Research

I am a critic and theorist of rhetoric, communication, and technology, concerned with analyzing and improving networked practices of argumentation and public discourse. My research broadly attempts to understand how humans and technologies shape each other, particularly in digital environments. My own contention is that humans and technologies are co-constitutive, and that one is impossible without the other. Today, humans and digital technologies are inextricable, and in some cases, indistinguishable. Drawing on technology studies in rhetoric and media, I argue that technology is best understood as a networked social phenomenon. What technology means is subject to contestation, and how technologies are used changes over time and space. I thus tend to oppose any essentialist arguments about technology, rejecting any claims to “inherent” qualities.

My research agenda has two main branches: my ongoing book research, tentatively titled Algorithmic Architects, which traces public controversies about algorithms; and a nascent project studying the material effects of map platforms and location-based interaction. These two branches of my research provide ample space for publication toward tenure. Over the coming two to three years, I anticipate publishing Algorithmic Architects through a top academic press, offering time and space to continue my research on the “ground truth” of networked platforms. I expect that project to take another three years, resulting in both journal articles and a second book manuscript.

Key words: digital media, posthumanism, agency, power, algorithms, publics