Review (pt. I): Technological Ecologies & Sustainability

Technological Ecologies & Sustainability
Eds. Danielle Nicole DeVoss, Heidi A. McKee, and Richard (Dickie) Selfe
Computers and Composition Digital Press
, 2009

Whether you are a writing program administrator, an instructor, a student, or scholar, working with and thinking about technology and writing is exhausting. And inevitable. As an instructor, it is virtually impossible to engage students about their own writing (processes, products, motivations) without having to reckon with technology in some way. As such, much of the work of WPAs deals with issues of technology and sustainability to varying degrees. And scholars are just as subject to the confusion and negotiations of emerging technologies as WPAs and our students. Exhausting and exhilarating. And these are the two words which I think best capture the atmosphere to which Technological Ecologies & Sustainability responds.

It’s a relatively simple notion. Everything in our institutional environments is infused with technology. We must begin to conceptualize and study that environment as an ecology of aligned and conflicting interests. Initiatives and pedagogies which fail to understand this perspective will be incredibly difficult to sustain efficiently or at all. A simple notion.

But the content of the book is anything but simple. To understand anything as an ecology implies an almost limitless potential for detail and analysis. And this collections delivers. The book’s first section focuses on the material conditions facing instructors and students as they reckon with emerging technologies. The second section focuses on the work of WPAs as it relates to technologies in different ways. Section three moves outside the traditional confines of the Writing Program to look at how issues of technology and sustainability operate in writing centers, research centers, and community programs. The book’s final section covers issues related to sustaining the technology rich environments in which we work and how emerging technologies are affecting the nature of scholarship in our discipline. It’s really quite shocking to see just how many different threads can be woven together from three simple concepts (technology, ecology, sustainability). Even more surprising are the nuance and complication introduced by each chapter.

In my next two posts, I will:

a) contextualize this collection by mentioning a few existing texts with similar projects; and

b) address the “digitality” of the collection and the fact that it’s the first offering from CCDP

In order to get some discussion going on this volume, please feel free to post your own response to the collection here in the comments section, post a link to a review on your own blog, or to other sites that link to the collection. Of course you’re welcome to post anything else you want. I’ll do my best to respond.