Revolution Lullabye

December 4, 2006

Noteworthy Notetaking

Filed under: Uncategorized — by revolutionlullabye @ 10:53 pm

This is more from Coming of Age. It is really a fascinating book, chock-full of important texts. It comes with a CD-Rom with more material than what is contained in the book.

Miller, Thomas P. “Rhetoric Within and Without Composition: Reimagining the Civic.” 32-41.

We need to come up with a more modern goal of composition than “good man speaking well” because that left out women and others who lacked cultural power (34). The new civic philosophy of rhetoric explores more critically the dialectical relationships between audiences, writers, contexts, and purposes (34). This new philosophy “can enable us to bring our work with service learning, new technologies, and political contreoversies into a unified project that challenges the hierarchy of research, teaching, and service that limits the social implications of academic work and devalues the work of the humanities” (34).

Adam Smith helped develop college English studies to assist students from lower classes acculturate into high society and academia (36). He devalued collaboration and discourse in the public sphere because natural laws of economics and consumption ruled knowledge.

Both the sophists and the expanding print world of the 18th century highlighted the “ethnographic dimension”: that knowledge is created within cultural contexts, and there are some shared beliefs between groups. If we use this to think about the new civic, then we aren’t just being reactionary when we long for rhetoric again. Rhetoric means something now, when we live in such a multicultural society (38).

“We need a sense of the civic that treats differences as a productive part of collaborative action” (38).

If we use rhetoric as the foundation of the major, then we are asking undergraduate majors to not just write, but to debate questions about what is moral and right. “Embracing our tradition as practical moralists can help us position ourselves at sites of controversy where established assumptions are called into question in disciplinary debates, political conflicts, and changes in popular mores. The civic tradition providees strategies and concepts that can enable us to make productive use of such controversies” (39).

Students use rhetoric and rhetorical strategies “to question what is assumed, where those assumptions come from, and what gives them authority” (40). Writing majors can turn out students who are critical thinkers.

The civic possibilities of the internet are astounding – a new era of democracy.

We need to teach not just rhetoric – we need to teach rhetorically by using a “civic imagination” (41).

Shamoon, Linda K. “The Academic Effacement of a Career: “Writer””

Shamoon interviews five writers who work as academic, technical, creative, and professional writers, showing through them that the pigeonholing of current (1998) writing majors deny the broad scope of what writing actually can be as a profession. Each writer is not writing only one genre – the different modes reflect and support each other – and they need to be able to use a common set of skills (“developing a line of sustained inquiry; senestitivity to language, voice, tone, and nuance; drafting and reworking; researching information; and an operational knowledge of multiple genres”) to write everything that they do (48). It is important to look at what real writers are doing in order to build an undergraduate major in writing, and if we do that, we see that the curriculum should focus on three tings: expertise (genre theory, style, grammar, editing, technology, digital writing), history and critique(of the book, authorship, copyrights, the profession), and the role of the writer in society (ethics). (51).

Part II of Coming of Age: “Considering Options for Core Courses in Advanced Writing”

How do these courses differ from Syracuse’s proposed common course? What do they have in common? How do they speak to each other?

Lunsford, Andrea Abernethy. “Histories of Writing and Contemporary Authorship.” 55-58.

Lunsford is interested in the history of writing. How does writing define our selves and our societies? In a course that she teaches called Histories and Theories of Writing, she uses Phaedrus, Burke’s “Terministic Screens,” works by Ong, Derrida, Foucault, Gelb, Barry Sanders, Ilich, along with, more recently, scholarship on digital writing (Turkle’s essay “Who Am We?”) and readings on nonalphabetic scripts (Michael Joyce Of Two Minds.) These texts get students to think about the writing we do and the writing we read in new ways – as something made, not something set in stone (56-57).

She also, thanks to student urging, includes a personal history of writing (literacy histories) as a beginning assignment in the course (using Augustine’s Confessions, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, etc.) (57). This personal investigation allows students to more authentically read and critique the histories of writing listed above. Lunsford also includes a unit on collaboration, where students read about and discuss the problems and benefits of collaborative writing.

This course invites these questions:
“What is writing, where does it come from, and what does it mean – on many levels – to write? How can writing work to both oppress and liberate people? How is writing imbricated in personal as well as legal, social, political, economic, and spiritual journeys? What rights and duties accompany various acts of writing? What is the relationship of writing and language, and in what ways can they and can’t they be the objects of possessive ownership?” (58).

Jamieson, Sandra. “Theories of Composing.” 59-65.

According to Jamieson, it is important to introduce undergraduates to writing theories because these theories gives students a “lens through which [they] may view their own writing and the writing process itself” (59). They invite students to theorize about how langauge constructs who we are and who we think we are (59). Her common core course is entitled “Theories of Composing,” and it is meant as a capstone course for the major, to be taken at the end of coursework. It has four goals: “that students develop a deeper understanding of the writing process in general; that they realize the complexity of literacy and writing; that they come to a deeper comprehension of their own writing process; and that they become mor conscious of the rhetorical choices that writers make in different writing situations” (60).

Values! “I believe it is essential for students in this class to understand how theory, pedagogy, and the writing process itself develop from the values we hold and the belief system that drives those values” (61).

This course gives a student of any major the realization that writing happens out of context to a particular audience (61).

She uses Villanueva’s Cross-Talk in Comp Theory and Wiles and et al Composition in Four Keys and structures her class like her graduate course, with focus areas on current traditionalism, expressivism, cognitivism, and social constructionism (62). Students have a difficult time grappling the theory at first, but they soon learn how to join the conversation (63-64).

Stygall, Gail. “Discourse Studies” 66-70.

What is discourse studies? Studying the interaction of language and society: “The analysis of talk in writing groups; studies in discourse patterns in student writing and features indicating laguage variety; the analysis of how standard language is deployed in public debates about race and ethnicity; the intricacies of legal textual practices; genre analysis; and the study of second language writing” (67). Discourse studies helps students become more aware of how other people (family, friends, employers) use language and how they use it, and what this all means in the end. The course moves from collecting data, to analyzing just the data, to learning discourse theory, to fully analyzing the discourse. Stygall integrates linguistics into the course.

Why is this course helpful? Discourse analysis allows students to better use rhetoric because it allows students to better analyze their audience’s context and goals. “Discourse analysis is, to my mind, the linguistic arm of rhetoric” (70).

The above three courses fall in “writing studies.”

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