Though Zeugma just took off in 2012, its origins go back quite a few years. It is only the most recent project of the Digital Writing & Research Lab's Audio/Video Recording Group (AVRG). Past AVRG projects include a series of video tutorials and interviews focused around the writing process. The group has been and continues to be responsible for recording and documenting such events as the lab's annual speaker series.
Each year, the group comprises graduate students from a variety of disciplines (rhetoric, digital literacies, literature and linguistics, among others), with technology and rhetoric serving as the group's unifying interests.
This year, Zeugma is led by Beck Wise (fall 2014) and Dusty Hixenbaugh (spring 2015), with a team including Katharine Stevenson, Sarah Riddick and Jeremy Smyczek.
During its second season, 2013-14, the podcast group was led by Axel Bohmann and included Jake Cowan, Megan Eatman, Duncan Moench, Michael Roberts, Andrew Uzendoski, and Beck Wise.
The group's first-season members (2012-13) created short audio bios introducing themselves, their scholarly specialities, and the favorite sounds. Click their names below to listen in. Transcripts of the individual bios are nested beneath the respective group member's name.
Hi—I’m Axel Bohmann. I’m an English language and linguistics scholar in the English department. My specialization is sociolinguistics, and for those of you who’ve never heard that term before, which certainly is true of a lot of my friends, basically what I do is I look at the very small differences in the way people speak and what they can tell us about the kinds of identities and social groups they belong to or wish to kind of project themselves as being a part of very generally. And my favorite sound is this: [needle drops]. It’s the sound of a needle hitting the groove of a vinyl record just before the music starts playing. It sounds a little bit like bacon in a frying pan and it’s got that kind of build-up, calm-before-the-storm moment to it: the excitement before the bass line or the drums kick in and the music starts. And that’s it!
I’m Eric Detweiler and I’m a PhD student in UT’s English department specializing in rhetoric. I'm specifically interested in writing pedagogy, classical and contemporary rhetorical theory, multimodal composition, and popular culture—and of course all the intersections between those things. This will probably change tomorrow, but my favorite sound right now is the sort of squeaky crunch that you get when you step out on freshly fallen snow for the first time. I grew up outside of Louisville, Kentucky, and in 1994 we had the biggest snowfall I can remember from my childhood. We got about a foot of snow overnight, which was a pretty big deal for our neck of the woods. I remember lots of board games, lots of hot chocolate, lots of reading nerdy books, but I think most of all I remember those mornings when I woke up and knew that I didn't have school, and I would walk out into our front yard and I would step gently on the snow and there would be this quiet in the whole neighborhood [ghostly gusting winds]. And I would take that first step out on the snow and you would hear that sound [footsteps walking on snow]. It still resonates with me. Probably even more now that I've been living in Austin for a year and, as great a city as Austin is, it's 82 degrees in November here today. So a little bit of that snowfall and a little bit of that snow crunch would be pretty good right about now. [Footsteps on snow fading into distance.]
Hi! My name is Hala Herbly and I'm a graduate student in English at The University of Texas at Austin. I study the gothic novel and 19th-century British literature, and so I've chosen two favorite sounds for today. And one of those is theremin, which is a midcentury electronic instrument, and I like it a lot because it sounds ghostly and kind of otherworldly [clip from the Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations" featuring theremin]. And then my other favorite sound—well, I'm kind of a cat lady, so I really like the sound of purring and meows. So those are my favorite sounds. [Cat purring, meowing once, and purring again.]
Hey! I'm Lisa Gulesserian. Along with my academic interests of cultural memory and historical fiction, I'm absolutely obsessed with cities and food. My favorite sounds are the sound of rain falling [heavy rain and distant thunder] and the sound of something sizzling in a pan [food frying]. Weirdly enough, it's easy to get the two confused when you hear them out of context. [Crossfading sounds of rain falling and food sizzling.]
Hi—I'm Michael Roberts and I study 16th-century poetry and poetics with a side interest in social networking and technology. And I would have to say that my two favorite sounds actually are pretty similar. One is the vibraslap [sound of vibraslap being struck], which sounds very cool, and the other one is the sound of sonar [sonar ping], which sounds very cold and even eerie [three additional sonar pings, panning left to right at intervals of about two seconds].