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Life in the Circus

By Teresa Powell

ENC 1136: Multimodal Writing & Digital Literacy (Fall 2021)
Instructor: Alexander Slotkin

This course explores how writing as a rhetorical meaning-making process occurs at the intersection of multimodality and digital literacy, which we defined as literacy in relation to electronics and/or “our fingers, our digits” (Haas 84). Students enrolled in this course composed a variety of multimodal texts across different digital spaces to create carefully crafted, creatively written, and well-researched textual projects. Fittingly for a journal called ImageTexT, the examples of student writing featured in this issue from my course—Matthew Lee’s “入れ墨,” Ibuki Nishino’s “Owarai Japan,” and Teresa Powell’s “Life in the Circus”—come from our Image/Text unit.

Having composed a traditional rhetorical analysis of a multimodal text, students were asked to rhetorically explore the multimodal and digital relationships between text, imagery, matter, and space by hand-crafting a zine (i.e., a self-published booklet) on a topic of their choice. Students were encouraged to draw on their bodily knowledge, everyday experiences, and/or cultural communities when choosing their topic as well as framing and explaining their work. In so doing, students put the analytical skills they honed from the previous writing assignment into practice while also centering the knowledge they bring into the classroom every day.

Teresa Powell

Teresa Powell is currently a second-year student at the University of Florida pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She worked for nine years as an aerialist and acrobat at the Sailor Circus in Sarasota, Florida, where she performed on the flying trapeze, aerial silks, and roman rings, as well as many other apparatuses.

Works Cited

Haas, Angela M. “Wampum as Hypertext: An American Indian Intellectual Tradition of Multimedia Theory and Practice.” Studies in American Indian Literature, vol. 19, no. 4, 2007, pp. 77-100. doi:

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