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Rhetoric of Cool

Rhetoric of Cool

Composition Studies and New Media

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Jeff Rice


Paperback (Other formats: E-book)
208 pages, 6 x 9


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About the Book

The Rhetoric of Cool: Composition Studies and New Media offers a historical critique of composition studies’ rebirth narrative, using that critique to propose a new rhetoric for new media work. Author Jeff Rice returns to critical moments during the rebirth of composition studies when the discipline chose not to emphasize technology, cultural studies, and visual writing, which are now fundamental to composition studies. Rice redefines these moments in order to invent a new electronic practice.
The Rhetoric of Cool addresses the disciplinary claim that composition studies underwent a rebirth in 1963. At that time, three writers reviewed technology, cultural studies, and visual writing outside composition studies and independently used the word cool to describe each position. Starting from these three positions, Rice focuses on chora, appropriation, commutation, juxtaposition, nonlinearity, and imagery—rhetorical gestures conducive to new media work-- to construct the rhetoric of cool.
An innovative work that approaches computers and writing issues from historical, critical, theoretical, and practical perspectives, The Rhetoric of Cool challenges current understandings of writing and new media and proposes a rhetorical rather than an instrumental response for teaching writing in new media contexts.


Jeff Rice, an assistant professor of English at Wayne State University, is the author of Writing about Cool: Hypertext and Cultural Studies in the Computer Classroom and the co-editor of New Media/New Methods: The Turn From Literacy to Electracy.


“Jeff Rice returns to 1963 to retell the story of the birth of composition and the miscarriage of the birth of the cool in composition. The Rhetoric of Cool argues that something (“cool”) was being left behind, which resulted in the failure to see the coming new media. This volume makes it clear that to refuse students a formal education in cool is to miss the opportunity to teach them oral and print writing.”
Victor J. Vitanza, Clemson University