Benjamin Miller

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Biography

Benjamin Miller holds a PhD in English from The Graduate Center, CUNY, with a certificate in interactive technology and pedagogy; he also earned an MFA in poetry from Columbia University's School of the Arts.

His current research uses digital tools of distant reading and data visualization to investigate the ways in which the field of Composition/Rhetoric/Writing Studies constructs itself and its boundaries. In one ongoing project, he has studied some 3,000 doctoral dissertations to identify communities of shared research methods (based on qualitative coding of abstracts) and subject matter (based on topic models of full text). An article based on this work was published in College Composition and Communication in September 2014.

Ben received the 2012 CCCC Chairs' Memorial Scholarship, in part for his work as lead developer of the Writing Studies Tree -- a crowdsourced, open-access database of academic genealogies in Composition/Rhetoric and related fields, tracing connections among scholars and institutions along lines of mentorship, education, collaboration, and employment. A webtext about the goals and design of the WST, coauthored with Amanda Licastro and Jill Belli, is forthcoming from Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy.

Ben's poetry has appeared in a number of journals, including RHINO, The Greensboro Review, and Pleiades. His first book of poems, Without Compass, was published by Four Way Books in 2014.

Acting perhaps out of a courtly love for gaming, he contributed a chapter to the collection Rhetoric/Composition/Play through Video Games: Reshaping Theory and Practice of Writing (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013). Under the title "Metaphor, Writer's Block, and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Writing Process," he argues that a straight line from first concept to written product -- so often sought after by frustrated students -- sounds kind of boring, anyway.

Ben is a founding editor of the open access Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy, and he continues to be an active member of its editorial collective. Prior to coming to Pitt, he was an Instructional Technology Fellow at Macaulay Honors College, CUNY, finding ways to improve teaching and learning through digital (and other) tools. He has taught writing at Hunter College, CUNY, and at Columbia University.