“The book is theoretically advanced, sophisticated, and timely. It works through terms important to the rhetorical tradition, updates them for the digital age, and continues the work of thinking through what digital literacy will mean for us. Boyle has his finger on the pulse of what some of our key problems in rhetoric are, where the fault lines of debate are, and where innovative developments are happening in digital culture.” —Thomas Rickert
“Rhetoric as a Posthuman Practice provides an original and sophisticated take on contemporary issues in rhetorical theory. This book offers an alternative perspective on debates that have ground to a halt otherwise; similarly, it offers an interesting path forward with implications for rhetoric, technology, the teaching of writing, and the discipline itself.” —Collin Brooke
In response to the pervasiveness of emerging communication technologies, Rhetoric as a Posthuman Practice argues that information be understood as an embodied, material practice. The guiding proposition for this book is that digital rhetoric now concerns how bodies, broadly construed, become informed through practice that includes not only traditional communication activities between bodies but also how information technologies organize and exercise those varying bodies.
Through case studies of the media art of glitch, urban explorers’ use of social media, and DIY digital networks, this book then reconsiders how practice/exercise functions when the once essential bodies of the individual and a society—the two primary categories authorized by a humanist paradigm—become less reliable categories from which we might orient rhetorical action. In sum, the book argues that rhetorical practice is irreducible to the traditions and categories of humanism and must now exercise its posthuman capacities.
Casey Boyle is Assistant Professor in the Department of Rhetoric and Writing at the University of Texas, Austin, and coeditor of Rhetoric, Through Everyday Things.
List of Illustrations
Part I A Preface to Practice
Introduction Questions Concerning the Practice of Rhetoric
Part II Theorizing Rhetorical Practice
Chapter 1 Rhetorical Ecologies of Posthuman Practice
Practice Makes Plateaus | Practice Makes Perfect | Practice Makes Practice | Practice Makes Perception | Practice Makes Persuasion
Chapter 2 Posthuman Practice and/as Information
Information as Social Practice | How Rhetoric Lost Its Body | Incorporating Simondon’s Information | The Body of Rhetoric, Transduced | A Body Politic
Part III Practicing Rhetorical Theory
Chapter 3 Informing Metastable Orientations
“Dear %?Firstname?%” | Dissoi Logoi and/as Disparation | From a Bi-Stable Oscillation | Through Multistable Oscillations | Toward Metastable Orientations | Working with Glitch | Rhetoric as Resistance Training
Chapter 4 Orienting to Topological Engagement
Incredibly High & Extremely Close | Problem Places | What Time Is This Topos? | The Shape of Rhetoric | Posthumans of New York | Transversal Practice
Chapter 5 Engaging Nomadic Activity
Homelessness Networks | Infrastructural Crisis? | Finding Residence in Homelessness | “I Received Your Letter” | Stretching Rhetoric Further | Transindividual Practice Coda Activating Sense and Sense-abilities
Post-Digital Rhetoric and the New Aesthetic