Digital porch

I noted Damien’s comment on why do academics talking about transliteracies and new genres use the established academic genre.  Melanie Hundley, Assistant Professor at the College of Education and Human Development at Vanderbilt Peabody College is an academic blending genres.  Her multi-media hypertext autoethnography, The Bard on a Digital Porch,  is a good example of an academic exploring multiple genres.  She writes:

“The goal of the project was two-fold; first, I wanted to craft my family stories into a collection of pieces that introduced a reader to Shakespeare the way that I met him in bits and pieces, fits and starts, quotes and misquotes. I also wanted to rediscover the rhythms and language of my childhood…

The choice of creating a digital ethnography is deliberate and part of my first goal the non-linear nature of hypertext mirrors the fits and starts of how I met Shakespeare. A traditional format did not suit the goal. This ethnography is both digital and multigenre in its format.”

Regarding genre, she says:

“I feel that academic writing limits me to a particular type of argumentation and idea presentation (as does storytelling).  I want to be able to choose among a variety of genres to express my ideas; I want to be able to choose the genre that best showcases what I want to say.”

Her autoethnography contains stories, poems, journal entries and photos.  There are three paths the reader can follow:

  • A chronological path that begins when she was seven
  • A path that lets you follow the players in the stories
  • A path that lets you follow play titles and quotes

Hundley writes about the multiple purposes of her text.

“There are multiple purposes for this excursion that is both ethnography and hypertext. It is both a ambling path through the stories of my childhood and an attempt to write in a form that enacts theories of text made explicit in hypertext. As an author of this text, I have my own purposes for this text. The purpose is also you, your journey, your meaning-making, your construction will allow you to co-author the text. You are on your own wander, meander, explore, construct.”