Texas Tech University

Sean Zdenek

Profile picture for Dr. Zdenek

Associate Professor

Ph.D. Carnegie Mellon
Office: 487

Sean Zdenek's research interests include disability and web accessibility studies, closed captioning, deaf studies, sound studies, and methods of rhetorical criticism. He teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in disability studies, web accessibility, document design, sound studies, report writing, multimodal composition, developing instructional materials, style, and rhetorical criticism. He has published articles in Disability Studies Quarterly, Technical Communication Quarterly, Computers and Composition Online, Discourse and Society,and others. His book,Reading Sounds: Closed-Captioned Media and Popular Culture, was published in December 2015 by The University of Chicago Press.

Articles and book chapters

Selected Articles and Book Chapters

  • "More Than Mere Transcription: Closed Captioning as an Artful Practice." User Experience Magazine 14.1. 2014. Print and online. http://www.usabilityprofessionals.org/uxmagazine/more-than-mere-transcription/
  • "Which Sounds Are Significant? Towards a Rhetoric of Closed Captioning." Disability Studies Quarterly 31.3. 2011. Special issue on Disability and Rhetoric.
  • "Personal Reflections on the Educational Potential and Future of Closed Captioning on the Web." Eds. J. Aitken, J. Pedego Fairley, and J. K. Carlson (eds) Communication Technology for Students in Special Education or Gifted Programs. Hershey, PA: IGI Global, 2011: 221-9.
  • "Accessible Podcasting: College Students on the Margins in the New Media Classroom."Computers & Composition Online. 2009.
  • "Charting a Course Between Methodological Formalism and Eclecticism: Pedagogical Tensions in Three Rhetorical Analysis Textbooks."The Review of Communication 9.2 (2009): 188-211.
  • "Muted Voices: Cochlear Implants, News Discourse, and the Public Fascination with Curing Deafness." Rhetoric in Detail: Discourse Analytic Approaches to Rhetorical Talk and Text. Eds. B. Johnstone & C. Eisenhart. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 2008. 147-171.
  • "Studying Style and Legitimation: Critical Linguistics and Critical Discourse Analysis" (with Barbara Johnstone). Rhetoric in Detail: Discourse Analytic Approaches to Rhetorical Talk and Text. Eds. B. Johnstone & C. Eisenhart. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 2008. 25-31.
  • "'Just Roll Your Mouse Over Me': Designing Virtual Women for Customer Service on the Web." Technical Communication Quarterly 16.4 (2007): 397-430.
  • "Demonstrating a Web Design Technique in a Distance Learning Environment." Communication Teacher 18.1 (2004): 33-35.
  • "Artificial Intelligence as a Discursive Practice: The Case of Embodied Software Agent Systems." AI & Society 17.3-4 (2003): 340-363.
  • "Scripting Sylvie: Language, Gender, and Humanness in Public Discourse About Software Agents." Gendered Practices in Language. Eds. S. Benor, M. Rose, D. Sharma, J. Sweetland, Q. Zhang. Stanford, CA: CSLI Press. 2002. 255-273.
  • "Passing Loebner's Turing Test: A Case of Conflicting Discourse Functions." Minds & Machines: Journal for Artificial Intelligence, Philosophy, and Cognitive Science 11.1 (2001): 53-76.
  • "Rising Up From the MUD: Inscribing Gender in Software Design." Discourse & Society 10.3 (1999): 379-409.


  • Reading Sounds: Closed-Captioned Media and Popular Culture. 2015. The University of Chicago Press. Supplemental website: http://readingsounds.net/ 
  • Winner: 2017 Best Book in Technical or Scientific Communication, Conference on College Composition and Communication. National Council of Teachers of English.Cover of Reading Sounds by Sean Zdenek


Department of English