Rhetoric and the Digital Humanities
edited by Jim Ridolfo and William Hart-Davidson
University of Chicago Press, 2015
Cloth: 978-0-226-17655-0 | Paper: 978-0-226-17669-7 | Electronic: 978-0-226-17672-7
DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226176727.001.0001


The digital humanities is a rapidly growing field that is transforming humanities research through digital tools and resources. Researchers can now quickly trace every one of Issac Newton’s annotations, use social media to engage academic and public audiences in the interpretation of cultural texts, and visualize travel via ox cart in third-century Rome or camel caravan in ancient Egypt. Rhetorical scholars are leading the revolution by fully utilizing the digital toolbox, finding themselves at the nexus of digital innovation.

Rhetoric and the Digital Humanities is a timely, multidisciplinary collection that is the first to bridge scholarship in rhetorical studies and the digital humanities. It offers much-needed guidance on how the theories and methodologies of rhetorical studies can enhance all work in digital humanities, and vice versa. Twenty-three essays over three sections delve into connections, research methodology, and future directions in this field. Jim Ridolfo and William Hart-Davidson have assembled a broad group of more than thirty accomplished scholars. Read together, these essays represent the cutting edge of research, offering guidance that will energize and inspire future collaborations.


Jim Ridolfo is assistant professor of writing, rhetoric, and digital studies at the University of Kentucky and associate researcher at Matrix, the Center for Digital Humanities and Social Sciences at Michigan State University. William Hart-Davidson is associate dean of graduate studies in the College of Arts and Letters at Michigan State University and senior researcher at Matrix.


"Ridolfo and Hart-Davidson have produced a volume that interrogates the most important questions facing both rhetoric scholars and teachers who are interested in the digital humanities and digital humanists who are interested in the rhetorical dimensions of multimodal texts. Avoiding the negative aspects of territorialism and disciplinary politics, the contributors remix theories, practices, and methods in new and exciting ways, mapping productive relationships between rhetorical studies and the digital humanities and illuminating how these areas intersect and interanimate one another. This volume should be required reading for anyone who cares about the future of writing and reading."
— Stuart A. Selber, author of Multiliteracies for a Digital Age

"Rhetoric and the Digital Humanities is a landmark collection for scholars in rhetoric and writing studies. Its attention to procedurality, coding, scholarly communication, archives, and computer-aided methodologies, among other things, maps many of the important changes in disciplinary terrain prompted by the emergence of the digital humanities. It's also a compelling demonstration of the role that rhetoric and writing studies can and should play in discussions about digital humanities. This book will provide colleagues across the disciplines with a strong sense of the ways that rhetorical studies might intersect with their own work."
— Collin Brooke, Syracuse University

“An important and timely exploration of the many ties that bind the digital humanities and composition/rhetoric. Rhetoric and the Digital Humanities is a much-needed book that will stir conversations in both fields.”
— Matthew K. Gold, Debates in the Digital Humanities

"A much needed volume in the fields of rhetoric studies and digital humanities."
— Ken S. McAllister, Digital Scholarship in the Humanities

“A good introduction for those coming from a rhetoric background, and is of interest not only to those in English studies generally, but also to digital humanists in informatics programs.”
— Alan Bilansky, Digital Humanities Quarterly

“Rhetoric and the Digital Humanities is an important collection. The affinities between the digital humanities and rhetoric and writing studies are numerous, varied, and brimming with potential for mutual collaboration.”
— Kevin G. Smith, Digital Humanities Quarterly


Introduction - Jim Ridolfo and William Hart-Davidson

Part One. Interdisciplinary Connections

1. Digital Humanities Now and the Possibilities of a Speculative Digital Rhetoric - Alexander Reid

2. Crossing State Lines: Rhetoric and Software Studies - James J. Brown, Jr.

3. Beyond Territorial Disputes: Toward a “Disciplined Interdisciplinarity” in the Digital Humanities - Shannon Carter, Jennifer Jones, Sunchai Hamcumpai

4. Cultural Rhetorics and the Digital Humanities: Toward Cultural Reflexivity in Digital Making - Jennifer Sano-Franchini

5. Digital Humanities Scholarship and Electronic Publication - Douglas Eyman and Cheryl Ball

6. The Metaphor and Materiality of Layers - Daniel Anderson and Jentery Sayers

7. Modeling Rhetorical Disciplinarity: Mapping the Digital Network - Nathan Johnson

Part Two. Research Methods and Methodology

8. Tactical and Strategic: Qualitative Approaches to the Digital Humanities - Brian McNely and Christa Teston

9. Low Fidelity in High Definition: Speculations on Rhetorical Editions - Casey Boyle

10. The Trees within the Forest: Extracting, Coding, and Visualizing Subjective Data in Authorship Studies - Krista Kennedy and Seth Long

11. Genre and Automated Text Analysis: A Demonstration - Roderick P. Hart

12. At the Digital Frontier of Rhetoric Studies: An Overview of Tools and Methods for Computer-Aided Textual Analysis - David Hoffman and Don Waisanen

13. Corpus-Assisted Analysis of Internet-Based Discourses: From Patterns to Rhetoric - Nelya Koteyko

Part Three. Future Trajectories

14. Digitizing English - Jennifer Glaser and Laura R. Micciche

15. In/Between Programs: Forging a Curriculum between Rhetoric and the Digital Humanities - Douglas Walls

16. Tackling a Fundamental Problem: Using Digital Labs to Build Smarter Computing Cultures - Kevin Brooks, Chris Lindgren and Matthew Warner

17. In, Through, and About the Archive: What Digitization (Dis)Allows - Tarez Samra Graban, Alexis Ramsey-Tobienne and Whitney Myers

18. Pop-Up Archives - Jenny Rice and Jeff Rice

19. Archive Experiences: A Vision for User-Centered Design in the Digital Humanities - Liza Potts

20. MVC, Materiality, and the Magus: The Rhetoric of Source-Level Production - Karl Stolley

21. Procedural Literacy and the Future of the Digital Humanities - Brian Ballentine

22. Nowcasting/Futurecasting: Big Data, Prognostication, and the Rhetorics of Scale - Elizabeth Losh

23. New Materialism and a Rhetoric of Scientific Practice in the Digital Humanities - David Gruber

List of Contributors