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Speakers & Town Halls

Keynote Addresses                           Friday & Saturday, Michigan Union

This year we are excited to welcome three dynamic and engaging speakers who will deliver their addresses as we gather for meals at the Michigan Union – on Friday during Lunch and Dinner, and on Saturday during Lunch.   

 Tim Wu, Columbia University                        Friday 1:15 PM, during Lunch, Michigan Union

The Master Switch — What Link between Invention, Infrastructure, and Creativity?

 The history of the 20th century information industries can be described as one of inventions and their consequences:  film, radio, the telephone, television, cable, the internet.  Each invention leads to a period of openness followed by eventual consolidation.  But what are the cultural impacts of the rise and fall of information empires?  Might more and less creative periods somehow be linked to industry structure?

 Gail Hawisher, University of Illinois             Friday 6:00 PM, during Banquet. Michigan Union

 Our Work in the Profession: The Here and Now of the Future

For our aptly titled conference, "Writing in Motion: Traversing Private and Public Spaces, " I argue that, like "writing," our field of Computers and Writing has always been in motion--never in slow motion I might add--and requires from all of us, as Eileen Schell notes in Rhetorica in Motion, "a mobility, flexibility, adaptability, [and] awareness [all] . . . "taxing and invigorating" (6). Here she's writing about her work as a feminist scholar, but I'll add that these requisite qualities are no less necessary for scholars in computers and writing. As Schell goes on to note, "our work as researchers involves movement not only across time and space, but also across disciplines, communities, and, in some cases across the borders of the nation-state" (7). In these spaces, challenges to our theory and methodology abound and all contribute mightily to the pedagogical settings in which we teach. In my talk, I present a cursory overview of various lines of research in the field while trying to capture a sense of the challenges we've faced in the past as we move inexorably into the future. I then point to the promising developments you've all described in the past few months on TechRhet and in other venues.

 Katherine Hayles, Duke University      Saturday 1:00 PM, during Lunch, Michigan Union

 Hyper and Machine Reading and Writing: Assessing the Gains and Losses

 Recent research in neurology indicates that reading on the Web activates different brain patterns than reading in print.  Nicholas Carr and Mark Bauerlein, among others, argue that the effects of Web reading are to plunge us into a state of permanent distraction, unable to concentrate on anything for very long.   Moreover, hyper reading (i.e., fast reading characteristic of Web browsing) correlates with hyper attention, a cognitive mode associated with a low threshold for boredom, a preference for a high level of stimulation, and the ability flexibly to switch between different information streams.  Contra Carr and Nichols, there is another side to this story, one that sees hyper reading and hyper attention as adaptive responses to information intensive environments.  Hyper attention also correlates with what we may call hyper writing, that is, writing in very short forms such as tweets and texting.  This presentation will discuss the gains and losses of hyper reading and writing and relate them to machine reading, a new field of research in artificial intelligence.   It will conclude with an example of machine reading from the author's own research.  



Town Hall Meetings                                    Friday – Sunday, Union & UMMA 

Three separate Town Hall Meetings allow all conference attendees to participate in an ongoing conversation about the past, present, and future of Computers & Writing.

TH 1: Through the Looking Glass and Back Again: A Computers and Writing Rhetrospective

 Friday 8:30 – 9:45 AM (Union Ballroom)

The computers and writing community has a decades-old tradition of putting writing into motion and traversing boundaries, including those between public and private spaces. Reminiscing about the old days is fun, but it’s important to connect those memories to future possibilities.  Therefore, we want to focus on the following general question: how does our history as a field or discipline inform our current and future practices in pedagogy and professional development?

SpeakersMichael Day (moderator), Susan Antlitz, Sharon Cogdill, Bradley Dilger, Patricia Freitag Ericsson, Dickie Selfe, Jeremy Tirrell, Janice Walker

TH 2: Are You a Digital Humanist?             

 Sat. 11:45 AM – 12:45 PM (Union Ballroom)

No doubt, the term "digital humanities" has gained traction across a variety of campuses and disciplines. With that term in mind, this panel will explore how, if at all, the digital humanities intersects with the field of computers and writing. The speakers will also explain how, through their own work, they identify with the term.

SpeakersJulie Klein (moderator), Alex Reid, Douglas Eyman, Virginia Kuhn, Cheryl Ball, Jentery Sayers, Katherine Hayles

TH 3: The Future(s) of Computers and Writing           

 Sun. 12:00 – 1:00 PM (UMMA Auditorium)

“The future is already here. It’s just not evenly distributed yet.” --William Gibson (NPR, 1993)  In Future Babble, Dan Gardner argues that most expert predictions about the future are hardly better than random guesses. Participants on this panel will buck that trend by focusing our attention on the emergent issues of the day, the future that is already here, across a wide range of topics of interest to the C&W audience. Those topics include but won't be limited to open access, copyright and intellectual property, digital composition, virtual spaces, the book, tenure and promotion, digital humanities, scholarly publishing, multimodal composition and pedagogies, and gaming across the curriculum. Members of the audience will be invited to participate in this crowd-sourced prophesying.

SpeakersDavid Blakesley (moderator), Scot Barnett, James Brown, Byron Hawk, Jessica Litman, Charles Lowe, Lauren Mitchell