Remix and Remediation Writing Writing thru media

ENC 1131: Dr. Shannon Butts

Course Description

In popular terms, a Remix alters elements of a song to create something new while still retaining aspects of the original. Likewise, a Remediation changes form or method of transmission, but often attempts to stay true to a narrative or argument. Yet, how does a Kanye song change when remixed in response to a Taylor Swift moment? What influence does Google have in the ‘algorithmix’ composition of poetry? How have 140 characters and concepts of ‘un-friending’ altered the way we communicate and compose? And how is technology changing the way audiences understand and access various forms of information, in turn facilitating new forms of authorship and commentary? Working with various print, digital, aural, visual, and experiential texts, this class will analyze how remixing and remediation alter both form and content, working through changes in production, circulation, and reception. Beginning with basic principles of rhetorical analysis, the course will address methods of argument and organization in various types of media, tracing the role of author, audience, form, and style. Building on this foundation, students will then work to understand how form and style both centralize and de-center media, acting as a driving force of production embedded in a specific culture, content, and context. Ideas of transition and adaptation will challenge interpretations of the ‘creative’ and ‘original’ as students remix and remediate classic works as well as their own ‘new’ media. Students will not only write critically about our objects of study but will also have the opportunity to produce original work.

Key concepts include: remix, remediation, digital rhetoric, copyright, invention

Course Materials

  • Paul Miller – Sound UnBound
  • Scott McCloud – Understanding Comics
  • Brett Gaylor - R.I.P. A Remix Manifesto
  • Kirby Ferguson – Everything Is A Remix
  • Eduardo Navas - Art, Media Design, and Postproduction
  • Lawrence Lessig, Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy.
  • Films will be screened during our assigned time and available in the library
  • Additional readings provided on Canvas

Course Objectives

  • Read, write, and think critically about remix, copyright, and remediation
  • Discuss the historical and critical context of various texts and mediums
  • Organize complex arguments in writing
  • Discover strategies for knowledge production
  • Understand the role of invention in copyright and plagiarism
  • Write creatively across disciplinary contexts
  • Locate the role of rhetorics in a digital age
  • Establish and support significant historical, critical or theoretical claims
  • Consider how remix can rhetorically engage concepts of race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and writing for civic action
  • Create compelling content for course projects which includes multiple forms of effective writing, different writing styles, approaches and formats; and methods to adapt writing to different audiences, purposes and contexts.

Major Assignments

In this course we write through various types of media to discover the rhetorical affordances of each form. Remixing content requires an understanding of the unique parts of a composition and how to recombine parts to make a new whole. Each assignment will work on analyzing and interpreting different types of media and remediating content through alphabetic, aural, and visual media using critical perspectives and ethnographic methods. Through remix and remediation, writers will practice invention strategies and work to understand how cut, copy, and remix approaches can change a text.


In this assignment, you will work with a partner (if you so choose) to create a podcast in the style of another podcast. This, in other words, is an exercise in style and imitation. Choose a podcast, analyze it, step into its shoes, see how it sees and represents the world. Then choose a concept, a theme, something from our class discussion or reading—really, anything remix related—and make a podcast about that idea in the style of another podcast. The key to this assignment is to dive deep and make sense of the original podcast. Diagram the structure, analyze the elements, and work to adapt your podcast to best represent the character of the original. You should see your podcast as an episode of the original – able to fit in the archive and match the other episodes. You will be responsible for conceiving, researching, scripting, recording, and editing your own podcast. Your deliverables will be a 9-12 minute podcast + Style analysis + written comparative rhetorical analysis

  • Podcast 9- 12 minutes (500 word script)
  • Style analysis (800 words)
  • Rhetorical analysis (1000 words)

Scene analysis

For this assignment you will choose a scene from one of the films screened in class and write an essay discussing the formal choices made by the director and the effects, which these choices produce. The goal here will be to train you in the reading of cinematic texts and to gain a better understanding of how films communicate. As part of the project, you will complete a short shot by shot scene analysis to go over the formal elements of the scene. Then you will compose a response paper making claims about the director's choices and film style. You are welcome to use outside research as well.

  • Shot by shot analysis (500 words)
  • Scene Analysis (1500 words)

Photojournalism Project

The photojournalism project employs ethnographic methods to study an event. For this assignment, you will document some local issue or event in both images and various written accounts. Think about covering the event as a reporter. Take pictures, record observations, and not specific details. Then you will compose your story across both Instagram and Twitter. For each medium, you will make choices as to how best represent the event and align with the common practices of each platform. You will also write a short rhetorical analysis essay in which you reflect critically upon the differences between the forms (2300 words total across platforms and essay).

  • Notes (500 words)
  • Instagram story (300 words)
  • Twitter story (700 words)
  • Rhetorical analysis (800 words)

Discussion Posts

Each week you will respond to a discussion post, reflecting on current in class topics as well as readings and supplemental texts. Discussion posts should engage the critical ideas of remix writing and analyze texts for examples. In essence – each discussion post should help you critically engage materials and work through concepts building towards your final essay.

  • Discussion posts (200 words each - 5 over the semester)


Much of our time this semester will be devoted to discussing the texts we are reading in class. Active, engaged participation in discussions and classroom activities is expected. Get ready to remix!