SIGDOC'16 Silver Spring, MD (Washington DC), September 23-24, 2016 Tue, 08 Nov 2016 21:28:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Keynote Speakers Tue, 24 May 2016 00:05:32 +0000 The Chaos of Context: Presentation, Perception, and Agency

Dr. Richard Forno
University of Maryland Baltimore County

Public portrayals of the digital landscape, particularly through the entertainment mass media and product marketing, can have a profound influence on how the general public perceive the technology and its strengths and limitations. Over time, these images, stereotypes and dramatized capabilities are replicated across texts and repeated until they become the default paradigm for understanding a complex and ever-changing technological environment.

For example, one only needs to observe legislative bodies or watch mainstream news media trying to come to understand issues such as encryption, cybersecurity, or even pluralistic applications of the term “to hack” to see just how deeply the stereotype of the god-like but socially maladjusted ‘hacker’ have penetrated popular perceptions. Metaphors that act as a useful shorthand in fictional storytelling do not make a good basis for policy decisionmaking, but when sensationalized depictions of the reach, scope and capacity of the technologies drown out more sophisticated or nuanced descriptions of that capacity in practice, it is understandable why unrealistic expectations and unworkable proposals for technology – like encryption backdoors – continue to be proposed.

Drawing on examples from the media, academia, politics, and the technology industry, this keynote explores the connections between past and ongoing media tropes around technology/technologists and current debates in the field. This interpretively analyzed keynote argues that perception is just as important as performance, and rather than railing against the ‘stupidity’ or ‘ignorance’ around advances in technology, acknowledges instead that the models used by mass society (including policy makers) to understand digital innovations are part of a wider set of mass cultural messages that have served a purpose but now need to be updated. Addressing the assumptions and inaccuracies of these shared media-fuelled perceptions of the emerging digital society is an important part of understanding and overcoming conflicts between technology and policy.


Dr. Richard Forno’s academic and professional career has been spent bridging contexts and overcoming perceptions at the intersection of technology and practice. He is a senior lecturer in the UMBC Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, where he directs (and teaches in) UMBC’s graduate cybersecurity program, serves as the Assistant Director of UMBC’s Center for Cybersecurity, and is a Junior Affiliate Scholar at the Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society (CIS).

Although a student of the humanities, Richard is a self-taught geek whose twenty-year career spans the government, military, and private sector, including helping build a formal cybersecurity program for the US House of Representatives, serving as the first Chief Security Officer for the InterNIC, and co-founding the CyberMaryland conference. Richard was also one of the early researchers on the subject of “information warfare” and he remains a longtime commentator on the influence of Internet technology upon society. ( /

SIGDOC Ignite Mon, 23 May 2016 23:46:14 +0000 Ignite talks are 5-minute long speeches given at conferences, events, etc. that showcase bleeding-edge projects. They are lightning-fast and are meant to excite and energize an audience about a specific topic. For more information, check out these links:

Ignite Talks at SIGDOC are by invitation from the President of SIGDOC. We will update Ignite Talks as invitations are accepted.

“Much bro. Many wow.”: Mapping Gender and Citation Patterns in Rhet-Comp ANT Scholarship

Joseph V. Torok
Lecturer, English Department
Wayne State University

During the 2015 Indiana Digital Rhetoric Symposium, a spirited, back-channel conversation about the status of women in corners of rhetoric and composition unfurled on social media. Spurred by a tweet from Alice Daer, the conversation centered on how some women who are drawn to digital and technological issues in the field feel as if entry into scholarly circles to which they hold an affinity is particularly difficult. In short, the observation Daer and others made was that in some circles of rhetoric and composition, there is a perception that men may be speaking to other men to the exclusion of women. Scholarship centering on the digital and technical has been heralded by a turn to Actor-Network Theory in rhetoric and composition, particularly as articulated by French sociologist Bruno Latour. The 2015 edited collection Thinking with Bruno Latour in Rhetoric and Composition is an exemplar of the turn to ANT in rhetoric and composition. This Ignite presentation will discuss how a study of citation patterns as drawn from the works cited lists in the text Thinking with Bruno Latour in Rhetoric and Composition can contribute to and ground difficult conversations about the gender dynamics of scholarly work. This presentation builds on Derek Mueller’s (2012)  call for rhetoric and composition scholars to perform such data analyses and visualizations while extending them with an ”attention to gender, race, ethnicity, and disability.” This Ignite will present and visualize the findings from the study of citations in the Thinking with Bruno Latour text. Among others, this presentation will compose a framework for analysis that draws from cultural rhetorics (de Certeau, 1988), material rhetorics (Gries, 2015), and feminist theory (Pollack, 2015).