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about me

Everyone designs who devises courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones. The intellectual activity that produces material artifacts is no different fundamentally from the one that prescribes remedies for a sick patient or the one that devises a sales plan for a company or a social welfare policy for a state. Design, so construed, is the core of all professional training.

—Herbert Simon, “The Science of Design: Creating the Artificial”

I received my MA from San Diego State University in Rhetoric and Writing (under Dr. Cezar Ornatowski). I received my PhD in Rhetoric and Technical Communication from Michigan Technological University, emphasizing Birmingham cultural studies as a framework for studying the relation between culture and technology (under Dr. Jennifer Daryl Slack).

I am presently working in web development and user experience (UX) design for the J Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library at Michigan Technological University. Prior to working for the library, I designed for a number of other organizations at Michigan Tech, including the Michigan Tech Writing Center, the Humanities Department, Institutional Diversity, the Graduate Student Government, the graduate student organization Global City, and the NSF-sponsored Michigan Tech ADVANCE initiative.

Randal Sean Harrison, Ph.D.
Library 203
Van Pelt & Opie Library
Michigan Technological University
1400 Townsend Dr.
Houghton, MI 49931-1295

(906) 487-1482
rsharris@mtu.edu

research

We ought to establish the basic sociotechnological principles of control mechanisms as their age dawns, and describe in these terms what is already taking the place of the disciplinary sites of confinement that everyone says are breaking down...The key thing is that we're at the beginning of something new...the widespread progressive introduction of a new system of domination.

—Gilles Deleuze, Negotiations 1972-1990

Working in the tradition of British cultural studies, I approach the study of culture and technology as an articulation of economic, juridico-political, socio-cultural, and technological forces. My work explores the deeply imbricated and co-constitutive relation of culture and technology, particularly with regard to what is termed the network- or information society, cyberculture, convergence culture, or new media. I use the theory and practice of articulation to map the various provisional linkages joining digital information communication technologies to ideologies, to economic and juridico-political practices, and to computer protocols and other technologies in our contemporary historical conjuncture. My experience in web development, graphic- and user experience design (UX) informs my research and teaching in these areas.

The Problematic of Privacy in the Namespace (2013)

My dissertation examines the changing nature of informational privacy in digital domains across domestic and global formations.

Abstract

In the twenty-first century, the issue of privacy—particularly the privacy of individuals with regard to their personal information, effects, and domains—has become highly contested terrain, producing a crisis that affects both national and global social formations. This crisis, or problematic, characterizes a particular historical conjuncture I term the namespace.

Using cultural studies and the theory of articulation, I map the emergent ways that the namespace articulates economic, juridical, political, cultural, and technological forces, materials, practices and protocols. The cohesive articulation of the namespace requires that privacy be reframed in ways that make its diminution seem natural and inevitable. In the popular media, privacy is often depicted as the price we pay as citizens and consumers for security and convenience, respectively. This discursive ideological shift supports and underwrites the interests of state and corporate actors who leverage the ubiquitous network of digitally connected devices to engender a new regime of informational surveillance, or dataveillance. The widespread practice of dataveillance represents a strengthening of the hegemonic relations between these actors--Each shares an interest in promoting an emerging surveillance society, a burgeoning security politics, and a growing information economy,that further empowers them to capture and store the personal information of citizens/consumers.

In characterizing these shifts and the resulting crisis, I also identify points of articulation vulnerable to rearticulation and suggest strategies for transforming the namespace in ways that might empower stronger protections for privacy and related civil rights.

Recommended APA citation: Harrison, R. S. (2013). The Problematic of Privacy in the Namespace. (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from Michigan Tech Digital Commons. (http://digitalcommons.mtu.edu/etds/666)

teaching

The role of pedagogy is to develop an epistemology of pluralism that provides access without people having to erase or leave behind different subjectivities…we cannot remake the world through schooling, but we can instantiate a vision through pedagogy that creates in microcosm a transformed set of relationships and possibilities for social futures, a vision that is lived in schools.

—The New London Group, Multiliteracies

In addition to working in the fields of communication and design, I sometimes teach in these areas. My courses are often focused by urgent social questions, including but not limited to those raised by the emergence of highly technologized forms of social, political, and cultural organization. I leverage a strong background in information, graphic, and web design to give students real-world multi-media production experience, where appropriate. I challenge students to problematize received views of the major problematics of our social formation (e.g., sex/gender, race/ethnicity, class, culture and technology) and to try to make their course work count in very real ways toward positive social transformation.

Syllabi are provided upon request. For more information, please see my:

Michigan Technological University

  • HU 3642—Introduction to Multimedia Design
  • HU 3120—Technical Communication
  • HU 2650—Introduction to Website Design
  • UN 2001—Revisions: Oral, Written and Visual Communication
  • ESL 301—English as a Second Language (Intermediate Reading)
  • Flash Multimedia Design—Michigan Tech Summer Youth Pograms
  • Graphic Design (asst.)—Michigan Tech Summer Youth Pograms

San Diego State University

  • RWS 305—Writing in Multiple Contexts
  • RWS 200—Intermediate Composition
  • RWS 100—Beginning Composition
  • RWS 096—Developmental Writing
  • ENG 220—Introduction to Literature

design

For the first couple of years you make stuff, it's just not that good. It's trying to be good, it has potential, but it's not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase; they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this...And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know that it's normal, and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work...It's only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions.

—Ira Glass

As a designer, I work hard to provide clients with a tailored solution, balancing their goals and objectives against their users' needs and expectations. I practice web standards-compliant, user-centered, iterative design, marrying a keen aesthetic sensibility with the conviction that strong information architecture is at the core of exceptional user experience.

Web

Print

Logos

resources

Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul...In any case, always rememeber what Jean-Luc Godard said, "Its not where you take things from, it's where you take them to."

—Jim Jarmusch

One of the most important duties of any professonal is to have an historical understanding of his or her field, a knowledge of its current shape and a sense of its future direction. Because we are more than simply professionals, however, we should strive to situate that knowledge in a larger civic humanity. Below are a number of websites which help me do at least some of all of that.

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