Collin Brooke, Associate Professor of Writing and Rhetoric, Syracuse University, presents his research in a talk entitled "To Affinity... and Beyond! Rhetoric from a Network Perspective."
The idea of the network has grown increasingly pervasive in recent years. Networks, as Alexander Galloway has written recently, function as allegorical indices for any number of intellectual, political, and/or social complex systems. It is worth asking, however, what this network perspective actually contributes; furthermore, we might ask ourselves if and how it might change the ways we consider rhetoric and writing. If indeed these perspectives represent a shift in our thinking, then a network(ed) rhetoric must be more than the ability to craft pithy status updates or the wherewithal to navigate privacy settings on Facebook.
My presentation will sketch out one model for what a network(ed) rhetoric might look like, and focuses specifically on the term affinity. Affinity, I argue, provides us with an alternative to persuasion or identification as outcomes of rhetoric, and is particularly well-suited for understanding rhetorical activity in (human and nonhuman) networks.