Archive for the ‘Disses and Exams’ Category

Anthony Collamati ha difeso con successo la sua dissertazione il 30 aprile

May 1, 2012

Anthony laureati nel mese di agosto, 2012 e inizia la sua tenure-track assistente di cattedra di “studi nuovi media” presso Alma College, Michigan.

Titolo della tesi:
“Creatures Fotocamera: Retorica Luce e Media Emergenti”

Chair, Victor Vitanza
Cynthia Haynes
Christina Hung
Jeff Amore


Anthony Collamati has successfully defended his Dissertation on April 30: Monday: 2:30-4PM.

Anthony graduates in August, 2012 and begins his tenure-track Assistant Professorship of “New Media Studies” at Alma College, Michigan.

Dissertation title:
“Camera Creatures: Rhetorics of Light and Emerging Media”

Chair, Victor Vitanza
Cynthia Haynes
Christina Hung
Jeff Love

Pix: (Defense and Celebration)


Curtis Newbold’s Oral Doctoral Dissertation Defense

April 16, 2012

“Ambiguous Science and the Visual Representation of the Real”

Happened: 4.16.12, 8:30-10:30AM in the Jordan Room on campus.
Outcome: Curtis Successfully defended his dissertation.

Steve Katz, Chair (English)
Sean Morey (English)
Joe Mazer (Communication Studies)
Sydney Cross (Art)
Lesly Temesvari (Biological Sciences)

Here are some pix:

Lauren Mitchell’s RCID Oral Exam Defense

March 13, 2012

“The fringing benefits of rhetorics in architecture”

Happened: 3.13.12, 10:30AM until 12:30PM
Outcome: Lauren successfully–with honors–passed her exams.

Victor J. Vitanza (Chair), Director, RCID (CAAH)
Cynthia Haynes: English Dept.
Martha Skinner: Architecture
Jason T. Young: Architecture (U of Michigan)

Here are some pix:

Seven Strange Attractors: How to Repent! And Be Unbaptized!

March 2, 2012

Jimmy Butts’ Defense of Exams, Feb. 29th. An occasion to remember! The defense began with a reception … Jimmy with Stephen Lind (pic below) :

Jimmy’s dissertation topic explores how Victor Shklovsky’s concept of defamiliarization functions rhetorically across different forms of composition and media.  The ethics underlying his writing works against the flood of totalizing immersive media when they elicit only automatic or anesthetized responses from their contemporary audiences.  The project hopes to complicate expectations of standardization by seeing both potential and problems in normative and unusual compositions. He will work through seven forms of inventional strategies for strangeness including figural shifts in media, time traveling, replacement, addition & subtraction, negation, glossolalia, and exponentiation.

Here is Cynthia Haynes, the Chair of Jimmy’s committee, opening the defense:

The Studio room was changed to match the mood of the topics on the exams.

The Defense (snapshots):

Congratulations, Jimmy! (vjv)

Stephen Lind’s Oral Exams

October 7, 2011

As part of his Comprehensive Exams, third year RCID candidate Stephen Lind invited students, faculty, and friends to experience a slice of the vast Peanuts franchise at an exhibit (shown below) held September 30th in Clemson’s Brooks Center.  With Vince Guaraldi’s jazz music for Peanuts played live by Clemson University pianist Lori Gourdin, guests were treated to refreshments, including glass-bottled Coca~Cola (the original sponsor of the 1965 classic, A Charlie Brown Christmas), and were shown a variety of Schulz’s works through hands-on access to collectibles and rarities accompanied by informative placards.  For Lind, the items on display of particular interest were the religiously themed merchandise products, such as the high-end nativity scene from Lenox and the religious greeting cards from Hallmark and its subsidiary DaySpring.

Lind’s dissertation, titled “Schulz’s Religion: Exploring Faith in the Mainstream Media through the Peanuts Franchise” makes use of a transdisciplinary set of mixed-methods to examine the multifaceted Peanuts franchise as a rich case study in the portrayals of religion within the entertainment media.  In his Oral Exam presentation following the exhibit, Lind made the case that overt religion has become a rarity in the American “religio-secular public sphere,” citing legal battles over religion in public schools and media studies data indicating that religious affiliation is often nearly invisible on mainstream broadcast television.  Peanuts, according to Lind, stands out as one unique example of nuanced religious reference in a successful mainstream franchise.  Using historical, rhetorical, and social-scientific methods in his dissertation, Lind will engage questions surrounding religious portrayals in public media by analyzing the nuanced  references to religion across various components of the Peanuts properties – comic strips, animated specials, and product merchandising.

Part of Lind’s dissertation will also include a treatment of the complex theological aspects of Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz’s biography.  In 2010, Lind met with Schulz’s widow Jean Schulz (pictured below) who has been graciously supportive of the project. Lind will return to the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center in Santa Rosa, CA, later this year to continue his archival research and to conduct a number of interviews with Schulz’s family and friends.

Randy Nichols and CLAM

July 30, 2010

Randy Nichols along with Tharon Howard and Constancio Nakuma, are recognized in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Clemson University has developed a unique, new course entitled, “Cultural Literacies Across Media” or CLAM for short, and the course is beginning to receive national recognition, as evidenced by a story which appeared in The Chronicle of Higher Education on July 22, 2010CLAM is a unique course designed to help students studying abroad to utilize the power of multimodal compositions in order to better understand other cultures. Taught by Randy Nichols whose RCID dissertation research contributed important content for the CLAM curriculum, the course not only teaches students how to produce their own multimodal compositions in social media, it also utilizes the power of multimodalities to deliver the course content in an entirely online form. Using cameras, Camtasia Studio, and other resources in the MATRF, Randy (with support from Tharon Howard and thanks to a generous grant in 2009-10 from the Provost’s Office) produced a series of online learning modules which study-abroad students can access anywhere in the world at their convenience. Throughout the course, students interact with one another via the CLAM Soup blogsite which Randy maintains at  Many of the students’ final projects can be viewed at the CLAM Soup blog, or they are also posted on the Office of International Affairs’YouTube channel.

Retrospection: From Spring 2008 to Spring 2009

October 1, 2009

‘Tis time to recollect, to turn back to see how we have moved forward in the RCID doctoral program. Here are the events of students’ various achievements toward completing their degrees:

macarthur Mac McArthur, Ph.D., Spring 2008,
successfully defended his dissertation and has taken a tenure-track assistant professorship in the School of Communication, at Queens University of Charlotte, in NC.

hodgsonsm Justin Hodgson, Ph.D., Spring 2009,
successfully defended his dissertation and has taken a tenure-track assistant professorship at UT-Austin, in the Department of Rhetoric and Writing.

booher Amanda K. Booher, Fall 2009,
successfully defended her dissertation (with graduation in Fall 2009) and has taken a tenure-track assistant professorship at Texas Tech U, Department of English, Technical Communication.

pix_dacus Michelle Dacus Carr, Spring, 2008,
successfuly defended her exams and is currently writing her dissertation.

pix_morton Keith Morton, Spring, 2009,
successfully defended his exams and is currently writing his dissertation.

pix_helmsJason Helms, Spring, 2009,
successfully defended his exams and is currently writing his dissertation, 3 chapters completed.

pix_hilst Josh Hilst, Spring, 2009,
successfully defended his exams and is currently writing his dissertation, 3 chapters completed.

ward Mark Ward, Spring, 2009,
successfuly defended his exams and is currently writing his dissertation, 3 chapters completed.

pix_thompson Steven John Thompson, Spring, 2009, successfully defended his exams and is currently writing his dissertation.

~ RCID Rocks

Amanda Booher successfully defends …

September 4, 2009

The RCID program is now four years into its history-making events. We are proud to announce that our third Ph.D. student, Amanda K. Booher, has successfully defended her dissertation:

Title: Prosthetic Configurations: Rethinking Relationships of Bodies, Technologies, and (Dis)Abilities

Chapter 1, Unprecendented Matter
Chapter 2, (Un)Fixing the Body: Oscar Pistorius, Olympic Definitions, and Dis/Super-Ability
Chapter 3, Docile Bodies, “Supercrips,” and the Play of Prosthetics
Chapter 4, Breaking Bounds
Chapter 5, Prosthetic Configurations: New Stories of Bodies


This work rethinks configurations of and relationships between bodies and prosthetics, emerging from a gap between three particular theoretical perspectives. The first perspective builds from Gender and Disability Studies theories; the second operates within the frame of post-humanity and cyborgean theories, specifically though Bernard Stiegler, Katherine Hayles, and Donna Haraway; the third is a practical/medical perspective, demonstrated through the experiences of people with amputations and medical prosthetics, as well as through the influence of medical visualization technologies. While offering productive and compelling means of complicating and deconstructing boundaries of bodies and prosthetics, these perspectives often operate independently; an integrative perspective provides new grounds from which to reconfigure prosthetized bodies.

From these grounds, this work examines social and historical anxieties about body-technology relationships, considering how binary oppositions of “natural” versus “technological” are constructed and discriminatorily employed against people with prosthetics. Through the story of Oscar Pistorius’ 2008 Olympic attempt, ideas of norms and norming are contextualized, historicized, and deconstructed. Metaphors of bodies as docile machines are problematized through examination of public representations of women with prosthetics.

This work situates bodies and prosthetics within historical perspectives created through the technological gaze of medical visualization technologies and nuclear medicine; the effects of ubiquitous and participatory communication technologies; the perception of the body as a malleable technology; and the effects of technologically-advanced prosthetics. Working particularly from the theories of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Michel Foucault, and Georges Canguilhem, this work posits a new epistemology of the prosthetized body as a historically-situated phenomenological somatechnic.

We are also happy to say that Amanda has accepted a tenure-track Assistant Professor position in Technical Communication and Rhetoric at Texas Tech University.


Justin Hodgson successfully defends …

April 23, 2009

Justin Hodgson, RCID Student, successfully defends his Dissertation

The RCID program is now four years into its history-making events. We are proud to announce that our second Ph.D. student, Justin Hodgson, has successfully defended his dissertation:

Title: Rhetorical Inventions/Inventional Rhetorics: Opening Possibilities

Introduction — Exigence: Naming/Inventing the Problem
Chapter 1 — Conduct(Ion) Unbecoming
Chapter 2 — Logos: Inventing (with) Logoi
Chapter 3 — Ethos: Ethea of Inventing
Chapter 4 — Pathos: Inventing (with) Catastrophe
Chapter 5 — Pedagogy: Inventive (Un)learning


This work seeks to open possibilities for rhetorical invention, or perhaps more accurately, to indicate how changes in technology (and the essences of technology) are opening radical possibilities not just for rhetorical invention but also for how we speak, how we think, or even how we live in our worlds. It traces shifts in rhetorical invention: beginning from primary oral cultures, which made linkages via a process of “AND” or divine inspiration, represented by the +, to literate cultures (or print-cultures), which predominantly invent via analogy and discovery, represented by the =, and to electronic cultures, which revel in the avant-garde art technique of juxtaposition as inventive strategy, represented by the /. Working then with this / as guiding inventional strategy, and turning to Gregory L. Ulmer’s conductive logic, puncepts, and choragraphy as / possibilities, this work attempts to re-envision classical rhetoric concepts logos, ethos, and pathos in order to open new considerations and complexities for rhetoric (and for the university) as we move out of 19th century academic traditions (print-culture dissertation) and unfold into the 21st century possibilities (electronic-culture multimedia dissertation).

More specifically, using the / as inventional process, and working with Ulmer’s corpus, this work attempts to open radical possibilities for rhetorical invention by seeking to move it out of restrictive economies that limit inventive potential and into more generative (general) economies of possibilities. In doing so, it opens the conversation to issues of absence and “absencing” (in counter-distinction to Martin Heidegger’s notions of presencing), to unstable electrate schizo-nomadic “sub/ject” possibilities (which become generative, in nomadic/tourism fashion), and to the catastrophic (introducing radical possibilities for restrictive economies).

Additionally, what this work does, aside from reconstituting rhetorical invention as a mix of Ulmer’s conductive logic, Jean-François Lyotard’s paralogy, and Leibniz-Borges-Deleuze’s vice-diction, is that it works with an inventive methodology. This print-culture product sits on one side of the slash, and an/other, an alternative, rendered in the electronic assemblage platform Sophie2, sits on the other side of the slash. In their juxtaposition, this dissertation and its digital/electronic other, they perform the very possibilities of rhetorical invention being critically offered in this work.

We are also happy to say that Justin has accepted a tenure-track Assistant Professor position at the University of Texas, Austin, the Division of Rhetoric and Writing.

Some scattered pix of the moments:









Fall, ’08, Exams passed/Disses TBD

November 23, 2008

This Fall (2008), Michelle, Jason, Keith, and Joshua–all third-year students–completed their exams and are moving full time on to their dissertations.


Michelle Dacus Carr‘s dissertation title is “Black and White and Read in Profile: Rhetorics of Silhouette in Toni Morrison, Flannery O’Connor, and Kara Walker.” Chair: Victor Vitanza. Commiteee, Andrea Feeser, Art Young, Christina Hung, and Lewis R. Gordon (Philosophy, Temple U).

Dissertation Primary Area: Metarhetorics
Secondary Area1: visual rhetorics (the silhouette)
Secondary Area2: race rhetorics


Jason Helms‘ dissertation title is “Rhiz|Comics: The Structure, Sign, and Play of Image and Text.” Chair: Victor Vitanza. Committee, Andrea Feeser, Christina Hung, and Cynthia Haynes. And sequential arts consultant: Jonathan Hickman.

Dissertation Primary Area: Comics/Graphic Novels
Secondary Area1: Grammatologies (Ulmer, Derrida, Ronell, Kittler, etc)
Secondary Area2: Games and Hypermedia (both Entertainment and Serious)


Keith Morton‘s dissertation title is “Emancipation Animation: Educational Value of Vicarious Immersion.” (On Machinima) Chair, Tharon Howard. Committee: Cynthia Haynes, Mark Charney, Dan Wueste

Dissertation Primary: Machinima
Secondary: Film Studies
Secondary: Educational Technology


Joshua Hilst‘s dissertation title is “Time and Cinematics in the Age of Rhetorical Memory.” Chair: Cynthia Haynes. Committee: Christina Hung, Todd May, Victor Vitanza

Dissertation Primary Area: Rhetoric and Composition
Secondary Area1: Critical Theory
Secondary Area2: Cinematic Arts