“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” is how English professor Dr. Paul Muhlhauser wishes he could begin the story of how he became interested in technology and rhetoric. The new addition to the English department is teaching three classes this semester: Multimedia Authoring, New Media Writing, and Language Technology. In each of these classes, Muhlhauser wishes to help students “improve their rhetorical understanding of multimedia and improve their ability to make multimedia.”
We are all familiar enough with Twitter, Tumblr, and WordPress, but what we probably don’t know is the rhetoric that exists behind these sites. This is a topic that Muhlhauser wants to demonstrate to the McDaniel campus.
Muhlhauser began his academic journey after leaving his home in Anchorage, AK., for Loyola University in New Orleans. He was there for only a semester, “it was a loooong way from my home…I missed family, friends, hiking, and, of course, 20 hours of sunlight in the summer.”
Upon returning, he spent a few semesters at University of Alaska Anchorage, Muhlhauser traveled to Washington State University where he received his BA, MA, and PhD in English.
Muhlhauser is currently working on two research projects. Set to be finished in a few weeks, one is located here; it talks about the idea of a “dislike” button on Facebook. Another titled “Avengendering,” “critically examines Black Widow from “The Avengers” and Clarice Starling from “The Silence of the Lambs” through a feminist lens.”
The English department and the McDaniel community has been more than welcoming to Dr. Muhlhauser.
“I’ve been really struck by the outstanding support system I’ve had in the English Department. My colleagues have helped me navigate and learn this college’s rules and culture.”
Aside from the faculty help, Muhlhauser notes that he is impressed with the behaviors of the student body.
“Students help each other out if they are having trouble or have a question- it’s not wait for the teacher.”
Dr. Muhlhauser is looking forward to future semesters where he can help students gain experience in this field that is becoming more and more prevalent. His classes offer practical application of concepts and in the future he hopes to help “students to gain experience working with real clients on multimedia projects.”
Look for Dr. Muhlhauser’s classes next semester, or check out his website: paulmuhlhauser.org.