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Collaborative Imagination Cover

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Collaborative Imagination

Earning Activism through Literacy Education

Paul Feigenbaum

Processes of fighting unequal citizenship have historically prioritized literacy education, through which people envision universal first-class citizenship and devise practical methods for enacting this vision. In this important volume, literacy scholar Paul Feigenbaum explores how literacy education can facilitate activism in contemporary contexts in which underserved populations often remain consigned to second-class status despite official guarantees of equal citizenship. By conceiving of education as, in part, a process of understanding and grappling with adaptive and activist rhetorics, Feigenbaum explains, educators can direct people’s imaginations toward activism without running up against the conceptual problems so many scholars associate with critical pedagogy. Over time, this model of education expands people’s imaginations about what it means to be a good citizen, facilitates increased civic participation, and encourages collective destabilization of, rather than adaptation to, the structural inequalities of mainstream civic institutions. Feigenbaum offers detailed analyses of various locations and time periods inside, outside, and across the walls of formal education, including the Citizenship Schools and Freedom Schools rooted in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s; the Algebra Project, a current practical-literacy network; and the Imagination Federation, a South Florida–based Earth-Literacy network. Considering both the history and the future of community literacy, Collaborative Imagination offers educators a powerful mechanism for promoting activism through their teaching and scholarship, while providing practical ideas for greater civic engagement among students.

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Communication Ethics in Dark Times

Hannah Arendt's Rhetoric of Warning and Hope

Ronald C. Arnett

Renowned in the disciplines of political theory and philosophy, Hannah Arendt’s searing critiques of modernity continue to resonate in other fields of thought decades after she wrote them. In Communication Ethics in Dark Times: Hannah Arendt’s Rhetoric of Warning and Hope, author Ronald C. Arnett offers a groundbreaking examination of fifteen of Arendt’s major scholarly works, considering the German writer’s contributions to the areas of rhetoric and communication ethics for the first time.  



Arnett focuses on Arendt’s use of the phrase “dark times” to describe the mistakes of modernity, defined by Arendt as the post-Enlightenment social conditions, discourses, and processes ruled by principles of efficiency, progress, and individual autonomy. These principles, Arendt argues, have led humanity down a path of folly, banality, and hubris. Throughout his interpretive evaluation, Arnett illuminates the implications of Arendt’s persistent metaphor of “dark times” and engages the question, How might communication ethics counter the tenets of dark times and their consequences? A compelling study of Hannah Arendt’s most noteworthy works and their connections to the fields of rhetoric and communication ethics, Communication Ethics in Dark Times provides an illuminating introduction for students and scholars of communication ethics and rhetoric, and a tool with which experts may discover new insights, connections, and applications to these fields.

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Community Literacy and the Rhetoric of Public Engagement

Linda Flower

Community Literacy and the Rhetoric of Public Engagement explores the critical practice of intercultural inquiry and rhetorical problem-solving that encourages urban writers and college mentors alike to take literate action. Author Linda Flower documents an innovative experiment in community literacy, the Community Literacy Center in Pittsburgh, and posits a powerful and distinctively rhetorical model of community engagement and pedagogy for both marginalized and privileged writers and speakers. In addition, she articulates a theory of local publics and explores the transformative potential of alternative discourses and counter-public performances.  

In presenting a comprehensive pedagogy for literate action, the volume offers strategies for talking and collaborating across difference, for conducting an intercultural inquiry that draws out situated knowledge and rival interpretations of shared problems, and for writing and speaking to advocate for personal and public transformation. Flower describes the competing scripts for social engagement, empowerment, public deliberation, and agency that characterize the interdisciplinary debate over models of social engagement.

Extending the Community Literacy Center’s initial vision of community literacy first published a decade ago, Community Literacy and the Rhetoric of Public Engagement makes an important contribution to theoretical conversations about the nature of the public sphere while providing practical instruction in how all people can speak publicly for values and visions of change.

 

 

 

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Composition and Cornel West

Notes toward a Deep Democracy

Keith Gilyard

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.

 

 

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Composition and the Rhetoric of Science

Engaging the Dominant Discourse

Michael J. Zerbe

Composition and the Rhetoric of Science: Engaging the Dominant Discourse calls for instructors of first-year writing courses to employ primary scientific discourse in their teaching and for rhetoricians of science to think about teaching scientific discourse as a literacy skill. Author Michael J. Zerbe argues that inclusion of scientific discourse is crucial because of this rhetoric’s status as the dominant discourse in western culture. 
 
The volume draws on Lyotard, Žižek, Foucault, and Althusser to argue that while important theorists such as these have recognized the dominance of scientific discourse, rhetoric and composition has not—to its detriment. The text illustrates that scientific discourse remains a miniscule part of the enterprise of rhetoric and composition and thus the field is not fulfilling its mission of providing students with the writing and reading skills they need to live and work in a science- and technology-dependent society.  
 
Zerbe provides an analysis of science popularizations and demonstrates how these works can be used to contextualize primary scientific research. He also presents three pedagogical scenarios, each built around a carefully chosen, accessible example of scientific discourse, that demonstrate how articles from scientific journals can be used in writing courses.
 
Only by gaining a meaningful fluency in this discourse—one that is not offered by science textbooks—can a more sophisticated scientific literacy be assured. Composition and the Rhetoric of Science effectively explores the relatively limited amount of work done in rhetoric and composition on scientific discourse and questions this state of affairs. Zerbe presents for the first time cultural studies and science literacy as gateways for incorporating scientific discourse into first-year writing courses.

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Confederate Daughters

Coming of Age during the Civil War

Victoria E. Ott

Confederate Daughters: Coming of Age during the Civil War explores gender, age, and Confederate identity by examining the lives of teenage daughters of Southern slaveholding, secessionist families. These young women clung tenaciously to the gender ideals that upheld marriage and motherhood as the fulfillment of female duty and to the racial order of the slaveholding South, an institution that defined their status and afforded them material privileges. Author Victoria E. Ott discusses how the loyalty of young Southern women to the fledgling nation, born out of a conservative movement to preserve the status quo, brought them into new areas of work, new types of civic activism, and new rituals of courtship during the Civil War.

Social norms for daughters of the elite, their preparation for their roles as Southern women, and their material and emotional connections to the slaveholding class changed drastically during the Civil War. When differences between the North and South proved irreconcilable, Southern daughters demonstrated extraordinary agency in seeking to protect their futures as wives, mothers, and slaveholders.

From a position of young womanhood and privilege, they threw their support behind the movement to create a Confederate identity, which was in turn shaped by their participation in the secession movement and the war effort. Their political engagement is evident from their knowledge of military battles, and was expressed through their clothing, social activities, relationships with peers, and interactions with Union soldiers.

Confederate Daughters also reveals how these young women, in an effort to sustain their families throughout the war, adjusted to new domestic duties, confronting the loss of slaves and other financial hardships by seeking paid work outside their homes.

Drawing on their personal and published recollections of the war, slavery, and the Old South, Ott argues that young women created a unique female identity different from that of older Southern women, the Confederate bellehood. This transformative female identity was an important aspect of the Lost Cause mythology—the version of the conflict that focused on Southern nationalism—and bridged the cultural gap between the antebellum and postbellum periods.

Augmented by eighteen illustrations, this book offers a generational understanding of the transitional nature of wartime and its effects on women’s self-perceptions. Confederate Daughters identifies the experiences of these teenage daughters as making a significant contribution to the new woman in the New South.   

 

 

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Confederate Rage, Yankee Wrath

No Quarter in the Civil War

George S. Burkhardt

This provocative study proves the existence of a de facto Confederate policy of giving no quarter to captured black combatants during the Civil War—killing them instead of treating them as prisoners of war. Rather than looking at the massacres as a series of discrete and random events, this work examines each as part of a ruthless but standard practice.

Author George S. Burkhardt details a fascinating case that the Confederates followed a consistent pattern of murder against the black soldiers who served in Northern armies after Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation. He shows subsequent retaliation by black soldiers and further escalation by the Confederates, including the execution of some captured white Federal soldiers, those proscribed as cavalry raiders, foragers, or house-burners, and even some captured in traditional battles.  

Further disproving the notion of Confederates as victims who were merely trying to defend their homes, Burkhardt explores the motivations behind the soldiers’ actions and shows the Confederates’ rage at the sight of former slaves—still considered property, not men—fighting them as equals on the battlefield.

Burkhardt’s narrative approach recovers important dimensions of the war that until now have not been fully explored by historians, effectively describing the systemic pattern that pushed the conflict toward a black flag, take-no-prisoners struggle.

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Consolation Miracle

Chad Davidson

Consolation Miracle is a book of visceral, image-driven poems that search for the miraculous in the seemingly ordinary. This collection fashions art out of artless objects as a consolation, or perhaps compensation, for their smallness. Yawns and pears, cockroaches and crows resonate against historically conflated backdrops, while our own hands seem suddenly strange as they hide themselves in our pockets, balance a burning cigarette between two fingers, or grip the gun that shot Lincoln. Other poems address the destruction of empire, the end of old Hollywood, and the hyperbolic fizzling out of entire centuries. Here, consolation miracles are rarely the ones sought after, yet they radiate in their neglect. Davidson’s poems help us understand the inner life of cows, imagine the plight of a banished Kama Sutra illustrator, speculate about Cleopatra’s lingerie. With a title borrowed from Gabriel García Márquez, Consolation Miracle contains a magical realism for the twenty-first century.

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Contemporary Latina/o Theater

Wrighting Ethnicity

Jon D. Rossini

In Contemporary Latina/o Theater, Jon D. Rossini explores the complex relationship between theater and the creation of ethnicity in an unprecedented examination of six Latina/o playwrights and their works: Miguel Piñero, Luis Valdez, Guillermo Reyes, Octavio Solis, José Rivera, and Cherríe Moraga. Rossini exposes how these writers use the genre as a tool to reveal and transform existing preconceptions about their culture.  Through “wrighting”—the triplicate process of writing plays, righting misconceptions about ethnic identity, and creating an entirely new way of understanding Latina/o culture—these playwrights directly intervene in current conversations regarding ethnic identity, providing the tools for audiences to reexplore their previously held perspectives outside the theater.

Examining these writers and their works in both cultural and historical contexts, Rossini reveals how playwrights use the liminal space of the stage—an area on the thresholds of both theory and reality—to “wright” new insights into Latina/o identity.  They use the limits of the theater itself to offer practical explorations of issues that could otherwise be discussed only in highly theoretical terms.

Rossini traces playwrights’ methods as they address some of the most challenging issues facing contemporary Latinas/os in America: from the struggles for ethnic solidarity and the dangers of a community based in fear, to stereotypes of Latino masculinity and the problematic fusion of ethnicity and politics.  Rossini discusses the looming specter of the border in theater, both as a conceptual device and as a literal reality—a crucial subject for modern Latinas/os, given recent legislation and other actions.   Throughout, the author draws intriguing comparisons to the cultural limbo in which many Latinas/os find themselves today. 

An indispensable volume for anyone interested in drama and ethnic studies, Contemporary Latina/o Theater underscores the power of theatricality in exploring and rethinking ethnicity.  Rossini provides the most in-depth analysis of these plays to date, offering a groundbreaking look at the ability of playwrights to correct misconceptions and create fresh perspectives on diversity, culture, and identity in Latina/o America.

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Conversational Rhetoric

The Rise and Fall of a Women's Tradition, 1600-1900

Jane Donawerth

Much of the scholarly exchange regarding the history of women in rhetoric has emphasized women’s rhetorical practices. In Conversational Rhetoric: The Rise and Fall of a Women’s Tradition, 1600–1900, Jane Donawerth traces the historical development of rhetorical theory by women for women, studying the moments when women produced theory about the arts of communication in alternative genres—humanist treatises and dialogues, defenses of women’s preaching, conduct books, and elocution handbooks. She examines the relationship between communication and gender and between theory and pedagogy and argues that women constructed a theory of rhetoric based on conversation, not public speaking, as a model for all discourse. 

Donawerth traces the development of women’s rhetorical theory through the voices of English and American women (and one much-translated French woman) over three centuries. She demonstrates how they cultivated theories of rhetoric centered on conversation that faded once women began writing composition textbooks for mixed-gender audiences in the latter part of the nineteenth century. She recovers and elucidates the importance of the theories in dialogues and defenses of women’s education by Bathsua Makin, Mary Astell, and Madeleine de Scudéry; in conduct books by Hannah More, Lydia Sigourney, and Eliza Farrar; in defenses of women’s preaching by Ellen Stewart, Lucretia Mott, Catherine Booth, and Frances Willard; and in elocution handbooks by Anna Morgan, Hallie Quinn Brown, Genevieve Stebbins, and Emily Bishop. In each genre, Donawerth explores facets of women’s rhetorical theory, such as the recognition of the gendered nature of communication in conduct books, the incorporation of the language of women’s rights in the defenses of women’s preaching, and the adaptation of sentimental culture to the cultivation of women’s bodies as tools of communication in elocution books. 

Rather than a linear history, Conversational Rhetoric follows the starts, stops, and starting over in women’s rhetorical theory. It covers a broad range of women’s rhetorical theory in the Anglo-American world and places them in their social, rhetorical, and gendered historical contexts. This study adds women’s rhetorical theory to the rhetorical tradition, advances our understanding of women’s theories and their use of rhetoric, and offers a paradigm for analyzing the differences between men’s and women’s rhetoric from 1600 to 1900.

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