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Academic Discourse and Critical Consciousness

by Patricia Bizzell

Publication Year: 1992

This collection of essays traces the attempts of one writing teacher to understand theoretically - and to respond pedagogically - to what happens when students from diverse backgrounds learn to use language in college. Bizzell begins from the assumption that democratic education requires us to attempt to educate all students, including those whose social or ethnic backgrounds may have offered them little experience with academic discourse. Over the ten-year period chronicled in these essays, she has seen herself primarily as an advocate for such students, sometimes called “basic writers.” Bizzell’s views on education for “critical consciousness,” widely discussed in the writing field, are represented in most of the essays in this volume. But in the last few chapters, and in the intellectual autobiography written as the introduction to the volume, she calls her previous work into question on the grounds that her self-appointment as an advocate for basic writers may have been presumptious, and her hopes for the politically liberating effects of academic discourse misplaced. She concludes by calling for a theory of discourse that acknowledges the need to argue for values and pedagogy that can assist these arguments to proceed more inclusively than ever before. The essays in this volume constitute the main body of work in which Bizzell developed her influential and often cited ideas. Organized chronologically, they present a picture of how she has grappled with major issues in composition studies over the past decade. In the process, she sketches a trajectory for the development of composition studies as an academic discipline.

Published by: University of Pittsburgh Press

Series: Pittsburgh Series in Composition, Literacy, and Culture

Front Cover

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pp. 1-5

Contents

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pp. 6-9

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Introduction

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pp. 3-30

...I have been teaching first-year college composition since 1971. I mention the date only to locate the historical period in which I began to form and theorize my teaching practices. I have experienced this period as a time in which my skepticism...

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The Ethos of Academic Discourse

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pp. 31-38

...I recall reading a survey of viewers of the televised Ford-Carter debates, which presented the perhaps unsurprising findings that those who had favored Carter before the debates felt that he won, while those who had favored Ford were convinced that their man came out ahead. In other words, few people's minds were changed...

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Thomas Kuhn, Scientism, and English Studies

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pp. 39-50

...elaborates the concept of the "paradigm," a comprehensive theoretical model that governs both the view of reality accepted by an intellectual community and the practice of that community's discipline. This concept has increasing interest for English studies because new demands on our composition courses, along with...

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Inherent Ideology, Universal History, Empirical Evidence, and Context-Free Writing: Some Problems in E. D. Hiirsch's The Philosophy of Composition

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pp. 51-74

...of literary texts by formal methods, from the New Criticism to Derridean deconstruction. When the text is detached from the conditions of its creation, he argues, it becomes subject to readings that depend more upon the interpreter than the work itself, readings...

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Cognition, Convention, and Certainty: What We Need to Know About Writing

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pp. 75-104

...What do we need to know about writing? Only recently have we needed to ask this question, and the asking has created composition studies. We have needed to ask it because of changing circumstances in the classroom, and our answers will be put to the test...

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College Composition: Initiation Into the Academic Discourse Community

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pp. 105-128

...Composition studies has become established as an academic discipline. Over the past decade, college writing programs have expanded tremendously, and scholarly attention to writing theory and pedagogy has also grown. Although composition studies are not yet...

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Academic Discourse and Critical Consiousness: An Application of Paulo Freire

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pp. 129-152

...Whether academic discourse can be taught in a liberating way is now an important question for composition teachers, because most college writing programs now have the same official goal: to equip students for performing the writing tasks their college education...

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William Perry and Liberal Education

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pp. 153-163

...The work of psychologist William G. Perry, Jr. has attracted much attention recently from college writing teachers who seek a developmental model to inform composition courses and writing-acrossthe- curriculum programs. To assess Perry's usefulness to writing...

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What Happens When Basic Writers Come to College?

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pp. 164-174

...I wish to propose a hypothesis for researching an answer to this question. For the time being, let me suggest that "basic writers" are those who are least well prepared for college. They may be defined in absolute terms, by features of their writing, or in relative...

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Composing Processes: An Overview

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pp. 175-201

...Composition scholars agree that the composing process exists or, rather, that there is a complex of activities out of which all writing emerges. We cannot specify one composing process as invariably successful. Current research in the field is beginning to draw a...

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Foundationalism and Anti-Foundationalism in Composition Studies

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pp. 202-221

..."Social" seemed to be the key word at the 1985 Conference on College Composition and Communication. Many of the papers presented there analyzed the discourse conventions that a particular social context inculcates in participating writers. Other papers...

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What Is a Discourse Community?

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pp. 222-237

...The concept of "discourse community," though now widely used in composition studies, has not been defined authoritatively-that is, in such a way as to win assent from all composition researchers and scholars of rhetoric. In the absence of consensus, let me offer...

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Arguing About Literacy

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pp. 238-255

...Arguments about literacy typically take the same form. One kind of literacy holds a commanding position, that which comprises the ways of using language valued by the academy and the upper social classes with which it is associated. The dominance of this academic...

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Beyond Anti-Foundationalism to Rhetorical Authority: Problems Defining "Cultural Literacy"

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pp. 256-276

...When students enter college, it soon becomes apparent that some of them are already comfortable with academic discourse, while other students seem quite unfamiliar with academic discourse and resistant to learning it. This state of affairs might not be considered a problem: the academy might simply expel those who do not share...

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Afterword

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pp. 277-296

...translate his term to mean scholarship-is presently thought to be capable of explaining everything in the world. Because of this belief in the power of science, there are no more mysterious forces in the world for modern people, only currently unexplained ones. Human...

Back Cover

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pp. 304-304


E-ISBN-13: 9780822971559
E-ISBN-10: 0822971550
Print-ISBN-13: 9780822954859
Print-ISBN-10: 0822954850

Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 1992

Series Title: Pittsburgh Series in Composition, Literacy, and Culture
Series Editor Byline: David Bartholomae and Jean Ferguson Carr, Editors See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 887803263
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Academic Discourse and Critical Consciousness

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Subject Headings

  • English language -- Rhetoric -- Study and teaching.
  • Academic writing -- Study and teaching.
  • Criticism -- Authorship.
  • Academic writing -- Study and teaching.
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