Photoshopped,repurposed image from Frank Miller comic of Randy as Batman

Randal Sean Harrison, PhD

Emerging Technologies Librarian

The Hesburgh Library
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN 46556

(574) 631-0312

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I'm a cultural theorist of technology and communication designer working as the Emerging Technologies Librarian for the Hesburgh Libraries at the University of Notre Dame. There I assist users with the identification, evaluation, and use of emerging technologies, innovative online tools, and related services. I am particularly focused on identifying learning and engagement opportunities to support student research and promote student success.

Previously, I was the web developer for the J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library at Michigan Technological University. There I redesigned the library's complex integrated Web presence, and established a new visual and textual identity standard for both digital and print communications.

Before that, I taught a variety of courses centered around composition and design at a few universities, both as a graduate student and for several years as an adjunct lecturer at San Diego State University.


I'm a digital native, a T-shaped creative, and I wear many hats.


Technical Communication

Visual Culture

British Cultural Studies

New Media

As a communication designer, I marry front- and backend skills with user-centered information- and graphic design.


Clean, modular, semantic markup is key to accessibility and findability

Responsive Design

Content delivery must be seamlessly but flexibly device-agnostic

User-centered Design

Use qualitative and quantitative metrics to gauge users' needs

Javascript Frameworks

Libraries enable rapid prototyping with standards-compliant dynamism

Visual Design

Craft sites through visual rhetoric and gestalt psychology for design

Project Management

Complex designs depend on both order and agile communication



From the design of the page to the design of social futures, 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 challenge students to problematize received views of the major problematics of our social formation, and I leverage a strong background in information, graphic, and web design to give students real-world multi-media production experience, where appropriate.

San Diego State

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

Michigan Tech

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)

notre dame

WR 13300
Multimedia Rhetoric and Writing
Create Your Professional Website with WordPress
Introduction to HTML and CSS with Bootstrap
Working with Bootstrap Templates

Teaching Philosophy


Articulation Theory

As a cultural theorist of technology, articulation names my theory and method.

The practice of articulation thus involves laying bare the contingent and heterogeneous elements that constitute conjunctural articulations for the purpose of intervening in them, and through disarticulating and rearticulating...particularly important lines of force, reconstituting the conjuncture and changing the nature of the historical context itself. The theory and practice of articulation thus offers us a sophisticated way to both map and intervene in power and its effects among and between the various levels of a social formation. Rearticulation does not represent a ‘step forward’ in a grand narrative of progress, but represents the disconnection and reconnection of contingent and nonnecessary elements whose relation may be manipulated in the interests of certain positions of power. The goal of the critical work of the articulation theorist—the rearticulation of conjunctural relations—thus represents the hope, but never the necessary guarantee, of greater social justice.

— Harrison, R. The Problematic of Privacy in the Namespace (2013, p. 22)

  • Map the historical conjuncture

  • Name the problematic(s)

  • Marshal theory, people, tools

  • [Dis/re-]articulate the conjuncture

  • Change the world

The Problematic of Privacy in the Namespace

Dissertation 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 and 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.

APA Citation
Harrison, R. S. (2013). The problematic of privacy in the namespace. (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from Michigan Technological University Digital Commons. (