Sherman  Dorn

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Historian of education at the University of South Florida. I come from the social-science side of history, I've been an editor of an online, open-source journal, and I've kept a professional blog for 10 years. I learned a bit of structured (procedural) programming back when PASCAL was cool, and I can climb steep learning curves when necessary (though I wish I had the time to do so far more often).

  • Disruptive Pedagogy Meets Procedural Rhetoric

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    Okay, the title must look like a horrible Hollywood-style “high concept” description of … well, something. Something awful, probably. Or something fun.

    I hope the latter. Can we play with the core ideas of our disciplines in a way that is unavoidable, that forces students (or others we engage) to think about those core ideas? There are two concepts dancing around the edge of Digital Humanities that might help. On the one hand are the ideas Mills Kelly presents in his talk about disruptive pedagogy (see the notes taken at his session at THATCamp CHNM last year), where he argues that it is very useful to disrupt normal classroom discourse in ways that deliberately play with the sacred underpinnings of a discipline/field. Kelly has a number of interesting applications, not least of which is his historical hoax class that has become famous in the past few years (and gotten him a lifetime ban from Wikipedia).

    The other useful concept I grab is the argument of Ian Bogost about the procedural rhetoric of games, the argument that a computer algorithm pushes players to encounter a certain form of reality that can persuade. This has become famous in game studies — see for example Gail Carmichael’s application of procedural rhetoric to analyzing the game Agricola. But it might help us play with the idea of procedural rhetoric more broadly, either as games used in the classroom to disrupt discourse or as the broader rhetorical consequences of classroom structure.

    In any case, the session would have less yakking than this entry.

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