Post written by Charles Woods 3 minute read
April 13, 2020

What Does It Mean To Participate?

A Podcast With The Authors of "The Rhetoric of Participation"

When the cohort of 2019-2020 Computers and Composition Digital Press Digital Fellows were planning digital initiatives and projects for the academic year, it did not take me long to identify the genre in which I wanted to work: the podcast. The main reasons I wanted to produce a podcast for the CCDP were because it is a genre that is familiar to me and a genre that is familiar to the Press. The initial cohort of Digital Fellows in 2018 worked in a range of genres to produce their digital projects, one of which was a video podcast created by Lacy Hope and Brian Gaines. I wanted to build upon their previous podcast work, so I chose to produce a podcast on a recent CCDP title, The Rhetoric of Participation: Interrogating Commonplaces In and Beyond the Classroom.

The Rhetoric of Participation is a text that extends the legacy of Dr. Genevieve Critel. In devoting their book to the research of Dr. Critel, the authors of the text uniquely invite new audiences to engage with her work and to reconsider how participation is theorized and assessed in the classroom. My motivations in creating a podcast featuring a discussion with the authors of The Rhetoric of Participation were similar: I wanted to extend the reach of the Press to new audiences, particularly those interested in podcasts. The authors of the text pose the question, what does it mean to participate? For me, participating in the Fellows program meant participating in a variety of digital spaces—email threads, Skype calls, audio-editing software—to produce a podcast with the authors of The Rhetoric of Participation. And while my participation builds upon the work of Hope and Gaines, it captures the essence of the text: participation is unique and different for everyone in every space.

Last fall, I reached out to the authors of The Rhetoric of Participation and Drs. Paige V. Banaji, Lisa Blankenship, and Katherine DeLuca agreed to chat with me via Skype. One of the great things about serving as a CCDP Digital Fellow is that you get to join a network of scholars with similar passions and similar interests. These nuanced interactions are quite different from a bustling conference experience. It was quite nice to have my coffee and Skype with rhetoric and composition scholars from Manhattan to the Midwest on a rainy December morning and learn about their research and their passions for teaching.