Reading Summary 6

digital writing hands

In the article, Understanding Visual Rhetoric in Digital Writing Environments, by Mary Hocks gives information about rhetoric found in digital writing environments. She explains how teachers can teach their students to write about the visual rhetoric in digital environments. Hocks introduces the subject of the digital writing environment by stating that in this current period of time the prevalence interactive media is increasing as a result visual rhetoric has become critical when writing. Digital writing involves mixing together words and visuals. Hock refers to this type of writing as a hybrid of “verbal, spatial and visual”. Hybrid literacy employs a complex interaction between verbal and visual meanings. Because of this new relationship of rhetoric, changes must be made to supplement for this new definition of writing. Teachers who in the past taught rhetoric in print are now having to try teaching their students visual rhetoric. Hocks goes on to describe some key feature of digital rhetoric by analyzing two scholarly essays by Anne Wysocki and Christine Boese. She introduces the terms audience stance, transparency, and hybridity. Hock defines audience stance to be the encouraging or discouraging of interactivity from audience created by the author, examples of diferent ways this can be utilized are shown in Wysocki’s hypertext. Transparency is defined as how an online document organizes and establishes conventions like print, graphic design, film, and web pages; that make it clear and familiar to a reader, example Wysocki’s hypertext is given showing how easy the reader can navigate through the text. Hybridity is the ways in which online documents combine and construct visual and verbal designs, once again Hocks gives Wysocki as an example stating that her work merges images and text in thoughtful and unconventional ways which allows readers to experience a new way of learning. Hock then introduces The Ballad of the Internet Nutball written by Christine Boese, continuing to explain how the text also displays the three aspects of visual digital rhetoric. She then compares both Wysocki and Boese articles on how they utilize audience stance, transparency, and hybridity. Before Hock explains how teachers can teach their student visual digital rhetoric, students first need to be shown how to use multimodality in order to build new knowledge. Having technology cable of producing this knew knowledge is also required. She continues by stating that, “students need to learn the distanced process of how to critique the saturated visual and technological landscape that surrounds them as something structured and written in a set of deliberate rhetorical moves”. After establishing these precedents, Hock then explains how teachers can teach their students visual digital rhetoric in two steps. First assignment assigned must complement the objective of the course. Second student need to learn how to plan their projects by applying storyboards. Mary Hocks article explains the digital writing environment is being able to recognize the importance of meaning concerning text that combine text and visual cues. She then applies how this visual digital rhetoric are established in three terms audience stance, transparency, and hybridity; giving examples of scholarly text to support her claim. Hocks concludes by explaining the process teachers can take to teach their students about the visual rhetoric in digital environments.

Hocks, Mary E. “Understanding Visual Rhetoric in Digital Writing Environments.” College Composition and Communication 2003: 629. JSTOR Journals. Web. 7 Mar. 2016.

Reading Summary 5


Moderation300x300-copyIn Melissa King’s article, Better Online Living through Content Moderation, she explains how in today age of technology there is prevalent amount of abuse and harassment on the internet. King offers a solution to the problem through content control features such as block and ignore functions, content/trigger warnings, blocklist and privacy options. By employing these variety of functions, one can choose to make their online experience less irritating, but to others who may suffer from PTSD; these content control features are vital to them so that they can avoid topics and people that may trigger their anxiety. Yet these tools face constant cultural opposition. Users of optional moderation tools are often criticized for being weak or too sensitive. Disparaging and discouraging the use of content control features, creates a culture that pressures people to expose themselves to content that can be detrimental to a victim with anxiety issues. Though content control features don’t guarantee a stop to the effects of abuse online, they do aid in limiting attacks that can cause PTSD if severe or long-term enough.

One of the major misconceptions of content control is the argument that people who are victims to online harassment blow it out of proportion, and they should be less sensitive and ignore it. Melissa King points out that this argument composes a misleading parallel to exposure therapy; a type of therapy designed to combat severe anxiety through gradual and controlled exposure to its source, to inure an individual to these triggers and lesson the disruptions they can cause. In the perspective concerning online harassment, the concept exposure therapy is clearly a misapplication compared to content control, because having random internet strangers hurl insults and threats at someone with the hope they somehow come out more mentally durable. In this way victims suffering from PTSD will likely have their trauma amplified rather than reduced. On the same ignorance that holds the misunderstanding of exposure therapy, popular culture presumes that PTSD is something only military veterans suffer from. Argument against content control employs that online harassment is merely mean words said on the internet and have no real threat to the safety of someone or their family. In reality long-term exposure to threats of violence online is one of the major causes of PTSD.

a2b4Blocklists are one of more recent content control tools available, arguments against blocklist are that people are being defamed for statements and opinion that they didn’t make when they are added to mass blocklist. However, blocklist creators like Randi Harper, creator of Good Game Auto Blocker, claims that blocklist creates its filtering methodology and appeal process clear therefore claims to defamation do not hold; when one is flagged it is absolutely correct because it blocks the majority of interactions with Gamergate on Twitter. These points however fail to recognize how ruthless and pervasive online harassment can be. Gamergate, for example, is notorious for doing everything in its power to threaten people into silence – from calling and threatening family members, to posting pictures of their targets’ homes and addresses online. These are all intimidation tactics that are designed to silence people – and are clearly illegal. Often women are especially targeted to this type of abuse, particularly women who are in positions that are considered male-dominate. Women in the tech industry or in the video game culture are often the main targets. Asking victims not to use content control tools is basically forcing the abused to spend more time with their abusers.

Content control tools like trigger or content warnings, blocklist and muting features can block unwanted harassment and abuse on the internet especially for people who suffer from psychological trauma. Not everyone is able to ignore these online abusers especially if they have PTSD. Ultimately, the solution to this issue would be that content control tools shouldn’t be discouraged because it gives others the power to personally moderate the worst of the internet in no way violates anyone else’s rights, and is often the best option victims have. For people that are pro anti-content control, they are supporting misinformed opinion that are insufficient to helping others mentally and is further increasing harmful patterns in online abuse

King, Melissa. “Better Online Living through Content Moderation.” Model View Culture. N.p., 14 Oct. 2015. Web. 8 Mar. 2016.

Reading Summary 4

Gender-NeutralThe most distinct and clearest visual marker that separates male and female are the signs on public bathroom entrances. Having Men on one door and Women on the other; people in society have to choose what gender they are every time before they enter a bathroom. In this new generation gender equality is slowly being adopted in all aspects of life in society. But restrooms being a public convince, freely available in most places and are open to all; are still a place where gender is separated. Restrooms are ultimately where we as humans go and obey the dictates of our bodies, therefore it is natural to feel vulnerable. Due to this, humans have created a standard were when someone confuses male and female and walk through the wrong door, that person risks discomfort or even real trouble. But now transgender people are asking society to rethink this old convention of signs.

The world is not yet ready to idea of mixing male and female anatomy in multistall bathrooms and locker rooms. As evident in in the voters rejection of a broad equal rights ordinance in Houston. This  law would have protected individuals against discrimination in housing and employment, as well as public spaces, on the basis of several categories, including age and race along with sexual orientation and gender identity. The opponents won , by  nicknaming the law the “bathroom ordinance” also making a t-shirt and TV ad showing a sinister man threatening a girl in the stall, as a result successfully instilling fear in the voters.

braille-all-gender-bathroom-sign-se-5635_223In contrary to Houston recent rejection for gender equality bathrooms. School districts have been generally accepting to transgender student. Transgender students are call by their preferred names and are allowed to join the sports teams of the gender with which they identify with. On the other handing, deciding where they should change and shower and use the bathroom has been more pragmatic. A great example would be a case in suburban Illinois, where a transgender high school student that underwent hormone therapy and passport identified her as female, asked to change in the girls’ locker room. The district refused and had her change in a separate room down the hall. She and her parents ordered a civil rights complaint to the the United States Department of Education. The Education Department granted her the right to change and shower in the same locker room as her female peers; a curtain addressed all her needs and other students’ concerns. It was just that simple to give a transgendered high school student the comfortability she needed to shower and change at school.

The main goal in creating public bathrooms that are open to all genders is accommodation. Accommodation is a word that implies moving over to make room for others, whether you want it or not. Society have been able to provide reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities, by putting a bar next to a toilet and a button that opens the door. Why can’t a transgender shower in their own stall amongst her peer by just providing them with a privacy curtain. A small adjustment for the sake of coexistence.

As we approach the future and more transgender people are able to use the bathroom of their choosing. The Transgender Law Center offers a resource guides that help transgenders go to the bathroom they identify with. Having a public bathrooms that accommodate to transgenders means that the place must allow that person to feel comfortable and be able to belong, something all us human need.

Bazelon, Emily. “Making Bathrooms More Accommodating.” The New Yor Times Magizine 17 Nov. 2015. Web.

Reading Summary 3


In this current era the definition of gender has transformed, no longer does it have a clear role in separating male and female. Through todays advances in technology, traditional masculine and feminine roles are being challenged. Designers of today need recognize society’s issues in todays gender revolution, being able to work and help promote a more accepting and diverse society.

The main issue currently with gender is that the design within todays landscape is still upheld by Modernism, an architectural movement built in the male’s perspective. In the past men have seized all power in the workplace, as a result male necessities are met through Modernist design models, leaving females with subsequent accommodations. Even in today’s information age, the world of technology and web design is also a very male-dominated field, with 85 percent of tech workers at the top companies being male.

Though recently there have been events pointing to a new wave of feminism. Emma Watson, an actress and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, gave a speech promoting the He for She movement went viral, which promoted men to join the cause for gender equality. The LGBTQ rights movement is also gradually accepting same-sex marriage. In the workplace, woman have become more prominent, therefore today’s workplace is going through a transformation. People want mire softness in interiors with the influences of hospitality through tactile and textural materials like carpeting and textiles. The time for designers to modify gender sensitivity into their work is now.

When you are born, typically you are assigned a gender, but you can decided what gender to identify with beyond this. In this present day, college students are not putting their gender down in forms and children in middle school are asking to have their gender unspecified or changed. This is showing that the up and coming generation are taking a stand and saying they don’t want to be identified a one or the other (male or female).

Architecture and interior design are slow in the process to gender equality, compared to the world of fashion and beauty. Because of their fast cycles they are the first to embrace the trends of this new generation. For example, Alexander Wang’s women’s coat from Fall 2015 has masculine tailoring with a military look and Annemiek van der Beek’s Primal Skin makeup line has been designed to be appealing to the male buyer.

Corporations like Google have taken note of this new gender neutral revolution, and have adopted unisex bathrooms to allow all individuals in the workplace to feel comfortable, safe, and included. Martine Rothblatt, a transgender who is the CEO of United Therapeutics, defied traditional roles by becoming the highest-pad female executive in the Untied States even though she was born biologically male. But in many businesses there is still issues with sexuality. In one case, an employee underwent gender-reassignment surgery during summer break, but on his return both female and male coworkers went to human resources and complained about not wanting this person in their bathroom.

In the past, being male meant that you were the dominate force over females, but in the post-gender world of today masculine and feminine roles are being switched and obscured. This is an essential human phenomenon and in this society design needs to be respectful to every different individual. In being able to create an environment were a gender-neutral design accommodates to everyone’s need, then anybody can function and do what they need to do no matter who they are, all in a safe place.

Tick, Susan. “His & Hers: Designing for a Post-Gender Societt.” METROPOLIS MAGAZINE Mar. 2015. Web. 16 Feb. 2016.

Reading Summary 2


In Irina Nersessova’s Tapestry of Space: Domestic Architecture and Underground Communities in Margaret Morton’s Photography of a Forgotten New York, she provides insight into Margaret Morton’s photographs of underground and aboveground homes of the homeless in New York City. In Morton’s The Tunnel, she shows how the homeless living in the underground tunnels of New York survive and live through her photographs. When discussing Morton’s pursuit to record urban New York life, Nersessova applies twentieth century Marxist ideas developed by the Situationist International. Situationist International’s concern with the capitalist order, because capitalism maintains the society it has created.Without the abolition of capitalism or any oppressive order, the working-class continues to struggle within the boundaries imposed on them by the system in place. To put it in simpler terms, the wealthy stay rich and the homeless/poor faces new forms of struggle everyday. She goes on to explains how Situationist International’s goal was to eliminate the division between art and life; that is exactly what the homeless are doing when they make these shanty homes from discarded material. The building of homes is also connected to the ability to self-identify, to represent the inner self through the personal and practical art of domestic architecture. The people of The Tunnel and Fragile Dwelling technically have homes they have built. The argument that they do not own the property can be dismissed with the realization that many people do not own the property they live on. It is this vulnerability and the absence of a stable home that categorizes the homeless as homeless. When interview the homeless, Morton discovers the many perspective and difference the homeless can have. For example, in a interview with Larry, he prefers to live in the tunnels rather than settling in the shelter system or aboveground shanties. Larry says that by living in the tunnels he is protected from the traffic and conflict that is happening aboveground that could endanger his life. Nersessova states, “since the tunnel is shelter from the conflicts above, the residents’ choice to live underground demonstrates that the social problems above ground have forced them into an alternate sphere”. In another interview, Morton talks with a man named Pepe. Pepe made money by typesetting and electronics, but after and accident he slowly began to loose money and the Social Security check wasn’t enough to pay rent. So he created his own dwelling in the New York neighborhood of Bushville and became the self-described watchman of the neighborhood. He continuously improves his home, fixing leaks and making it warmer for the winter months. Pepe was going to finish the kitchen and bathroom to his dwelling but was demolished before he could do anything. By building and sharing these homes, they are showing that the homeless can be independent and social responsible. So by destroying these homes, you are actually destroying the integrity of the homeless to survive. Irina Nersessova concludes her article by stating that as long as the majority can’t change their view on these homeless dwellings, as spaces of creative guide to artistic expression also necessary for survival rather than piles of trash.The conflict between the society of the spectacle and the survival of peripheral groups like the homeless will continue.

Reading Summary 1

In Sarah Schindler’s article, Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation Through Physical Design of the Built Environment, she explains how a city’s architectural layout can promote segregation and discrimination. Often the people who are regulated and constrained are poor people and people of color. In Schindler’s article she reveals how the built environment of certain cities have man-made physical features that prevent the poor and colored people from accessing certain areas and how it is overlooked not only by the common people but the scholars who design them.


These architectural exclusions can come in the form of walls, fences, and highways. These physical barriers disable the interaction between different groups of people in a community.  She also includes that street layouts, one-way streets, the absence of sidewalks and crosswalks; design elements that can shape the demographic of the city and regulates behavior of people by making it difficult to travel through certain areas. For example, some bridges were designed so low that buses could not pass under, preventing people who rely on public transportation unable to access these areas. Some highways are built in order to destroy neighborhood that were in the slums/projects. The designs in the built environment can raise many problems for the poor and colored people, like  Schindler explains how architectural exclusion can limit the poor/color people from transportation, quality of life, and economic opportunities.


Schindler  goes on to state that these exclusionary built environments have been given little attention by Courts, judges, and lawmakers; since most city planners and architects design cities and neighborhoods with hopes in creating more efficient routes and streets to help with the flow of traffic and other such related things. Often these physical regulation are put up by city planners ignorant of the fact that it has effected a certain group of people. But the worst fact is that often people of the community view these architectural exclusion as merely there because it was just designed to be there. Even if a physical barrier is put up in the attempt to segregate, it is difficult to show the intent of discrimination especially involving land use and the built environment. Lawmakers are more concerned about laws that promote discrimination rather than architectural designs, because the built environment does not fit within the definition of regulation as legal scholars traditionally employ the term. As a result the built environment is very easily overlooked when setting new laws. In reality the idea that architecture regulates is found at the core of much urban planning and geography scholarship, unfortunately that body of literature does not always describe architecture regulation, therefore nothing is done.

Sarah Schindler concludes her article by stating that the government is able cover up their true intent behind reason architectural exclusion by making a more efficient the built environment, but really it is to segregate and discriminate undesirable groups of people from a community. She wanted to raise awareness of the regulatory nature of architecture and its role in dividing people within a community. By making the common people of cities realize that designs in their city may be put up for the reason of discrimination, Sarah Schindler hopes to begin taking action against its effects in the future.