Nathaniel Rivers, Saint Louis University
Enculturation (2012): http://enculturation.net/rhetorical-theory-bruno-latour
With this series of video provocations, I am responding to what I feel is a surge of interest in Bruno Latour on the part of scholars in rhetorical theory. Beginning some time ago in technical and professional communication, the turn now to Latour in rhetorical theory more generally is notable not only for its suddenness, but also for its intensity. Panel discussions at the 2012 Conference and College Composition and Communication in St. Louis and the 2012 Rhetoric Society of America Conference in Philadelphia have attracted packed houses. Clearly, scholars of rhetoric are convinced that Latour has something to teach them.
The formula for these videos is as simple as it is ruthlessly consistent: three compelling quotes, a series of related, evocative images, a segment of narration outlining some possible point of articulation, and a segment of narration pointing toward that articulation’s development. In short, the videos work like little invention machines (and their mechanics frequently generate unexpected results). Even through their mechanical natures, though, these video responses are personal: they strike me as I read and respond to Latour out of my disciplinary enculturation in rhetorical theory. However, inasmuch as those of us in rhetoric share an interest in the objects of rhetoric, I hope these responses of mine might move viewers toward responses all their own: following the connections that interest them and maybe ignoring the others.
A very short video outlining why I think the work of Bruno Latour is important and necessary for rhetoric and composition.