I am Assistant Director of the Critical Writing Program at University of Pennsylvania and Ph.D. in Rhetorics, Communication, and Information Design. My research explores rhetorical dynamics among criticism, information, and art associated with aesthetic, technological, and theoretical innovations. In addition to writing, my teaching experience includes technical communication, science writing, history of infotech, new media theory, document design, and video production. Recent activity below. Drop me a line: matthewjosborn[at]gmail[dot]com.

CCCC ’18


Headed to Cs with the sonics folk. 

Happy to report I will be presenting research at the Conference on College Composition and Communication at Kansas City in March, 2018. Kati Fargo Ahern led the pack here, gathering up a bunch of fun people for a roundtable format on soundscapes. Each speaker will offer a brief provocation rather than a full scale presentation, and we’re billing the whole thing as a “listening party” of sorts. My contribution will focus on the digital sonic-politics heard in the work of experimental musician Holly Herndon and how her timbral aesthetics might figure into sonic rhetorics for composition instruction. Essential info below.

My pitch went a little something like this:

Speaker 1 will invite the audience to undergo a sonic critique of digital cosmopolitanism commonly heralded at Cs. While electronic composing allows for enhanced relationships with writing, darker sides of internet and cloud technologies in particular—user tracking, precarious labor, behavioral nudging, etc.—have only recently begun to get airtime in computers and writing rhetorics. Certain experimental electronic musicians, however, have picked up this utopian-dystopian dialectic with critical soundscapes of a technocratic “now.” Inspired by their timbres as well as sonic composing for the senses (Ceraso), self and voice (Anderson), and emerging “worlds” (Hawk) such as those manifest in our contemporary moment, Speaker 1 proposes a reflexive relationship with technology through its own sonic affordances.

Session Code: F.43

Session: Soundscaping Rhetoric
Type of Session: Roundtable
Primary Hashtag: #Rhetoric
Secondary Hashtags: #Pedagogy, #Tech
Abstract: Soundscapes (or landscapes of sound) cause us to reconsider text and composer through concerns of recording, intervening, and pedagogy.
Date Scheduled: Friday, March 16
Time: 09:30 am – 10:45 am



  • Kati Fargo Ahern, Long Island University–Post Campus
    Presentation Title: Planting Sound in Evaluating Place
  • Stacey Cochran, University of Arizona
    Presentation Title: Updating the Literacy Narrative through Collaborative Soundscapes
  • Eric Detweiler, Middle Tennessee State University
    Presentation Title: Soundscapes as Exercises in Nondiscursive Description
  • Byron Hawk, University of South Carolina, Columbia
    Presentation Title: Transforming Soundscapes: Field Recording as a Compositional Practice
  • Matthew Osborn, University of Pennsylvania
    Presentation Title: Aestheticizing Digital-Political Soundscapes
  • Kyle D. Stedman, Rockford University
    Presentation Title: Soundscape Surprises: Expectations in Music, Creative Writing, and Pedagogy
  • Jennifer Ware, Wright State University
    Presentation Title: Rhetorical bursts in the ambient soundscape: ‘Nat Pops’ in the field

Post Image: Still from Holly Herndon’s video “Interference” (2015); design/direction by Metahaven.