y evil


Rosedale, Mississippi
Highway 8 / 1


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Map of the Crossroads


The purpose of this webtext is to further investigate choral writing, or the strategy used here for collecting an assemblage of possible terms under the heading of "The Crossroads." That is, the Map of the Crossroads traverses the various possible meanings of the crossroads as a conceptual idea. Just as essential, the following pages help to articulate the remainder, or critical terms that are left unplotted on the Map of the Crossroads.

Readers will be presented with a composition assignment that engages various notions of spatiality as they relate to digital rhetoric. The take-away will be the ability to define electracy through the strategy of choral writing.

Introduction to Electracy

Electracy “is to digital media what literacy is to print" (Ulmer, 2003, p. xii). It is an umbrella term that captures the shift from print to electronic literacy on various levels. Therefore, it addresses the epistemological and the ontological, the psychological and the social, the technological and the institutional, and the personal as much as the political.

But what exactly is electracy? This question is so difficult to answer because electracy is still emerging. In other words, we are still as much literate citizens as we are electrate netizens. Furthermore, defining electracy is especially difficult because electrate practices are still being invented and negotiated. In the way that reading and writing are not innately learned, the practices unique to electracy must be created and sustained by composition instructors, and others. Perhaps one of the most pressing ideas might be to consider how the shift from orality to literacy created new institutions of learning, such as the Academy and Lyceum. How might we respond in light of a similar educational shift from literacy to electracy? Is the internet replacing the university?

Electracy is still finding a definitive form. Just as literacy is an ever-evolving social invention, according to Ulmer, "The methodology of this invention [of electracy] is heuretics (the use of theory for the invention of new discourses) as distinct from hermeneutics (the use of theory for interpretation of existing discourses)" (2007). By thinking in terms of invention, and less in terms of interpretation, we can help to define electracy through the creation of innovative forms of electronic writing/design. One practice presented here is digital mapping.

The Map of the Crossroads is about the invention of a practice unique to electracy. In particular, it is an exercise that illustrates electracy through choral writing. As Ulmer describes, "The choral strategy of writing with the paradigm [is] to include the 'set' of possible terms collected under the heading of a given concept or category, rather than to select one part and suppress the remainder" (Ulmer, 1994, p. 85). In other words, the map plots a set of terms that helps to define the crossroads while the webtext negotiates the remainder.

Chora is a concept that has a long history in the Arts and Letters. In ancient Greece, "KhĂ´ra" designated the territory of the polis outside the city proper. Just as Plato used the term to designate a space that functions as more than a mere receptacle simply receiving words, the Map of the Crossroads remains unaware and even blind to its plotted terms. In other words, "Since it is absolutely blank, everything that is printed on it is automatically effaced. It remains foreign to the imprint it receives; so in a sense, it does not receive anything" (Derrida in Ulmer, 1994, p. 65). This is to say that no matter the terms that come and go the physical landscape remains unchanged.

Choral writing serves to demonstrate "a rhetoric of invention concerned with the history of 'place' in relation to memory" (Ulmer, 1994, p. 39). More specifically, the map initially situates Johnson's physical crossroads in the Mississippi Delta, populating and plotting numerous collective and rhetorical memories along the way. In concurrence with Derrida and Ulmer, the Map of the Crossroads uses choral writing to help invent electracy.





y good


Clarksdale, Mississippi
Highway 61 / 49


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physical crossroads

rhetorical crossroads

pedagogical crossroads

map of the crossroads

works cited