When Apple launched its new Watch, the company said it was its most personal device ever. Strapped to the body of its wearer, the Watch was immediately more of an intimate experience with technology than anything experienced with a smartphone. Wearable technology offers a more personal experience, and it’s hard not to notice someone with a wearable, from watches to fitness trackers.

West Virginia University Department of English professors Catherine Gouge and John Jones will address the rise of wearable technology as they co-edit an edition of the Rhetoric Society Quarterly, an academic journal from the Rhetoric Society of America.

Gouge and Jones will edit the April 2016 edition, with a focus on “Wearable Rhetorics: Bodies, Cities, Collectives.” The journal is published four times a year in January, April, July and October. The journal’s Editorial Review Committee selects editors for the publication based on applications and content proposals from across the country.

Gouge is an associate professor with interests in science and technology studies and medical communication. Jones is an assistant professor with interests in digital communication, digital literacy and professional writing. The pair will review and edit five articles to be included in the issue.

“This is an exciting opportunity both because of the venue, RSQ, is one of the top journals publishing articles about rhetoric,” Gouge said. “And because of the topic, which is quickly becoming the focus of new work in the field but has yet to be the focus of a special issue in a rhetoric journal.

“One of the reasons we proposed this topic is that this special issue would be the first in our field to theorize and historicize rhetorics produced, enabled, and disclosed by wearable devices such as medical monitoring devices and activity monitors,” Jones said.

Gouge and Jones have worked together on several wearable rhetoric’s projects, including presentations at the 2015 Conference on College Composition and Communication and the 2014 Association of Rhetoric of Science and Technology pre-conference at the National Communication Association Conference as well as multiple grant proposals to study activity monitor wearers and the ways in which “wearing” is a compositional process.

Gouge and Jones are currently preparing an article for publication (“Critical Making: Writing the Body with Wearable Monitoring Technologies”) and are preparing a book project on the role of wearable technologies in communication about the body.



CONTACT: Devon Copeland, Director of Marketing and Communication, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, West Virginia University, 304-293-6867, Devon.Copeland@mail.wvu.edu

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