Pedagogy 2.1 (2001) 1-2
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Jennifer L. Holberg and Marcy Taylor
It is hard to believe that Pedagogy is already a year old. With volume 1-- featuring twenty-seven articles, ten "From the Classroom" pieces, seventeen reviews of eight books, three commentaries, and three editors' introductions--the journal initiated a multilayered conversation to develop and problematize the scholarship of teaching in English studies. We are proud of this work and want to begin this editors' introduction by thanking you, our readers, for joining us in this conversation. It has been encouraging to hear from many of you. We hope that many more of you will submit your work in the future.
Certainly, like any toddler, Pedagogy still needs and wants to explore many things. This first issue of volume 2 jumps in with a dedicated cluster on teaching and technology. It has been at least a decade since computers began to play an important role in the classroom. In these three essays Gail McDonald, Dànielle N. DeVoss and Cynthia L. Selfe, and Julia Flanders interrogate the pedagogical uses of the World Wide Web by students, instructors, and Web designers. Each explores how, in Flanders's words, the Web can "make learning more like research." In keeping with our editorial aim to provide multiple perspectives, these articles contain thought-provoking points of philosophical and pedagogical disagreement, particularly concerning readerly "difficulty." In spite of their differences, however, each article critiques the notion of "text" and, perhaps more important, calls on us to rethink our fundamental approaches to teaching reading and writing.
The technology cluster, at heart, is about how to deal with the "unfamiliar" [End Page 1] (the Cantos of Ezra Pound, the composition of the self, women writers before 1830) in the classroom. The other two articles in this issue, Wade Mahon's "Using Historical Practices to Teach Rhetorical Theory" and Piya Chatterjee's "Encountering 'Third World Women': Rac(e)ing the Global in a U.S. Classroom," address much the same issue. Indeed, both Mahon and Chatterjee, though literally worlds apart in subject matter, provide new insights into the teaching of material that is often difficult for students. Mahon argues how vital it is for instructors in rhetorical theory classes "to engage students' interest in historical ideas by having them actively engage in historical and, therefore, unfamiliar kinds of practices." Chatterjee details her own double struggle as the unfamiliar seeking to teach the unfamiliar in the women's studies classroom. Certainly, it may be unusual to have a cultural anthropologist who teaches women's studies write to an audience composed primarily of English studies professors. But we and the anonymous reviewers felt that Chatterjee's reflections and classroom strategies would interest the readership of Pedagogy; she raises a number of questions central to some of the fiercest debates in English studies today:
Let me pose some general questions about pedagogies of the "global" as a way to mark the stakes. These questions work through two linked registers. First, what are the purposes and effects of teaching "other" cultures in this era of globalization? To what end do we teach global and transnational literacy to U.S. students? Do these literacies enable or disable the logic of unifocal capitalist expansion for the global North? Second, how can transnational and cross-cultural literacies affect fault lines of power and difference at the center of empire, here in the United States? How are internal conflicts concerning diversity and representation to be addressed through teaching the global? What is the significance of "locality" and local politics within the often overwhelming effects of globalization?
One last note of birthday celebration: in volume 1 we were extraordinarily lucky in the scholars who wrote commentaries: George Levine, Richard E. Miller, and Elaine Showalter. For this issue Michael Bérubé has written a highly provocative essay that responds to and extends the conversation that Levine, Miller, and Showalter began. Bérubé, having moved this year to Penn State, reflects on his years at the University of Illinois and confronts many "commonplaces" about teaching undergraduates, teaching literature, the comp/lit divide, and other things, with often...