-up image of Charleston Telephone Switchboard, multiple colors and ports and cords

research.

 

The banner image for this site is of a Charleston Telephone Switchboard that I photographed at the West Virginia State Museum. I appreciate its historical significance—switchboards were often operated by WV women entering the workforce—and also what it symbolizes. Switchboards remind us that our new technologies have historical, cultural roots and that technologies can increase access to particular populations while excluding others. As a researcher, I value recognizing the social, cultural, and historical significance of the work that we do.

Image of me presenting at Computers and Writing 2014. I stand behind a podium, left hand raised and gesturing at the screen behind me. The image on the screen is of a building on the Frostburg campus from Computers & Writing 2013. The title of the slide reads "Retrofit" and shows an image of very tall stairs on the left and a winding ramp to the right.My research focuses on increasing accessibility within our writing pedagogies both within the composition classroom and writing center, particularly with our field’s emphasis on multimodal and new media composition. It also focuses on what we can learn about rhetoric and writing (as scholars, as students) from cultural, historical, and disciplinary representations of disability.

 

[Me presenting at C&W 2014 about retrofitted practices]


Book Project

My book project, “Rhetorics of Overcoming,” interrogates a tendency in our field to try to diagnose disabled students and default to accommodations rather than trying to craft more accessible pedagogies. Through rhetorical analysis and qualitative interviews with writing students and instructors, I explore how rhetorics of overcoming—the idea that disabled bodies must overcome their disabilities in order to be successful, to fit in, or to meet the standard—manifests in writing pedagogies. I argue that identifying and analyzing rhetorics of overcoming allows us to consider how we de/value disability, accommodations, and accessibility within our pedagogies and scholarship.

This research builds on the emerging work of writing studies scholars theorizing disability and multimodality and demonstrates the value of placing students and instructors in dialogue about how we assess accessibility and composition.