Reviewed by

Steven Keoni Holmes

Clemson University

Table of Contents


Plugged In: Technology, Rhetoric and Culture in a Posthuman Age Edited by Lynn Worsham and Gary A. Olson (2008)


Lynn Worsham and Gary A. Olson's Plugged In, a collection of ten essays published in JAC, offers the latest commentary on technology, writing pedagogy, and posthuman theory. This collection insists that merely teaching writing through technology is inadequate to address our immersive relationships within electrate network cultures. In the Foreword, Cynthia L. Selfe reminds the reader that "sometimes to the surprise of some in our profession, I suspect, the best teachers also spend time theorizing technology" (p. vii), hence the crucial intervention for scholarly projects with multiple disciplinary voices that can decode (or encode) the interconnected matrix of politics, capitalism, technology, and posthuman consciousness.

"Cyborg politics is the struggle for language and the struggle against perfect communication, against the one code that translates all meaning perfectly, the central dogma of phallogocentrism. That is why cyborg politics insist on noise and advocate pollution, rejoicing in the illegitimate fusions of animal and machine"

~Donna Haraway

These authors maintain that teachers, thinkers, and practitioners of new media have little choice but engagement with these processes if they desire to intervene in the ecological processes and practices of their cyborg students.This collection not only theorizes technology but also provides rhetorical tools that will aid university teachers in negotiating the complex electronic terrain of the classroom. As such, the bulk of the arguments have special import for professional academics that retain the humanist nostalgia for the autonomous, organic, embodied reality. Worsham and Olson have selected essays that challenge the view of posthumanity as a mere theoretical curiosity that can be kept at arm’s length. The collection thereby addresses the continuing need to argue that practices of communication, teaching, and writing require us to recognize ourselves as, Selfe concludes, “the humans and cyborgs that we all are and have always been" (p. viii).