Programming is embodied and distributed writing image.


My name is Chris Lindgren. I am a PhD student in the Rhetoric and Scientific and Technical Communication program in the Writing Studies department at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (UMN). My research appears in edited collections, such as Strategic Discourse: The Politics of (New) Literacy Crises and the Rhetoric and Digital Humanities. You can see more of my projects in my portfolio.

In my research and teaching, I understand writing as situated, embodied practice (Haas & Witte 2001). That is, writing is always directed by particular goals, linked to material technologies and social groups, and is produced from shared sets of knowledge of the world to construct meaning around how the text will function in future contexts. These elements of writing provide a methodology to understand how writer's embodied experiences and knowledge of the material world are invoked throughout the production and use of texts.


As a Writing Studies researcher, I investigate the relationships between writing as a cognitive act and writing as a cultural practice. My dissertation research brings this central inquiry and theoretical understanding of how writing works in and across cultures to bear on computer programming as a form of writing.

Akin to traditionally held forms of writing, writing code requires the use of representational systems, material technologies, and communal knowledge. My dissertation will investigate how the work to write code, its enactment across contexts, and the embodied nature of such practices creates a dynamic set of materialities for programmers to draw from, but also be constrained by. I will conduct an ethnographic study of in situ programming practices that utilizes research methodologies from embodied and distributed cognition to generate new understandings about how cultural forms of experience shape the process of writing software.

I am always trying to bridge disciplinary pathways by taking on roles such as Associate Editor for Itineration , which is a journal dedicated to cross-disciplinary scholarship. I also worked as an RA for University of Minnesota's Computer Science department , helping them shape and rollout their writing-enriched curriculum. As a Master's student at NDSU, I co-developed the Sugar Labs @ NDSU project with Dr. Kevin Brooks, utilizing action research methods to learn more about how kids interact and learn with the Sugar operating system. Now, as a PhD student at UMN, I hope to design a study related to the everyday writing practices of programmers.

Programming is embodied and distributed writing image.


University of Minnesota
Department of Writing Studies
214 Nolte Center
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN 55455