Derek M. Sparby
I am an associate professor of digital rhetorics and technical communication at Illinois State University with a research focus on digital aggression, memes, and ethics from feminist and queer perspectives. Many of my publications appear under my previous name.
Memetic Rhetorics: Toward and Ethical Toolkit for Meming (University of Michigan Press, 2023) uncovers the rhetorical tools for how and why memes work while also offering three ethical tools memers and researchers should consider adding to their toolkit and suggesting ways to teach memes. Much of this work builds from my dissertation, Memes and 4chan and Haters, Oh My! Rhetoric, Identity, and Online Aggression (winner of the 2017 Computers and Composition Hugh Burns Award), which examines memes and social media spaces to find rhetorical techniques for resisting hostility online. Jessica Reyman and I co-edited Digital Ethics: Rhetoric and Responsibility in Online Aggression (winner of the 2019 Computers and Composition Distinguished Book Award), a collection that provide new approaches, theories, and pedagogies for hostile digital spaces and communities. Other work has appeared in journals such as Computers and Composition, enculturation, Technical Communication Quarterly, and Communication Design Quarterly and books such as Embodied Environmental Risk in Technical Communication (Stinson and Le Rouge, eds.) and Methods and Methodologies for Research in Digital Writing and Rhetoric (VanKooten and Del Hierro, eds.).
I have also presented my work at conferences such as Computers and Writing, Cultural Rhetorics, ATTW, CCCC, and NWSA. In 2019, I co-founded the Digital Aggression Working Group, which meets yearly at Computers and Writing to provide an academic community, protection, and solidarity for digital aggression scholars.