Wednesday, February 15, 2017

(Fall graduate course: Sociocultural Approaches to Technology: North American Genre Theory)

E388M: Sociocultural Approaches to Technology: North American Genre Theory

Here's the description for my fall graduate course, which is part of a series of seminars I've been presenting on sociocultural approaches to technology. Previous entries in this series have been on actor-network theory and activity theory. If you're at UT, take a look.
In 1984, Carolyn Miller wrote the pivotal article "Genre as Social Action," applying Bakhtin's genre theory to rhetoric and thus theorizing genre, not as a collection of structural components, but as recurrent responses to rhetorical situations. This article became one of the origin points of North American Genre Theory (NAGT), an approach that draws from Bakhtin and other sociocultural theorists to account for how texts regularize and stabilize in regular use. With its materialist, situated approach to genre, NAGT has been mobilized for a variety of uses, including (especially) understanding digital texts in complex activities. 
In this course, we will develop a strong theoretical understanding of NAGT, starting with the texts of the Bakhtin Circle and examining how the notion of genre developed as it was taken up by North American scholars such as Miller, Bazerman, Berkenkotter, Russell, Freedman, Schryer, Schuster, and others. Special emphasis will be given to how NAGT allows us to make sense of assemblages of digital texts. Students will use NAGT as a starting point for their own seminar papers as well as gaining experience in producing digital texts. 
Assignments will include: 
  • Annotated bibliography
  • Literature review
  • Digital storytelling, centered on a case, phenomenon, or set of articles related to NAGT
  • Seminar paper

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