Courtney Rivard, Ph.D. is the Director of the Digital Literacy and Communications (DLC) Lab and Teaching Associate Professor in English & Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. The DLC serves as a hub for innovation in the humanities that focuses on digital literacy, public humanities, digital humanities, and critical game studies. Her research is at the intersection of Rhetoric & Composition and Digital Humanities.
Dr. Rivard’s scholarship, teaching, and administrative service all share a commitment to developing interdisciplinary collaborative approaches that center humanistic inquiry alongside computational methods. She is interested in how the information infrastructure of archives create arguments regarding race, gender, class, and national belonging. More specifically, her scholarship is motivated by questions such as how do the information infrastructure of archives and digital collections create arguments regarding race, gender, class, and national belonging? How can interdisciplinary methods that combine close textual analysis and computational analysis be used to address silences in archival records? And how can scholars imagine new forms of scholarship that leverage the potential of digital modalities to reach wider audiences?
Her first book, Layered Lives: Race and Representation in the Southern Life History Project (Stanford University Press, 2022), combines archival and quantitive methods to recover the history of the Southern Life Histories Project part of the Federal Writers’ Project during the 1930s. This innovative digital book demonstrates how gender and race informed the writing practices used to create the concept of “life histories,” which documented the lives of Southerners struggling to survive the Great Depression. This project was made possible by an American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Digital Extension Grant and an Institute for the Arts & Humanities at UNC faculty fellowship. Additionally, her work can be found in College Composition and Communication, Rhetoric Review, and Digital Humanities Quarterly.
As Director of the DLC, Dr. Rivard has begun a new research area in critical game studies to explore how theories of play and gaming can help create critical pedagogies that interrogate race, gender and sexuality as well demonstrate how algorithmic rhetoric shapes narrative structures. Recently, she received a NEH grant to create a Critical Gaming Initiative that centers questions of identity and representation in the development of a Critical Game Studies minor. The cornerstone of the initiative is the Greenlaw Gameroom, UNC’s first game-based classroom, funded by a Lenovo Instructional Innovation Grant.