Revolution Lullabye

November 16, 2010

Blair, Only One of the Voices

Blair, Catherine Pastore. “Only One of the Voices: Dialogic Writing Across the Curriculum.” College English 50.4 (April 1988): 383-389. Print.

Blair argues that allowing English departments to house writing-across-the-curriculum programs gives them, either intentionally or unintentionally, more power and administrative oversight over the WAC program, which conflicts with the underlying theory of WAC, which is to see writing equally spread and used across the curriculum. How English departments see and understand writing is local and discipline-specific, and the goal of a WAC program is to expand that understanding of writing; the “English way” is not the “only way” and is certainly not the “best way.” She uses her interdisciplinary WAC program at Bucknell to explain how a WAC program can be run by a cross-curricular committee.

Notes and Quotes

draws on Bakhtin, Freire to talk about understanding through dialogue – what happens in a true WAC program

don’t let English be the experts (extension of colonialism, oppressor relationships)

see a WAC program founded on “frequent writing,” not a set number of words or pages, which doesn’t serve the needs of all disciplines.

assumes some sort of consensus about writing will be reached – but will it?

“Neutral, all-purpose, one-size-fits-all, context-free writing is an impossibility; this course teaches writing from the English department point of view” (385).

“Therefore, whether we like it or not, whether we intend it or not, in teaching writing (a language use), we teach context, we teach our imaginary worlds, we teach our disciplines – their definitions, syntax, assumptions, goals, moral code, their ways of being in the intellectual world” (384).


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