Two: Readings & Activities

The first reading of the unit is the first chapter of Bolter and Grusin’s (2000) Remediation, which provides an introduction to the concepts of immediacy, hypermediacy, and remediation. Using one of the most commonly recognizable forms of remediation—film adaptations of popular novels/comic books—as an example, students can see that characters and plotlines are copied from the discursive medium and transformed to better suit the medium of film. With this baseline knowledge of media, we break media down into their component modes, the material resources of composition. Introducing multimodlality, we’d be remiss if we didn’t include Gunther Kress in our course materials. We had students view a clip from an interview with Kress (2012) titled “What is Multimodality?” and place it in dialogue with Anne Wysocki’s (2005) “awaywithwords.” Wysocki’s piece is short and accessible for students, and it helps to contextualize Kress, whose concepts can be difficult for first-year students. It also gives us an avenue to discuss the temporal and spatial dynamics of multimodality, a tension addressed in “awaywithwords.” Finally, Wysocki’s examples in the text—water as a weapon, crayons as unacceptable for academic writing—illustrate the socially constructed preferences for certain modes.

As we were pressed on time in a six-week course, we only could include a small number of readings addressing genre. We returned to Everything is a Remix (2010), watching the second episode “Remix, Inc.” that includes a cursory introduction into popular film genres. We only included one theoretical reading, Daniel Chandler’s (2000) “An Introduction to Genre Theory” as an overview of the vocabulary and perspectives of genre. Finally, to prepare for an in-class activity, we selected a series of short essays from the textbook that share the same genre as a way to introduce conventions of discursive genres.