Date of Award

2021

Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Rhetoric, Theory and Culture (PhD)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Humanities

Advisor 1

Victoria Lee Bergvall

Committee Member 1

Karla Saari Kitalong

Committee Member 2

Abraham Romney

Committee Member 3

Godwin Yao Agboka

Abstract

In response to the lack of attention to Global South technologies in technical communication, this study analyzed what I call postcolonial technology—technologies that have been produced, adapted, or reconceptualized by dwellers in the postcolony based on their own exigencies. I illustrated the logic of spatial technologies exploring the history of twentieth century cartography and considering how the logics of power, territoriality, and coloniality are embodied in technologies such as the Global Positioning System (GPS). I exemplified these logics through a Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis of GhanaPostGPS—the official national digital and property addressing system of Ghana in West Africa. Through material-discursive critique, I propose that two discursive strategies are intrinsic to the framing of socio-technical discourse on GhanaPostGPS—resemiotization (the reconstruction of original semiosis), and rhetoric of immersive memory (re-inscribing memory and sustaining its constant recirculation). I also discussed what I call tactical practices—the idio-contextual subversive use of technology at the systemic edge—as a means for rethinking the fundamental discursive infrastructure that leads to the production, adaptation, conceptualization, use and non-use of technologies in a postcolonial space. Furthermore, I suggest that without such rethinking we can localize within user contexts but we cannot overcome the power dynamics that sustain particular global ideologies such as neoliberalism and surveillance capitalism. Thus, I invite the field to intentionally embrace systems, epistemologies, and agencies from a more global perspective where the marginalized Global South could guide us to begin the reconstruction of the field by centering theories and innovations from otherwise sidelined technological systems.

Available for download on Monday, May 16, 2022

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