One of the things I’m most proud of is my interdisciplinary approach to computing. Ironically, this used to be the thing I was most ashamed of. The academics among yoh will understand as academia is all about specialization. Take a narrow field and know it deeply.
I did my master’s degree in renaissance literature, and while some scholars focused on a particular author, what I was most interested in was how literature intersected with religion and science and sociology. Literature, for me, was often where the confluence and conflicts of the day got expressed if not worked out.
So when I came to think out composition and rhetoric in the digital age, and it was barely the digital age then, I considered that study not to be a narrowing of focuz, but a way of expanding how we think about each area. Technologies are influenced by who creates them and who reads them and things like ethics and aesthetics.
Last night, I had the opportunity to see my friend and colleague, Youngmoo Kim, honored for the way in which he brings art, computer science, engineering, music, and media together to create new things. As he said when he received his honor, we must connect. He meant, of course, people, but also ideas and fields. Solutions and innovations often come from connecting two disparate ideas together. The future needs that.
That’s why I now count my weird path from creative writing to rhetoric to computer science as a benefit. I have all those different concepts rolling around in my brain. Cool things could come out of that as long as I have opportunities to connect with people like Youngmoi and others trying to meld different things together and create something totally new.