Last spring he was an award-winning symposium presenter. This spring he passed his exams. We can safely assume he'll cure a disease by next March, right?
Jason Kalin, our reigning CRDMSA president, joined his fellow ranks of doctoral candidates by successfully passing his preliminary exams on Tuesday, February 15th.
Jason’s research focuses on the fourth canon of rhetoric and how it intersects with digital media tools and cultural practices. Now that he’s ABD, Jason will begin the
long and challenging super fun journey of working on his dissertation, which is tentatively titled, “Reanimating Memory: The Prospects of Rhetoric in a Digital Age.” He’ll be working under the expert guidance of his committee chair Vicki Gallagher, as well as members Carolyn Miller, Hans Kellner, and David Rieder. Gallagher had this to say about Jason’s success:
On behalf of the members of his committee, I would like to congratulate Jason Kalin on a job well done. Jason’s reading lists for his comprehensive/qualifying examination were among the lengthiest and most comprehensive that I have seen, yet he was able to demonstrate sophisticated mastery of the material. The external observer for the exam commented that it was one of the most rigorous oral examinations he had witnessed and that he admired the aplomb with which Jason responded to committee members’ questions. We look forward to working with Jason as he brings his own intellectual contributions to fruition in the dissertation.
Congrats, Mr. President!
You can check out more of Jason’s research, teaching, and other interests at his online portfolio or catch his upcoming CCCC presentation in Atlanta in April. You can also look for him on the sand volleyball courts, where he drives spikes so hard they make John Henry look like, um, a person from American folklore history who is significantly weaker at driving spikes. Rats–should have thought that one through.
The first of the year ushered in a new era of leadership for the CRDMSA, the student association that guides (governs?) the decisions that shape our program. Every year we elect a new crop of officers to lead meetings and represent the interests of the students to the program faculty and university bigwigs; for the past year, we’ve been ably led by Kelly Martin (President), Dan Sutko (Vice President), Ruffin Bailey (Treasurer), and Kathy Oswald (Secretary). We’re pleased to announce our officers for 2011, all of whom were peacefully elected and with little to no serious threat of a military junta.
Taking the reins for CRDMSA this year will be Jason Kalin (President), Lauren Clark (Vice President), Kevin Brock (Treasurer), and Meagan Kittle (Secretary). See pics below for the ever-so-official program photos of the new officers being sworn into their positions. (Images are all taken via iPhone, which demonstrates our commitment to the embedded cultural contexts of mobile surveillance in a post-Fordist economy…or something. Maybe we just didn’t have a better camera on hand.)
Kelly leaves behind some very big shoes to fill as President. Fortunately, Jason wears a size 22 (probably) and is more than up to the task.
"Smiley" Dan transfers his magical VP powers to Lauren through the arcane secret handshake.
Kelly is such a versatile ex-President she can accurately portray Ruffin's posture and grip for congratulating Kevin on his new position.
Our most Philadelphian Secretary to date, Kathy (right), extends her secret powers of rapidly transcribing minutes of our meetings with sass to Meagan, who will no doubt be every bit as accurate though considerably more Canadian.
Two second-year CRDM students, David Gruber and Jason Kalin, won recognition at NC State’s university-wide Graduate Student Research Symposium on Friday, March 11th. David won first place in the Social Sciences and Management category and Jason won second place in the Humanities and Design category. Their titles and abstracts follow below. Congrats to the both of you for doing our program proud across multiple disciplinary categories!
Advisor: Dr. Jason Swarts
Title: Decoding the Language of Brain Decoding
Abstract: Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has enabled neuroscience researchers to visualize patterns in the brain that can help them predict, with surprising accuracy, what a person is thinking (Hansen, et al., 2006; Haynes, et al., 2007). This fMRI research, known popularly as “brain-prediction” or “mind-reading,” initiated a flurry of news articles between February of 2007 and March of 2008. Often embedded with pictures from the science fiction film “Minority Report” and framed by fear-laced titles such as “German Scientists Reading Minds Using Brain-Scan Machines” (Fox News, 2007), these news articles demonstrated that not all fMRI advancements would receive the same amount or the same type of coverage in the media. Thus, this project examines how brain-prediction, as a particularly controversial fMRI research agenda, has been presented to the general public. Using verbal data analysis in conjunction with a critical rhetorical analysis, this project locates recurring grammatical features from a collection of popular news articles and then explores the rhetorical implications of those features in this context. Ultimately, this project concludes that the articles under examination display a pattern of distancing researchers from the negative future implications of the research and, through an over-reliance on non-human actors, promote a narrative of technological determinism.
Advisor: Dr. Jason Swarts
Title: Genetic Information and the Constitution of Medical Subjects: Critical Junctures in Genome Sequencing
Abstract: Increasingly sophisticated and economically feasible genome sequencing will likely help usher in an era of personal genetic medicine. Stephanie S. Turner (2005) argues that certain discourses surrounding genetic medicine exemplify what she terms critical junctures, which are “technological and cultural shifts that transform the idea of information” (p. 332). Turner identifies two critical junctures in genetic medicine, wherein the individual medical subject is neglected in favor of genetic information. However, given the advancement of genome sequencing, this study argues for a third critical juncture, wherein medical subjects are being reconstituted through genetic information as embodiments of their genes, and more importantly, as potentially in control of their genes. What becomes important is what individuals can do with their own genetic information. This study analyzes how the third critical juncture is being communicated in popular news sources to better understand how genome sequencing may be received by the public. Using discourse analytic techniques and rhetorical analysis, this study explores the technological, medical, and social consequences of genome sequencing, including its potential to constitute medical subjects thereby changing what it means to have a healthy body and to lead a healthy life. Indeed, the discourse of the news articles suggests that genome sequencing can be deeply unsettling because genetic information seems out of the individual’s control—which contradicts the claims made by genome-sequencing companies. Consequently, genome sequencing, because its results are still inconclusive, should be approached cautiously.