Notes: Jason Palmeri, “Introduction: Reseeing Composition History” in Remixing Composition: A History of Multimodal Writing Pedagogy

Palmeri, Jason. (2012). Introduction: Reseeing composition history. Remixing composition: A history of multimodal composition. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press, 4-19.



In introducing the subject matter of his book, Palmeri describes the “associative logic” (13) of remix, which shows the connections of seemingly disparate parts to gain insights through their juxtaposition. He does this in contrast to the prevalent narratives of composition’s history which discretely categorize the field’s epistemic ‘schools’ and organizes them into a narrative of progress.

Keywords: disciplinary history, interdisciplinarity, multimodality, remix, technology


Banks, Adam J. (2006). Race, rhetoric, and technology: Searching for higher ground. Mahwah, NJ: Earlbaum.

Selfe, Cynthia L.(2009). The movement of air, the breath of meaning: Aurality and multimodal composing. College Composition Communication, 60(4), 616-63.


“In emphasizing the importance of ‘new’ audio and video technologies, scholars have inadvertently deleted from view many of the vivid multimodal scenes that flourished in our field’s past” (p. 5).

“My goal in recovering compositionists’ multimodal heritage is most pointedly not to protect our ‘turf’ or ‘claim’ on multimodality, but rather to articulate what specifically we have to bring to wider interdisciplinary collaborations” (p. 8).

“Certainly, emerging digital technologies open up new possibilities for integrating multimodal activities into the writing classroom, but it is important to remember that composition has always already been a field that has sought to help students draw connections between writing, image making, speaking, and listening” (p. 10).

“When the remixer enters the record store or video archive, she doesn’t seek to evaluate or categorize…. Whereas the critic would strive to sort art works into genres and periods, the remixer would seek to creatively recombine disparate materials–to make a new composition by juxtaposing samples from radically disparate artistic traditions and periods” (p. 13).

Reflection and Response:

I’m very interested in remixing as a methodology–a remix historiography. The idea of these disparate parts being selected and connections made between them to make a new composition is compelling–and one that I think compositionists have certainly come to value in recent years. I think it lends itself well to the idea that multimodal as an encounter with objects and that composing is made through the connections between the writer and these objects–and to play with these objects is to make explicit their role in composing. To adopt that into a history of composition is interesting.

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