Social Justice & Diversity in Technical Communication

Dialogic and Inclusive Public Engagement Practices: A Study of Professional Public Engagement in Transportation Planning

This article reports on a study of professional public engagement specialists and their practices within one case of transportation planning. This study moves beyond the Environmental Impact Statement to reveal practices used in making public engagement inclusive and dialogic (rather than exclusive and one-way). My findings suggest that technical communicators who hope to implement public engagement 1) can adopt specific practices in order to make their work inclusive and dialogic; 2) should consider three different roles within dialogic public engagement (participant, facilitator, and designer); and 3) may need to expand their skills sets in order to be effective.

From Participatory Design to a Listening Infrastructure: A Case of Urban Planning and Participation, with Timothy Elliott. Forthcoming January 2016.

In this article, we confront challenges faced in public planning projects when the desire to implement participatory design is complicated by the need for mass quantities of data. Using one case of participatory design in urban planning, we suggest that planners struggled to effectively employ participatory design methodology because they neglected to collect the tacit knowledge generated through their participatory processes. Coupling participatory design with a listening rhetoric, we suggest that participatory processes that include tacit knowledge and representative citizen participation might augment public planning projects that hope for both big data collection and democratic approaches to urban planning.

Inclusive Technical Communication: An antenarrative, with Natasha Jones and Rebecca Walton.

Excerpt: “As an antenarrative, this article presents threads of the history of technical communication, foregrounding movements, voices, and disciplinary efforts that enable scholars to build a more inclusive technical communication. Rather than present a new origin story, a history, or an ordered overview of the inclusive threads, we offer fragments (think of threads of a larger tapestry) that together offer a way forward that reenvisions the field. These threads include scholarly work that typically functions at the margins: scholarship in feminism, sexuality and gender studies; user advocacy; community-based research; intercultural and international studies; disability studies; and race and ethnicity studies. Historically, these threads have been taken individually, each area of scholarship struggling to make evident its benefits for the field of technical communication, and some threads enjoy more acceptance and integration into the field than others. Rather than build an argument about the marginalization of particular areas, we instead weave a tapestry that draws these threads together, identifying their shared interest in expanding the scope of the field of technical communication with an eye towards inclusivity.”

Black Feminist Theory as an Informant for Technical Communication

This chapter reviews Black Feminist Theory as a potential frame for technical communicators, focusing specifically on Patricia Hill Collins’ Black Feminist Epistemology. The author illustrates the ways Black Feminist Theory augmented her methodology and analysis in a study of public and community engagement. Drawing on this research, the author further suggests strategies other technical communicators might use to integrate four tenets of Patricia Hill Collins’ Black Feminist Epistemology into community-based research and teaching.

Mentoring Women in Tech Comm

My interest in mentoring and technical communication began years ago when Patricia Sullivan and I began discussing potentials for teaching women in STEM fields how to manage their time in ways that might bolster their credibility in their fields. Our initial work at the undergraduate level [reported in TimeTalk ] has led to additional work on mentoring women in Technical Communication. If you’re interested in joining Women in Tech Comm, you can visit our website hereFew studies of mentoring graduate students and faculty exist in Technical Communication, however, so I’m currently involved in the WomeninTC Luncheon and Planning Committee, and co-authoring several pieces that report on these efforts with Michele Simmons and Pat Sullivan.

Technical Communication in Practice and Pedagogy

Posthuman Praxis in Technical Communication, an Edited Collection with Dan Richards.

This collection calls for studies that focus on technical communication practice informed by posthuman theories, broadly conceived. Because practice can dissolve the boundaries of terminology, we are less concerned with “camps” or theoretical allegiances and turn instead to research that demonstrates the implications of these theories for practice. Posthuman rhetorics are valuable for the field of technical communication not only as new ways of thinking but better ways of doing. It is with this practitioner ethic that we seek studies, researches, and projects revealing how attention to posthuman theories and methodologies have actually improved technical communication practice and have indeed opened up more rhetorical possibilities for those researching, teaching, and practicing technical communication. In other words, this collection is a call for studies ofposthuman praxis. See the full CFP here: Posthuman Praxis CFP (1).

Dancing and Flirting: A Heuristic for a Web Rhetorics Pedagogy, with Ehren Pflugfelder

This article articulates a heuristic for framing web-based rhetoric(s) across institutional contexts, proposing a four-pronged approach to developing composition syllabi/curricula that introduce students to web rhetorics. Our four principles grow out of theories of digital writing and rhetoric (Ball, Bogost, Bolter & Grusin, Selfe, Wysocki, among others), and include: multimodal theories of discourse, networked logics, materiality, and collaborative authorship. We argue that even as instructors teach in varied spaces (and with varied tools), these four principles can help infuse writing courses with skills essential to 21st century writing.


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