Agree, agree, agree: “In emphasizing the importance of responding to ‘new’ audio and visual technologies, scholars have inadvertently deleted from view many of the vivid multimodal scenes that flourished in our field’s past” (Palmeri, 5). But I still want to know what IS new about the digital composition practices? Certainly something sets the blog-composing apart from non-digital, multi-modal alphabetic composing. The best explanation I’ve come across so far is that they are different in their capacity for collaboration and different temporally. . .
Why are the fields of “Composition” and “English” conflated? For example, when, at the end of his article, Kirschenbaum asks about the scholarship in Digital Humanities, “Isn’t that something you want in your English department?” But the side of the field he prizes is obviously that of production (of Tweets, blogs, and the like) rather than the process and learning that comes through consumption–through reading. I feel like the other question, unstated, is: Wouldn’t you like to exchange the dusty-print-texts-of-yore for the funding and enthusiasm on which the digital composition field rides? Wouldn’t you rather work in that department? If English departments assume the role of teaching the composition methods of, well, EVERYTHING (from sculpture to music to poster art), when will English content be taught? Are literature and poetry (and other traditionally valued genres) to be minimized or eliminated so that students can learn to “compose” in a variety of modalities? And what ideas do we expect students to create out of the ether of contentless-composing? Palmeri relies on the the metaphor of ‘re-mixing’ and demonstrates the necessity of consumption–of knowing the ins-and-outs of the works one re-mixes–but how will students gain exposure to the ideas that might be re-mixed without teaching them first, or at least simultaneously, the parts of the conversation that they will be joining and re-making?
OK, now that I got that off my chest: I really like the idea Palmeri presents of the analogous nature of ‘allied’ arts composing. I like it because it so neatly supports my own ideas about cooking as invention and composition. Though cooking is not mentioned as a study-worthy art (perhaps a simple oversight, perhaps an indication of its low position on the creation-totem-pole)…
Yeesh. I have a terrible cold.
The rest of this thinking will happen in a later entry.