Category: 12) Teaching New Mediated Student Bodies

From the front of the classroom, writing teachers often gaze upon plugged-in, turned-on, digitally mediated student bodies. Yet student participants in the Embodied Literacies research project at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville indicate that even when digital technologies are a visible part of their façade, literacy practices associated with those technologies may feel quite invisible to them. To encourage developing writers to reconsider themselves as reading and writing bodies mediated daily by different (sometimes competing) technologies, this chapter offers five easily adaptable applications for critically analyzing the creation and reception of new media texts. Building from reflective discovery prompts and working toward writing attached to major assignments, these activities extend the work of scholars who reflect on the relationship between the body and rhetoric and literacy-learning. The focus is on how both teachers and students might pay more attention to what is always physical about new media reading and writing, how students already? embody? digital conversations, and the playful nature of online discursive body constructions.

Stacey Pigg’s classroom applications:


Stacey Pigg is a PhD student in rhetoric and writing at Michigan State University where she is currently a teaching assistant for the department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures. Her concentration is on digital rhetorics and professional writing, as well as cultural rhetorics. She has received an array of awards for teaching and academic service. She is also the research assistant for the Writing in Digital Environments research center where she is working with a research team to design and carry out a rhetorical discourse analysis study of science museum blogs designed to foster public engagement and learning.

Barlow, John Perry. (1996). A declaration of the independence of cyberspace. Retrieved February 10, 2006, from

Barton, David, & Hamilton, Mary. (2000). Exploring situated literacies. In David Barton, Mary Hamilton, & Roz Ivaniã (Eds.), Situated literacies: Reading and writing in context (pp.1–6). London: Routledge.

Bolter, Jay David. (2000). Writing space: Computers, hypertext, and the remediation of print . Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Boyd, danah, & Heer, Jeffrey. (2006). Profiles as conversation: Networked identity performance on Friendster. In Proceedings of the Hawai’i International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS-39), Persistent Conversation Track. Kauai, HI: IEEE Computer Society.

Crowley, Sharon. (2002). Body studies in rhetoric and composition. In Gary Olson (Ed.), Rhetoric and compositon as intellectual work (pp. 177–186). Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.

Dibbell, Julian. (1993). A rape in cyberspace: How an evil clown, a Haitian trickster spirit, two wizards, and a cast of dozens turned a database into a society. The Village Voice, 38 (51), 36–42.

Fels, Lynn, & McGivern, Lynne. (2002). Intercultural recognitions through performative inquiry. In Gerd Bräuer (Ed.), Body and language: Intercultural learning through drama (pp. 19–36). Westport, CT: Ablex.

Fishman, Jenn; Lunsford, Andrea; McGregor, Beth; & Otuteye, Mark. (2005). Performing writing, performing literacy. College Composition and Communication, 57 (2), 224–252.

Geisler, Cheryl. (1994). Academic literacy and the nature of expertise: Reading, writing, and knowing in academic philosophy . Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

Gere, Anne Ruggles. (1994). Kitchen tables and rented rooms: The extracurriculum of composition. College Composition and Communication, 41 (1), 75–92.

Gibson, William. (1986). Johnny mnemonic. In Burning chrome (pp. 3–23). New York: Ace Books.

Haraway, Donna. (1985). Manifesto for cyborgs: Science, technology, and socialist feminism in the 1980s. Socialist Review, 80 , 65–108.

Harrington, Susanmarie; Malencyzk, Rita; Peckham, Irv; Rhodes, Keith; & Yancey, Kathleen Blake. (2001). WPA outcomes statement for first-year composition. College English, 63 (3), 321–325.

Johnson-Eilola, Johndan. (2004). The database and the essay: Understanding composition as articulation. In Anne Frances Wysocki, Johndan Johnson-Eilola, Cynthia L. Selfe, & Geoffrey Sirc (Eds.), Writing new media: Theory and applications for expanding the teaching of composition (pp. 199–235). Logan: UtahState University Press.

Kitalong, Karla; Bridgeford, Tracy; Moore, Michael; & Selfe, Richard. (2003). Variations on a theme: The technology autobiography as a versatile writing assignment. In Pamela Takayoshi & Brian Huot (Eds.), Teaching writing with computers (pp. 219–233). Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Kolko, Beth. (1998). We are not just (electronic) words: Learning the literacies of culture, body, and politics. In Irene Ward & Todd Taylor (Eds.), Literacy theory in the age of the Internet (pp. 61–78). New York: Columbia University Press.

Kress, Gunther. (2003). Literacy in the new media age . London: Routledge.

Marvin, Carolyn. (1994). The body of the text: Literacy’s corporeal constant. The Quarterly Journal of Speech, 80 (2), 129–149.

Miller, Carolyn R. (2001). Writing in a culture of simulation: Ethos online. In Patrick Coppock (Ed.), The semiotics of writing: Transdisciplinary perspectives on the technology of writing (pp. 253–279). Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols.

Miller, Carolyn R., & Shepard, Dawn. (2004). Blogging as social action: A genre analysis of the weblog. In Laura Gurak, Smiljana Anotonijevic, Laurie Johnson, Clancy Ratliff, & Jessica Reyman (Eds.), Into the blogosphere: Rhetoric, community,
and culture of weblogs
. Retrieved May 8, 2006, from

Olson, Gary A. (1996). Writing, literacy, and technology: Toward a cyborg writing. Journal of Advanced Composition, 16 (1), 1–26.

Rouzie, Albert. (2005). At play in the field of writing: A serio-ludic rhetoric . Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.

Salibrici, Mary. (2002). Role-playing as a writing to learn activity. In Duane Roen, Veronica Pantoja, Lauren Yena, Susan K. Miller, & Eric Waggoner (Eds.), Strategies for teaching first year composition (pp. 171–175). Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.

Shipka, Jody. (2005). A multimodal task-based framework for composing. College Composition and Communication, 57 (2), 277–306.

Techtonic Theater Project. (2001). The Laramie project . New York: Dramatists PlayService.

Wysocki, Anne Frances. (2004). Opening new media to writing: Openings and justifications. In Anne Frances Wysocki, Johndan Johnson-Eilola, Cynthia L. Selfe, & Geoffrey Sirc (Eds.), Writng new media: Theory and applications for expanding the teaching of composition (pp. 1–41). Logan: Utah State University Press.

Yancey, Kathleen Blake. (2004). Made not only in words: Composition in a new key. College Composition and Communication, 56 (9), 297–328.