Blog Post

Multimodal Me

Here's what I like:

Contemporary Poetry. Artists' books. Johanna Drucker.  Anne Carson's Nox. Digital Poetry/Electronic Literature. Katherine Hayles. Multimodal Pedagogy. Cynthia Selfe. Kairos. Vectors.  The JUMP.  tumblr. Hyperlinks.

Simply put, I'm interested in multimodality. This plays out in many ways, many of which fall under the DH umbrella. I have an interdisciplinary background in literature and design, so I'm fascinated by the intersections between texutal and visual poetics. This interest initially led me to research in artists' books, but after realizing some accessiblity issues (artists' books are usually produced in limited editions and held in special collections), I turned my research focus toward digital poetry and electronic literature. I'm fascinated by the interdisplinary, differential nature of these works: they defy categorization, essentialism, and, consequently, they often defy traditional theoretical approaches. I often feel like I'm still getting my bearings in this area, but I'm also realizing that the field may be too dynamic for me to ever really do so, and I'm figuring out how to work within such a disparate, mutable, and inventive space.

I think this fast-paced dynamic nature of digital media studies is exciting, and I'm encouraged by the way interdispliary, multimodal projects and scholarship can reinvent the way we teach, read, write, and think. 

In this vein, my current research project is a tumblr,, that I have been curating for the last several months as a way of questioning how a poem's meaning is affected by its context. (Submissions welcome!) The more time I spend with this assemblage of remediations of William's poem, the more qustions arise. These inquiries have grown exponentially from my initial qustions about poetry and context, and now prompt me to look at materiality, remeditation, the democratizing possibilities of social media, the pedagogical potential for projects like these, the role of bricolage, comparative media studies, algorthimic criticism, virtuality and actuality, etc. I will definitly be expanding on these questions and this project at a later date.

I also teach first-year writing at North Carolina State University, and I try to incorporate as much multimodal/digital pedagogy as possible. Right now, my students are designing a science museum exhibit (Yes, I took first-year students downtown to visit the science museum. And there was a lovely moment where I was running to chase down a public bus with a line of students trailing behind me. This is never what I expected to be doing in a writing class!) I designed this project because it will (hopefully) allow us to critically engage with scientific texts (NCSU is a STEM school), and learn how to effectively translate complex topics to a broader audience. But we also get to talk about visual and spatial rhetoric, objects/artifacts as text, and design principles alongside traditionally-written text. This is my first time teaching this assignment, but I'll be posting about its successes/failures after its conclusion. I'm also pedagogically interested in digital literacies, which I encounter with my final project: a digital autoethnography. If you're interested, you can read more about that here. I'm also always eager to share assignment sheets, ideas, and materials with anyone else who is interested or involved with digital/multimolda pedagogy. 

So, that's the HASTAC me, in brief. I'm looking forward to engaging and extending these interesests within this vibrant community. It's going to be fun! 


1 comment

Hi Bethany--I just wanted to leave a quick comment to say that I'm also interested in multimodality, especially multimodal assignments in the writing classroom.  I can't wait to hear about the writing that comes out of the science museum project!