I compose and teach in the esoteric traditions of rhetoric, science fiction and emerging technoscience–sustainability, space colonization, biotechnology, nanotechnology, psychedelic science, information technologies, biometrics–and the cultural and literary contexts from which they sprout. I earned my Ph.D. in Rhetoric at UC Berkeley. I was the Mellon Post Doctoral Fellow in History and Social Science of the Life Sciences at MIT in 1993. Professor of Rhetoric, I have appointments in English, Science Technology & Society and the College of Information Science and Technology at Penn State University and was Visiting Associate Professor at UC Berkeley, Department of Rhetoric in 2003.
On Beyond Living (1997), WetWares: Experiments in Post-Vital Living (2003), and Darwin’s Pharmacy: Sex, Plants, and the Evolution of the Noosphere (2011) are a putative trilogy about emerging knowledges. These knowledges and practices, linked to molecular biology, artificial life, nanotechnology, psychedelic and information technologies render the experiential distinctions between living systems and machines frequently dubious and often indiscernible. This excited and confused rhetorical membrane between humans and nonetheless broadcasts a clear message: humans, in co-evolution with the technical matrices transforming the planet, find themselves in an evolutionary ecology that is as urgent as it is experimental
Current projects includes Zebrapedia.org, the effort to organize, transcribe and annotate the complete digital text of writer Philip K. Dick’s The Exegesis, a book about PKD, and a memoir about my ayahuasca experiences. I wrote the Afterword and made annotations to the volume of The Exegesis recently published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and edited by Pamela Jackson and Jonathan Lethem. I have an abiding personal and scholarly interest in non dual traditions, and will teach a course on English language non dual traditions in London in 2012
From 2004-2006, I directed the Penn State Composition Program. I currently serve as Expert, Wetwares and Human/Machine interaction for international organizations. I am lucky enough to be a Fellow at the Hybrid Reality Institute and a Distinguished International Fellow of the London Graduate School.