I am excited for the opportunity to attend the Southwest Texas Popular Culture and American Culture Association Conference ( SW/TX PCA/ACA Conference) this February. When I received an email from a professor at my school (Minnesota State University, Mankato) with information about the conference, I was interested immediately. There are many topics covered at the conference but my subject area of interest is “Computer, The Internet & Technical Writing” and specifically, the Rhetoric and Technical Communication subject chaired by Sean Zdenek of Texas Tech University.
As a technical writer, I have presented a few times (see my past/future presentations) on practical topics related to the day-to-day work that I do as a technical writer. As a technical communications graduate student, I have the opportunity to research the theoretical aspects of technical communications as well. This combination of practical/theoretical has not only provided me with a greater understanding of my work but also is something that I personally enjoy. This is one of the reasons I am so excited to attend this conference.
Below is the abstract I submitted that I will present at the conference. Please note that this paper is the first of mine on this subject and reflects the current research I have done in my first year of graduate studies. I hope to continue researching Technical Communications, Rhetoric, and Ethics and to culminate this research with my Master’s thesis next year.
Topics Covered: Rhetoric and Technical Communications, Technical and Professional Writing (pragmatic), Technical Communications Pedagogy, and Ethics in Technical Communications.
Key words: communications, ethics, humanities, Kant, liberal arts, pedagogy, positivism, rhetoric , science, technical writing, technical communications, technology.
Paper abstract: Is Technical Communications Rhetorical? Ought It Be?
This paper will introduce the research I have comprised through the first year of my graduate studies in Technical Communications and Rhetoric and seeks to continue the discussion of which pedagogical method technical communications fits within. It then endeavors to develop the idea that not only is technical communications rhetorical and that its pedagogical framework belongs within the auspices of the humanities but also that there is an ethical aspect of technical communications that has not been linked to current pedagogical research. The time may be ripe to expound fully on this argument, as technology increasingly seems to move just beyond the reach of our humanity. Technical communicators skilled in the humanities and armed with the rhetorical and ethical resources learned therein are prepared to confront the following questions:
Is technical communications rhetorical? Does it belong within Liberal Arts pedagogy? Perhaps more importantly—ought it?
The question of “ought” or “should” elicits the ethical component of this issue and is the primary difference separating it from the current research on this topic. Finally, the purpose of this paper is not to answer these questions. I will continue to research this issue and hope to present my graduate studies thesis as the culmination of my research work on this topic.
See my Presentations page for a list of my past and future presentations.