702 South Wright Street
Urbana IL 61801
Katie P. Bruner is a PhD candidate in the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois and a 2020-2021 Dissertation Completion Fellow with the Illinois Graduate College. Last year she was a 2019-2020 Research Fellow with the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (now Humanities Research Institute). Her research investigates the historic relationship between rhetoric, science/technology, and media.
She pursues this research by examining the way people discuss and design technological artifacts as a practice of rhetorical expression. She also writes rhetorical histories of technological artifacts, actors, and communities of practice. She is interested in how attitudes toward technology, technological cultures, and technological artifacts themselves, function as key components of rhetorical discourse and public life.
Her dissertation, "Seeing Systems: A Rhetorical History of Visual Media at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1939-1969," traces the development of media research—including high-speed photography systems, design theories, scientific visualization methods, and early computer graphics software—at MIT during the mid-twentieth century. As MIT shifted from industrial ancillary to one of the centers of the military-industrial complex, media research was crucial to the construction of MIT’s anti-instrumental and networked approach to science and engineering. This approach allowed the Institute to traverse previously rigid boundaries between art/science, public/private, and theoretical/applied knowledge. In doing so, MIT broadened the purview of institutionalized science and technology and played a key role in embedding media technology across all areas of American life. The project concludes with the early plans for the MIT Media Lab, revealing the roots of logics that would find come to define the digital technology of the late 20th-century.
Katie's work draws broadly from rhetoric, history, science/technology studies, and media studies. She teaches on rhetoric and visual media in a variety of courses, and has been consistently ranked as an 'excellent' instructor by UIUC students.
Rhetoric and Public Culture
Mediated Communication and Technology
M.A., Communication, University of Illinois
B.A., Communication and English, Texas A&M University
Illinois Graduate College Dissertation Travel Award, 2018-2019
Ruth Anne Clark Research Travel Grant, Fall 2017
Graduate College Conference Travel Award, Spring 2019
Awards and Honors
Research Fellow, Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities, 2019-2020
LAS Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, 2020-2021
CMN 340: Visual Politics
CMN 375: Communication and Popular Culture
CMN 210: Public Communication in Everyday Life
CMN 101: Public Speaking
"A Technocratic Machine: The Memex as Rhetorical Invention" Rhetoric & Public Affairs 23:3 (2020). doi: 10.14321/rhetpublaffa.23.3.0495