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Pedagogy 3.3 (2003) 325-327

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Editors' Introduction

Jennifer L. Holberg and Marcy Taylor

And so the conclusion of another volume of Pedagogy. As a new mother (Marcy) and a new aunt (Jennifer), we appreciate more fully how quickly our progeny can grow: as we look through the index for this volume, we are especially pleased with the range of articles we have published and the ways that this scholarship contributes significantly to a viable and vibrant scholarship of teaching.

One reason that the journal is thriving is the fine work of our outside manuscript reviewers. While it is easy in our profession to become cynical—about the perceived careerism, petty internecine battles, and misplaced values (in whatever direction)—we have found that in one of the profession's most unglamorous and unrewarded areas, peer review, our colleagues' work is truly heartening. Though most of it is hidden, unknown to the author and listed unobtrusively on one short line on the vita, the service it renders to the profession is invaluable. We have been greatly impressed both with the generosity of spirit that our reviewers exhibit, sincerely working to guide and encourage authors with their pieces, and with the level of attention they give each manuscript. Indeed, we have been struck by how pedagogical a practice peer review is, after all: how talking to our colleagues about their scholarship, like commenting on student papers or conferencing with students, forces us to consider the things we find most valuable intellectually and to apply in a concrete way the theoretical bases of our teaching practices. So we thank our reviewers for their diligence, and we invite other readers to join them (simply send the editorial office an e-mail). As editors, we acknowledge that our work is possible only because of the work of many, many others. [End Page 325]

Some issues seem to come together serendipitously around a central question: in this one, we see the four main articles as constructing a multivalent generational argument. Each entertains an inquiry into how we deal with our past, especially when the reception of that past is so mediated by our own life experiences. The philosopher Martin Buber offers a perspective on how knowledge, in at least one cultural context, can be transmitted from one generation to the next; it happens, he argues, "whenever one generation encounters the next, whenever the generation which has reached its full development transmits the teachings to the generation which is still in the process of developing, so that the teachings spontaneously waken to new life in the new generation." But Buber's rather hopeful articulation here is countered by the physicist Max Planck's more bleak description: "A scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it." The intersection of these positions is exactly the territory that these essays inhabit.

Jeffrey Insko leads off by exploring what noncanonical now means, particularly for an increasing number of professors and graduate students trained in the last twenty years with a very different sense of the "canonical." Virginia Crisco, Chris W. Gallagher, Deborah Minter, Katie Hupp Stahlnecker, and John Talbird explore how our own pasts as graduate students and our presents as professors affect the way we think about the futures of graduate studies in English. Byron Hawk, in a piece generically different from our usual articles, meditates on the subversive nature of Paul Kameen's pedagogy/writing. Hawk constructs a complex argument, part review essay and part theoretical reflection, that draws together strands of argument and influence from Kameen's earlier writings as well as from his philosophical ancestors. As a relatively young scholar and teacher, Hawk shows the kind of intellectual engagement with one's forebears that can guide and shape his teaching and larger professional life. Finally, Joanna Wolfe examines how we take practices from the past—in this case, classical rhetoric—and apply them in the classroom in ways that make sense for today. Generational tensions in the profession have produced conflict, but they...


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