New professor collaborates on webtext

by Randy Gonzales
She started work on it in 2012. Three years later, Dr. Amanda Fields admitted she was thrilled to see it published.

Fields, assistant professor of English at Fort Hays State University, published a collaborative webtext in issue 20.1 (fall 2015) of Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology and Pedagogy. The webtext highlights and analyzes youth slam poetry performances in Tucson, Ariz.

"I felt more excited than something on the printed page I've written," Fields said. "Way more excited, because you can jump around. The screens move quickly.

"We felt the designs reflected some of the things we were trying to say about young people," she added. "It made it maybe a little more accessible to people outside of academics."

Fields is new on campus after receiving a Ph.D. in rhetoric, composition and teaching English from the University of Arizona. She was a Crossroads Scholar for the Crossroads Collaborative, a Ford Foundation-funded research collective focused on youth sexuality, health and rights.

The purpose of the text is to shift conversations about young people, where they are valued for the knowledge they bring to the table. Youth poetry slamming is in this format, and Kairos seemed the way to go, Fields said.

"Webtexting seemed like a really great way to do that," Fields said. "There's a lot more breathing room in the webtext."

The webtext could help Fields become more involved on campus.

"It might be a good thing to show," Fields said. "It's my first year, and I'm looking for youth organizations to work with in Hays.

"I'm really interested in organizations that serve underserved populations," added Fields, who is co-advisor for the FHSU Gay Straight Alliance. "In Tucson, that involved a lot of the Latino youth."

For more information, contact Fields at or 520-837-9063.

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