Published in the spring 2002 as a part of a special issue of Kairos on the topic of disability, Joyce R Walker’s “web-text” is neither a stand-alone piece of electronic literature nor a self-sufficient critical article. Rather, as the title of this piece indicates, “Textural Textuality” is both a meditative reflection and web-based exploration of the complexities of racial identity. Like many of the web-texts published by Kairos, it offers an intriguing nexus of creative writing, critical analysis, cultural studies, and pedagogical practice.
The work opens with a black splash page and six images that load consecutively of a city transit bus in the process of arriving and departing, seen from the perspective of someone who watches the bus without boarding it.
While some moments in the text seem a bit overt—such as the switch from white to black and the color-coding of the navigation, as well as the repeated images of a bus, so laden with racial history in the United States—the site overall demonstrates admirable restraint, both in terms of its simple and streamlined design, as well as in its style of writing, which offers earnest and insightful reflection. It offer access to a fraught topic on its own term; as such, it is well-positioned to succeed as a pedagogical tool in a broad range of courses, including those about race, writing, web design, and identity politics.