I earned my doctorate in Rhetoric and Composition from Washington State University in May 2010, and my B.A. and M.A. in Literature from the University of Idaho in 2002 and 2004. I studied postmodern American literature for my M.A., writing my thesis on the late great David Foster Wallace. Afterward, while teaching a pop culture-themed composition course at Boise State University, I began looking at other interesting cultural “texts” and landed on a type of text that I’ve loved since I was a kid: videogames. At Washington State, I found that the ancient discipline of rhetoric was highly applicable to the new discipline of game studies. Essentially, I approach videogames from the viewpoints of contemporary rhetoric and cultural studies, seeing them as expressions of ideologies that maintain and transform power relations in every arena of a society. I’m especially interested in games’ potential expressive, persuasive, and educational capabilities.
My dissertation, which you can read right here, analyzes representations of race in World of Warcraft vis-à-vis the ideological and political-economic history of racism in the United States. Essentially, I argue that WoW conveys and simulates every major racial paradigm that’s held sway in the U.S. common sense over the last three hundred years, from Enlightenment-era biologism to twentieth-century postcolonialism; and that its ambivalent representations exemplify the fantasies and anxieties of whites in the postmodern world.
My other graduate research concentrated on digital rhetorics – now called the Digital Humanities in academia – and I have completed graduate coursework in contemporary rhetoric, composition methodologies, and technical communication. I have taught at the college level since 2002 in subjects including technical and professional communication, multimedia authoring, designing for the Internet, and first-year composition.
From 2010 to 2013, I held a Marion L. Brittain Postdoctoral Fellowship at Georgia Institute of Technology, in which I ran a client-based technical communication course that put students on teams to compose technical documents, websites, and apps for local nonprofits, startups, and small businesses. In 2013-14, I co-taught a pilot version of technical communication that was integrated with the School of Computer Science’s capstone design projects course, in which student teams planned, composed, and delivered client-based and entrepreneurial applications over two semesters.
I am currently an Assistant Professor of English at Clayton State University in Morrow, Georgia. I regularly teach first-year composition on campus and technical and professional communication online, which, as part of CSU’s Partnering Academics and Community Engagement (PACE) initiative, centers around service learning projects my students complete for organizations in their communities. I have also taught professional editing.
About this site
Although the boundaries between “personal” and “professional” are fuzzy – especially for me, since I’ve made a profession of studying things that I personally love – this is a professional site. Let’s call it a portfolio-in-progress. As you can see, along with my CV and teaching record, my dissertation is here. Anyone who feels like reading it and commenting on it is welcome to do so. My hope is that my work, while obviously coming out of academia, won’t only be a conversation with other academics. I believe that academics should engage the public, especially when they study culture, as I do. This is especially true in the realm of videogames, discussions about which are 1) already hugely inclusive, involving designers, academics, journalists, and players from all over the world; and 2) already online. So: with dissertation, I officially throw my hat into this ring.