composing(media) = composing(embodiment)

bodies, technologies, writing, the teaching of writing

edited by Kristin L. Arola and Anne Frances Wysocki

"The power of this book cannot be contained in the words I've written here; it's a book that will make you feel; it's a book that will make you move; it's a book whose meaning must ultimately be reimagined every time another body holds it, touches it, reads it aloud, listens to it with a screen reader, converses about it, draws on it, takes it to a coffeeshop, leaves it in a queer sex club locker, gives it to a friend, remixes its classroom activities and so on."
—Jason Palmeri, Composition Forum

"What any body is—and is able to do—cannot be disentangled from the media we use to consume and produce texts . . . "
—from the Introduction


Kristin L. Arola and Anne Frances Wysocki argue that composing new media is composing bodies. The media we produce—and consume—embody us in a two-way process. The chapters in this collection articulate how our media carry us out into the world when, in producing texts, we feel ourselves to be individually expressing what matters. But available media also give us—and so limit us to—what makes sense among various structures and institutions: each text we consume teaches us (usually not overtly) some way of being in the world.

composing(media) = composing(embodiment) brings together powerful essays offering approaches for theorizing and teaching with new media while attending to our bodies. Through feminist, queer, phenomenological, disability studies, legal studies, and other theoretical lenses, the chapters address a wide range of texts (comics, blogs, Wikipedia, online maps, videos, games, digital interfaces, Pow Wow regalia). How do such texts mediate us? How do such texts shape communication and a sense of self and of body—and how do they participate in shaping what and how we compose?

In line with the authors' commitments to attend both to the experience of being a body and to our understanding of how composing is always institutionally embedded, they offer classroom activities that teachers can use and modify to support students as they enact, learn, and reflect upon their own embodied and embodying writing.

For rhetoric and composition, these discussions matter. They consider how literacy is materially bound up in being citizens, being free, and being in the world with others. They ask us to focus on how, as theorists and teachers, we embody the worlds we desire.

Contributors: Kristin Arola, Anne Francis Wysocki, Jonathan Alexander, Jen Almjeld, Kristine L. Blair, Jay Dolmage, Jason Farman, Kristie S. Fleckenstein, Matthew S.S. Johnson, Ben McCorkle, David Parry, Kristin Prins, Aaron Raz Link, Jacqueline Rhodes, Karen Springsteen, Paul Walker


Peitho Journal (pdf) Vol. 15, No. 2 by Julie Platt


Kristin L. Arola is Director of Graduate Studies and an associate professor of rhetoric, composition, and technology at Washington State University.

Anne Frances Wysocki is an associate professor of English at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

Imprint: Utah State University Press

Book Details

  • Paperback Price: $33.95
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-87421-880-0
  • Ebook Price: $26.95
  • EISBN: 978-0-87421-881-7
  • Publication Year: 2012
  • Pages: 304
  • Discount Type: Short
  • Author: edited by Kristin L. Arola and Anne Frances Wysocki
  • ECommerce Code: 978-0-87421-880-0