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Passions Pedagogies and 21st Century Technologies

edited by Gail E. Hawisher & Cynthia L. Selfe

Publication Year: 1999

Gail Hawisher and Cynthia Selfe created a volume that set the agenda in the field of computers and composition scholarship for a decade. The technology changes that scholars of composition studies faced as the new century opened couldn't have been more deserving of passionate study. While we have always used technologies (e.g., the pencil) to communicate with each other, the electronic technologies we now use have changed the world in ways that we have yet to identify or appreciate fully. Likewise, the study of language and literate exchange, even our understanding of terms like literacy, text, and visual, has changed beyond recognition, challenging even our capacity to articulate them.

As Hawisher, Selfe, and their contributors engage these challenges and explore their importance, they "find themselves engaged in the messy, contradictory, and fascinating work of understanding how to live in a new world and a new century." The result is a broad, deep, and rewarding anthology of work still among the standard works of computers and composition study.

Published by: Utah State University Press


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pp. v-viii

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Introduction: The Passions that Mark Us: Teaching, Texts, and Technologies

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pp. 1-12

POPULAR DISCOURSES RELATED TO TEACHING AND SCHOLARSHIP IN ENGLISH studies traditionally link life in the profession with the world of privilege and leisure in protected enclaves often associated with the upper classes-they seldom,if ever, mention technology. College English professors of both sexes tend to be represented as bookish types in tweeds and corduroys, wielding leaky pens, outfitted...

Part I: Refiguring Notions of Literacy in an Electronic World

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1. From Pencils to Pixels: The Stages of Literacy Technologies

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pp. 15-33

THE COMPUTER, THE LATEST DEVELOPMENT IN WRITING TECHNOLOGY, promises, or threatens, to change literacy practices for better or worse, depending on your point of view. For many of us, the computer revolution came long ago, and it has left its mark on the way we do things with words. We take word processing as a given. We don't have typewriters in our offices anymore, or pencil sharpeners, or even printers with resolutions less than ...

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2. Saving a Place for Essayistic Literacy

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pp. 34-48

LESTER FAIGLEY AND SUSAN ROMANO RECENTLY ENCAPSULATED THE ONGOING argument that computer networks disrupt traditional assumptions about advanced literacy. Following anthropologists Ron and Suzanne Scollon, they refer to the old framework as essayistic literacy, writing practices characterized by texts of a certain length, complexity, and expected integrity. Essayistic literacy supports process pedagogies that have been ascendant in the past thirty ...

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3. The Haunting Story of J: Genealogy As A Critical Category in Understanding How a Writer Composes

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pp. 49-66

WHEN SITTING BULL SPOKE INTO A TELEPHONE FOR THE FIRST TIME, HE approached that new communicative technology with reasoning based on his experience: he relied on his memories about technology, people, and language to guide his choice of what to say. His prior experiences led him to assume that a telephone invented by a Scotsman could transmit...

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4. "English" at the Crossroads: Rethinking Curricula of Communication in the Context of the Turn to the Visual

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pp. 66-88

MY PRESENT JOB REQUIRES ME TO THINK ABOUT THE ENGLISH CURRICULUM in the upper years of schooling in England. I can't think about this with out also thinking about the subject in the earlier years of schooling. Nor can I think about it other than in the context of the vast political, social, economic and technological changes which characterize the present, and which will, if anything, become more intense over the coming decades. These lead me to the ...

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5. Petals on a Wet Black Bough: Textuality, Collaboration, and the New Essay

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pp. 98-114

Gregory Ulmer suggests that there are three general ways of constructing information: narrative, exposition, and pattern. In traditional academic texts, exposition has been the privileged electronic literacy, we will see a shift in how we represent what we know. When you place Ulmer next to Moffett, you begin to apprehend the change that...

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6. Response: Dropping Bread Crumbs in the Intertextual Forest: Critical Literacy in a Postmodern Age

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pp. 115-126

ONE WAY TO ADDRESS THE LARGE QUESTIONS KRESS POSES IS TO TURN TO cultural theorist bell hooks who insists that we "can't overvalue the importance of literacy to a culture that is deeply visual .... Rather than seeing literacy and the visual (and our pleasure of the visual) as oppositional to one another, we have to see them as compatible with one another" (Cultural Criticism). Certainly, Kress would agree, and while...

Part II: Revisiting Notions of Teaching and Access in an Electronic World

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7. Beyond Imagination: The Internet and Global Digital Literacy

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pp. 129-139

I BEGIN WITH FOUR NEWS STORIES THAT APPEARED IN NEWSPAPERS IN THE United Kingdom and Ireland during late March and early April 1996. The first story from the Irish Times describes a class in an isolated rural school in County Donegal that in the words of the article has "caught Internet fever" ("Drawn into the Net"). Even though the school has no computers, a first and second grade teacher, Michael McMullin, came up with the idea of teaching a unit on weather ...

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8. Postmodern Possibilities in Electronic Conversations

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pp. 140-160

AT THE END OF HIS 1992 CHAPTER ON "THE ACHIEVED UTOPIA OF THE Networked Classroom;' Lester Faigley invites us to think more about the pedagogy that arises from the use of electronic discussions in writing class rooms, "to theorize at greater depth and to take into account the richness of the classroom context" (Faigley 199), and he suggests, here and elsewhere in Fragments of Rationality, that such a pedagogy is or will be a postmodern ped ...

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9. Hyper-readers and their Reading Engines

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pp. 161-177

NOT LONG AGO, I SENT A COLLEAGUE AT ANOTHER UNIVERSITY AN ELECTRONIC text of paper that had been posted on a listserv. The next day I received a message from him asking if I could mail him a printed version of the paper because he found reading lengthy texts on a computer screen an unpleasant experience. Though it was inconvenient, I sent him the requested printout. ...

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10. “What is Composition . . . ?” After Duchamp (Notes Toward a General Teleintertext)

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pp. 178-204

BY ALL MEANS, LET'S START WITH DUCHAMP (AS ALL TWENTIETH CENTURY composition already does, consciously or not). Particularly, as this is in part a story of seemingly failed writing, writing which doesn't win prizes, let's start with some of Duchamp's failures. I can think of three right off: First, coming home in a taxi, March 1912, with a painting that was supposed...

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11. Access: The 'A' Word in Technology Studies

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pp. 205-220

My subject is the ways in which scholarship in computers and composition studies has not addressed the fact that access to emerging technologies, like access to other goods and services in America, is a function of wealth and social class. To put it more simply and directly, we in the computers-and-writing community know that there are haves and have nots among us

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12. Response: Speaking the Unspeakable About 21st Century Technologies

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pp. 221-228

WRITING IN 1841 TO A FRIEND WHO HAD ASKED HIM WHAT HIS "SONGS Without Words" meant, Felix Mendelssohn challenged the idea that words could say as much as he had already said in his music: People frequently complain that music is too ambiguous; that it is unclear to them what they should be thinking about when they hear it, whereas everyone understands words. For me, it is exactly the reverse ... The thoughts I find ...

Part III: Ethical and Feminist Concerns in an Electronic World

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13. Liberal Individualism and Internet Policy: A Communitarian Critique

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pp. 231-248

THIS CHAPTER EXAMINES AN ETHICAL FRAMEWORK PROMINENT IN DISCUSSIONS of Internet policy-liberal individualism-and critiques that ethical framework from the point of view of communitarian ethics. What is happening right now in Internet policy discussions is that the political and ethical framework of liberal individualism-a framework that undergirds policy pro ...

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14. On Becoming a Woman: Pedagogies of the Self

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pp. 249-267

FUTURE HISTORIANS EXAMINING THE PARTICULARS OF LATE TWENTIETH century writing instruction doubtless will conclude that college-level literacy entailed significant practice in the assumption of alternate identities. Evidence of pseudonymous and anonymous electronic conferencing, of MOO sessions where fictive personae are required or encouraged, and of personal Web-page selves composed from multiple media will persuade these historians ...

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15. Fleeting Images: Women Visually Writing the Web

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pp. 268-291

In this statement about online living made before web pages were commonplace, Tina anticipates some of the issues about visual representation that we explore in this chapter. Self-image is problematic for her, and more problematic as it becomes more visual. She sees "authentic" as deviating visually from "standard female beauty markers" and ponders whether a "nice-looking, smiling" female face will attract "more or less respect" as she wonders...

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16. Lest We Think the Revolution is a Revolution: Images of Technology and the Nature of Change

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pp. 292-322

W HEN ENGLISH STUDIES TEACHERS GET TOGETHER TO TALK ABOUT technology, we generally end up talking about change. It is common sense, after all to link computers with change when microprocessors, according to Moore's law, double in speed every eighteen months, when biomemory, superscalar architecture, and picoprocessors become feature stories for National Public Radio; and when media generations flash by in less time ...

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17. Into the Next Room

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pp. 323-336

RECENTLY, I REALIZED THAT MY HUSBAND AND I TAKE A LOT OF SNAPSHOTS of our backyard. The last time we had a roll of film developed, more than half of it was devoted to different views of what is admittedly an old fashioned, overgrown, and idiosyncratic space more or less defined by a hundred year old house at the far end, a tumbledown toolshed at the other, and tucked midway at an L-bend in the property, the original outhouse. Of course the truly defining ...

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18. Response: Virtual Diffusion: Ethics, Techn

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pp. 337-346

WHEN I READ AND FIND (UNEXPECTEDLY, YET HOPEFULLY) A KIND OF self-conscious confessional plea from an author to her reader (like Haraway's above), I instinctively feel at ease-as if in searching for the logos (or argument) in a text, somehow finding ethos makes it more palatable when logos asserts its proverbial cycle of claims, grounds, and warrants. When several texts are grouped (as in this section on ethics...

IV. Searching for Notions of Our Postmodern Literate Selves in an Electronic World

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19. Blinded by the Letter: Why Are We Using Literacy as a Metaphor for Everything Else?

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pp. 349-368

TOO EASILY DOES "LITERACY" SLIP OFF OUR TONGUES, WE THINK, AND GET PUT next to other terms: visual literacy, computer literacy, video literacy, media literacy, multimedia literacy, television literacy, technological literacy. have with printed words. There is, first, a bundle of stories we have accumulated about what literacy is and does; second, there is our regard for the object ...

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20. Family Values: Literacy, Technology, and Uncle Sam

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pp. 369-386

MY UNCLE SAM ALWAYS SAID CHICAGO IS A "PAST TOWN." HE'S AN EX-CON, my uncle. Three-time loser who did a twenty-one year stretch in Attica and Auburn. Picked up on armed burglary, shot in the leg (it was entrapment actually, but who's taking notes?). The day he got out I spotted him walking down the street. It was the year I graduated from high school. He was wearing a toupee. My father didn't recognize him...

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21. Technology’s Strange, Familiar Voices

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pp. 387-398

THESE DAYS I CHECK MY EMAIL WITH SOME ANTICIPATION: I'M WAITING, not for the news from an academic colleague, not for the latest conference notice, not for an announcement of a new online archive, not even for the news from the wheaten terrier fanciers. I'm waiting instead, for the "senior special": words from either my mother or my uncle, ages 66 and 71 respectively ...

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22. Beyond Next Before You Once Again: Repossessing and Renewing Electronic Culture

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pp. 399-417

W E ARE WHO WE ARE. WE ARE USED TO SAYING SOME THINGS GO WITHOUT saying. This does not. For it is the saying which makes us what we are. This essay borrows as its subtitle the name of Sherman Paul's collection of "essays in the Green American Tradition': Repossessing and Renewing, as a conscious nod and a continued memorial to my mentor, who late in his life offered me the grace of affirming that my hypertextual experiment was for ...

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23. Response: Everybody’s Elegies

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pp. 418-424

THESE LAST YEARS OF THE CENTURY ARE A FAT TIME FOR STORYTELLING IN THE non-fiction, retrospective vein. Biography and memoir, albeit mainly of the ghostwritten "celebrity" stripe, are among the few categories spared the recent retrenchments in the book business. American readers seem to have a limitless hankering for intimate disclosures, especially of high life. Es war immer so, the History Channel would no doubt remind us, itself a further illus ...

Works Cited

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pp. 425-441


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pp. 442-447


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pp. 448-452

E-ISBN-13: 9780874213164
Print-ISBN-13: 9780874212587

Publication Year: 1999