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Critical Power Tools
Technical Communication and Cultural Studies
Critical Power Tools
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J. Blake Scott - Editor
Katherine V. Wills - Editor
Bernadette Longo - Editor
SUNY series, Studies in Scientific and Technical Communication
Price: $95.00 
Hardcover - 306 pages
Release Date: July 2006
ISBN10: 0-7914-6775-9
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-6775-6

Price: $33.95 
Paperback - 306 pages
Release Date: June 2007
ISBN13: 978-0-7914-6776-3


Summary Read First Chapter image missing

Winner of the 2007 National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Award for Best Collection of Essays on Technical and Scientific Communication

The first sourcebook for rethinking technical communication theory, practice, pedagogy, and research through a cultural studies lens.

The first book to focus on the intersection of cultural studies and technical communication, Critical Power Tools draws on various traditions of cultural studies to develop new or expanded theoretical, methodological, and pedagogical approaches to technical communication. Offered as a sourcebook for the field, the book is organized into three parts. The first section, emphasizing theory building, reconceptualizes key concepts or practices, such as usability, through a cultural studies lens. The second section illustrates alternative research methods through several case studies. The third section offers critical and productive pedagogical approaches, including specific assignments, applicable to both undergraduate and graduate courses.

“Drawing on the tradition of situated and engaged research and teaching in technical communications, the authors of this collection … offer both robust theoretical frameworks and close links to the everyday practices of teachers, practitioners, and researchers.” — Journal of Business and Technical Communication

“Thinking about technical communication through some of the theoretical concerns of cultural studies is relatively rare, and long overdue. Talking about these issues is bracing and exciting. Figuring out how to put them to work in classrooms is vastly more difficult. The consistent attention not only to theorizing practice, but also to doing is a real credit to this volume.” — Carl G. Herndl, coeditor of Green Culture: Environmental Rhetoric in Contemporary America

“This book is unique in that no other text addresses the issue of cultural studies in technical communication. The contributors provide thoughtful, smart essays that initiate a useful discussion for the field.” — Stuart C. Brown, coeditor of The Writing Program Administrator’s Resource: A Guide to Reflective Institutional Practice

Contributors include Elizabeth C. Britt, Bradley Dilger, Jeffrey Doak, Diana George, Jeffrey T. Grabill, Jim Henry, Steven B. Katz, Bernadette Longo, David James Miller, Myra G. Moses, Alan Nadel, Michael J. Salvo, Beverly Sauer, J. Blake Scott, Jennifer Daryl Slack, and Katherine V. Wills.

J.Blake Scott is Associate Professor of English at the University of Central Florida, the author of Risky Rhetoric: AIDS and the Cultural Practices of HIV Testing, and coauthor (with Melody Bowdon) of Service Learning in Technical and Professional Communication. Bernadette Longo is Assistant Professor of Rhetoric at the University of Minnesota and the author of Spurious Coin: A History of Science, Management, and Technical Writing, also published by SUNY Press. Katherine V. Wills is Assistant Professor of English at Indiana University–Purdue University at Columbus and coeditor (with Marc Bousquet) of the eBook The Politics of Information: Electronic Mediation of Social Change.

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Table of Contents

Alan Nadel

Introduction: Why Cultural Studies? Expanding Technical Communication’s Critical Toolbox
J. Blake Scott, Bernadette Longo, and Katherine Wills


1. The Technical Communicator as Author: Meaning, Power, Authority
Jennifer Daryl Slack, David James Miller, and Jeffrey Doak

2. Extreme Usability and Technical Communication
Bradley Dilger

3. The Phantom Machine: The Invisible Ideology of Email (A Cultural Critique)
Myra G. Moses and Steven B. Katz


4. An Approach for Applying Cultural Studies Theory to Technical Writing Research
Bernadette Longo

5. The Rhetorical Work of Institutions
Elizabeth C. Britt

6. The Study of Writing in the Social Factory: Methodology and Rhetorical Agency
Jeffrey T. Grabill

7. Living Documents: Liability versus the Need to Archive, or, Why (Sometimes) History Should Be Expunged
Beverly Sauer


8. Writing Workplace Cultures—Technically Speaking
Jim Henry

9. Rhetoric as Productive Technology: Cultural Studies in/as Technical Communication Methodology
Michael J. Salvo

10. Extending Service-Learning’s Critical Reflection and Action: Contributions of Cultural Studies
J. Blake Scott

11. Designing Students: Teaching Technical Writing with Cultural Studies Approaches
Katherine V. Wills

Diana George

About the Contributors

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