My research practice draws on recent and foundational scholarship from diverse knowledge spaces – systems design, feminist information studies, critical digital pedagogy, digital and media studies, access and disability justice, and liberatory learning – and is driven by a commitment to collaboration, transparency, accountability, and purpose.
My guiding questions have always been grounded in how information makes knowledge: how the shape of information alters its imaginary (MA and PhD work); how it is designed into our systems and institutions (Redesigning Futures); how it networks and is networked (Network Ecologies); how its digital form can be mapped and mobilized as art (S-1 Lab/Chat Fest); how digital information is embodied in material form (Manifest Data); how the digital technosphere of information is metabolically intertwined with human bodies and the earth (Digital Metabolism); how it gathers in system forms like AI to datafy humanness and encode human bodies (Critical Digital Practice); how information now threatens bodily integrity through unwanted digital touch (CDP); how it is automated then activated, through inequitably-built environments like AI and ML, to govern, police, punish, penalize, and colonize; and, when wearing my hat as an education researcher, how we learn, teach, and understand how our pedagogies and practices inform and inflect both the bodies of our students and the content we deliver.
Doctoral Research: Digital Metabolisms
Full open text of Digital Environmental Metabolisms: An Ecocritical Project of the Digital Environmental Humanities (2017) here: https://dukespace.lib.duke.edu/dspace/handle/10161/14457
That we are living in worlds profoundly altered by human influence is no longer a speculative issue. The implications of environmental change and its storied manifestations are, borrowing the words of Ian Baucom and Matthew Omelsky in the introduction to their recent edited collection, Climate Change and the Production of Knowledge, “deeply connected to what it means to be human on earth in the twenty-first century.”
By combining literary, ecocritical, and media techniques with a mindfulness of the environment, Digital Environmental Metabolisms: An Ecocritical Project of the Digital Environmental Humanities, contributes to the urgent task of re-orienting media theory toward environmental concerns. It is informed by the premise that, in our present Anthropocenic age defined by humans acting as a geophysical force, human bodies, cultural technologies, and the earth are intersecting material practices. I argue this intersectionality is neither cyborgian nor posthuman, as some media scholars insist, but is something far more natural: it is a metabolic relationship wherein each system is inherently implicated in the perpetuation of the others.
Unlike those who contribute to what may be called an emerging environmental media theory through subfields like media archaeology or political history, I offer several practical and methodological interventions, including Permaculture and Ecocritical Digital Humanities, that are capable of moving us toward more sustainable digital practice and a more robust Anthropocene Humanities. I offer avenues for making meaningful change within our classrooms, our communities, and our daily lives.
Digital Environmental Metabolisms opens with a chapter that asks how an environmental humanities perspective, one that takes seriously the physical environmental aspects of digital media’s infrastructure, can contribute to the reconfiguration of media theory’s most prominent frameworks by drawing attention to the discourses that prevent a robust environmental media studies. My second chapter argues we must re-story digital materiality to help narrate unseen relationships and articulate alternate Anthropocene futures. It re-figures the environmental metaphors already present in media theory (e.g. the Cloud, Atmospheric Media, Media Ecology) to embed them concretely within their earthly material contexts. My third chapter brings these physical realities to bear on cultural critique by looking at how environmentally-focused digital artworks can challenge our digital-material (hi)stories and provoke new figurations of the complex relationship between humans and the environment. My final chapter proposes Permaculture—a profoundly interconnected set of ethical design principles that I borrow from natural farming—and Ecocritical DH as models for sustainable scholarly practice.