Kairotically Speaking: Kairos and the Power of Identity

Kairotica of Kairos...

The connection actors create with an identity is important because identities form "only when and if social actors internalize them, and construct their meaning around this internalization" (Castells, 1997, p. 7). This statement is nowhere better reflected than in Mick Doherty's (2001) exclamation in "@Title_This Chapter As…" about the computers-and-writing community's role in "defining this new realm of technological literacy in academia":

That's why naming is so important. Because naming counts. Naming is how we are recognized, valued, supported. If we are uncertain of our naming, or [if] we do not insist on being clear with our subsequent defining and instead allow those unfamiliar with the field to name and define what we are doing for us, then consequences will hurt us and the future of electronic communication in academic pursuits. (p. 102)

At the time of Kairos's inception, many technorhetoricians had become frustrated with the limits of print publishing or the "kind of scholarship deemed appropriate by their English department colleagues" (Maid, 2000, p. 12). Therefore, Kairos grew out of the motivation, energy, and perseverance of a group of graduate students scattered across the country, who, Michael Salvo tells me, "were working without the promise of monetary reward," seeking to create a space for the kind of research they were already doing and wanted to see done in traditional circles. From the very beginning, Kairos met the traditional expectations of scholarly publications by determining editorial positions and responsibilities, creating peer-reviewed policies, and establishing a review board of graduate student and tenure-track scholars. It also was affiliated with a professional organization, the Alliance for Computers in Writing (ACW).Notes11

Because the founders of Kairos recognized that "most Web writing follows a print paradigm," foregoing much of what the Web affords, they were/are committed to publishing only native web/hypertexts; a definition that continually haunts the editors. Drawing from Stuart Moulthrop's concept of native hypertext, the editors define webtexts as "texts authored specifically for publication on the World Wide Web" (see Kairos's Welcome). Consequently, as Jason Crawford Teague (1996) warns, the editors surrender "much of the control traditional[l]y associated with print journals" because "Kairos has a policy of allowing the individual authors complete control over the visual [appearance], layout, and graphic content of their article." (Now, "complete control" best refers to how authors submit webtexts, about which the editorial board sometimes recommends significant changes—in the design as well as the writing—for rhetorical and/or accessibility reasons. Once accepted for publication, webtexts also go through an extensive copy- and design-editing phase to make sure the text is accurate and complies with accessibility and W3C protocols as much as possible.)

When Kairos was first published, the editors spent a great deal of bandwidth explaining the journal's difference from print. In a FAQ, Mick Doherty (n.d., "If I'm Published...") points out that they are not in competition with print nor are they trying to be. One technology offers what the other can't. If Kairos were more interested in defying the print form and its practices, I would point it out as what Castells would call a resistance identity, which characteristically identifies an adversary. For Kairos, this adversary is not "print"; rather, it is the perception that print and only print can define scholarship: "The arrogance of saying that what comes from a computer is information and what comes from a human speaker or book is knowledge is only matched by the reverse claim—that only in hypertext can we create a full, democratic, learning-by-doing, post-structuralist, Dewey-esque model of teaching and learning" (Carbone, 1997). If there is an adversary, it is the criteria used by hiring and promotion and tenure committees to evaluate publications.



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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