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Reinventing The University

Literacies and Legitimacy in the Postmodern Academy

Christopher L. Schroeder

Publication Year: 2001

Christopher Schroeder spends almost no time disputing David Bartholomae's famous essay, but throughout ReInventing the University, he elaborates an approach to teaching composition that is at odds with the tradition that essay has come to represent.

On the other hand, his approach is also at odds with elements of the pedagogies of such theorists as Berlin, Bizzell, and Shor. Schroeder argues that, for students, postmodern instability in literacy and meaning has become a question of the legitimacy of current discourse of education. Schroeder is committed, then, to constructing literacies jointly with students and by so doing to bringing students to engage more deeply with education and society.

Published by: Utah State University Press


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pp. v

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pp. vii

Thanks, first, to the students, colleagues, and friends who have given generously of their time to talk with me about literacies, cultures, and education in the United States. In addition, I want to thank all of those who contributed pieces to this text, whether they appeared in the final version or helped me to think through some of the questions, including Jean Wasko, Constantine...

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PROLOGUE: Reread(writ)ing the Contemporary Crisis in Literacy

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pp. 1-31

On March 29, 2000, a headline on the front page of The New York Times announced “Citing a Crisis, Bush Proposes Literacy Effort.” Above the fold—interspersed with articles about the failures of NASA’s management, the conflicts facing Haitian immigrants in the United States, the efforts of nonprofit groups to exploit a loophole in the tax law, and decisions of OPEC nations...

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INTERLUDE: Early Efforts to Read/Write Constructed Literacies: Journal of a Dissertation Director

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pp. 32-38

We are finally on our way. The prospectus is signed and the work can begin. Despite the conversations about and revisions of that preliminary document, however, I can’t say that I really know where this dissertation is going. That can probably be said for all dissertations, but this one in particular seems so global that I worry about its focus. It seems to reach out in too many directions...

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pp. 39-69

As I explained, my reading of what has been called by many—including critics, theorists, and George W. Bush—a crisis in literacy is that it is less indicative of some deficiency in literacy skills and more revealing of crises of meaning and legitimacy within schools and society. This reading is consistent with and builds upon the perspectives offered by others. For example, Paul Morris...

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INTERLUDE: Read(Writ)ing Classrooms With Department Chairs

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pp. 70-84

In thinking about the problems I’ve encountered with writers and readers in the classroom, like confusion and vagueness, I wonder if many of these *miscommunications* stem from the fact that I’m beginning with a different understanding of knowledge, learning, and meaning than many of them are accustomed to. At the beginning of each semester and regardless of whether...

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pp. 85-121

I have been asserting that what critics call the crisis of literacy and education in America is less a deficiency in students’ skills and abilities and more a crisis in the legitimacy of the literacies that have been institutionalized within American colleges and universities. In the previous chapter, I have argued that...

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INTERLUDE: Read(Writ)ing Classrooms with Students I

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pp. 122-125

Before entering Dr. Schroeder’s English 101 class, I expected a traditional instruction on grammar and writing. However, I later learned that Dr. Schroeder uses a more modern way of teaching in which he instructs his students about different literacies and presents abstract ideas. He was very enthusiastic about the subjects presented in each class. Dr. Schroeder...

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pp. 126-168

In chapter two, I offered examples of the concerns that Freire and others have had about critical literacies in American schools1 by considering the classroom practices of James Berlin and Ira Shor, two theorists who have done much to foster the conversations about critical literacies in contemporary American...

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INTERLUDE: Read(Writ)ing Classrooms with Students II

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pp. 169-173

Being exposed to the same teacher for an extended period of time can result in many things- some good and some bad. I have taken English 101and 102 with Dr. Schroeder, and by choice, surprisingly. I found through the first semester that I had developed a love/hate relationship with his teaching style, but there was enough of the love to have me sign up with him again for...

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pp. 174-221

As I have been arguing throughout, the contemporary conditions that are being called a crisis in literacy are more productively described as part of larger social crises of engagement and meaning. In offering this reading of literacy and learning, I have rewritten what critics are calling the contemporary crisis in literacy...

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INTERLUDE: Read(Writ)ing Constructed Literacies With Colleagues

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pp. 222-232

Thanks for the invitation to respond to your interesting book. I think I have something to contribute to your project of seeking an alternative literacy that is more constructed and constructive than what now seems disappointing. For what strikes me as most eloquent in your book is your picture of students alienated from the rewards of literacy—and the more muffled tale of your own...

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pp. 233-241

Thanks, in part, to a coalition of forces that have been loosely called postmodernism, we, as a profession and as a society, have become more aware of differences in our classrooms, as well we should. Between 1960 and 1980, the admission of 8.5 million additional students brought the total enrollment in...


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pp. 242-253


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pp. 254-264


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pp. 265-267

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pp. 268

Christopher Schroeder lives, writes, and teaches in New York, where he continues to explore literacies and education in a postmodern United States. Currently, he coordinates the Writing Across the Curriculum program at the C. W. Post campus of the Long Island University where he also teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in rhetoric, composition, linguistics...

E-ISBN-13: 9780874214710
Print-ISBN-13: 9780874214093

Publication Year: 2001