The Two Virtuals: New Media and Composition

SKU: 978-1-60235-022-9

Alexander Reid

* Runner-Up, JAC / W. Ross Winterowd Award 2007 for best book in composition theory.

New Media Theory
Edited by Byron Hawk

Information and Pricing
978-1-60235-022-9 (paperback; $27.00; £15.00); © 2007 by Parlor Press. 224 pages, with bibliography, and index

Other Formats Available
978-1-60235-023-6 (hardcover; $54.00; £30.00); 978-1-60235-024-3 (Adobe eBook; $14.00; £8.00)

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In The Two Virtuals, Alex Reid shows that to understand the relationship between our traditional, humanistic realm of thought, subjectivity, and writing and the emerging virtual space of networked media, we need to recognize the common material space they share. The book investigates this shared space through a study of two, related conceptions of the virtual. The first virtual is quite familiar; it is the virtual reality produced by modern computing and networks. The second, less familiar, virtual comes from philosophy. It lies in the periphery of more familiar postmodern concepts, such as deconstruction, the rhizome, and simulation. In drawing the connection between the two virtuals of philosophy and networked media, Reid draws upon research in computers and writing, rhetoric and composition, new media studies, postmodern and critical theory, psychology, economics, anthropology, and robotics.

About the Author

Alex Reid is an associate professor and the director of Professional Writing at the State University of New York College at Cortland. His scholarship focuses on the relationship between writing, pedagogy, and emerging technologies and has appeared in journals such as Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy, Theory & Event, and Culture Machine, as well as in collections such as Culture Shock and the Practice of the Profession: Training the Next Wave in Rhetoric and Composition, and Techknowledgies: New Cultural Imaginaries in the Humanities, Arts, & TechnoSciences. He maintains a blog, Digital Digs, on the issues of new media, writing, and higher education at


1 Introduction: The Two Virtuals

  • Cognition, Consciousness, and Subjectivity
  • Learning to Live with New Media

2 The Evolution of Writing

  • Speech and Gesture
  • The Evolution of Writing

3 Nineteenth-Century New Media

  • The Discourse Machine Gun1
  • 24 Frames Per Second

4 Cybernetics

  • Homeostasis
  • Autopoiesis
  • AI-AL

5 Into New Media

  • Simulation
  • Digital Cinema
  • From Digital to Analog Virtuality

6 Waking Up in the Machine

  • Multiplicities and the Becoming of Thought
  • Cartesian and Topological Spaces
  • Paranoia and Simulation
  • Choice and Free Will
  • Machinic Enslavement
  • Virtually Autonomous

7 Virtual Composition

  • Ripping.Contagion.Mushrooms
  • Mixing
  • Burning
  • Electracy: Creative Affects
  • Rhythm Science
  • Burning Copyright

8 The Pedagogic Event

  • Pedagogic Communication
  • The “Teachable Moment”
  • Inventing New Media Pedagogy

9 Whatever Discipline

  • Excellence and Control
  • Whatever Discipline
  • Endit

About the Author

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