Kairotically Speaking: Kairos and the Power of Identity

Myth of Transparency...

When including online scholarship in tenure binders, the candidate bears the "onus of responsibility" to "make explicit" the "intellectual rigor" of online scholarship (MLA guidelines on computers and emerging technologies), not to celebrate the affordances of that scholarship, but to comfort members of hiring and tenure committees. Indeed, Susan Lang, Janice Walker, and Keith Dorwick (2000), guest editors of a special issue of Computers and Composition on tenure, ask, "How long can those of us with technological expertise be held responsible for teaching those who will evaluate us how to access and understand what it is we do?" (p. 5). Although I fully understand the necessity of "teaching" others about my work for obtaining tenure, because I, too, experience the "lone technology expert syndrome" in my department, I do not understand why it is not everyone's responsibility to understand, to learn, and to reflect about new scholarly practices. I fear that the traditional system of tenure might force Kairos, as a unique journal in our field with unique publications, to devolve into just another academic journal.

But if Kairos is to continue sustaining an identity that "push[es] boundaries in academic publishing" (see Kairos's intro page) in ways that are "vital to continued growth of our field" (Doherty, n.d., "Layers") then it's time now, ten years after Kairos's beginnings, to take Lang, Walker, and Dorwick's, advice and consider "just exactly what tenure and other forms of work evaluation should look like now and in the future" (p. 5). I think it is our responsibility as technorhetoricians to push those boundaries and a lot more often if we are to dismantle the preservative powers of print (Eisenstein, 1979) and the accompanying tenure expectations. We need to take on a designer's perspective and identity, which Bolter and Gromala suggest as opposition to structuralist perspectives. Unlike structuralists, who believe that content and form can and should be separated, designers are "unitarians" who know that "form and content cannot be separated" and who believe that a web page is an "experience" (p. 4).

Let's push the boundaries. Let's make everyone see what we're about (myself included, since this webtext will be published in the year I go up for tenure). We need to create visual arguments in Flash, no matter what Nielson demands, that make committee members regret agreeing to serve. We need to create digital wonders that force them to skid in their gaze at the wonder of such a creation. We need to demand that our audiences (non-technorhetoricians) take the time and responsibility to learn about digital scholarship and not expect us to hold our hands over theirs as they click the mouse. We have to stop being afraid that they won't understand. We already know they don't. And as long as they don't, why don't we push our way into the system in ways that make them look directly at the surface?

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Dismantling Kairos 1
Dismantling Kairos 2

Autonomous Technology of Tenure 1
Autonomous Technology of Tenure 2
Autonomous Technology of Tenure 3

Kairotically Speaking 1

Myth of Transparency 1
Myth of Transparency 2
Myth of Transparency 3
Myth of Transparency 4

Kairotica of Kairos 1
Kairotica of Kairos 2
Kairotica of Kairos 3
Kairotica of Kairos 4




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