Essays

I’ve provided links below to some of the essays I’ve written as part of my coursework from my time as a Masters student at the Faculty of Information, as well as stuff from classes I took during my first year as a PhD.  I have two reasons for doing so: I wanted to provide a place online where samples of my writing could be obtained easily and quickly, when relevant, and I also wanted to contribute to the web’s vast pool of informal informational resources.

These essays touch on a variety of subjects that I believe are relevant to researchers well beyond my own purview.  And sure, I’m not saying that I have written anything close to the authoritative account of the history of, for example, critical discourse analysis.  But I have at times had to pull together information from diverse and sometimes exotic sources and then shoehorn it together to make something resembling a coherent narrative.  Hopefully I’ve saved someone who happens upon my website the trouble of repeating my efforts.

As I’ve already implied, my connection to these materials is tenuous beyond the argumentative elements they contain.  So, if you follow my references to track down the luminaries in a certain research field, you certainly don’t have to cite one of my essays as a mediating source.  Of course the situation would be different if you wanted to borrow from a thesis statement, but I would not really recommend doing that.

I’ll post all my materials is the list below, in descending order from the most recently uploaded.  Note that each essay naturally conforms to the themes and content of the class for which it was written, which means that many of these works will be focused heavily on information-related issues:

Language on a Platform: Using Applied Linguistics and Platform Studies for Research in Information: In this essay I try to argue for a critical approach to platforms studies, a field developed largely by game scholars Ian Bogost and Nick Montfort.  I discuss discourse analysis from a Library & Information Studies perspective and also discuss the basics of platform studies.

Language in Action: Critical Discourse Analysis in Information Studies: Here I focus on critical discourse analysis as envisioned by Fairclough, before moving on to Wodak and the discourse-historical approach (DHA) that she develops. The information on the theoretical and intellectual roots of DHA was somewhat difficult to track down, so that might be the most useful section.

New Games of Life: Cellular Automata and Subsurface Discourses in SimCity: An essay analyzing SimCity as an elaborate cellular automaton, and the affordances and limitations inherent in that paradigm (this was written before the most recent version of SimCity was published). There’s a lot of discourse talk in this one as well.