Articles & Chapters
Below, you will find overviews of my current works in progress or recently published pieces. I have listed, too, my intended destinations for each piece, but if any of these pique your interest for a special issue or edited collection, please reach out. To view the description, just tap / click on the heading to drop down the text. Repeat the action to close the text box.
↳ "Methodologies Not Yet Known: The Queer Case For Relational Research" (Book Chapter)
An Invited Chapter in the Routledge Handbook of Queer Rhetoric
This invited chapter is for the Routledge Handbooks of Queer Rhetorics, the first collection of its kind comprising an international and interdisciplinary cadre of queer researchers. In this chapter, I interrogate the limits of research as a practice within queer rhetorical scholarship as both remain energized by the whiteness of contemporary queer identity politics (construed as settler colonial futurity). Constellating across cultural rhetorics, de- and anticolonial theory and practice, settler colonial studies, Black and Native studies, and Critical University Studies, I argue for a divestment from the settler colonial undercurrents of queerness (as identity, practice, lifeway) and, in their place, the advancement of a decolonial horizon within research projects—and a refusal to do research when the queer researcher cannot imagine a decolonial future.
I begin by highlighting the interlinked nature of queerness with ongoing colonization in settler colonies (primarily within North American and specifically the United States, my context) via the integration of queerness within settler liberalism, springboarding from this criticism into the leaky potential of de/anticolonial theory to dissolve queer stasis as a force for good—as a means of refusing settler futurity. I conclude this chapter by offering solutions to readers derived from my community organizing and approaches to research with(in) marginalized communities. With these questions, I implore readers to begin the work of queerly relational research, or methodologizing in a manner that forecloses the settler imaginary—the totalizing intellectual purview of research—and that advances Black/Indigenous futurity.
The collection was released April 2022, and you can purchase it at this link. That said, the book is quite expensive, so if you would like a PDF, please let me know.
↳ "(Re)Mapping Digital Infrastructure: Toward the Internet as Land" (Article)
In her keynote for EPIC2019, Sareeta Amrute (2020) advances a critical truism of the globalized, technological, and infrastructural regime endemic to so-called modern life: “In the realm of science and technology, risks are generally borne by colonial subjects while metropolitan elites assume the role of developers and innovators of new technologies.” This colonial innovation operationalizes much of what Amrute (2020) terms tech colonialism, which functions on an array of extractive colonization, racial hierarchy, and paternal exploitation. These technological facets persist today in often unseen, mundane settings—cables buried underfoot deep in stolen land and cooled with stolen waters (Edwards, 2020), white settlers benefitting from colonial holdovers (Benjamin, 2019), and waste shipped to a foreign somewhere away from the metropole (Hogan, 2018). Technology users are seldom privy to the colonial histories endemic to their devices and their uses (Ramos, 2014). The internet, too, as techno-sociological infrastructure (Harvey & Luka, 2019), machinates through the march of tech colonialism, especially within the context of empire on the North American continent (Hu, 2017). With a formative starting point in the militarism of the modern United States (Chun, 2011), many scholars of race, infrastructure, and technology have noted how the internet’s developmental horizon is propelled by settler colonial futurity (Todd, 1996; Hu, 2015; Noble, 2016; Benjamin, 2019; Brown, 2019; Brock, 2020). Colonialism technologizes itself to persist.
This article intervenes in this critical march, interrupting tech colonialism via a theoretical intervention into current understandings of the internet's social and material infrastructure. Specifically, the article I am drafting comprises a theoretical argument for revising the internet's popularized and metaphorized definitional schemas (Frith, 2020) within Indigenous cosmologies and Black epistemologies. In so doing, I forward the concept of the internet as land, which forces a consideration of settler colonialism as the socio-material force underpinning design and writing. As a corrective grounded in digital material rhetorics (Hass, 2018; Edwards, 2020), I offer emplacing as a method for collapsing the divide between social and material infrastructure. In this revised material formula, the beingness of infrastructure is at once re-landed and agentially reinvigorated via an attention to the relational agency of the non-human things that make up the internet’s socio-material infrastructure (Duarte, 2017). I outline—via a case study of Arctic fiber optic cables made possible via melting ice—a decolonial attunement to “animals (including nonhumans), technologies, and landbases” (Haas, 2018, p. 421). Ultimately, I argue that emplacing functions as a theoretical tool for assessing the material inventory of internet use for design and writing, beginning at the environmental toll—the digital damage (Edwards, 2020)—and ending at the adventive possibilities of relational thinking amid disaster (Haas, 2018).
Readers will learn how to use emplacing as a theory of 1) ascertaining the colonial holdovers of settler colonialism as they relate to and manifest within design and writing tools and practices and 2) using these motives to account for the non-human relatives comprising the internet and to work toward a decolonized tech horizon. Moreover, readers will learn how to tune into ongoing activism related to Black and Indigenous technological use and to attune their work to new, just futurities.
Amrute, S. (2020, February 25). Tech colonialism today. Points, Data & Society. https://points.datasociety.net/tech-colonialism-today-9633a9cb00ad
Brock, A. (2020). Black technoculture and/as afrofuturism. Extrapolation, 6(1–2), (pp. 7–28).
Brown, N. M. (2019). Methodological Cyborg as Black Feminist Technology: Constructing the Social Self Using Computational Digital Autoethnography and Social Media. Cultural Studies ↔ Critical Methodologies, 19(1), 55–67.
Chun, W.H.K. (2013). Programmed Visions: Software and Memory. The MIT Press.
Duarte, M. (2017). Network sovereignty: Building the internet across Indian Country. University of Washington Press
Edwards, D. W. (2020). Digital rhetoric on a damaged planet: Storying digital damage as inventive response to the Anthropocene. Rhetoric Review, 39(1), 59–72.
Frith, J. (2020). Pushing back on the rhetoric of “real” life. Present Tense, 8(2). https://www.presenttensejournal.org/volume-8/pushing-back-on-the-rhetoric-of-real-life/
Haas, A.M. (2018). Toward a digital cultural rhetoric. In J. Alexander & J. Rhodes (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of digital writing and rhetoric (pp. 412–422). Routledge.
Harvey, A., & Luka, M. E. (2019). Space, place, and the materiality of Internet Studies: An introduction to the #AoIR18 special issue. Information Communication and Society, 22(6), 767–773.
Hogan, M. (2018). Data is airborne; data is inborn: The labor of the body in technoecologies. First Monday, 23(3). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v23i3.8285
Hu, T.-H. (2015). A prehistory of the cloud. The MIT Press.
—. (2017). Black Boxes and Green Lights: Media, Infrastructure, and the Future at Any Cost. English Language Notes, 55(1–2), 81–88.
Mckenzie, M., & Tuck, E. (2015). Place in Research: Theory, Methodology, and Methods. Routledge.
Noble, S.U. (2016). A future for intersectional Black Feminist Technology Studies. Scholar & Feminist Online, 13(3), https://sfonline.barnard.edu/traversing-technologies/safiya-umoja-noble-a-future-for-intersectional-black-feminist-technology-studies/0/?print=true#identifier_7_2621
Ramos, S. (2014). Digital is dead: Techno-seduction at the colonial difference, from Zapatismo to Occupy Wall Street. In D. Hicky & J. Essid (Eds.), Identity and leadership in virtual communities: Establishing credibility and influence (pp. 220–236). IGI Publishing.
↳ "Researching on the Intersectional Internet: Slow Coding as Humanistic Recovery" (Article)
In this piece, I outline a framework for researching online communities via what I term slow coding, a research practice comprising critical perspectives from Black Feminist Technology Studies (Noble, 2016), digital cultural rhetorics (Haas, 2018), and computers and writing studies (Gelms & Edwards, 2019) that attends to digital expressions of life as communicative acts performed online but with embodied complications. As presented in the piece, slow coding advances intersectional theory (Collins, 2000) to push against the notion of anonymized data (defined as textual data points that are void of those meaning-rich cultural cultural flows that circulate amongst communities of color).
Technofeminist criticism has highlighted that “the mere presence of technologies does not account for or eliminate difference in terms of access, embodiment, intersectional identities, or lived experience” (Bates, Macarthy, Warren-Riley, 2019, “Future”). Likewise, in advancing a technofeminist rhetorical framework for observing human and non-human life amid today’s platformed milieu, Gelms and Edwards (2019, “Introduction”) noted that researchers need to think about “how the lived experiences and emotional labor of [our lives] has bearing on the research process.” As such, I advance slow coding as a methodological lattice that springboards off what Tynes, Schuschke, and Noble (2016) termed the intersectional internet, a mutinous theoretical framework for complicating preconceived notions about how Black and other people of color live, play, and organize online around, with, and against algorithmic forces.
In the piece, I outline how the human user has been wrought from project of anti-Blackness and Indigenous extermination core to how so-called modern-day technologies were derived (Benjamin, 2019). These humanistic configurations likewise inflect a typical internet-based research project, including what the site can be, who the participants are, and what the data comprise (Gallagher, 2019). I then forward slow coding as a research practice grounded in the intersectional internet, allowing researchers to ethically work in the ebbs and flows of oppression, allowing for meaningful engagement with marginalized communities. I conclude by fully articulating this framework attendant to the deep care required of working with marginalized communities, starting with respectful observation, moving toward ethical engagement and gathering, and then culminating in antiracist analytic strategies that allow the data to story itself and tying online life to the offline oppressions. In this way, I offer suggestions for each step of the multilayer process that stacks into a research project: who the participants are, where the research site is, what the rhetorical-relational data comprise, and the other ingredient strands that mesh into such a project. This framework resonates with Sano-Franchini’s (2015) call for more research on online spaces that focus on the everyday rhetorical-relational work of building community in relation to marginalizing forces. Slow coding also attends to Haas’ (2018) call that researchers “recognize and make explicit the plurality of embodied, technological, and rhetorical negotiations within specific cultural contexts and asymmetrical power relations” (p. 412).
Bates, J. C., McCarthy, F., & Warren-Riley, S. (2019). Emphasizing embodiment, intersectionality, and access: Social justice through technofeminism past, present, and future. Computers and Composition Online. http://cconlinejournal.org/techfem_si/03_Bates_Macarthy_Warren_Riley/
Benjamin, R. (2019). Introduction: Discriminatory design, liberating imagination. In R. Benjamin (Ed.), Captivating technology: Race, carceral technoscience, and liberatory imagination in everyday life (pp. 1–22). Duke University Press.
Collins, P. H. (2000). Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, consciousness, and the politics of empowerment (2nd ed.). Routledge.
Gallagher, J. R. (2019). A framework for internet case study methodology in writing studies. Computers and Composition, 54. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compcom.2019.102509
Gelms, B. & Edwards, D. (2019). A technofeminist approach to platform rhetorics. Computers and Composition Online. http://cconlinejournal.org/techfem_si/02_Gelms_Edwards/
Haas, A. M. (2018). Toward a digital cultural rhetoric. In J. Alexander & J. Rhodes (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Digital Writing and Rhetoric (pp. 412–422). Routledge.
Noble, S.U. (2016). A future for intersectional Black Feminist Technology Studies. Scholar & Feminist Online, 13(3), https://sfonline.barnard.edu/traversing-technologies/safiya umoja-noble-a-future-for-intersectional-black-feminist-technology studies/0/?print=true#identifier_7_2621
Sano-Franchini, J. (2015). Cultural rhetorics and the digital humanities: Toward cultural reflexivity in digital making. In J. Ridolfo & W. Hart-Davidson (Eds.), Rhetoric and the digital humanities (pp. 49–64). The University of Chicago Press.
Tynes, B., Schuschke, J., & Noble, S. U. (2016). Digital intersectionality theory and the #BlackLivesMatter movement. In B. Tynes & S. U. Noble (Eds.), The intersectional internet: Race, sex, class, and culture online (pp. 21 – 40). Peter Lang Publishing.
↳ "Un-Settling Epistemic Hubris: Colonial Constructions of Health in the Flexner and Lalonde Reports" (Article)
Throughout the 20th century in North America, biomedicine and public health, respectively, reconciled developmental shakiness to essentially form the extant models of today. In 1910, Abraham Flexner, an education specialist and reformer, released Medical Education in the United States and Canada: A Report to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (hereafter the Flexner Report). This document served as the establishment of medical education in North America to work primarily via the construction of a physician’s ethos, functioning via scientific theory and an unwavering commitment to science (i.e., discovery and innovation) (Duffy, 2011).
Later, in 1974, then Canadian Minister of National Health and Welfare Marc Lalonde published A New Perspective on the Health of Canadians (hereafter the Lalonde Report). Although the Lalonde Report received a cool reception in Canada, it quickly set the stage for shaping public health outreach for decades to come in the United States (Hancock, 1986; Braveman & Gottlieb, 2014). Lalonde, in his nearly 80-page report, pivoted popular notions of health away from solely medico-scientific touchstones to include the social lives of patients. More importantly, the Lalonde Report laid out the conceptual framework on which the notion of at-risk populations operates (via the social determinants of health), fundamentally shaping public health as the social face of medicine (Frohlich and Potvin, 2008).
Though these documents were groundbreaking in their respective periods, both rhetorically construct models of precarity that are found at the core of how Western scientific theory functions (Krieger, 2011). Moreover, the history of colonization on the North American continent and its role in creating the contemporary medical landscape, including current-day public health and biomedicine, have much to do with both reports (Greene et al., 2013; Bailey & Peoples, 2017; Sylvestre, 2019). More specifically, the top-down structure of public health and biomedicine—which casts the physician and epidemiologist at the top of the hierarchy and the patient at the bottom—functions via epistemic hubris (Valles, 2018; Teston et al., 2019), which delegitimizes too often self and community knowledge—especially for marginalized communities (Hoberman, 2012; Bailey & Peoples, 2017).
These documents also have rhetorically constructed health and consequently healthiness along biological, social, and racial lines that together mold an almost impossible placeholder in which only the white, male, abled, cisgender, heterosexual male can reasonably fit (Bailey & Peoples, 2017; Clare, 2017; Schalk, 2018). Together, the Lalonde and Flexner Reports offer much in excavating the rhetorical nature of North America’s public health and biomedical models as they are constructed with(in) settler colonialism as an innervating structure. Put another way, the cultural production of medicine founds itself at the nexus of multiple oppressions that follow along the commodification of health and its consequent tendrils in the well-being for many marginalized communities, and these documents map out the historical construction of settler colonial biopolitics (Morgensen, 2011).
Journal Article Description
The journal article I am drafting, which was recently reviewed at the 2021 RHM Symposium, focuses on the theme of redressing social injustice via reinvention. In this case, my journal article attends to settler colonialism as the innervating force of the many wicked problems against which rhetoricians of medicine might direct their attention, pivoting away from theories of biopower and Western biopolitics. In this decentering of Europe and pivoting away from continental philosophies of health and medicine, I nudge the field to attend to the material reality of white supremacy and cisheteropatriarchy as the structure of modern-day medicine, foregrounding white settler culpability as a generative space of interrogation for the field. Moreover, my article offers practical strategies that rhetoricians of health and medicine might adopt within healthcare settings, strategizing rhetorical interventions that disrupt epistemic hubris while prioritizing individual and community and knowledges.
In this article, I first historicize the publication of both reports with the contemporaneous (and ongoing) colonial settlement within both the United States and Canada, contextualizing the nature of evolution and innovation regarding both biomedicine and public health. After, I provide a rhetorical analysis of both reports using an ideographic analysis that focuses on the contextually specific occurrences of colonial perpetuation. Through this analysis, I trace lingering issues of medical antagonism to the actual colonial histories of both settler empires, outlining the temporal plasticity of both medical racism and cisheteropatriarchy, which intersect to affect multiply marginalized communities. To conclude, I outline an anti-racist model of unsettling epistemic hubris, which rhetoricians of health and medicine might adopt within ongoing community engagement projects. Focusing on my ongoing work in community health settings, I provide an example of how unsettling epistemic hubris might reasonably—and more importantly, practically—function when working with public health officials and/or physicians.
Bailey, M., & Peoples, W. (2017). Towards a Black feminist health science studies. Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience, 3(2), 1–27.
Braveman, P., & Gottlieb, L. (2014). The social determinants of health: It’s time to consider the causes of the causes. Public Health Reports, 129(2), 19–31.
Claire, E. (2017). Brilliant imperfection: Grappling with cure. Duke University Press.
Clarke, A. E., Mamo, L., Fishman, J. R., Shim, J. K., & Fosket, J. R. (2003). Biomedicalization: Technoscientific transformations of health, illness, and U.S. biomedicine. American Sociological Review, 68(2), 161–194.
Duffy, T. P. (2011). The Flexner Report — 100 Years Later. Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, 84, 269–276.
Frohlich, K. L., & Potvin, L. (2008). Transcending the known in public health practice: The inequality paradox: The population approach and vulnerable populations. American Journal of Public Health, 98(2), 216–221.
Glouberman, S., & Millar, J. (2003). Evolution of the determinants of health, health policy, and health information systems in Canada. American Journal of Public Health, 93(3), 388–392.
Greene, J., Basilico, M. T., Kim, H., & Farmer, P. (2013). Colonial medicine and its legacies. In P. Farmer, J. Y. Kim, A. Kleinman, & M. Basilico (Eds.), Reimagining global health: An introduction (pp. 33–73). University of California Press.
Hancock, T. (1986). Lalonde and beyond: Looking back at “A new perspective on the health of Canadians.” Health Promotion International, 1(1), 93–100.
Hoberman, J. (2012). Black and blue: The origins and consequences of medical racism. University of California Press.
Krieger, N. (2011). Epidemiology and the people’s health: Theory and context. Oxford University Press.
Mikdashi, M. (2013). What Is settler colonialism? American Indian Culture and Research Journal, 2(37), 23–34.
Morgensen, S. L. (2011). The biopolitics of settler colonialism: Right here, right now. Settler Colonial Studies, 1(1), 52–76.
Schalk, S. (2018). Bodyminds reimagined: (Dis)ability, race, and gender in Black women’s speculative fiction. Duke University Press.
Sylvestre, P., Castleden, H., Denis, J., Martin, D., & Bombay, A. (2019). The tools at their fingertips: How settler colonial geographies shape medical educators’ strategies for grappling with anti-Indigenous racism. Social Science and Medicine, 237, 1–9.
Teston, C., Gonzales, L., Bivens, K., & Whitney, K. (2019). Surveying precarious publics. Rhetoric of Health & Medicine, 2(3), 321–351.
Valles, S. A. (2018). Philosophy of population health: Philosophy for a new public health era. Routledge.
↳ "Toward Relational Design: Rethinking HIV Outreach for Queer Users of Color" (Article)
Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a daily medication regimen that users undertake to prevent a new infection of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Since its introduction to queer sexual health, along with Truvada, the primary medication in the regimen, queer Black, Indigenous, and men of color (QBIMOC) have seen a particular focus on their sexual health in relation to public health’s hyperfocus on risky populations (Teston et al., 2019). Specifically, user outreach has shifted toward the visual rhetorical work of spotlighting particular populations more susceptible to new HIV infections as determined by the social determinants of health (Belluz, 2014; Scott, 2016; Shahani, 2016; Spieldenner, 2016). At the core of this engagement are outdated if somewhat offensive approaches to assessing sexual health practices.
Specifically, following recommendations from the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, Clinical Modification, many medical coding systems, including counties within New York and Los Angeles, do not designate specific billing codes for PrEP, instead defaulting to categories such as “high-risk homosexual/bisexual behavior.” QBIMOC are understandably fed up with this approach (Guta et al., 2011). This approach delimits a larger trend withing public health, particularly with outreach, that prioritizes these narratives of risk that too often showcase QBIMOC as either always at risk of a new infection or as already seroconverted and who serve to augur new infections for others. The integration of at-riskness is then compounded by the way that identities are operationalized through the rhetoricity of risk as innervated by the epidemiological logics of public health (Teston et al., 2019). At the core of this issue is leveraging at-riskness with narratives of empowerment for such communities—intervention work that technical communicators are primed to conduct (Jones, 2016).
This experience report relays a methodology for employing user-centered design within health and medical contexts underpinned by an ethics of relationality. By reviewing key findings of a qualitative analysis of user-generated social media content related to PrEP and Truvada, I outline a methodology for energizing user-centered design practices with the Indigenous concept of relationality, which outlines a reciprocal ethics for doing community-facing work (Haas, 2012; Mukavetz, 2014). Focusing specifically on medical racism and the colonial history of public health, I present a case study redesign of a popular advertisement for Truvada that showcases the advocacy work that technical communicators might bring into health and medical workplaces. This work resonates with a broader trend in the field regarding rethinking technical communication as a site for intervening in health outcomes for queer people, though as of yet, no work exists primarily for QBIMOC (Edenfield et al., 2019; Green, 2020; Ramler, 2020). This report also coincides with the conference themes of advocacy and coalitions as the methodology outlined rethinks participatory design along the axes of queer of color sensibilities. Attendees and readers will take away practical strategies for advocating for marginalized groups such as QBIMOC in addition to design strategies that account for community knowledge.
Belluz, J. (2014). The Truvada wars. BMJ (Online), 348. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g3811
Edenfield, A. C., Holmes, S., & Colton, J. S. (2019). Queering tactical technical communication: DIY HRT. Technical Communication Quarterly, 28(3), 177–191. https://doi.org/10.1080/10572252.2019.1607906
Green, M. (2020). Resistance as participation: Queer theory’s applications for HIV health technology design. Technical Communication Quarterly, 1–14. https://doi.org/10.1080/10572252.2020.1831615
Guta, A., Murray, S., & McClelland, A. (2011). Global AIDS governance, biofascism, and the difficult freedom of expression. Aporia: The Nursing Journal, 3(4), 15–29.
Haas, A. M. (2012). Race, rhetoric, and technology: A case study of decolonial technical communication theory, methodology, and pedagogy. Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 26(3), 277–310. https://doi.org/10.1177/1050651912439539
Jones, N. N. (2016). The technical communicator as advocate: Integrating a social justice approach in technical communication. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, 46(3), 342–361. https://doi.org/10.1177/0047281616639472
Mukavetz, A. M. R. (2014). Towards a cultural rhetorics methodology: Making research matter with multi - generational women from the Little Traverse Bay Band. Rhetoric, Professional Communication and Globalization, 5(1), 108–125.
Ramler, M. E. (2020). Queer usability. Technical Communication Quarterly, 0(0), 1–14. https://doi.org/10.1080/10572252.2020.1831614
Scott, J. B. (2016). Sexual counterpublics, disciplinary rhetorics, and truvada. In J. Alexander & J. Rhodes (Eds.), Sexual Rhetorics: Methods, Identities, Publics. Routledge.
Shahani, N. (2016). How to survive the whitewashing of AIDS: Global pasts, transnational futures. In QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking. 3(1). https://muse.jhu.edu/article/614679
Spieldenner, A. (2016). PrEP whores and HIV prevention: The queer communication of HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). Journal of Homosexuality, 63(12), 1685–1697. https://doi.org/10.1080/00918369.2016.1158012
Teston, C., Gonzales, L., Bivens, K., & Whitney, K. (2019). Surveying precarious publics. Rhetoric of Health & Medicine, 2(3), 321–351. https://doi.org/10.5744/rhm.2019.1015