Converging the ASS[umptions] between U and ME; or
How new media can bridge a scholarly/creative split in English studies

Cheryl E. Ball, Illinois State University, Normal, IL 61790-4240 USA

Ryan M. Moeller, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322-3200 USA


Authors of new media texts regularly draw on both scholarly and creative genres to construct their arguments. In so doing, they bridge disciplinary boundaries that have split English departments in the past. These boundaries are discussed in our text using the following binaries: high :: low, literature :: composition, and popular :: academic discourse. In this article, we examine, then complicate, the binary form :: content through a popular and academic YouTube video (Wesch, 2007). We then situate new media texts within the historical split between rhetoric and literature using Berlin’s social epistemic rhetoric as a bridge. Our argument concludes by showing that new media texts can provide a convergence between binaries in English studies, particularly the one found in tenure guidelines suggesting that research is either scholarly or creative. New media is both/and.

Keywords: aesthetic; content; creative; form; new media; social epistemic rhetoric; scholarly; soundtracks



Ryan and Cheryl would like to thank the FHE reading group at Utah State University, participants of Creighton University's Jacobson Symposium, and the English Department and Digital Media Studies group at The Ohio State University for their valuable feedback at different stages of this work. We would also like to thank Robert Watkins who allowed us to showcase and discuss his work here, and Curtis Newbold, who provided feedback and design help along the way.


Despite its quirky title, which we hope will find its way into many reference lists and conference presentations, the design of this webtext is purposefully reminiscent of a paper-based article so as to provide a conducive reading experience for those who may assume they are secondary audiences of webtexts like this one (i.e., tenure and promotion stakeholders who may not be primary readers of this journal).