Revolution Lullabye

January 14, 2011

Ohmann, Foreword

Ohmann, Richard. “Foreword.” In The Politics of Writing Instruction Postsecondary. Eds. Bullock and Trimbur. Portsmouth: Heinemann, 1991. ix-xvi. Print.

Through juxtaposing his personal journey as a writing scholar and teacher during the civil rights and anti-war events of the 1960s and the social and political turn in composition in the late 1980s, Ohmann, in this foreword to the edited collection of The Politics of Writing Instruction Postsecondary argues for the politicizing of composition. Ohmann reflects on the essays included in the collection, which include arguments about the economics of writing instruction, the labor practices in college composition, the social justice work done in the writing classroom, and the professionalization of the field within the academy. Ohmann argues that writing is always value-laden and therefore political; what has happened in the field is that scholars have overtly pointed out how it is so. He points out the revolutionary rhetoric in the current comp/rhet literature and asks how such global revolution is possible while comp/rhet and writing instructors are part of a larger and entrenched capitalist, patriarchal, and hierarchal administrative structure in the university. He does contend that keeping the revolutionary spirit and ideas alive is an essential part of being intellectuals and teachers of rhetoric.

Notes and Quotes

In the 1960s, 1970s: “Writing instructors didn’t have to politicize the field, though some did: politics flowed into the classroom, and only then did we begin to ntoice that politics had always been there” (xi)

“Surely the politicization of writing instruction must be in part understood as the insurgency of an underpaid, overworked, and disrespectd occupational group” (xi)

“With professionalization came more organizations, more meetings, more seminars, more journals – an arena within which the writing instructoriate could consolidate¬†its anger as well as share discoveries about rhetoric” (xi)

December 8, 2010

O’Grady, Trafficking in Freeway Flyers

O’Grady, Helen. “Trafficking in Freeway Flyers: (Re)Viewing Literacy, Working Conditions, and Quality Instruction.” In Moving a Mountain. Eds. Schell and Stock. Urbana: NCTE, 2000. 132-155.

O’Grady points at the contradictions between institutional mission statements and radical discourse about literacy and the working conditions of contingent faculty working in those institutions. O’Grady argues that changing how we address the contingent faculty labor problem could result in more productive ways to create better workign conditions.

Notes and Quotes

concern for quality undergraduate education but not an inadequate investment in the faculty delivering that instruction

teachers treated unprofessionally are preparing the next generation of professionals

link faculty working conditions to instructional quality

forums, dialogues, studies about part-time labor

O’Grady works part-time at several institutions – speaks from experience.

June 10, 2009

Giroux, Ideology, Culture, and the Process of Schooling

Giroux, Henry A. Ideology, Culture, and the Process of Schooling. Philadelphia: Temple UP, 1981.

In this collection of essays, Giroux advances his neo-Marxist theory of American education, which is situated as a sort of meso-level, between a micro-level theory of Freirian liberatory pedagogy that places potential change in the hands of individuals and a macro-level theory along the lines of Bourdieu that shows that change is impossible because of inscribed institutional relationships and politics. Giroux rejects one-sided determinism, arguing that schools themselves are sites of action and structure, sites where people negotiate contradictions and forge identities through actions and the effects of actions (curriculum, textbooks, spatial structures, etc.) Giroux calls on educators to take action, not just critique, and reconstruct their schools. His theory is not a student-centered theory of individual education like Freire Рit is a call for reflective praxis for educators.

Quotable Quotes

“The entirety of the educational process will have to be analyzed for its normative and ideological meanings. Curriculum, teaching methods, forms of evaluation, textbooks, school organization, and the organization of teachers will have to be seen as componets of the educational process, shaped by the latter’s dialectical role as a representation of a vital human need and as a class-based instrument of the established power structure” (79)

“Schools are social sites whose particularity is characterized by an ongoing struggle between hegemonic and counter-hegemonic forces” (15).

his is a “radical pedagogy that connects critical theory with the need for social action in the interest of both individual freedom and social reconstruction” (8).

Notable Notes

investigate the hidden curriculum (75)

people can be critically conscious but cannot not, ultimately, escape objective and subjective realities, cultures, ideologies, and histories

radical pedagogy teaches an integration (an investigation) into ideology, hegemony, and culture – both the daily, individual material practices of these and macro relationships and power structures in society….have students think across these two levels

three modes of American educational scholarship (that he sees are problematic): 1. technocratic rationality (scientific, managerial, ahistorical) 2. interpretative rationality (how people use language to make meaning, rejecting positivism, embrace subjectivity and individuality, divorced from institutions) 3. reproductive rationality (institutions shaping society, one-sided determinism)

hopeful

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