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Nineteenth-Century Rhetorics, Readers, and Composition Books in the United States
Both a historical recovery and a critical rethinking of the functions and practices of textbooks, Archives of Instruction: Nineteenth-Century Rhetorics, Readers, and Composition Books in the United States argues for an alternative understanding of our rhetorical traditions. The authors describe how the pervasive influence of nineteenth-century literacy textbooks demonstrate the early emergence of substantive instruction in reading and writing. Tracing the histories of widespread educational practices, the authors treat the textbooks as an important means of cultural formation that restores a sense of their distinguished and unique contributions.
At the beginning of the nineteenth century, few people in the United States had access to significant school education or to the materials of instruction. By century’s end, education was a mass—though not universal—experience, and literacy textbooks were ubiquitous artifacts, used both in home and in school by a growing number of learners from diverse backgrounds. Many of the books have been forgotten, their contributions slighted or dismissed, or they are remembered through a haze of nostalgia as tokens of an idyllic form of schooling. Archives of Instruction suggests strategies for re-reading the texts and details the watersheds in the genre, providing a new perspective on the material conditions of schooling, book publication, and emerging practices of literacy instruction. The volume includes a substantial bibliography of primary and secondary works related to literacy instruction at all levels of education in the United States during the nineteenth century.
Rhetoric, Theory, and Writing in America
In this book, Jasper Neel’s sure-to-be-controversial resituating of Aristotle centers around three questions that have been constants in his twenty-two years of teaching experience: What does itmean to teach writing? What should one know before teaching writing? And, if there is such a thing as "research in the teaching of writing," what is it?
Believing that all composition teachers are situated politically and socially, both as part of the institution in which they teach and as beings with lived histories, Neel examines his own life and the life of composition studies as a discipline in the context of Aristotle. Neel first situates the Rhetoric as a political document; he then situates the Rhetoric in the Aristotelian system and describes how professional discourse came to know itself through Aristotle’s way of studying the world; finally, he examines the operation of the Rhetoric inside itself before arguing the need to turn to Aristotle’s notion of sophistry as a way of negating his system.
By pointing out the connections among Aristotelian rhetoric, the contemporary university, and the contemporary writing teacher, Neel shows that Aristotle’s frightening social theories are as alive today as are Aristotelian notions of discourse.
Neel explains that by their very nature teachers must speak with a professional voice. It is through showing how to "hear" one’s professional voice that Neel explores the notion of professional discourse that originates with Aristotle. In maintaining that one must pay a high price in order to speak through Aristotle’s theory or to assume the role of "professional," he argues that no neutral ground exists either for pedagogy or for the analysis of pedagogy. Neel concludes this discussion by proposing that Aristotelian sophistry is both an antidote to Aristotelian racism, sexism, and bigotry and a way of allowing Aristotelian categories of discourse to remain useful.
Finally, as an Aristotelian, a teacher, and a writer, Neel responds both to Aristotle and to professionalism by rethinking the influence of the past and reviving the voice of Aristotelian sophistry.
Culture, Place, and Authenticity
In rural America, perhaps more than other areas, high school students have the ability to contribute to the revitalization and sustainability of their home communities by engaging in oral history projects designed to highlight the values that are revered and worth saving in their region. The Arkansas Delta Oral History Project, a multiyear collaboration between the University of Arkansas
and several public high schools in small, rural Arkansas towns, gives students that opportunity. Through the project, trained University of Arkansas studentmentors work with high school students on in-depth writing projects that grow out of oral history interviews.
The Delta, a region where the religious roots of southern culture run deep and the traditions of cooking, farming, and hunting are passed from generation to generation, provides the ideal subject for oral history projects. In this detailed exploration of the project, the authors draw on theories of
cultural studies and critical pedagogy of place to show how students’ work on religion, food, and race exemplifies the use of community literacy to revitalize a distressed economic region. Advancing the discussion of place-based education, The Arkansas Delta Oral History Project is both inspirational and instructive in offering a successful model of an authentic literacy program.
The Story of the Owatonna Art Education Project
Concerned about aspects of her romantic relationships, Donna McDonald consulted with a psychologist who asked, “‘Your hearing loss must have had a big impact on you?” At age 45, with a successful career in social work policy, McDonald took umbrage at the question. Then, she realized that she never had addressed the personal barrier she had constructed between her deaf-self and her hearing persona. In the Art of Being Deaf, she traces her long, arduous pursuit of finding out exactly who she was.
The Art of Teaching Music takes up important aspects of the art of music teaching ranging from organization to serving as conductor to dealing with the disconnect between the ideal of university teaching and the reality in the classroom. Writing for both established teachers and instructors on the rise, Estelle R. Jorgensen opens a conversation about the life and work of the music teacher. The author regards music teaching as interrelated with the rest of lived life, and her themes encompass pedagogical skills as well as matters of character, disposition, value, personality, and musicality. She reflects on musicianship and practical aspects of teaching while drawing on a broad base of theory, research, and personal experience. Although grounded in the practical realities of music teaching, Jorgensen urges music teachers to think and act artfully, imaginatively, hopefully, and courageously toward creating a better world.
Education and Reform in Depression Era Appalachia
The first of many homestead communities designed during the rollout of the New Deal, Arthurdale, West Virginia, was a bold experiment in progressive social planning. At the center of the settlement was the school, which was established to improve the curriculum offered to Appalachian students. Offering displaced and unemployed coal miners and their families new opportunities, the school also helped those in need to develop a sense of dignity during the Great Depression.
The first book-length study of the well-known educational experiment, The Arthurdale Community School illuminates the institution's history, influence, and impact. Founded on American philosopher and reformer John Dewey's idea that learning should be based not on competition but on community, and informed by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt's guidance, the Arthurdale project sought to enable both children and adults to regain a sense of identity and place by studying the history and culture of Appalachia. Its goal was not to produce workers for global capitalism but to provide citizens with the tools to participate in a democracy.
Author Sam F. Stack Jr. examines both the successes and failures of this famous progressive experiment, providing an in-depth analysis of the Arthurdale School's legacy. A fascinating study of innovation and reform in Appalachia, Stack's book also investigates how this project's community model may offer insights into the challenges facing schools today.
The Pontigny Encounters at Mount Holyoke College, 1942-1944
Sixty years ago, at the height of World War II, an extraordinary series of gatherings took place at Mount Holyoke College in western Massachusetts. During the summers of 1942–1944, leading Europeanﬁgures in the arts and sciences met at the college with their American counterparts for urgent conversations about the future of human civilization in a precarious world. Two Sorbonne professors, the distinguished medievalist Gustave Cohen and the existentialist philosopher Jean Wahl, organized these “Pontigny” sessions, named after an abbey in Burgundy where similar symposia had been held in the decades before the war. Among the participants—many of whom were Jewish or had Jewish backgrounds—were the philosophers Hannah Arendt and Rachel Bespaloff, the poets Marianne Moore and Wallace Stevens, the anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss and the linguist Roman Jakobson, and the painters Marc Chagall and Robert Motherwell. In this collection of original essays, Stanley Cavell and Jacques Derrida lead an international group of scholars—including Jed Perl, Mary Ann Caws, Jeffrey Mehlman, and Elisabeth Young-Bruehl—in assessing the lasting impact and contemporary signiﬁcance of Pontigny-en- Amérique. Rachel Bespaloff, a tragicﬁgure who wrote a major work on the Iliad, is restored to her rightful place beside Arendt and Simone Weil. Anyone interested in the “intellectual resistance” of Francophone intellectuals and artists, and the inspiring support from such Americanﬁgures as Stevens and Moore, will want to read this pioneering work of scholarship and historical re-creation.
Reinventing the Humanities for the Twenty-first Century
Arts of Living presents a social history of the humanities and a proposal for the future that places creativity at the heart of higher education. Engaging with the debate launched by Allan Bloom, Harold Bloom, Bill Readings, John Guillory, and others, Kurt Spellmeyer argues that higher education needs to abandon the “culture wars” if it hopes to address the major crises of the century: globalization, the degradation of the environment, the widening chasm between rich and poor, and the clash of cultures.
Three Decades of Teaching in the Bronx
Rundown, vermin-infested buildings. rigid, slow-to-react bureaucratic systems. Children from broken homes and declining communities. How can a teacher succeed? How does a student not only survive but also come to thrive? It can happen, and As Bad as They Say? tells the heroic stories of Janet Mayer's students during her 33-year tenure as a Bronx high school teacher.In 1995, Janet Mayer's students began a pen-pal exchange with South African teenagers who, under apartheid, had been denied an education; almost uniformly, the South Africans asked, Is the Bronx as bad as they say? This dedicated teacher promised those students and all future ones that she would write a book to help change the stereotypical image of Bronx students and show that, in spite of overwhelming obstacles, they are outstanding young people, capable of the highest achievements.She walks the reader through the decrepit school building, describing in graphic detail the deplorable physical conditions that students and faculty navigate daily. Then, in eight chapters we meet eight amazing young people, a small sample of the more than 14,000 students the writer has felt honored to teach.She describes her own Bronx roots and the powerful influences that made her such a determined teacher. Finally, the veteran teacher sounds the alarm to stop the corruption and degradation of public education in the guise of what are euphemistically labeled reforms (No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top). She also expresses optimism that public education and our democracy can still be saved, urgently calling on all to become involved and help save our schools.