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Alternative Rhetoric in Theory and Practice
David Wallace argues that any understanding of writing studies must include the conception of discourse as an embodied force with real consequences for real people. Informed in important ways by queer theory, Wallace calls to account users of dominant discourses and at the same time articulates a theory base from which to interpret "alternative rhetoric."
“What any body is—and is able to do—cannot be disentangled from the media we use to consume and produce texts.” ---from the Introduction.
Kristin Arola and Anne Wysocki argue that composing in new media is composing the body—is embodiment. In Composing (Media) = Composing (Embodiment), they have brought together a powerful set of essays that agree on the need for compositionists—and their students—to engage with a wide range of new media texts. These chapters explore how texts of all varieties mediate and thereby contribute to the human experiences of communication, of self, the body, and composing. Sample assignments and activities exemplify how this exploration might proceed in the writing classroom.
Contributors here articulate ways to understand how writing enables the experience of our bodies as selves, and at the same time to see the work of (our) writing in mediating selves to make them accessible to institutional perceptions and constraints. These writers argue that what a body does, and can do, cannot be disentangled from the media we use, nor from the times and cultures and technologies with which we engage.
To the discipline of composition, this is an important discussion because it clarifies the impact/s of literacy on citizens, freedoms, and societies. To the classroom, it is important because it helps compositionists to support their students as they enact, learn, and reflect upon their own embodied and embodying writing.
A Contextualist Research Paradigm for Rhetoric and Composition
Cindy Johanek offers a new perspective on the ideological conflict between qualitative and quantitative research approaches, and the theories of knowledge that inform them. With a paradigm that is sensitive to the context of one's research questions, she argues, scholars can develop less dichotomous forms that invoke the strengths of both research traditions. Context-oriented approaches can lift the narrative from beneath the numbers in an experimental study, for example, or bring the useful clarity of numbers to an ethnographic study.
A pragmatic scholar, Johanek moves easily across the boundaries that divide the field, and argues for contextualist theory as a lens through which to view composition research. This approach brings with it a new focus, she writes. "This new focus will call us to attend to the contexts in which rhetorical issues and research issues converge, producing varied forms, many voices, and new knowledge, indeed reconstructing a discipline that will be simultaneously focused on its tasks, its knowledge-makers, and its students."
Composing Research is a work full of personal voice and professional commitment and will be a welcome addition to the research methods classroom and to the composition researcher's own bookshelf.
2000 Outstanding Scholarship Award from the International Writing Centers Association.
Notes toward a Deep Democracy
Composition and Cornel West: Notes toward a Deep Democracy identifies and explains key aspects of the work of Cornel West—the highly regarded scholar of religion, philosophy, and African American studies—as they relate to composition studies, focusing especially on three rhetorical strategies that West suggests we use in our questioning lives as scholars, teachers, students, and citizens.
In this study, author Keith Gilyard examines the strategies of Socratic Commitment (a relentless examination of received wisdom), Prophetic Witness (an abiding concern with justice and the plight of the oppressed), and Tragicomic Hope (a keep-on-pushing sensibility reflective of the African American freedom struggle). Together, these rhetorical strategies comprise an updated form of cultural criticism that West calls prophetic pragmatism.
This volume, which contains the only interview in which Cornel West directly addresses the field of composition, sketches the development of Cornel West’s theories of philosophy, political science, religion, and cultural studies and restates the link between Deweyan notions of critical intelligence and the notion of critical literacy developed by Ann Berthoff, Ira Shor, and Henry Giroux. Gilyard provides examples from the classroom to illustrate the possibilities of Socratic Commitment as part of composition pedagogy, shows the alignment of Prophetic Witness with traditional aims of critical composition, and in his chapter on Tragicomic Hope, addresses African American expressive culture with an emphasis on music and artists such as Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, and Kanye West.
The first book to comprehensively connect the ideas of one of America's premier scholars of religion, philosophy and African American studies with composition theory and pedagogy, Composition and Cornel West will be valuable to scholars, teachers, and students interested in race, class, critical literacy, and the teaching of writing.
Engaging the Dominant Discourse
Historical and Polemical Essays
Composition in the University examines the required introductory course in composition within American colleges and universities. Crowley argues that due to its association with literary studies in English departments, composition instruction has been inappropriately influenced by humanist pedagogy and that modern humanism is not a satisfactory rationale for the study of writing. Crowley envisions possible nonhumanist rationales that could be developed for vertical curricula in writing instruction, were the universal requirement not in place.
Bloom gathers twenty of her most recent essays (some previously unpublished) on critical issues in teaching writing. She addresses matters of philosophy and pedagogy, class and marginality and gender, and textual terror transformed to textual power. Yet the body of her work and this representative collection of it remains centered, coherent, and personal. This work focuses on the creative dynamics that arise from the interrelation of writing, teaching writing, and ways of reading—and the scholarship and administrative issues engendered by it. To regard composition studies as a creative art is to engage in a process of intellectual or aesthetic free play, and then to translate the results of this play into serious work that yet retains the freedom and playfulness of its origins. The book is fueled by a mixture of faith in the fields that compose composition studies, hope that efforts of composition teachers can make a difference, and a sense of community in its broadest meaning. Included are Bloom's well-known essays "Teaching College English as a Woman," "Freshman Composition as a Middle Class Enterprise," and many more recent works, equally provocative and insightful.
Backgrounds, Theory, and Pedagogy
Connors provides a history of composition and its pedagogical approaches to form, genre, and correctness. He shows where many of the today’s practices and assumptions about writing come from, and he translates what our techniques and theories of teaching have said over time about our attitudes toward students, language and life. Connors locates the beginning of a new rhetorical tradition in the mid-nineteenth century, and from there, he discusses the theoretical and pedagogical innovations of the last two centuries as the result of historical forces, social needs, and cultural shifts. This important book proves that American composition-rhetoric is a genuine, rhetorical tradition with its own evolving theoria and praxis. As such it is an essential reference for all teachers of English and students of American education.
A Practical Introduction