My research concerns the functions and effects of documents (in the broadest terms, signifying objects) and the process of documentation. I have specialized in the field of autobiography, or “egodocuments,” and published a monograph and a co-edited collection, both on the history of autobiographical texts and discourse. After earning my BA in English at Berkeley I read Modern History at Cambridge and have expertise in early modern British culture and society. Recently I commenced study of photographic documents, and am currently at work on two projects in this area. One is about photography and autobiography; the other is about photography and the Cambodian genocide. My fieldwork in Cambodia is described in the Summer 2011 issue of the UC Berkeley alumni magazine, California. During the academic year 2011-12 I am a member of the Institute of East Asian Studies faculty working group, “China and Global Technological Exchange,” where I am exploring China’s exportation of propaganda techniques to Cambodia via Norodom Sihanouk and the Khmer Rouge. I am also a founding editor of the Brill academic book series, Egodocuments and History.
My teaching addresses the several fields related to the documents and documentary processes that interest me. These include narrative genres and forms, in particular the novel, autobiography, and poetry; narratology; orality and literacy; the rhetoric of photography; visuality and visual culture; material culture; new media; information science; social theory; and literary and critical theory. At present I am supervising and/or serving on the dissertation committees of graduate students in the departments of Rhetoric, English, History, and South and Southeast Asia Studies, with projects ranging from “What is a Book?” (Lynn Huang, English) to “Seriality and Subjectivity in the Poetry of Jack Spicer and His Circle” (Colin Dingler, Rhetoric).
I have extensive leadership experience on the UC Berkeley campus in the administration of the College of Letters and Science, where I served as the first Associate Dean of Arts and Humanities from 2002-06. I served as Chair of the Department of Rhetoric from 2003-09, and Acting Director of the Program in Film Studies (now the Department of Film & Media Studies) in 2005-06. Most recently, I was Acting Chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese from 2007-10.
Because I am frequently asked: my surname is pronounced, Muh-SHOE. The name is Ruthenian. Ruthenia is historically located in a region of the western Carpathian mountains occupied now by portions of the states of Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and the Ukraine. The most recognized Ruthenian-American celebrity is Andy Warhol. He is also the only recognized Ruthenian-American celebrity.