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ODU Handout

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Published by Dan Richards
Research and Teaching Talk
Research and Teaching Talk

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Published by: Dan Richards on Jan 17, 2013
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Research and Teaching Talk 
Old Dominion University
17 January 2013Published Research
“The (Re)Naturalization of Margaret Cavendish,”
Spectacle, Sex, and 
Property in Eighteenth-Century Literature and Culture, AMS Press, 2013.
Question:In what ways did Cavendish challenge the traditional scientific methodsemployed by the Royal Society in her philosophical and creative work?
 Argument:While Cavendish does promote a Baconian superiority of humans(particularly herself) over nature, she changes the means by whichhumans relate to nature: not by the use of mastering scientificinstruments but through a democratized experience with its complexity.
“Digitizing Dewey: Blogging an Ethic of Community,”
Computers and 
Composition Online, Fall 2011.
Question:How can we expand the current usage of blogs in the writing classroom,particularly as it relates to the notion of “social action”?
 Argument:If we are to ever harness the full potential of blogs there needs to be ashift away from self-centered models of rhetorical exigence and a movetowards the expanding—and ultimately re-purposing—of blogs in apedagogical context as more socially-responsible spaces.
Current Project
“Dead Man’s Switch: Nonhuman Stakeholders and the Vibrant Rhetorics of 
Ecological Disasters,” Dissertation, June 21 Defense.
Context:Connecting work in the field (e.g., disaster reports) to the philosophicaland scientific discourses of posthumanism to explore the ways theseperspectives can inform the practices of technical communication.Question:How does an application of posthumanist theory to disaster/risk communication challenge what constitutes as a cause?
Preliminary Findings:
Deepwater Horizon
oil spill provides a unique case study to show us howtechnical communicators can help us move beyond the epideicticrhetorics of blame and discourses of environmentalism.Blow-out preventer (BOP) functions as a boundary object that has atremendous amount of agency as part of the larger distributed andbecomes an exigence around which knowledge and action is possible.
Department of English • University of South Florida • drichar3@mail.usf.edu • danielrichards.net • 863-738-0667
Daniel Richards
Research Agenda
Risk Communication in a Posthuman Age
, Baywood Press.I will be revising my dissertation into monograph form to be publishedthrough Baywood Press, which recently launched a book (
Stalinist Genetics
) theorizing the intersection of the rhetoric of science andtechnical communication. This project will highlight the changing role of a technical communicatorin writing about risk and disaster while acknowledging the rhetoricalagency and suasive force of the nonhuman.
 Teaching the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill: Disastrous Objects in Technical
IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication.
 Using stakeholder theory and approaches in the rhetoric of science,students use real documents ranging from news accounts to nationalcommission reports to corporate reports to identify systematic problemsthat contributed to the disaster. Working from particular stakeholderperspectives, students work collaboratively to produce materials thatpromote a deeper, materialist approach to environmental literacy.
 A Blazing Critique: An Object-Oriented Approach to 17th-Century
Scientific Equipment,”
Technical Communication Quarterly 
.Building on my previous work, which outlined the ways Cavendishreshaped her relationship to nature, this project recovers the 17th-century writer/experimental philosopher (cf. Nickels Shirk, Brasseur) as acontributor to the field of scientific communication, specifically as onewho offers an object-oriented critique of the Royal Society’s methods andinstruments.
Community Connections At the core of my teaching is a drive to have students develop the skill-sets necessary to thrive as productive citizen-workers.Individual and group projects are structured to build productive bridgesbetween classroom and community, content and clients.
Online Curriculum“Service” as a pedagogical approach can take many forms and shouldnot be relegated to physical presence.Online projects often ask students to contribute meaningfully to onlinecommunities (e-tutorials, industry-specific blogs) by positioningthemselves as a technical authority on a subject, skill, or procedure.
New Technologies, New GenresEffective technical communication is not limited to textual modes of composing. Students are often asked to engage with and identify thelimitations and affordances of various communication technologies.
Learning “Object”ivesStudents identify objects as material—not representational—forces.
Department of English • University of South Florida • drichar3@mail.usf.edu • danielrichards.net • 863-738-0667
ENGL 334
Course DescriptionThis course introduces you to the rhetorical principles and writing practices necessary for producingeffective, professional documents in a technical setting. This semester you will have the opportunity toapply these principles to a specific exigence (ecological disaster) and a specific community site(NOAA@Nauticus). The content you will write, design, and produce this semester resides at theintersection of effective technical communication principles and practices and theories of critical riskcommunication. Your work will be aligned with the mission of NOAA@Nauticus, which is devoted to theenhancement of environmental and scientific literacy. Throughout the course, students will: Apply key principles to local contexts.Engage in both textual and visual techniques for communicating technical information.Become familiar with critical risk theories.Write to multiple audiences for various purposes.Identify and explore problems in public and organizational contexts.Required ResourcesMarkel, M. (2012).
Technical communication
(10th ed). Boston: Bedford/St.Martin’s.Sadar, A.J., & Shull, M. D. (2000).
Environmental risk communication: Practices and principles for 
. New York: Lewis Publishers.Deliverables
Usability Testing:
Smart Buoy Gateway Kiosk 
Students will conduct their HCI on location at NOAA@Nauticus with the newly-developed
Buoy Gateway Kiosk 
—an interactive station that educates and reports on oceanic activity.
Students will develop and implement test materials and write a formal recommendation report
(one page). Project will be completed in groups.
Instructional Document Design:
Tsunami Ready 
The new
Tsunami Ready 
exhibit at NOAA@Nauticus includes multimedia and other information
to inform the public of what to do in case of disaster. Your task is to take this information, in
addition to your own primary and secondary research, and create an instruction document
appropriately communicating the level of risk to a different audience/public.
Report Analysis: Visualizing Disaster Reports
Official reports mandated by corporations, the government, or NPOs after a disaster are highly
rhetorical documents that communicate important ideas about causality, fault, and stakeholder
impact. Your task in this project is to identify and analyze three visual representations by different
stakeholders of some component of an ecological disaster of your choice.
Bi-Weekly Podcast Responses
Students will be responsible for podcasting (7 podcasts total) on any given topic of their choice,
with the only conditions being that the subject matter must pertain to risk, be current, and
connect to the theories and ideas covered this semester. Students will use Audacity audio
editing software and upload their work to a class-wide SoundCloud account.
Department of English • University of South Florida • drichar3@mail.usf.edu • danielrichards.net • 863-738-0667
Daniel RichardsEmail
Building 123Hours 
Thursday 11a-2pSkype 

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