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Scholar Introduction: J.J. Sylvia IV

Hi everyone, I'm J.J. Sylvia IV, a new HASTAC scholar for the 2014-2015 year. I'm currently a Ph.D. student in the Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media program at North Carolina State University and a member of Duke University's Ph.D. Lab in Digital Knowledge. I have an M.A. in Philosophy from The University of Southern Mississippi and B.A.'s in Communication and Philosophy from Mississippi State University.

My experience spans the fields of business, education, and nonprofits, which has given me the opportunity to develop a unique perspective on the way people use and engage with technology. Before graduate school, I built and managed an e-commerce site for a local furniture store and developed a social media outreach initiative for a nonprofit. Most recently I managed AmeriCorps interns who worked to integrate technology into the classroom, and built a community around an educational outreach blog, PhilosophyMatters.org.

From a research prospective, I'm working in the following areas:

Critical Theory - In my work in critical theory, I emphasize an affirmative approach, following the lead of thinkers such as Spinoza and Deleuze. Through this framework I am exploring issues such as big data, emerging technologies, privacy, surveillance, etc. 

Philosophy of Communication - In this area I am working to provide a philosophical grounding for my more applied critical approach. This would include ontological questions about the nature of information, communication, etc. Other areas of exploration include post-humanism and post-structuralism. 

Digital Pedagogy - This is a research interest based on praxis, with specific motivation for incorporating social media and emerging technologies through a pedagogy of play. This year, for example, I have gamified a course on Science, Technology, and Society with an emphasis on critical making tools such as microcontrollers and 3D printing and also incorporated Google Glasses into a Public Speaking course. 

The theme underlying all of these areas is the way that datafication shifts how we think about, understand, and interact with the world around us. 

I'm looking forward to seeing tthe awesome projects that everyone else is working on this year!

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