48. Championing Multimodality w/ Christine Martorana

In Episode 48, we talk to Dr. Christine Martorana of Florida International University about practicing student-centered pedagogy, building community in online courses, teaching zines as rhetorical texts, and utilizing multiple modes and languages in the writing classroom.

Christine Martorana is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Writing and Rhetoric Program at Florida International University where she teaches first-year composition, Introduction to Writing Studies, Rhetorical Theory and Practice, and a special topics course on zines as rhetorical texts. Christine also works with the FIU Writing Across the Curriculum Program as a WAC Consultant.

Christine’s teaching and research interests circulate around rhetorical agency and activism, multimodality, and digital pedagogy. Her recent and forthcoming publications include “The Woman Rhetor and Her Body: A Case-Study Analysis of How a Feminist Zinester Constructs Ethos as Corporeal Experiential Authority” (forthcoming 2021), “Online Teaching, Linguistic Diversity, and a Standard of Care: Developing a Shared Curriculum at a Hispanic-Serving Institution” (forthcoming 2021), and “The Muted Group Video Project: Amplifying the Voices of Latinx Immigrant Students” (published in Reflections: A Journal of Community Engaged Writing and Rhetoric, 2020). You can contact Christine here.

People and Texts Mentioned in the Episode

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“Something I’ve been thinking about, as I often teach Introduction to Writing Studies, is: how can I introduce students to the field through firsthand experiences?” @MaddoxChristine

“Maybe we’re going to come out of this pandemic with some new skills and some new literacies that we didn’t have before.” @MaddoxChristine

“Multimodality is actually a really effective way of [building a community in online courses].” @MaddoxChristine

“Zines are…rhetorical texts that are circulating and being distributed and doing meaningful work” @MaddoxChristine

“The majority of our students speak multiple languages, are very culturally diverse. And so finding ways for them to not only experience texts that bring in multiple languages–because it’s important obviously for students to see their languages and their cultures reflected back in the academic space, so they see that there’s value in those forms of communicating–but also giving them the opportunity to draw on those languages as resources…I try to show them and provide opportunities for them to see that that is a rhetorical skill that they can draw on.” @MaddoxChristine

“I need to recognize my whiteness to my students and not pretend like it’s not there.” @MaddoxChristine

“I try to explicitly state now [to my students]: there are multiple languages that we can communicate in, multiple dialects, and let’s think about the rhetorical impact of those choices and who is our intended audience and who are we including or excluding when we make these language choices.” @MaddoxChristine

“Traditionally, there’s five modes when we think about multimodality. There’s linguistic, visual, oral, spatial, and gestural. And my idea that I’m trying to parse out is: what if there was a sixth mode that is…the bilingual language mode?” @MaddoxChristine

“I think there’s value in making [the multilingual mode] explicit and recognizing this is a rhetorical choice that someone who is bilingual can make in their text, similar to bringing in a photo and incorporating the visual mode or bringing in sound effects and incorporating the oral mode. If you have the ability to bring in a different language, that is…a rhetorical strength.” @MaddoxChristine

“[Writing in another language] doesn’t just have to be a means to that privileged language [standard American English]. It can be its own end product.” @MaddoxChristine

“When you give students that freedom [to use multiple modes], they actually, in my experience, end up producing work that is more high-level, more engaged, more scholarly, than they might have otherwise.” @MaddoxChristine

This episode was recorded on February 1, 2021. Because we recorded via Zoom, there may be occasional audio hiccups. Our theme song is “4 am” by Makaih Beats. You can subscribe to the podcast on Apple PodcastsSpotify, and Stitcher and follow us on Twitter @WritingRemixPod.

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