I realized that I am off on my Mind Map updates. I thought they were for the NEXT week’s work, not the previous one’s. I thought I had to do the new reading before updating. So last week’s more comprehensive updates were really both Foucaults. The Bazerman and Miller and Popham and the Digital Writing Assessment stuff are for AFTER this week’s class. Sometimes I’m a little slow on the uptake.
So this week I spent time cleaning up my Popplett and attempting to reorganize it. I made two color schemes, corresponding to structuralism and deconstruction, aligning Biesecker and Foucault together, and Bitzer and Vatz together (and the genre folks will end up here, I suspect). Red for deconstruction (it bleeds …. it hurts us) and Blue for structure (it calms us … it gives false sense of unity). I actually deleted several Popples that were no longer needed and some extraneous connections. I also came upon the limitations of the interface. I wanted to create a “super-Popple” which contained other Popples, to show nested categories rather than simple linear connections. My exercise became one of dealing with the limitations rather than freely making connections. I believe that this iteration may prepare me to absorb the next round of theorists, but I suspect my basis for categorization will shift again as the map seeks to encompass more.
This week I started my Mindmap for the course, albeit reluctantly. I’m more of a list-maker and note-taker, and less of a mind-mapper. The squares and lines everywhere start to make me feel nervous, and I feel compelled to try to connect everything, and to expend energy worrying if I’ve put something in the “right” place. At least with Popplet I have the opportunity to (re)move a node or a section; the virtual format seems less permanent and more flexible than drawing it on paper, where my “mess” is more exposed. I understand the value of these visualizations, though, and I’m willing to work on it all semester and see if I have additional learnings as a result of the format.
I began with “Rhetorical Situation,” since that seemed the obvious “big idea” that all three articles discussed (green popple). Then I found myself organizing around three main ideas: the status/stasis of the “situation” itself, what travels along the medium (of a network or a situation), and where meaning resides (red popples). The three authors had differing ideas about these three topics, so it allowed me to put them in juxtaposition and opposition. I also incorporated an idea from my “How Stuff Works” reading, which seemed to relate to Networking and to Rhetorical Situation conceived as a relationship among constituent parts. The “status/stasis” of the situation is where I discussed the idea of origin, which differs greatly among the authors: for Bitzer, the situation comes first, for Vatz, the speaker’s intentions, and for Biesecker, there is no origin, just a relationship among the various parts. In all cases, a response — discourse — is demanded, but for different reasons. Bitzer says the discourse must be “fitting” to respond appropriately to the situation. Vatz says the discourse is an act of creative interpretation by the speaker, who determines the salient information to fit his/her needs. Biesecker says that the discourse is what creates meaning itself, that the construction of the text articulates the reality from between and among the constituent parts (e.g. exigence, audience, constraints) and the multiplicity of possible meanings.
This Popplet is a “possibility of conceptuality” (Derrida) and now is the visible structure of the différance that makes signification — meaning — possible. It’s a constructed reality by a rhetor (me) whose creative act of interpretation and choice selection of salient facts is responding to an exigence (the assignment).