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Screening Rhetorics: Affective Mediations Toward Film-Composition performs a take on the emergence and state of film-composition, an area within the larger field of Rhetoric and Composition. The book argues for film-composition as a vital scene for rhetorical inquiry and practice. Through a judicious use of anecdotal reflection from my experience as rhetorician, compositionist, actor, Sundance volunteer, digital filmmaker, and installation artist, I situate my authorial investment onto a timeline. Each chapter of Screening Rhetorics draws upon theories of affect that engage critically with various scholarly indications of affective intensity (i.e., hope) found in our discipline’s scholarly record. The chapters of Screening Rhetorics are structured to explore affective registers of meaning associated with early and ongoing scholarship by responding with contemporary discourses that gesture toward fulfillment of or perhaps distancing from the promises made by earlier claims. So, whereas an earlier scholar expressed hope for using film in the classroom, contemporary film-compositionists are doing just that, supported by certain theories of affect (many of which also resonate with prominent theories on film, rhetorical, and composition theories). Screening Rhetorics reframes historical hopes with methodologically generous moves to argue for the rhetorically valid creative vision of these earlier scholars. 

The chapters of Screening Rhetorics are designed via themes discovered in the historical review. These themes obtain in the present, particularly in the context of the revitalized scholarly attention to and performance of multimodal composing, and they include: Hope, Desire, Part I, Desire, Part II, and Pleasure. More specifically, my use of affect terms (hope, desire, etc.)  as structuring agents link past and present. The conceptual affect terms articulate disciplinary trends and practices that have been taken up by scholars working in Rhetoric and Composition. Affect — “visceral forces” (Gregg and Seigworth 2010, p. 1)— structures this book because of our immersive, embodied experiences of shifting literacies, pedagogies, and creative and scholarly dispositions. We are (many of us) digital scholars because of the ubiquity of digital textuality in the present. Thus, the book reasonably draws upon these dynamic affects to characterize film-composition’s vital emergence. And while affective intensities resonate throughout the discourses on film in our scholarly record, they also support a great deal of pedagogical effort in the present. Thus, using theories on affect to provide frameworks for exploring the evolution of film-composition makes sense as a tool for surfacing a history and highlighting current practices even as it also enables me to articulate my own hard-earned knowledge and skill, hopefully in ways that suggest a suitable ethos for the work of articulating this vital area in our field. As I see it, we’re critically (re)appropriating “felt-sense” (Perl 1980), a desire toward production, immersion, critical making, remixing, and remaking. It’s about a nearly inarticulable desire toward participatory culture through the production of moving texts. If we continue struggling against our hopes and desires in our efforts to perfect our technical knowledge, our abilities to frame and assess assignments, and generally to bypass or transcend them (because they are, as we imagine — wrongfully, as Deleuze would have it — a-critical), we foreclose opportunities for rhetorical ethics and sensitivity that may more appropriately guide us in film-composition. Thus, this book is essential, now.

The project is heading into Stage 2 proposal reviews with the #writing series and WVU press.


Gregg, M., and Seigworth, G. J. (Eds.) The affect theory reader. (Introduction). Durham & London: Duke University Press. 1-51.

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