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Brown Bag Lecture "Technological Enchantment and Literacy in the Digital Age"

Tuesday, September 20, 2011
12:00 AM
202 S. Thayer St, Room 1022, Ann Arbor, MI

Featuring our Fellows <br>Ben Gunsberg, English

As rhetorician Richard Lanham suggests in The Economics of Attention , digital media puts words into competitive relations with other modes of signification. On the Web, words compete with sounds, images, and interactive elements, and this competition does not always work out well for words. In light of these competitive relations, Ben Gunsberg’s dissertation, The Old Promise of New Writing , argues that it is important for literacy theorists to attend to the ways value circulates between people and the media they use. For those interested in the pedagogical implications of these dynamics, it is crucial to examine how the value attributed to and instantiated in different media affect actors’ beliefs about their own potency as authors, teachers, and students. During this presentation, Gunsberg provides an overview of the ways conceptions of literacy and writing instruction are shifting in response to the rise of digital media. Analyzing interview responses and college undergraduates’ multimedia compositions, he highlights some of the ways students are responding critically to the “enchanting” aspects of our precipitous digital revolution.

Ben Gunsberg is a PhD candidate in the Joint Program in English and Education at the University of Michigan. For the 2010-2011 academic year, he was the Sylvia Duffy Engle Graduate Student Fellow at the Institute for the Humanities. Gunsgerg has been a HASTAC Scholar and a member of the English Editorial Board for the Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching (MERLOT). His article “Make it Now: QuickMuse and the Arrival of Fast-Track Composition” is forthcoming in the Journal of Electronic Publishing .