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Patrick Berry

Critical remediation: Locating Eliza

"Critical remediation: Locating Eliza" highlights the necessity for a conception of delivery that can account for multiple remediations in terms of technologies and socialization. Beginning with Shaw's tale of Eliza, the project traces echoes of this narrative across media, genres, and time.

Technical Requirements: This data node is best viewed using Safari or Firefox. It uses Flash 8 and may not be accessible with Internet Explorer. Along the bottom and left of the node pages are Flash videos that feature video and/or audio remediations of the Eliza narrative. Some clips are designed to play silently without activation. Others require a click or a roll over. Because of the diverse media, high bandwidth is a necessity.

Abstract: If we remediate and re-situate the canons to foreground the ever-present work of mediation and distribution, we move beyond a model where mediation is simply a choice of modality. Instead, we see messages crossing genres and media—and being remade in the process. For example, the story of Pygmalion has remained a perennial trope and has been retold throughout history and across modes. For rhetoricians, Bernard Shaw’s (1913) rendition of the tale is especially poignant in its foregrounding of language as a significant, though not exclusive, mediator. Beginning with Shaw’s play, this project traces several remediations of the Eliza narrative, the story of the flower girl who learned how to act and speak like a duchess. In reading these different representations of Eliza and her literacy, I link Bolter and Grusin’s theory of remediation with the all-too-familiar remediation of the lagging student. In doing this, I illustrate how a conception of delivery unhinged to a particular mode or media might offer a productive way of exploring literate practice.

Patrick Berry is a PhD candidate in the Center for Writing Studies and Department of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is Assistant Director for the Center and Associate Editor for the journal Computers and Composition. He has taught courses in first-year composition, professional writing, and new media. His research concentrates on English teachers’ literacy narratives as a family of genres to explore intersections among literacy, personal experience, technology, and social class.