By Sarah Lofstrom, Graduate Writer
Welcome Professor Ruby Pappoe! Dr. Pappoe joined the ECL faculty in July 2020, as a Teaching Assistant Professor in Technical Writing, having completed her PhD at University of Texas at El Paso in May 2020. Her dissertation is entitled “Ingo Websites, Image Circulation, and Visual Representations of Development in African Countries: Exploring Local Perceptions.” She also holds an M.S. in Rhetoric and Technical Communication from Michigan Technological University.
Professor Pappoe’s research interests include visual, digital and cultural rhetorics, African studies, international development and non-profit communications. She explains that her work is continually inspired by the social justice values of “inclusivity, diversity and community change.” Across all aspects of her work, she is committed to cultivating a space that “allows the voices, people and places that have traditionally not been included in mainstream rhetorical scholarship to speak from their own viewpoints.”
She is currently working on a digital archive project that “details the experiences of the wider Ghanaian populace during the COVID-19 pandemic.” Her goal is to examine visual artifacts of the pandemic that were produced and circulated in Ghananian media. These artifacts include photographs, screenshots, infographics, as well as personal artifacts that “tell stories not only about the impact of the pandemic within this region, but also about how various individuals and communities responded to the issues that arose.” Professor Pappoe hopes that this project will “offer unique, culturally-situated perspectives about the pandemic’s global impact,’ as well as ‘highlight the role of archives in preserving and bringing into the limelight the textual histories of communities in the Global South.”
This current project deviates from Professor Pappoe’s past work on the visual rhetoric of international NGOs working in the African ‘development’ environment, where she analyzed how “prejudiced discourses and inequalities are deeply embedded in the web technologies and content structure of NGOs” However, her current digital archive project connects with her larger research focus by making visible the intersections between visual rhetoric, technical communication, and cultural rhetorics. Her passion for digital rhetorics also translates to an appreciation for teaching and promoting technical communication literacy in her students.
Professor Pappoe was initially drawn to teaching technical writing because of its “concern with user-experience and usability studies, particularly as it relates to creating content that aims to meet the needs of diverse users.” One of her intentions in teaching technical writing is to help students “understand how technical communication and technology design impact various communities, and how they can leverage the problem-solving goals of technical communication to promote social change.”
When she’s not teaching technical writing or researching digital archives, she enjoys spending her time “watching movies on Netflix with [her] family or sewing something fun.” This semester she will be teaching ENGL 318: Multimedia Composition and ENGL 105: Rhetoric and Composition. The Department of English and Comparative Literature is thrilled to have Professor Pappoe join the community here at UNC.