As an institution of the image, the Internet is the prosthetic unconscious of a virtual America becoming global, and in this capacity it constitutes a living, dynamic, thinking, and feeling monument. (Ulmer, 2005, p. 115)

The goal of cumulative MEmorials is collective self-knowledge. In the testimonial, the maker gives evidence, testifies to the ethical experience, the feeling of duty that abuses me (if it does). My identification with (recognition of) this disaster outside me as a fractal measure of the disaster within makes writable the category of justice, and is the point of departure for an electrate postnational identity. (Ulmer, 2005, p. 140).


This webtext is a self-reflexive and collaborative report on teaching and trying a MEmorial assignment in a graduate seminar, fall 2008. A "MEmorial," as theorized by Gregory Ulmer (2005), consists of at least a web-based testimonial or witnessing of a "disaster in progress" monumentalized through a proposed "peripheral," an object or item (theoretically) left at, or attached, to an existing monument. The assignment presents conceptual, design, and technical challenges for students similar to assignments found in Davis and Shadle's (2007) Teaching Multiwriting, Wysocki, Selfe, Sirc, and Johnson's (2004) Writing New Media, Selfe's (2008) Multimodal Composition and the broader body of related scholarship. The MEmorial as genre and assignment meets many of the valued goals of our writing and rhetoric classes: personal engagement in researchable, issue-oriented topics; audience-awareness not only in terms of textual choices, but imagined interactions with the peripheral; and contributions to public discourse via the web-based testimonial.

This report is modeled after much of the multimodal, multiwriting, and new media scholarship that explains both the theory and practice (PRAXIS) of a single assignment or series of related assignments. This webtext includes sections on:

1. The history and theory of MEmorials.
2. The context for the course and the assignment.
3. Process reflections by the instructor and students.
4. Analysis of two elements of the assignment:

5. Speculation about the place of MEmorials in education post 9/11.
6. A ConFusion : something of a conclusion, something of a fusion, an ending point that acknowledges unresolved questions.

This webtext draws on and synthesizes reflections made on the course management site, The Virtual Peace Garden , a wiki established near the end of the semester that functioned as a final exam and the first draft towards this publication, the student memorials (right-hand navigation bar) and my ongoing research into the genre. "Exploring MEmorials" is a spin-off of Ulmer's (2005) Electronic Monuments and a sequel to my report (Brooks and Anfinson 2009), "Exploring Post-Critical Composition;" it is part of my sustained effort to not just theorize and propose practices, but to test and share them.

Of the six projects completed during the framework of the course, one student, Niles Haich, has continued to develop his MEmorial and taught the genre in his first-year composition courses, spring 2010; others report primarily success and satisfaction, but also some frustration with Ulmer's Electronic Monuments itself. I was sufficiently inspired by my students' projects to set up a "Virtual Peace Garden" in Second Life, where, with their permission, I have begun to build their proposed monuments. I have also adapted the genre and assignment in a way suitable for an undergraduate course called Writing in the Design Professions.

Students have remained engaged in the drafting process after the class to various degrees, but Aaron Quanbeck deserves special recognition for contributing significantly to the synthesis and representation of the students' experiences.

Robert Becker
Jennifer Ross
Niles Haich
Erik Kornkven
Kathryn Dunlap
Landon Kafka