Phil Bratta



Photo by Christina Victoria Cedillo

“Bridging Culture and Affect: Rhetorical Practices with(in) a Digitized Archive”

My dissertation is a theoretical argument that shows the ways that affect and signification (cultural meaning) inform each other and emerge in rhetorical texts and events. In other words, rhetoric, in its various modes (linguistics, visual, aural, olfactory, and haptic), has the potential to operationalize cultural affect. This dissertation attempts to evince cultural affect as it moves in, on, through, and with activist texts, archivist materials, and a researcher’s body in both analog and digital spaces. To show this theory in action I use three methods—story, interviews, and visual-tactile rhetorical analysis—as I examine some of the political posters in the Joseph Labadie Special Collections archive. In my analysis, I delineate the limitations and affordances of digitizing texts, drawing attention to the changing affects with artifacts as they enter digital spaces. But, by also discussing the research process and findings, I call for approaches that not only challenge researchers and teachers to attend to their identity, subjectivity, and politics but also to cultivate relationships with mentors, peers, other academic scholars, students, and communities.

constellations: a cultural rhetorics publishing space

Malea Powell, Cindy Tekobbe, Alex Hidalgo and I built and run a digital journal: constellations: a cultural rhetorics publishing space, which is now live: constell8cr.comIt is an online double-blind peer-reviewed journal focused on cultural rhetorics scholarship, teaching, and practice. Cultural rhetorics is anchored in the belief that all cultures are rhetorical and all rhetorics are cultural, and this belief forms a set of constellating methodologies, theories, and practices which draw attention to the intricate ways meaning emerges in human practices.

The inaugural issue will be published by the end of 2017. Inquiries should be directed to

Digital Media and Composition (DMAC) 2016

In May 2016, I participated in Digital Media and Composition Institute (DMAC) at The Ohio State University. Listed below is the final project, which was a 60 second video (“Concept in 60”).  “working hands” is a memory and contemplation upon how my hands connect to my own desire for ideas and thinking, my familial upbringing and time working as a mechanic for years, and the practice of writing.

working hands Concept in 60 Transcript

After this video was made and shown to the rest of the DMAC participants, Cate Sacchi St Pierre asked to me to participate in a discussion with her, Cynthia Lin, Ebony Bailey, and Elizabeth Johnston on why and how we made the videos we made. Here is the video of me discussing my Concept in 60: