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Complex Worlds: Digital Culture, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication
Edited by Adrienne P. Lamberti and Anne R. Richards
Baywood's Technical Communications Series, Series Editor: Charles H. Sides

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"Complex Worlds: Digital Culture, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication offers readers a blend of theoretical and practical content that is sure to capture the attention of professional communicators working in both academic and professional settings. Its eleven chapters, written in clear and engaging scholarly prose, cover an impressively diverse range of subject matter, including agricultural communication, Web 2.0 journalism, Web resumes, and XML authoring for technical communicators. The contributions are remarkably well focused around the major themes addressed in the introduction, covering each of these themes in depth. Readers can expect to walk away with a deep understanding of the complexity of issues such as digital divergence and a broad grasp of various disciplinary, theoretical, and political perspectives on such issues."
—Amy Koerber, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Technical Communication and Rhetoric, Texas Tech University, Editor, Technical Communication Quarterly.

"This provocative collection asks us to complicate those machine-is-us mantras of Web 2.0 convergence (and their mirror image in essentializing assumptions about the “digital divide”) that so far have set the tone for thinking about new media’s impact on the classroom or other communities of engaged practice. As a teacher of professional communication, I am excited by the probing questions Complex Worlds raises about digital access, technological literacy and authorship, and online activism, advocacy, and agency. I am also heartened by its many practical applications for producing and/or thinking critically about citizen journalism, online resumes, electronic mailing lists, and collaborative writing projects that can be designed to cross not just classroom but also national and socioeconomic boundaries. I look forward to incorporating this collection’s insights, examples, and pedagogical challenges into my classes."
—Ryan Jerving, Visiting Assistant Professor of English, Marquette University

"Complex Worlds offers readers a strong sense of the range of issues that occupy the attention of digital technology scholars in English studies. The essays in this collection address such timely concerns as agency, governance, globalization, and cyberactivism. The breadth of the collection is considerable, and readers will be rewarded with a new, distinct perspective in each chapter. Whether interested in digital communication in the professions, distributed collaborations, classrooms, or society more broadly construed, readers will find something in this collection to stimulate their thinking."
—Mark Zachry, University of Washington

"Rather than serve as a reference guide on how to use digital technologies for communication purposes, Complex Worlds seeks to explore the various contexts in which digital technologies affects the work of professional communicators.

Just over 200 pages, this edited collection is suitable for a wide audience range . . . Overall, the anthology is a good mix of essays that explore the interconnected, complex relationships between digital technologies, rhetoric, and professional communication. Strengths of the collection include a wide array of communities of practice (from the classroom to the newsroom) from a variety of perspectives (from the activist to the theatre enthusiast), all dealing with professional communication issues.

The final assessment is that the book is a good read for audiences interested in digital technologies and professional communication."
—J.A. Dawson, J.A. Dawson is a PhD candidate in Technical & Professional Discourse at East Carolina University. Technical Communication, Volume 59, Number 1, February 2012

"Published as a part of Baywood’s Technical Communication Series, Complex Worlds: Digital Culture, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication offers theoretical and practical perspectives aimed at helping professional writing instructors and program administrators better prepare graduates to work with increasingly complex technologies in increasingly globalized workplaces. Each essay in this edited collection addresses the role of the digital in relation to advocacy and agency and many also provide both pedagogical and programmatic suggestions. In addition, many of the essays address concerns about enhancing student agency through the process of better preparing them to make the transition from student to professional. The collection is logically divided into four sections—“Transforming Advocacy,” “Shaping the Profession,” “Building Communities,” and “Informing Pedagogies”—categorizations both flexible and fluid. To highlight connections among the essays, I discuss the text thematically, focusing on how the collection addresses themes of agency, pedagogy, programmatic development, and globalization.

With its concern for developing uses of digital technologies to enhance the agency of students and authors, Complex Worlds is an excellent resource for program administrators interested in developing technical communication programs that effectively prepare students for the digitized, global workplace. The collection’s essays offer exposure to new and unique technologies useful for technical communication students as well as detailed pedagogical applications and programmatic suggestions for implementing these technologies in the technical communication classroom."
— Cassandra Branham, Programmatic Perspectives, 4(2), Autumn 2012: 269–272

Complex Worlds: Digital Culture, Rhetoric, and Professional Communicationis a collection of thought-provoking scholarly essays by teachers and industry practitioners in professional communication and technology-oriented fields. Scrupulously edited for a range of readers, the collection aims to help familiarize advanced students, teachers, and researchers in professional communication, computers and writing, literacy, and sister disciplines with key issues in digital theory and practice. An emphasis on the situations of and audiences for digital communication identifies Complex Worlds as a rhetorical approach.

In an era when globalizing markets and digital technologies are transforming culture around the world, readers should find the collection both engaging and timely. The collections' twelve essays constitute a diverse and thematically coherent set of inquiries. Included are explorations of topics such as cyber activism, digital dispositio, citizen and open-source journalism, broadband affordances, XML, digital resumes, avant garde performance art, best pedagogical practices, and intercultural communication between East and West, North and South. The text is especially well suited for advanced courses in professional and applied writing, contemporary rhetorics, and digital culture.

The complexity highlighted in the collection's title is brought into relief by authors who address how the digital is daily unmaking our assumptions about the boundaries between work and school, the global and the local, the private and the public. Complex Worlds offers readers an opportunity to build on their rhetorical awareness by expanding their understanding of the means, aims, and strategies of effective communication—today and in the future.

Intended Audience: scholars, teachers, and M.A. and Ph.D. students in the fields of professional and technical communication, composition, rhetoric, digital literacy, and new media studies; graduate students and scholars in the fields of cultural studies and educational technology.

Adrienne P. Lamberti is Assistant Professor of English and Professional Writing Program Coordinator at the University of Northern Iowa, where she teaches courses in information design, rhetoric, and communication ethics. Her research interests involve other discourses as forms of workplace communication, organizational cultures, and issues of professionalization. Previous works (with Anne R. Richards) include investigations into the effect of digital technologies such as gaming upon writing instruction. Dr. Lamberti's other publications include Talking the Talk: Revolution in Agricultural Communication, (Nova Science Publishers) which focuses on fluid and unpredictable communications, such as narrative and anecdote, as they act as valid and significant forms of professional communication in agricultural and rural communities. She currently is working on a project that examines Web 2.0 technology as it has affected definitions of academic professionalism.

Anne R. Richards is Assistant Professor of English at Kennesaw State University, where she teaches professional communication and gender studies and is active in the University's peace studies minor. In 2008, she and co-editor Carol David published the anthology Writing the Visual: A Practical Guide for Teachers of Composition and Communication (Parlor Press). Dr. Richards has published three articles on alternative rhetorics in Technical Communication Quarterly; the most recent article concerns the rhetoric of sound in new media. With Iraj Omidvar she is editing Muslims in American Popular Culture, a collection forthcoming with Praeger. She and Omidvar are also completing a collection of travel writing by Easterners who have visited the West. In 2006-2007, Dr. Richards served as a Fulbright Teaching Fellow in Tunisia.

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Complex Worlds: Digital Culture, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication

Editor: Adrienne P. Lamberti and Anne R. Richards
Cloth ISBN:
ePub ISBN:
Page Count: 256
Copyright: 2011

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