Writing and Rhetoric professor’s article earns journal’s top honor

Writing and Rhetoric professor’s article earns journal’s top honor
The Neil Ann Pickett Award was presented to OU professor Josephine Walwema, left, and colleagues at the Association of Teachers of Technical Writing’s (AATW) annual meeting in Kansas City.

Oakland University associate professor of Writing and Rhetoric Josephine Walwema, Ph.D., along with co-authors Jared S. Colton of Utah State and Steve Holmes of George Mason were awarded the Nell Ann Pickett Award earlier this month for their article, “From NoobGuides to #OpKKK: Ethics of Anonymous’ Tactical Technical Communication,” published in Volume 26.1, 2017 of Technical Communication Quarterly

The award was presented to professor Walwema and colleagues at the Association of Teachers of Technical Writing’s (AATW) annual meeting in Kansas City.

The Pickett Award is given annually for the best article in the AATW’s journal, Technical Communication Quarterly. Judges for the award are previous award winners. It is named for a founding member of the association who initiated the award and originally funded it.

“I was elated to win 'article of the year' from my professional organization,” Professor Walwema said. “I know how exacting that journal is and how difficult it is to get published. So, getting published was good enough. But winning? My father's spirit must be smiling down upon me.” 

Walwema’s article abstract reads in part, “Tactical technical communication research suggests its application to social justice. However, beyond a general advocacy of anti-institutional activity, de Certeau’s notion of tactics provides no detailed ethical framework for ethically justifying tactics. In acknowledgement of this gap, this article foregrounds the ethical thought of feminist philosopher Adriana Cavarero, particularly her concept of vulnerability, as a supplement for those employing tactics for social justice causes.”

The Award Selection Committee noted that Walwema’s article was chosen in part because it “engages with concepts we thought we knew–de Certeau’s tactics and strategies–and helps us to see them in a new way.”

Dr. Walwema received her Ph.D. in Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design from Clemson University in 2011. Her research interests include Information Design, Instructional Design, Visual Rhetorics, Technical Writing and Editing, Classical Rhetorical Theory and Communication.

The Department of Writing and Rhetoric at Oakland University addresses the evolving nature of persuasion and written communication in the 21st century. The department offers a major and a minor. Through tracks in professional writing, writing for digital media, and writing studies, degree programs prepare students for work as writers, editors, new media composers, writing consultants, and educators in a variety of public, private and educational settings.

To learn more about programs in OU’s Department of Writing and Rhetoric, visit oakland.edu/wrt.