Hi, I’m Dustin. I think a lot about

rhetoric

and

writing.

I am an Assistant Professor and Director of Graduate Programs in the Department of Writing and Rhetoric at the University of Central Florida where I teach courses in digital writing, professional writing, and visual and material rhetorics. My research sits at the intersections of digital rhetoric, public writing, and environmental justice.

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Research

My current research trajectory attends to the material infrastructures that underpin writing and rhetoric in an age of big data, ubiquitous computing, and proprietary platforms. I am especially interested in how such infrastructures—which are often believed to be neutral, immaterial, and/or apolitical—contribute to disparities within particular communities and landscapes. The commitments of my current research agenda extend from my published body of work in digital rhetoric, circulation studies, and public writing. Much of this work grapples with a tension in digital rhetoric. Whereas one thread of my research traces how digital circulation is vital for civic particpation, advocacy, and/or activist work, another thread demonstrates how such circulation relies on technological infrastructures that often exploit community-driven labor and further perpetuate structural inequalities. Woven together, these research threads are committed to designing and advocating for more just digital worlds. My research has appeared in Computers and Composition, Computers and Composition Online, Enculturation, Present Tense: A Journal of Rhetoric in Society, Rhetoric Review, and several edited collections.

Dustin Edwards presenting at the 2018 Rhetoric Society of America Conference in Minneapolis, MN. Photo by Christina Cedillo.

Book Project

Digital Damage and Rhetorical Invention at the End of Worlds

Though it may be common to locate digital rhetoric as a practice and theory related to digital texts and performances (often studied at the level of screen, interface, and text), Digital Damage and Rhetorical Invention at the End of Worlds works to broaden apertures of analysis to consider how “the digital” is entangled with land, water, and other more-than-human relations. Drawing on cultural rhetorics and feminist science studies perspectives on story, the project tells a rush of stories that focus on the precarity of digital-material landscapes in New Mexico (Facebook's Los Lunas Data Center and the Chino Copper Mine). By dwelling with digital damage in these places, I relay stories about the digital's entanglement with a range of issues: water rights, climate patterns, forced relocations, colonial violences, species extinctions, techno-optimist discourses, state infrastructures, and much more. Telling such stories is important for digital rhetoric, I argue, because it allows scholars to (a) bear witness to damage as it manifests in ecologies that are often distanced from everyday acts of digital composing; (b) enlarge theoretical understandings of digital rhetoric by focusing on the deep material ecologies in which digital information circulates, accretes, and decays; and (c) consider ways to invent new ethical response-abilities in the age of the Anthropocene.

see publications

Teaching

Writing classes should be spaces for questioning, for listening, and, ultimately, for action. As a teacher of writing and rhetoric, my pedagogy is grounded in the belief that rhetoric, in all its material and affective forms, has power, and that, through writing, students can assert their identities, participate in civic discussions, and solve problems or facilitate change within communities, workplaces, and publics. I have taught and designed many courses in UCF’s Writing and Rhetoric major, first-year composition program, and graduate program. Such classes include:

Digital Rhetorics, Writing in Digital Environments, Multimodal Composition, Professional Writing, Visual and Material Rhetorics, Cultural Rhetorics, Writing with Communities and Nonprofits

In these courses, I work to prepare students to write for diverse situations, inviting them to develop rhetorical knowledge to think critically, act ethically, and intervene kairotically in multiple contexts. In my experience, students do their best work when they can engage projects that matter to their personal, professional, and civic lives.

Recent

courses

Writing in Digital Environments

Focusing on issues of digital citizenship and ethics, students engage concepts of digital writing (algorithms, privacy, circulation, etc.) to analyze, invent, and deliver content.

Visual and Material Rhetorics

Placing attention on both analysis and production, students practice visual rhetorical analysis, design web and print projects, and consider how various materials and sites (quilts, jars of sand, memorials, etc.) can perform political work.

Writing with Communities + Nonprofits

Students in this class worked with communities in the local Orlando area on a variety of writing projects, including grant proposals, new media projects, and visual campaigns.