Gail Hawisher
Rhetnetcomputers & writing
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Gail Hawisher's snapshot --

The Voices of the Field

Our book tries to capture successive screenshots of computers and composition studies during the past 15 years and places them side-by-side with the changing technologies of the larger society. To bring in as many different perspectives as possible, we all agreed that many voices from within the field needed to heard. We tried to do this in several different ways, but certainly a favorite technique of ours was the "interview." To my surprise even this method of historical research changed in the five years it took us to write the book.

As you all know, Paul is a terrific interviewer. So, in the early years of our book writing, he did wonderful face-to-face and sometimes telephone interviews with Lisa Gerrard, Hugh Burns, Lilly Bridwell-Bowles, Pat Sullivan, and Michael Joyce, to mention a few of the interviewees. These interviews are some of the finest moments in the book, and we treasure them. But somewhere along the way we turned to email interviews. When the email interview with Myron Tuman was completed, we all marveled at how Myron's words came to life through e-mail.

Then we decided that the new young scholars of the field needed to be heard as well, and we asked Becky Rickly, Johndan Johnson-Eilola, Nick Carbone, Mary Hocks, Locke Carter, Michael Day, Eric Crump, and Pam Takayoshi to participate. But this time there were no face-to-face encounters, no telephone interviews, no e-mail queries--there was only the MOO. And we all stood back and watched.

One has to think that if we were still working on the book (which we finished only a month ago!), there would now have to be the World Wide Web. And, for sure, here it is! Many thanks for asking us to participate in small ways as weavers of the 1995 C&W Web! When we began our history, there were few print documents to help us; when we ended our short history, there were, once again, fewer print documents but this time for entirely different reasons.

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