We know how a Shakespeare play sounds when performed today, but what would listeners have heard within the wooden "O" of the Globe Theater in 1599? What sounds would have filled the air in early modern England, and what would these sounds have meant to people in that largely oral culture?
In this ear-opening journey into the sound-worlds of Shakespeare's contemporaries, Bruce R. Smith explores both the physical aspects of human speech (ears, lungs, tongue) and the surrounding environment (buildings, landscape, climate), as well as social and political structures. Drawing on a staggeringly wide range of evidence, he crafts a historical phenomenology of sound, from reconstructions of the "soundscapes" of city, country, and court to detailed accounts of the acoustic properties of the Globe and Blackfriars theaters and how scripts designed for the two spaces exploited sound very differently.
Critical for anyone who wants to understand the world of early modern England, Smith's pathbreaking "ecology" of voice and listening also has much to offer musicologists and acoustic ecologists.
To which institutions or social practices should we grant authority? When should we instead assert our own sense of what is right or good or necessary?
In this book, James Boyd White shows how texts by some of our most important thinkers and writers—including Plato, Shakespeare, Dickinson, Mandela, and Lincoln—answer these questions, not in the abstract, but in the way they wrestle with the claims of the world and self in particular historical and cultural contexts. As they define afresh the institutions or practices for which they claim (or resist) authority, they create authorities of their own, in the very modes of thought and expression they employ. They imagine their world anew and transform the languages that give it meaning.
In so doing, White maintains, these works teach us about how to read and judge claims of authority made by others upon us; how to decide to which institutions and practices we should grant authority; and how to create authorities of our own through our thoughts and arguments. Elegant and accessible, this book will appeal to anyone wanting to better understand one of the primary processes of our social and political lives.
Aware that categorical thinking imposes restrictions on the ways we communicate, Stephen R. Yarbrough proposes discourse studies as an alternative to rhetoric and philosophy, both of which are structuralistic systems of inquiry.
Discourse studies, Yarbrough argues, does not support the idea that languages, cultures, or conceptual schemes in general adequately describe linguistic competence. He asserts that a belief in languages and cultures "feeds a false dichotomy: either we share the same codes and conventions, achieving community but risking exclusivism, or we proliferate differences, achieving choice and freedom but risking fragmentation and incoherence." Discourse studies, he demonstrates, works around this dichotomy.
Drawing on philosopher Donald Davidson, Yarbrough establishes the idea that community can be a consequence of communication but is not a prerequisite for it. By disassociating our thinking from conceptual schemes, we can avoid the problems that come with believing in an abstract structure that predates any utterance.
Yarbrough also draws on Mikhail Bakhtin's dialogism to define how utterances operate in life and to show how utterances are involved with power and how power relates to understanding. His discussion of Michel Meyer's problematology treats the questions implied by a statement as the meaning of the statement.
Yarbrough introduces readers to a credible theoretical framework for focusing on discourse rather than on conceptual schemes that surround it and to the potential advantages of our using this approach in daily life.
William V. HARRIS Harvard University Press, 1989 Library of Congress PA53.H37 1989 | Dewey Decimal 302.22440938
How many people could read and write in the ancient world of the Greeks and Romans?
No one has previously tried to give a systematic answer to this question. Most historians who have considered the problem at all have given optimistic assessments, since they have been impressed by large bodies of ancient written material such as the graffiti at Pompeii. They have also been influenced by a tendency to idealize the Greek and Roman world and its educational system.
In Ancient Literacy W. V. Harris provides the first thorough exploration of the levels, types, and functions of literacy in the classical world, from the invention of the Greek alphabet about 800 B.C. down to the fifth century A.D. Investigations of other societies show that literacy ceases to be the accomplishment of a small elite only in specific circumstances. Harris argues that the social and technological conditions of the ancient world were such as to make mass literacy unthinkable. Noting that a society on the verge of mass literacy always possesses an elaborate school system, Harris stresses the limitations of Greek and Roman schooling, pointing out the meagerness of funding for elementary education.
Neither the Greeks nor the Romans came anywhere near to completing the transition to a modern kind of written culture. They relied more heavily on oral communication than has generally been imagined. Harris examines the partial transition to written culture, taking into consideration the economic sphere and everyday life, as well as law, politics, administration, and religion. He has much to say also about the circulation of literary texts throughout classical antiquity.
The limited spread of literacy in the classical world had diverse effects. It gave some stimulus to critical thought and assisted the accumulation of knowledge, and the minority that did learn to read and write was to some extent able to assert itself politically. The written word was also an instrument of power, and its use was indispensable for the construction and maintenance of empires. Most intriguing is the role of writing in the new religious culture of the late Roman Empire, in which it was more and more revered but less and less practiced.
Harris explores these and related themes in this highly original work of social and cultural history. Ancient Literacy is important reading for anyone interested in the classical world, the problem of literacy, or the history of the written word.
Appalachian Englishes in the Twenty-First Century provides a complete exploration of English in Appalachia for a broad audience of scholars and educators. Starting from the premise that just as there is no single Appalachia, there is no single Appalachian dialect, this essay collection brings together wide-ranging perspectives on language variation in the region. Contributors from the fields of linguistics, education, and folklore debunk myths about the dialect’s ancient origins, examine subregional and ethnic differences, and consider the relationships between language and identity—individual and collective—in a variety of settings, including schools. They are attentive to the full range of linguistic expression, from everyday spoken grammar to subversive Dale Earnhardt memes.
A portal to the language scholarship of the last thirty years, Appalachian Englishes in the Twenty-First Century translates state-of-the-art research for a nonspecialist audience, while setting the agenda for further study of language in one of America’s most recognized regions.
Considering the communicative and symbolic roles of language in articulating national identity, Yasir Suleiman provides a fresh perspective on nationalism in the Middle East. The links between language and nationalism are delineated and he demonstrates how this has been articulated over the past two centuries.
Straddling the domains of cultural and political nationalism, Suleiman examines the Arab past (looking at the interpretation and reinvention of tradition, and myth-making); the clash between Arab and Turkish cultural nationalism in the 19th and early 20th century; readings of canonical treatises on the topic of Arab cultural nationalism, the major ideological trends linking language to territorial nationalism; and provides a research agenda for the study of language and nationalism in the Arab context.
This the first full-scale study of this important topic and will be of interest to students of nationalism, Arab and comparative politics, Arabic Studies, history, cultural studies and sociolinguistics.
This introduction to major topics in the field of Arabic sociolinguistics examines key issues in diglossia, code-switching, gendered discourse, language variation and change, and language policies. It introduces and evaluates various theoretical approaches and models, and it illustrates the usefulness and limitations of these approaches to Arabic with empirical data. Reem Bassiouney explores how current sociolinguistic theories can be applied to Arabic and, conversely, what the study of Arabic can contribute to our understanding of the function of language in society.
Graduate students of Arabic language and linguistics as well as students of sociolinguistics with no knowledge of Arabic will find this volume to be an indispensable resource.
Translated texts are often either uncritically consumed by readers, teacher, and scholars or seen to represent an ineluctable loss, a diminishing of original texts. Translation, however, is a cultural practice, influenced also by social and political imperatives, which can open more doors than it closes. The essays in this book show how the act of translation, when vigilantly and critically attended to, becomes a means for active interrogation.
Bodies of Knowledge challenges homogenizing (mis)understandings of knowledge construction and provides a complex discussion of what happens when we do not attend to embodied rhetorical theories and practices. Because language is always a reflection of culture, to attempt to erase language and knowledge practices that reflect minoritized and historically excluded cultural experiences obscures the legitimacy of such experiences both within and outside the academy.
The pieces in Bodies of Knowledge draw explicit attention to the impact of the body on text, the impact of the body in text, the impact of the body as text, and the impact of the body upon textual production. The contributors investigate embodied rhetorics through the lenses of race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, disability and pain, technologies and ecologies, clothing and performance, and scent, silence, and touch. In doing so, they challenge the (false) notion that academic knowledge—that is, “real” knowledge—is disembodied and therefore presumed white, middle class, cis-het, able-bodied, and male. This collection lays bare how myriad bodies invent, construct, deliver, and experience the processes of knowledge building.
Experts in the field of writing studies provide the necessary theoretical frameworks to better understand productive (and unproductive) uses of embodied rhetorics within the academy and in the larger social realm. To help meet the theoretical and pedagogical needs of the discipline, Bodies of Knowledge addresses embodied rhetorics and embodied writing more broadly though a rich, varied, and intersectional approach. These authors address larger questions around embodiment while considering the various impacts of the body on theories and practices of rhetoric and composition.
Contributors: Scot Barnett, Margaret Booker, Katherine Bridgman, Sara DiCaglio, Kristie S. Fleckenstein, Vyshali Manivannan, Temptaous Mckoy, Julie Myatt, Julie Nelson, Ruth Osorio, Kate Pantelides, Caleb Pendygraft, Nadya Pittendrigh, Kellie Sharp-Hoskins, Anthony Stagliano, Megan Strom
Many developing countries have little choice but to “buy into English” as a path to ideological and material betterment.
Based on extensive fieldwork in Slovakia, Prendergast assembles a rich ethnographic study that records the thoughts, aspirations, and concerns of Slovak nationals, language instructors, journalists, and textbook authors who contend with the increasing importance of English to their rapidly evolving world. She reveals how the use of English in everyday life has becomes suffused with the terms of the knowledge and information economy, where language is manipulated for power and profit. Buying into English presents an astute analysis of the factors that have made English so prominent and yet so elusive, and a deconstruction of the myth of guaranteed viability for new states and economies through English.
Drawing on the theoretical work of Jacques Lacan, Marshall W. Alcorn Jr. formulates a systematic explanation of the function and value of desire in writing instruction.
Alcorn argues that in changing the subject matter of writing instruction in order to change student opinions, composition instructors have come to adopt an insufficiently complex understanding of subjectivity. This oversimplification hinders attempts to foster cultural change. Alcorn proposes an alternative mode of instruction that makes effective use of students’ knowledge and desire. The resulting freedom in expression—personal as well as political—engenders the recognition, circulation, and elaboration of desire necessary for both human communication and effective politics.
Responding to James Berlin’s reconception of praxis in the classroom, Theresa Ebert’s espousal of disciplined instructions, and Lester Faigley’s introduction of a postmodern theory of subjectivity, Alcorn follows both Lacan and Slavoj Žižek in insisting desire be given free voice and serious recognition. In composition as in politics, desire is the ground of agency. Competing expressions of desire should generate a dialectic in social-epistemic discourse that encourages enlightenment over cynicism and social development over authoritarian demands.
With clarity and personal voice, Alcorn explains how discourse is rooted in primitive psychological functions of desire and responds to complex cultural needs. In its theoretical scope this book describes a new pedagogy that links thought to emotion and the personal to the social.
Charm, wit, and style were critical, but dangerous, ingredients in the social repertoire of the Roman elite. Their use drew special attention, but also exposed one to potential ridicule or rejection for valuing style over substance. Brian A. Krostenko explores the complexities and ambiguities of charm, wit, and style in Roman literature of the late Republic by tracking the origins, development, and use of the terms that described them, which he calls "the language of social performance."
As Krostenko demonstrates, a key feature of this language is its capacity to express both approval and disdain—an artifact of its origins at a time when the "style" and "charm" of imported Greek cultural practices were greeted with both enthusiasm and hostility. Cicero played on that ambiguity, for example, by chastising lepidus ("fine") boys in the "Second Oration against Catiline" as degenerates, then arguing in his De Oratore that the successful speaker must have a certain charming lepos ("wit"). Catullus, in turn, exploited and inverted the political subtexts of this language for innovative poetic and erotic idioms.
More than 100 indigenous languages are spoken in Mexico and Central America. Each language partitions the color spectrum according to a pattern that is unique in some way. But every local system of color categories also shares characteristics with the systems of other Mesoamerican languages and of languages elsewhere in the world.
This book presents the results of the Mesoamerican Color Survey, which Robert E. MacLaury conducted in 1978-1981. Drawn from interviews with 900 speakers of some 116 Mesoamerican languages, the book provides a sweeping overview of the organization and semantics of color categorization in modern Mesoamerica.
Extensive analysis and MacLaury's use of vantage theory reveal complex and often surprising interrelationships among the ways languages categorize colors. His findings offer valuable cross-cultural data for all students of Mesoamerica. They will also be of interest to all linguists and cognitive scientists working on theories of categorization more generally.
The coining of the term "intellectuals" in 1898 coincided with W. E. B. Du Bois's effort to disseminate values and ideals unbounded by the color line. Du Bois's ideal of a "higher and broader and more varied human culture" is at the heart of a cosmopolitan tradition that Color and Culture identifies as a missing chapter in American literary and cultural history. The book offers a much needed and startlingly new historical perspective on "black intellectuals" as a social category, ranging over a century--from Frederick Douglass to Patricia Williams, from Du Bois, Pauline Hopkins, and Charles Chesnutt to Nella Larsen, Zora Neale Hurston, and Alain Locke, from Ralph Ellison and James Baldwin to Samuel Delany and Adrienne Kennedy. These writers challenge two durable assumptions: that high culture is "white culture" and that racial uplift is the sole concern of the black intellectual.
The remarkable tradition that this book recaptures, culminating in a cosmopolitan disregard for demands for racial "authenticity" and group solidarity, is strikingly at odds with the identity politics and multicultural movements of our day. In the Du Boisian tradition Posnock identifies a universalism inseparable from the particular and open to ethnicity--an approach with the power to take us beyond the provincialism of postmodern tribalism.
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 theria and praxis. As such it is an essential reference for all teachers of English and students of American education.
Despite the vast number of multilingual speakers in the United States and the pervasive influence of globalization, writing studies in this country is still inextricably linked to a nationalistic, monolingual English ideology. In Cosmopolitan English and Transliteracy, Xiaoye You addresses this issue by proposing that writing studies programs adopt a cosmopolitan perspective. Emphasizing local and global forms of citizenship and identification, You merges a humanistic vision with the rigor of social science, arguing that linguistic and cultural differences can be explored to recover human connections normally severed by geographical and semiotic borders.
You examines several areas of writing affected by globalization. He then turns to the composition classroom, highlighting the challenges and possibilities of crossing cultural boundaries in academic discourse before introducing a pedagogy aimed at fostering American students’ translingual and transcultural sensibilities. Included is a model for training writing teachers in the context of globalization, which aims to help instructors gain practical knowledge about the needs and resources of multilingual writers through communication technologies and cross-cultural partnerships.
By introducing cosmopolitan perspectives into the composition classroom, You challenges traditional assumptions about language, identity, and literacy as they relate to writing studies. Innovative and provocative, Cosmopolitan English and Transliteracy charts a new way forward for writing programs, with a call to focus on global rather than national identity.
Cross-Language Relations in Composition
Edited by Bruce Horner, Min-Zhan Lu, and Paul Kei Matsuda Southern Illinois University Press, 2010 Library of Congress PE1404.C753 2010 | Dewey Decimal 808.04207
Cross-Language Relations in Composition brings together the foremost scholars in the fields of composition, second language writing, education, and literacy studies to address the limitations of the tacit English-only policy prevalent in composition pedagogy and research and to suggest changes for the benefit of writing students and instructors throughout the United States. Recognizing the growing linguistic diversity of students and faculty, the ongoing changes in the English language as a result of globalization, and the increasingly blurred categories of native, foreign, and second language English speakers, editors Bruce Horner, Min-Zhan Lu, and Paul Kei Matsuda have compiled a groundbreaking anthology of essays that contest the dominance of English monolingualism in the study and teaching of composition and encourage the pursuit of approaches that embrace multilingualism and cross-language writing as the norm for teaching and research.
The nine chapters comprising part 1 of the collection focus on the origins of the “English only” bias dominating U.S. composition classes and present alternative methods of teaching and research that challenge this monolingualism. In part 2, nine composition teachers and scholars representing a variety of theoretical, institutional, and professional perspectives propose new, compelling, and concrete ways to understand and teach composition to students of a “global,” plural English, a language evolving in a multilingual world.
Drawing on recent theoretical work on genre, complexity, performance and identity, as well as postcolonialism, Cross-Language Relations in Composition offers a radically new approach to composition teaching and research, one that will prove invaluable to all who teach writing in today’s multilingual college classroom.
A selection of Martin Jay's recent writings on contemporary thought and culture, this is a book about ideas that matter—and about why ideas matter. Borrowing from Flaubert's notion of a dictionary of "received ideas" and Raymond Williams's explorations of the "keywords" of the modern age, Jay investigates some of the central concepts by which we currently organize our thoughts and lives. His topics range from "theory" and "experience" to the meaning of "multiculturalism" and the dynamics of cultural "subversion." Among the thinkers he engages are Bataille and Foucault, Adorno and Lacoue-Labarthe, Walter Benjamin, Christa Wolf, and Jean-François Lyotard.
By looking closely at what "words do and perform," Jay makes us aware of the extent to which the language we use mediates and shapes our experience. By helping to distance us from much that we now take for granted, he makes it difficult for us to remain comfortably certain about what we think we know.
Elegantly written and richly insightful, this is a work of cultural criticism and intellectual analysis of the first order.
Is it in our nature to be altruistic, or evil, to make art, use tools, or create language? Is it in our nature to think in any particular way? For Daniel L. Everett, the answer is a resounding no: it isn’t in our nature to do any of these things because human nature does not exist—at least not as we usually think of it. Flying in the face of major trends in Evolutionary Psychology and related fields, he offers a provocative and compelling argument in this book that the only thing humans are hardwired for is freedom: freedom from evolutionary instinct and freedom to adapt to a variety of environmental and cultural contexts.
Everett sketches a blank-slate picture of human cognition that focuses not on what is in the mind but, rather, what the mind is in—namely, culture. He draws on years of field research among the Amazonian people of the Pirahã in order to carefully scrutinize various theories of cognitive instinct, including Noam Chomsky’s foundational concept of universal grammar, Freud’s notions of unconscious forces, Adolf Bastian’s psychic unity of mankind, and works on massive modularity by evolutionary psychologists such as Leda Cosmides, John Tooby, Jerry Fodor, and Steven Pinker. Illuminating unique characteristics of the Pirahã language, he demonstrates just how differently various cultures can make us think and how vital culture is to our cognitive flexibility. Outlining the ways culture and individual psychology operate symbiotically, he posits a Buddhist-like conception of the cultural self as a set of experiences united by various apperceptions, episodic memories, ranked values, knowledge structures, and social roles—and not, in any shape or form, biological instinct.
The result is fascinating portrait of the “dark matter of the mind,” one that shows that our greatest evolutionary adaptation is adaptability itself.
Decolonizing Native Histories is an interdisciplinary collection that grapples with the racial and ethnic politics of knowledge production and indigenous activism in the Americas. It analyzes the relationship of language to power and empowerment, and advocates for collaborations between community members, scholars, and activists that prioritize the rights of Native peoples to decide how their knowledge is used. The contributors—academics and activists, indigenous and nonindigenous, from disciplines including history, anthropology, linguistics, and political science—explore the challenges of decolonization.
These wide-ranging case studies consider how language, the law, and the archive have historically served as instruments of colonialism and how they can be creatively transformed in constructing autonomy. The collection highlights points of commonality and solidarity across geographical, cultural, and linguistic boundaries and also reflects deep distinctions between North and South. Decolonizing Native Histories looks at Native histories and narratives in an internationally comparative context, with the hope that international collaboration and understanding of local histories will foster new possibilities for indigenous mobilization and an increasingly decolonized future.
Presenting thirteen essays, editors James C. Wilson and Cynthia Lewiecki-Wilson unite the fields of disability studies and rhetoric to examine connections between disability, education, language, and cultural practices. Bringing together theoretical and analytical perspectives from rhetorical studies and disability studies, these essays extend both the field of rhetoric and the newer field of disability studies.
The contributors span a range of academic fields including English, education, history, and sociology. Several contributors are themselves disabled or have disabled family members. While some essays included in this volume analyze the ways that representations of disability construct identity and attitudes toward the disabled, other essays use disability as a critical modality to rethink economic theory, educational practices, and everyday interactions. Among the disabilities discussed within these contexts are various physical disabilities, mental illness, learning disabilities, deafness, blindness, and diseases such as multiple sclerosis and AIDS.
What happened to the bold, kicky promise of writing instruction in the 1960s? The current conservative trend in composition is analyzed allegorically by Geoffrey Sirc in this book-length homage to Charles Deemer's 1967 article, in which the theories and practices of Happenings artists (multi-disciplinary performance pioneers) were used to invigorate college writing. Sirc takes up Deemer's inquiry, moving through the material and theoretical concerns of such pre- and post-Happenings influences as Duchamp and Pollock, situationists and punks, as well as many of the Happenings artists proper.
With this book, already a cult classic, began a neo-avant-garde for composition studies.
Winner of the Ross W. Winterowd Award for most outstanding book in composition theory.
Despite its centrality to its field, there is no consensus regarding what rhetorical theory is and why it matters. The Ethical Fantasy of Rhetorical Theory presents a critical examination of rhetorical theory throughout history, in order to develop a unifying vision for the field. Demonstrating that theorists have always been skeptical of yet committed to "truth" (however fantastic), Ira Allen develops rigorous notions of truth and of a "troubled freedom" that spring from rhetoric’s depths. In a sweeping analysis from the sophists Aristotle, and Cicero through Kenneth Burke, Chaïm Perelman and Lucie Olbrechts-Tyceta, and contemporary scholars in English, communication, and rhetoric’s other disciplinary homes, Allen offers a novel definition of rhetorical theory: as the self-consciously ethical study of how humans and other symbolic animals negotiate constraints.
Experimental texts empower the reader by encouraging self-governing approaches to reading and by placing the reader on equal footing with the author. Everybody's Autonomy is about reading and identity.
Contemporary avant garde writing has often been overlooked by those who study literature and identity. Such writing has been perceived as unrelated, as disrespectful of subjectivity. But Everybody's Autonomy instead locates within avant garde literature models of identity that are communal, connective, and racially concerned. Everybody's Autonomy, as it tackles literary criticism's central question of what sort of selves do works create, looks at works that encourage connection, works that present and engage with large, public worlds that are in turn shared with readers. With this intent, it aligns the iconoclastic work of Gertrude Stein with foreign, immigrant Englishes and their accompanying subjectivities. It examines the critique of white individualism and privilege in the work of language writers Lyn Hejinian and Bruce Andrews. It looks at how Harryette Mullen mixes language writing's open text with the distinctivesness of African-American culture to propose a communal, yet still racially conscious identity. And it examines Theresa Hak Kyung Cha's use of broken English and French to unsettle readers' fluencies and assimilating comprehensions, to decolonize reading. Such works, the book argues, well represent and expand changing notions of the public, of everybody.
Tim Cassedy’s fascinating study examines the role that language played at the turn of the nineteenth century as a marker of one’s identity. During this time of revolution (U.S., French, and Haitian) and globalization, language served as a way to categorize people within a world that appeared more diverse than ever. Linguistic differences, especially among English-speakers, seemed to validate the emerging national, racial, local, and regional identity categories that took shape in this new world order.
Focusing on six eccentric characters of the time—from the woman known as “Princess Caraboo” to wordsmith Noah Webster—Cassedy shows how each put language at the center of their identities and lived out the possibilities of their era’s linguistic ideas. The result is a highly entertaining and equally informative look at how perceptions about who spoke what language—and how they spoke it—determined the shape of communities in the British American colonies and beyond.
This engagingly written story is sure to appeal to historians of literature, culture, and communication; to linguists and book historians; and to general readers interested in how ideas about English developed in the early United States and throughout the English-speaking world.
“I am my language,” says the poet Gloria Anzaldúa, because language is at the heart of who we are. But what happens when a person has more than one language? Is there an overlay of language on identity, and do we shift identities as we shift languages? More important, what identities do children construct for themselves when they use different languages in particular ways?
In this book, Norma González uses language as a window on the multiple levels of identity construction in children—as well as on the complexities of life in the borderlands—to explore language practices and discourse patterns of Mexican-origin mothers and the language socialization of their children. She shows how the unique discourses that result from the interplay of two cultures shape perceptions of self and community, and how they influence the ways in which children learn and families engage with their children’s schools.
González demonstrates that the physical presence of the border profoundly affects the practices and ideologies of Mexican-origin women and children. She then argues that language and cultural background should be used as a basis for building academic competencies, and she demonstrates why the evocative/emotive dimension of language should play a major part in studies of discourse, language socialization, and language ideology.
Drawing on women’s own narratives of their experiences as both mothers and borderland residents, I Am My Language is firmly rooted in the words of common people in their everyday lives. It combines personal odyssey with cutting-edge ethnographic research, allowing us to hear voices that have been muted in the academic and public policy discussions of “what it means to be Latina/o” and showing us new ways to connect language to complex issues of education, political economy, and social identity.
How is it that chimpanzees can learn to "speak" at a higher level than some so-called wolf children? What happened that day in the pumphouse, when Helen Keller suddenly grasped the meaning of words? And picture this: a father and mother who shun the advice of professionals, who doggedly force their way into the closed world of their autistic son, and who reverse his grim prognosis, revealing him to be gifted. How to explain?
In this book, a philosopher combines these famous cases with a lifetime of study to examine the threshold of language--that point "between speech and not quite speech." He provides fascinating accounts of the deaf and blind Helen Keller, of chimpanzees like Washoe, and of feral children such as Victor, the "wild boy of Aveyron," putting a new spin on their stories. When does it start, he asks, that miracle most of us take for granted? Where does it come from, that uniquely human power to transform perception and action into thought and the singular activity we call speech?
Here is evidence that, for chimp or child, the crucial factors in acquiring language have less to do with intellect and everything to do with social interaction. Here is confirmation that the "give-and-take, push-and-pull" of daily life forces virtually all of us to acquire language simply to live and work together. Author Jerry Gill offers no pat answers. Rather, he emphasizes imitation and reciprocity—for example, playing pat-a-cake with a baby—as essential to becoming part of a speaking community "and thereby becoming a human being." In addition, Gill gives dozens of examples to show how gesture and facial expression both create and change the meaning of language. In compelling fashion, he underscores the point that language acquisition can be fully understood only in terms of such physical and social activity. The author exposes the flaws of research focused mainly on mental processes and gives little credit to findings based upon artificially contrived experiments.
With vigor, compassion, and a broad-minded humanism, these pages invite the reader to think again about how we say what we mean, how we mean what we say, and where it all starts in the first place. Valuable to students of psychology, linguistics, philosophy, and anthropology, the book will also appeal to general readers who welcome an opportunity to explore familiar things in a new and entirely enjoyable way.
In Inessential Solidarity, Diane Davis examines critical intersections of rhetoric and sociality in order to revise some of rhetorical theory’s basic presumptions. Rather than focus on the arguments and symbolic exchanges through which social relations are defined, Davis exposes an underivable rhetorical imperative, an obligation to respond that is as undeniable as the obligation to age. Situating this response-ability as the condition for, rather than the effect of, symbolic interaction, Davis both dissolves contemporary concerns about linguistic overdetermination and calls into question long-held presumptions about rhetoric’s relationship with identification, figuration, hermeneutics, agency, and judgment.
Spotlighting a rhetorical “situation” irreducible to symbolic relations, Davis proposes quite provocatively that rhetoric—rather than ontology (Aristotle/Heidegger), epistemology (Descartes), or ethics (Levinas)—is “first philosophy.” The subject or “symbol-using animal” comes into being, Davis argues both with and against Emmanuel Levinas, only inasmuch as it responds to the other; the priority of the other is not a matter of the subject's choice, then, but of its inescapable predicament. Directing the reader’s attention to this inessential solidarity without which no meaning-making or determinate social relation would be possible, Davis aims to nudge rhetorical studies beyond the epistemological concerns that typically circumscribe theories of persuasion toward the examination of a more fundamental affectability, persuadability, responsivity.
Bringing together methods and scholars from rhetoric and related disciplines, essays in Inventing Place: Writing Lone Star Rhetorics blend personal and scholarly accounts of Texas sites, examining place as an embodied poiesis, an understanding and composition formed through the collaboration of a body with a particular space.
Divided into five sections corresponding to Texas regions, essays consider aesthetics, buildings, environment, food and alcohol, private and public memory, and race and class. Among the topics covered by contributors are the Imagine Austin urban planning initiative; the terroir of Texas barbecue; the racist past of Grand Saline, Texas; Denton, Texas, and authenticity as rhetorical; negative views of Texas and how the state (or any place) is subject to reinvention; social, historical, and economic networks of place and their relationship to the food we eat; and Texas gun culture and working-class character.
Between 1917 and 1921, as revolution convulsed Russia, Jewish intellectuals and writers across the crumbling empire threw themselves into the pursuit of a "Jewish renaissance." Here is a brilliant, revisionist argument about the nature of cultural nationalism, the relationship between nationalism and socialism as ideological systems, and culture itself, the axis around which the encounter between Jews and European modernity has pivoted over the past century.
Taking King Lear as her central text, Judy Kronenfeld seriously questions the critical assumptions of much of today’s most fashionable Shakespeare scholarship. Charting a new course beyond both New Historicist and deconstructionist critics, she suggests a theory of language and interpretation that provides essential historical and linguistic contexts for the key terms and concepts of the play. Opening the play up to the implications of these contexts and this interpretive theory, she reveals much about Lear, English Reformation religious culture, and the state of contemporary criticism.
Kronenfeld’s focus expands from the text of Shakespeare’s play to a discussion of a shared Christian culture—a shared language and set of values—a common discursive field that frames the social ethics of the play. That expanded focus is used to address the multiple ways that clothing and nakedness function in the play, as well as the ways that these particular images and terms are understood in that shared context. As Kronenfeld moves beyond Lear to uncover the complex resonances of clothing and nakedness in sermons, polemical tracts, legislation, rhetoric, morality plays, and actual or alleged practices such as naked revolts by Anabaptists and the Adamians’ ritual disrobing during religious services, she demonstrates that many key terms and concepts of the period cannot be tied to a single ideology. Instead, they represent part of an intricate network of thought shared by people of seemingly opposite views, and it is within such shared cultural networks that dissent, resistance, and creativity can emerge. Warning her readers not to take the language of literary texts out of the linguistic context within which it first appeared, Kronenfeld has written a book that reinterprets the linguistic model that has been the basis for much poststructuralist criticism.
A chronicle of the renaissance in kinship studies, these seventeen articles pay tribute to Per Hage, one of the founding fathers of the movement and long-time faculty member of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Utah. With mathematician Frank Harary, Hage pioneered the use of graph theoretical models in anthropology, a systematic analysis of diverse cognitive, social, and cultural components that provides a common technical vocabulary for the entire field. Anthropological studies have benefited from quantitative evaluation, particularly kinship, which is newly appreciated for its application to all social sciences. The chapters of this book, some original works by the contributors and some unpublished Hage material, attest to the importance of the continual study of kinship.
Kinship systems are the glue that holds social groups together. This volume presents a novel approach to understanding the genesis of these systems and how and why they change. The editors bring together experts from the disciplines of anthropology and linguistics to explore kinship in societies around the world and to reconstruct kinship in ancient times. Kinship Systems presents evidence of renewed activity and advances in this field in recent years which will contribute to the current interdisciplinary focus on the evolution of society. While all continents are touched on in this book, there is special emphasis on Australian indigenous societies, which have been a source of fascination in kinship studies.
One key argument in the book is that linguistic evidence for reconstruction of ancient terminologies can provide strong independent evidence to complement anthropologists’ notions of structural kinship transformations and ground them in actual historical and geographical contexts. There are principles that we all share, no matter what kind of society we live in, and these provide a common “language” for anthropology and linguistics. With this language we can accurately compare how family relations are organized in different societies, as well as how we talk about such relations. Because this concept has often been denied by the trajectories in anthropology over the last few decades, Kinship Systems represents a reassertion of, and advances on, classical kinship theory and methods. Innovations and interdisciplinary methods are described by the originators of the new approaches and other leading regional experts.
The eminent historian Patrick J. Geary has written a provocative book, based on lectures delivered at the Historical Society of Israel about the role of language and ideology in the study and history of the early Middle Ages. He includes a fascinating discussion of the rush by nationalist philologists to rediscover the medieval roots of their respective vernaculars, the rivalry between vernacular languages and Latin to act as transmitters of Christian sacred texts and administrative documents, and the rather sloppy and ad hoc emergence in different places of the vernacular as the local administrative idiom. This is a fascinating look at the weakness of language as a force for unity: ideology, church authority, and emerging secular power always trumped language.
Language, Culture, and Mind
Edited by Michel Achard and Suzanne Kemmer CSLI, 2004 Library of Congress P35.L325 2004 | Dewey Decimal 306.44
Language, Culture, and Mind is a stimulating collection exploring the ways that cognitive, social, and cultural categories are revealed through language. Contributors use methods such as psycholinguistic experiments and observations of natural discourse to probe how such categories are organized, with grammatical and semantic analyses—in modern cognitive frameworks—augmenting these approaches. Some of the phenomena studied include the linguistic expression of space and causality; aspect, classifiers, negation, and complement constructions; and metaphor, metonymy, and conceptual blending across different domains of human experience. The result is a fresh perspective on the way language relates to thought and culture.
It’s no secret that, in most American classrooms, students are expected to master standardized American English and the conventions of Edited American English if they wish to succeed. Language Diversity in the Classroom: From Intention to Practice works to realign these conceptions through a series of provocative yet evenhanded essays that explore the ways we have enacted and continue to enact our beliefs in the integrity of the many languages and Englishes that arise both in the classroom and in professional communities.
Edited by Geneva Smitherman and Victor Villanueva, the collection was motivated by a survey project on language awareness commissioned by the National Council of Teachers of English and the Conference on College Composition and Communication.
All actively involved in supporting diversity in education, the contributors address the major issues inherent in linguistically diverse classrooms: language and racism, language and nationalism, and the challenges in teaching writing while respecting and celebrating students’ own languages. Offering historical and pedagogical perspectives on language awareness and language diversity, the essays reveal the nationalism implicit in the concept of a “standard English,” advocate alternative training and teaching practices for instructors at all levels, and promote the respect and importance of the country’s diverse dialects, languages, and literatures.
Contributors include Geneva Smitherman, Victor Villanueva, Elaine Richardson, Victoria Cliett, Arnetha F. Ball, Rashidah Jammi` Muhammad, Kim Brian Lovejoy, Gail Y. Okawa, Jan Swearingen, and Dave Pruett.
The volume also includes a foreword by Suresh Canagarajah and a substantial bibliography of resources about bilingualism and language diversity.
The Language of War examines the relationship between language and violence, focusing on American literature from the Civil War, World War I, and World War II. James Dawes proceeds by developing two primary questions: How does the strategic violence of war affect literary, legal, and philosophical representations? And, in turn, how do such representations affect the reception and initiation of violence itself? Authors and texts of central importance in this far-reaching study range from Louisa May Alcott and William James to William Faulkner, the Geneva Conventions, and contemporary American organizational sociology and language theory.
The consensus approach in literary studies over the past twenty years has been to treat language as an extension of violence. The idea that there might be an inverse relation between language and violence, says Dawes, has all too rarely influenced the dominant voices in literary studies today. This is an ambitious project that not only makes a serious contribution to American literary history, but also challenges some of the leading theoretical assumptions of our day.
Language, Resistance and Revival tells the untold story of the truly groundbreaking linguistic and educational developments that took place among Republican prisoners in Long Kesh prison from 1972-2000.
During a period of bitter struggle between Republican prisoners and the British state, the Irish language was taught and spoken as a form of resistance during incarceration. The book unearths this story for the first time and analyses the rejuvenating impact it had on the cultural revival in the nationalist community beyond the prison walls.
Based on unprecedented interviews, Feargal Mac Ionnrachtaigh explores a key period in Irish history through the original and 'insider' accounts of key protagonists in the contemporary Irish language revival.
This book discusses words used in the Southeast and how they have changed
during the 20th century. It also describes how the lexicon varies according
to the speaker's age, race, education, sex, and place of residence
(urban versus rural; coastal versus piedmont versus mountain). Data collected
in the 1930s as part of the Linguistic Atlas of the Middle and South Atlantic
States project were compared with data collected in 1990 from similar speakers
in the same communities.
The results show that region was the most important
factor in differentiating dialects in the 1930s but that it is the least
important element in the 1990s, with age, education, race, and age all
showing about the same influence on the use of vocabulary. An appendix
contains a tally of the responses given by 78 speakers to 150 questions
about vocabulary items, along with speakers' commentary. Results
from the 1930s may be compared to those from 1990, making this a treasure
trove for anyone interested in regional terms or in how our speech is changing
as the South moves from an agricultural economy through industrialization
and into the information age.
Lives in Two Languages explores identity and multiculturalism through readings that aim to help teachers-in-training gain better insight into their students' lives. Lives in Two Languages focuses on the experience of multicultural authors--like Richard Rodriguez, Amy Tan, Eva Hoffman, Chang-rae Lee, and Julia Alvarez--whose experiences can be related to anyone who has moved from one culture or subculture to another. As such, this text is an excellent comprehensive introduction to the multicultural experience for teachers and educators in all disciplines, as well as of interest to anyone interested in language culture and psychological process of identity.
In this valuable book, ethnographer and anthropologist Brigittine French mobilizes new critical-theoretical perspectives in linguistic anthropology, applying them to the politically charged context of contemporary Guatemala. Beginning with an examination of the “nationalist project” that has been ongoing since the end of the colonial period, French interrogates the “Guatemalan/indigenous binary.” In Guatemala, “Ladino” refers to the Spanish-speaking minority of the population, who are of mixed European, usually Spanish, and indigenous ancestry; “Indian” is understood to mean the majority of Guatemala’s population, who speak one of the twenty-one languages in the Maya linguistic groups of the country, although levels of bilingualism are very high among most Maya communities. As French shows, the Guatemalan state has actively promoted a racialized, essentialized notion of “Indians” as an undifferentiated, inherently inferior group that has stood stubbornly in the way of national progress, unity, and development—which are, implicitly, the goals of “true Guatemalans” (that is, Ladinos).
French shows, with useful examples, how constructions of language and collective identity are in fact strategies undertaken to serve the goals of institutions (including the government, the military, the educational system, and the church) and social actors (including linguists, scholars, and activists). But by incorporating in-depth fieldwork with groups that speak Kaqchikel and K’iche’ along with analyses of Spanish-language discourses, Maya Ethnolinguistic Identity also shows how some individuals in urban, bilingual Indian communities have disrupted the essentializing projects of multiculturalism. And by focusing on ideologies of language, the author is able to explicitly link linguistic forms and functions with larger issues of consciousness, gender politics, social positions, and the forging of hegemonic power relations.
Meaning, Form, and Body
Mark Turner, Fey Parrill, and Vera Tobin CSLI, 2010 Library of Congress P35.M38 2009 | Dewey Decimal 306.44
Meaning, Form, and Body brings together renowned figures in the field of cognitive linguistics to discuss two related research areas in the study of linguistics: the integration of form and meaning and language and the human body. Among the numerous topics discussed are grammatical constructions, conceptual integration, and gesture.
Before the modern nation-state became a stable, widespread phenomenon throughout northern Europe, multilingualism-the use of multiple languages in one geographical area-was common throughout the region. This book brings together historians and linguists, who apply their respective analytic tools to offer an interdisciplinary interpretation of the functions of multilingualism in identity-building in the period, and, from that, draw valuable lessons for understanding today's cosmopolitan societies.
Beliefs and feelings about language vary dramatically within and across Native American cultural groups and are an acknowledged part of the processes of language shift and language death. This volume samples the language ideologies of a wide range of Native American communities--from the Canadian Yukon to Guatemala--to show their role in sociocultural transformation.
These studies take up such active issues as "insiderness" in Cherokee language ideologies, contradictions of space-time for the Northern Arapaho, language socialization and Paiute identity, and orthography choices and language renewal among the Kiowa. The authors--including members of indigenous speech communities who participate in language renewal efforts--discuss not only Native Americans' conscious language ideologies but also the often-revealing relationship between these beliefs and other more implicit realizations of language use as embedded in community practice.
The chapters discuss the impact of contemporary language issues related to grammar, language use, the relation between language and social identity, and emergent language ideologies themselves in Native American speech communities. And although they portray obvious variation in attitudes toward language across communities, they also reveal commonalities--notably the emergent ideological process of iconization between a language and various national, ethnic, and tribal identities.
As fewer Native Americans continue to speak their own language, this timely volume provides valuable grounded studies of language ideologies in action--those indigenous to Native communities as well as those imposed by outside institutions or language researchers. It considers the emergent interaction of indigenous and imported ideologies and the resulting effect on language beliefs, practices, and struggles in today's Indian Country as it demonstrates the practical implications of recognizing a multiplicity of indigenous language ideologies and their impact on heritage language maintenance and renewal.
Natural Histories of Discourse
Edited by Michael Silverstein and Greg Urban University of Chicago Press, 1996 Library of Congress P35.N38 1996 | Dewey Decimal 401.41
Is culture simply a more or less set text we can learn to read? Since the early 1970s, the notion of culture-as-text has animated anthropologists and other analysts of culture. Michael Silverstein and Greg Urban present this stunning collection of cutting-edge ethnographies arguing that the divide between fleeting discursive practice and formed text is a constructed one, and that the constructional process reveals "culture" to those who can interpret it.
Eleven original essays of "natural history" range in focus from nuptial poetry of insult among Wolof griots to case-based teaching methods in first-year law-school classrooms. Stage by stage, they give an idea of the cultural processes of "entextualization" and "contextualization" of discourse that they so richly illustrate. The contributors' varied backgrounds include anthropology, psychiatry, education, literary criticism, and law, making this collection invaluable not only to anthropologists and linguists, but to all analysts of culture.
The third installment in the landmark LAVIS (Language Variety in the South) series, New Perspectives on Language Variety in the South: Historical and Contemporary Approaches brings together essays devoted to the careful examination and elucidation of the rich linguistic diversity of the American South, updating and broadening the work of the earlier volumes by more fully capturing the multifaceted configuration of languages and dialects in the South.
Beginning with an introduction to American Indian languages of the Southeast, five fascinating essays discuss indigenous languages, including Caddo, Ofo, and Timucua, and evidence for the connection between the Pre-Columbian Southeast and the Caribbean.
Five essays explore the earlier Englishes of the South, covering topics such as the eighteenth century as the key period in the differentiation of Southern American English and the use of new quantitative methods to trace the transfer of linguistic features from England to America. They examine a range of linguistic resources, such as plantation overseers’ writings, modern blues lyrics, linguistic databases, and lexical and locutional compilations that reveal the region’s distinctive dialectal traditions.
New Perspectives on Language Variety in the South: Historical and Contemporary Approaches widens the scope of inquiry into the linguistic influences of the African diaspora as evidenced in primary sources and records. A comprehensive essay redefines the varieties of French in Louisiana, tracing the pathway from Colonial Louisiana to the emergence of Plantation Society French in a diglossic relationship with Louisiana Creole. A further essay maps the shift from French to English in family documents.
An assortment of essays on English in the contemporary South touch on an array of compelling topics from discourse strategies to dialectal emblems of identity to stereotypes in popular perception.
Essays about recent Latino immigrants to the South bring the collection into the twenty-first century, taking into account the dramatic increase in the population of Spanish speakers and illuminating the purported role of “Spanglish,” the bilingual lives of Spanish-speaking Latinos in Mississippi, and the existence of regional Spanish dialectal diversity.
The Pacific Northwest has long been a linguistically rich region, yet there are few books devoted its unique linguistic heritage. The essays collected in Northwest Voices examine the historical background of the Pacific Northwest, the contributions of indigenous languages, the regional legacy of English, and the relationship between our perceptions of people and the languages they speak.
Although not often considered a bastion of diversity, linguistic or otherwise, in fact the Pacific Northwest has had a surprising number of influences on the English language, and a great number of other languages have left their mark on the region in a variety of ways. Individual essays examine the region’s linguistic diversity, explore the origins and use of place names, and detail efforts to revive indigenous languages.
Written for both general readers and language scholars, Northwest Voices brings together research and perspectives from linguistics, history, and cultural studies to help readers understand how and why the language of our region is of utmost importance to our pasts, presents, and futures.
Danica Sterud Miller
Jordan B. Sandoval
Alicia Beckford Wassink
Performing the Word offers readers of African American poetry a way of understanding and appreciating body of work that has received little critical attention. While African American literary tradition begins with eighteenth-century poets like Lucy Terry, Jupiter Hammon, and Phillis Wheatley, critical discussions of African American Poetry have been sparse. Aside from a few studies of "major" poets, such as Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Robert Hayden, Rita Dove, or period histories of phenomena such as the Harlem Renaissance, there has been little sustained critical inquiry into African American poetry as a body of literature- until now.
Fahamista Patricia Brown examines elements of African American expressive culture- its language practices, both fold and popular. Her book is an excellent introduction to a diverse group of poets and the common basis of their work in language practices and performativity, in the expressive culture of a people. Performing the Word is an important contribution to the understanding of African American culture and American poetry as a whole.
Poetics of Relation
Édouard Glissant University of Michigan Press, 1997 Library of Congress F2081.8.G5513 1997 | Dewey Decimal 972.982
Édouard Glissant, long recognized in the French and francophone world as one of the greatest writers and thinkers of our times, is increasingly attracting attention from English-speaking readers. Born in Martinique in 1928, Glissant earned a doctorate from the Sorbonne. When he returned to his native land in the mid-sixties, his writing began to focus on the idea of a "relational poetics," which laid the groundwork for the "créolité" movement, fueled by the understanding that Caribbean culture and identity are the positive products of a complex and multiple set of local historical circumstances. Some of the metaphors of local identity Glissant favored--the hinterland (or lack of it), the maroon (or runaway slave), the creole language--proved lasting and influential.
In Poetics of Relation, Glissant turns the concrete particulars of Caribbean reality into a complex, energetic vision of a world in transformation. He sees the Antilles as enduring suffering imposed by history, yet as a place whose unique interactions will one day produce an emerging global consensus. Arguing that the writer alone can tap the unconscious of a people and apprehend its multiform culture to provide forms of memory capable of transcending "nonhistory," Glissant defines his "poetics of relation"--both aesthetic and political--as a transformative mode of history, capable of enunciating and making concrete a French-Caribbean reality with a self-defined past and future. Glissant's notions of identity as constructed in relation and not in isolation are germane not only to discussions of Caribbean creolization but also to our understanding of U.S. multiculturalism. In Glissant's view, we come to see that relation in all its senses--telling, listening, connecting, and the parallel consciousness of self and surroundings--is the key to transforming mentalities and reshaping societies.
This translation of Glissant's work preserves the resonating quality of his prose and makes the richness and ambiguities of his voice accessible to readers in English.
"The most important theoretician from the Caribbean writing today. . . . He is central not only to the burgeoning field of Caribbean studies, but also to the newly flourishing literary scene in the French West Indies." --Judith Graves Miller, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Édouard Glissant is Distinguished Professor of French at City University of New York, Graduate Center. Betsy Wing's recent translations include Lucie Aubrac's Outwitting the Gestapo (with Konrad Bieber), Didier Eribon's Michel Foucault and Hélêne Cixous's The Book of Promethea.
LuMing Mao offers an important discussion of the rhetoric of Chinese American speakers, which has wide implications for the teaching of writing in English and for our understanding of cross-cultural influences in discourse.
Recent scholarship tends to explain such influences as contributing to language hybridity---an advance over the traditional "deficit model." But Mao suggests that the "hybridity" approach is perhaps too arid or sanitized, missing rich nuances of mutual exchange, resistance, or even subversion. Working from Ang's concept of "togetherness in difference," Mao suggests that speakers of hybrid discourse may not be attempting the standard (and failing), but instead may be deliberately importing cultural material to create a distance between themselves and the standard. This practice, over time, becomes a process that transforms English, enriching and enlarging it through the infusion of non-Western discourse features, subverting power structures, and even providing unique humorous touches.
Of interest to scholars in composition, cultural studies, and linguistics as well, Reading Chinese Fortune Cookie leads in an important new direction for both our understanding and our teaching of English.
Referential Practice is an anthropological study of language use in a contemporary Maya community. It examines the routine conversational practices in which Maya speakers make reference to themselves and to each other, to their immediate contexts, and to their world. Drawing on extensive fieldwork in Oxkutzcab, Yucatán, William F. Hanks develops a sociocultural approach to reference in natural languages. The core of this approach lies in treating speech as a social engagement and reference as a practice through which actors orient themselves in the world. The conceptual framework derives from cultural anthropology, linguistic pragmatics, interpretive sociology, and cognitive semantics.
As his central case, Hanks undertakes a comprehensive analysis of deixis—linguistic forms that fix reference in context, such as English I, you, this, that, here, and there. He shows that Maya deixis is a basic cultural construct linking language with body space, domestic space, agricultural and ritual practices, and other fields of social activity. Using this as a guide to ethnographic description, he discovers striking regularities in person reference and modes of participation, the role of perception in reference, and varieties of spatial orientation, including locative deixis. Traditionally considered a marginal area in linguistics and virtually untouched in the ethnographic literature, the study of referential deixis becomes in Hanks's treatment an innovative and revealing methodology.
Referential Practice is the first full-length study of actual deictic use in a non-Western language, the first in-depth study of speech practice in Yucatec Maya culture, and the first detailed account of the relation between routine conversation, embodiment, and ritual discourse.
In Reworking English in Rhetoric and Composition, editors Bruce Horner and Karen Kopelson gather leading scholars and new voices in the field of rhetoric and composition to offer a dynamic new perspective on English as it is used today. This provocative volume explores the myriad ways in which English is constantly redefined, revised, and redirected through specific, located acts of writing, rhetoric, teaching, and learning. Contributors provide insightful contributions to the study of English from both national and international perspectives, revealing the language as a fluid and constantly changing manner of expression that challenges established notions.
In part one, “Reworking Language,” writers call into question the idea of language as a static, stable entity. In part two, “Locations and Migrations: Global/Local Interrogations,” contributors explore the impact of writing and teaching English in both in the United States and abroad, from Arkansas and Oklahoma to China, Jamaica, and Lebanon. Part three, “Pedagogical/Institutional Interventions,” addresses English in institutional settings and the implications for future pedagogical work. Each essay in this revolutionary volume substantiates two key premises for the rethinking of English: first, that languages are susceptible to constant change through the very acts of writing, teaching, and learning, and second, that this reworking occurs as it moves between various temporal and spatial locations.
Throughout the volume, the variety and flexibility of English across the globe are both advocated and revealed, rejecting dominant Anglophone perspectives and instead placing language in cross-cultural contexts. Brimming with informative and thought-provoking insights, Reworking English in Rhetoric and Composition breathes new life into the field and provides direction for scholars and teachers looking to the future of English.
The Rhetoric of Cool: Composition Studies and New Media offers a historical critique of composition studies’ rebirth narrative, using that critique to propose a new rhetoric for new media work. Author Jeff Rice returns to critical moments during the rebirth of composition studies when the discipline chose not to emphasize technology, cultural studies, and visual writing, which are now fundamental to composition studies. Rice redefines these moments in order to invent a new electronic practice. The Rhetoric of Cool addresses the disciplinary claim that composition studies underwent a rebirth in 1963. At that time, three writers reviewed technology, cultural studies, and visual writing outside composition studies and independently used the word cool to describe each position. Starting from these three positions, Rice focuses on chora, appropriation, commutation, juxtaposition, nonlinearity, and imagery—rhetorical gestures conducive to new media work-- to construct the rhetoric of cool.
An innovative work that approaches computers and writing issues from historical, critical, theoretical, and practical perspectives, The Rhetoric of Cool challenges current understandings of writing and new media and proposes a rhetorical rather than an instrumental response for teaching writing in new media contexts.
A Rhetoric of Style
Barry Brummett Southern Illinois University Press, 2008 Library of Congress P99.4.S62B78 2008 | Dewey Decimal 302.2
Exploring style in a global culture
In A Rhetoric of Style, Barry Brummett illustrates how style is increasingly a global system of communication as people around the world understand what it means to dress a certain way, to dance a certain way, to decorate a certain way, to speak a certain way. He locates style at the heart of popular culture and asserts that it is the basis for social life and politics in the twenty-first century.
Brummett sees style as a system of signification grounded largely in image, aesthetics, and extrarational modes of thinking. He discusses three important aspects of this system—its social and commercial structuring, its political consequences, and its role as the chief rhetorical system of the modern world. He argues that aesthetics and style are merging into a major engine of the global economy and that style is becoming a way to construct individual identity, as well as social and political structures of alliance and opposition. It is through style that we stereotype or make assumptions about others’ political identities, their sexuality, their culture, and their economic standing.
To facilitate theoretical and critical analysis, Brummett develops a systematic rhetoric of style and then demonstrates its use through an in-depth exploration of gun culture in the United States. Armed with an understanding of how this rhetoric of style works methodologically, students and scholars alike will have the tools to do their own analyses. Written in clear and engaging prose, A Rhetoric of Style presents a novel discussion of the workings of style and sheds new light on a venerable and sometimes misunderstood rhetorical concept by illustrating how style is the key to constructing a rhetoric for the twenty-first century.
Jack Selzer University of Wisconsin Press, 1999 Library of Congress P301.5.S63R49 1999 | Dewey Decimal 808
What significance does the physical, material body still have in a world of virtual reality and genetic cloning? How do technology and postmodern rhetoric influence our understanding of the body? And how can our discussion of the body affect the way we handle crises in public policy—the politics of race and ethnicity; issues of "family values" that revolve around sexual and gender identities; the choices revolving around reproduction and genome projects, and the spread of disease?
Leading scholars in rhetoric and communication, as well as literary and cultural studies, address some of the most important topics currently being discussed in the human sciences. The essays collected here suggest the wide range of public arenas in which rhetoric is operative—from abortion clinics and the World Wide Web to the media's depiction of illiteracy and the Donner Party. These studies demonstrate how the discourse of AIDS prevention or Demi Moore's "beautiful pregnancy" call to mind the physical nature of being human and the ways in which language and other symbols reflect and create the physical world.
In the late 1770s, as a wave of revolution and republican unrest swept across Europe, scholars looked with urgency on the progress of European civilization. The question of social development was addressed from Edinburgh to St. Petersburg, with German scholars, including C. G. Heyne, Christoph Meiners, and J. G. Eichhorn, at the center of the discussion.
Michael Carhart examines their approaches to understanding human development by investigating the invention of a new analytic category, "culture." In an effort to define human nature and culture, scholars analyzed ancient texts for insights into language and the human mind in its early stages, together with writings from modern travelers, who provided data about various primitive societies. Some scholars began to doubt the existence of any essential human nature, arguing instead for human culture. If language was the vehicle of reason, what did it mean that all languages were different? Were rationality and virtue universal or unique to a given nation?
In this scholarship lie the roots of anthropology, sociology, and classical philology. Dissecting the debates over nature versus culture in Enlightenment Europe, Carhart offers a valuable contribution to cultural and intellectual history and the history of the human sciences.
In the interpretation of Shakespeare, wordplay has often been considered inconsequential, frequently reduced to a decorative "quibble." But in Shakespeare from the Margins: Language, Culture, Context, Patricia Parker, one of the most original interpreters of Shakespeare, argues that attention to Shakespearean wordplay reveals unexpected linkages, not only within and between plays but also between the plays and their contemporary culture.
Combining feminist and historical approaches with attention to the "matter" of language as well as of race and gender, Parker's brilliant "edification from the margins" illuminates much that has been overlooked, both in Shakespeare and in early modern culture. This book, a reexamination of popular and less familiar texts, will be indispensable to all students of Shakespeare and the early modern period.
Kenneth Gross University of Chicago Press, 2001 Library of Congress PR3072.G76 2001 | Dewey Decimal 822.33
"You common cry of curs! whose breath I hate / As reek o'th'rotten fens, whose loves I prize / As the dead carcasses of unburied men / That do corrupt my air: I banish you!" (from Coriolanus)
Kenneth Gross explores Shakespeare's deep fascination with dangerous and disorderly forms of speaking—especially rumor, slander, insult, vituperation, and curse—and through them offers a vision of the work of words in his plays. Coriolanus's taunts or Lear's curses force us to think not just about how Shakespeare's characters speak, but also about how they hear, overhear, and mishear what is spoken, how rumor becomes tragic knowledge for Hamlet, or opens Othello to fantastic jealousies. Gross also shows how Shakespeare's preoccupation with "noisy" speech echoed and transformed a broader cultural obsession with the perils of rumor, slander, and libel in Renaissance England.
Elegantly written and passionately argued, Shakespeare's Noise will challenge and delight anyone who loves his plays, from scholars to general readers, actors, and directors.
The demand of white, affluent society that all Americans should speak, read, and write "proper" English causes many people who are not white and/or middle class to attempt to "talk in a way that feel peculiar to [their] mind," as a character in Alice Walker’s The Color Purple puts it. In this book, Sonja Lanehart explores how this valorization of "proper" English has affected the language, literacy, educational achievements, and self-image of five African American women—her grandmother, mother, aunt, sister, and herself. Through interviews and written statements by each woman, Lanehart draws out the life stories of these women and their attitudes toward and use of language. Making comparisons and contrasts among them, she shows how, even within a single family, differences in age, educational opportunities, and social circumstances can lead to widely different abilities and comfort in using language to navigate daily life. Her research also adds a new dimension to our understanding of African American English, which has been little studied in relation to women.
Winner of the 2016 Sweetland Digital Rhetoric Collaborative Book Prize
Sites of Translation illustrates the intricate rhetorical work that multilingual communicators engage in as they translate information for their communities. Blending ethnographic and empirical methods from multiple disciplines, Laura Gonzales provides methodological examples of how linguistic diversity can be studied in practice, both in and outside the classroom, and provides insights into the rhetorical labor that is often unacknowledged and made invisible in multilingual communication. Sites of Translation is relevant to researchers and teachers of writing as well as technology designers interested in creating systems, pedagogies, and platforms that will be more accessible and useful to multilingual audiences. Gonzales presents multilingual communication as intellectual labor that should be further valued in both academic and professional spaces, and supported by multilingual technologies and pedagogies that center the expertise of linguistically diverse communicators.
Thomas P. Horejes’s new book focuses on revealing critical knowledge that addresses certain social justice issues, including deafness, language, culture, and deaf education. He conveys this information through discourses about his own experiences being deaf and through his research in which he “stresses the contingency of the social” in educational institutions.
In Social Constructions of Deafness: Examining Deaf Languacultures in Education, Horejes contends that schools as social institutions play powerful and exacting roles in the creation and maintenance of social constructions such as language and culture for deaf children. He subscribes to Michael Agar’s concept of “languaculture,” defined as the inextricable relationship between language and culture in which a specific language will shape and influence culture. His approach employs other anthropological terminology as he connects his personal experience as a deaf student (emic) to academic research on deafness (etic) to bring understanding to the multidimensional aspects of his own negotiated identities.
Horejes extends his inquiry through his analysis of two kindergarten classes for deaf students, one orally oriented and the other conducted using sing language. His findings are sobering evidence of the myriad challenges educators face in defining appropriate academic, linguistic, and cultural pedagogy for deaf children in schools and other social institutions.
Winner of the 2017 CCCC Advancement of Knowledge Award.
In an age of global anxiety and suspicion, South Asian immigrants juggle multiple cultural and literate traditions in Mid-South America. In this study Iswari P. Pandey looks deeply into this community to track the migration of literacies, showing how different meaning-making practices are adapted and reconfigured for cross-language relations and cross-cultural understanding at sites as varied as a Hindu school, a Hindu women’s reading group, Muslim men’s and women’s discussion groups formed soon after 9/11, and cross-cultural presentations by these immigrants to the host communities and law enforcement agencies. Through more than seventy interviews, he reveals the migratory nature of literacies and the community work required to make these practices meaningful.
Pandey addresses critical questions about language and cultural identity at a time of profound change. He examines how symbolic resources are invented and reinvented and circulated and recirculated within and across communities; the impact of English and new technologies on teaching, learning, and practicing ancestral languages; and how gender and religious identifications shape these practices. Overall, the book offers a thorough examination of the ways individuals use interpretive powers for agency within their own communities and for cross-cultural understanding in a globalizing world and what these practices mean for our understanding of that world.
Everybody’s got a theory . . . or do they?
Thomas McLaughlin argues that critical theory—raising serious, sustained questions about cultural practice and ideology—is practiced not only by an academic elite but also by savvy viewers of sitcoms and TV news, by Elvis fans and Trekkies, by labor organizers and school teachers, by the average person in the street.
Like academic theorists, who are trained in a tradition of philosophical and political skepticism that challenges all orthodoxies, the vernacular theorists McLaughlin identifies display a lively and healthy alertness to contradiction and propaganda. They are not passive victims of ideology but active questioners of the belief systems that have power over their lives. Their theoretical work arises from the circumstances they confront on the job, in the family, in popular culture. And their questioning of established institutions, McLaughlin contends, is essential and healthy, for it energizes other theorists who clarify the purpose and strategies of institutions and justify the existence of cultural practices. Street Smarts and Critical Theory leads us through eye-opening explorations of social activism in the Southern Christian anti-pornography movement, fan critiques in the ‘zine scene, New Age narratives of healing and transformation, the methodical manipulations of the advertising profession, and vernacular theory in the whole-language movement. Emphasizing that theory is itself a pervasive cultural practice, McLaughlin calls on academic institutions to recognize and develop the theoretical strategies that students bring into the classroom.
“This book demystifies the idea of theory, taking it out of the hands of a priestly caste and showing it as the democratic endowment of the people.”—Daniel T. O’Hara, Temple University, author of Radical Parody: American Culture and Critical Agency after Foucault and Lionel Trilling: The Work of Liberation.
“McLaughlin takes seriously the critical and theoretical activity of everyday people and does so in a way that will empower these very populations to take seriously their own activities as theorists. . . . A manifesto that is sure to be heard by the younger generation of thinkers in American cultural studies.”—Henry Jenkins, MIT, author of Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture
Toward Translingual Realities in Composition is a multiyear critical ethnographic study of first-year writing programs in Lebanon and Washington State—a country where English is not the sole language of instruction and a state in which English is entirely dominant—to examine the multiple and often contradictory natures, forces, and manifestations of language ideologies. The book is a practical, useful way of seriously engaging with alternative ways of thinking, doing, and learning academic English literacies.
Translingualism work has concentrated on critiquing monolingual and multilingual notions of language, but it is only beginning to examine translingual enactments in writing programs and classrooms. Focusing on language representations and practices at both the macro and micro levels, author Nancy Bou Ayash places the study and teaching of university-level writing in the context of the globalization and pluralization of English(es) and other languages. Individual chapters feature various studies that Bou Ayash brings together to address how students act as agents in marshaling their language practices and resources and shows a deliberate translingual intervention that complicates and enriches students’ assumptions about language and writing. Her findings about writing programs, instructors, and students are detailed, multidimensional, and complex.
A substantial contribution to growing translingual scholarship in the field of composition studies, Toward Translingual Realities in Composition offers insights into how writing teacher-scholars and writing program administrators can more productively intervene in local postmonolingual tensions and contradictions at the level of language representations and practices through actively and persistently reworking the design and enactment of their curricula, pedagogies, assessments, teacher training programs, and campus-wide partnerships.
Traces of a Stream offers a unique scholarly perspective that merges interests in rhetorical and literacy studies, United States social and political theory, and African American women writers. Focusing on elite nineteenth-century African American women who formed a new class of women well positioned to use language with consequence, Royster uses interdisciplinary perspectives (literature, history, feminist studies, African American studies, psychology, art, sociology, economics) to present a well-textured rhetorical analysis of the literate practices of these women. With a shift in educational opportunity after the Civil War, African American women gained access to higher education and received formal training in rhetoric and writing. By the end of the nineteenth-century, significant numbers of African American women operated actively in many public arenas.
In her study, Royster acknowledges the persistence of disempowering forces in the lives of African American women and their equal perseverance against these forces. Amid these conditions, Royster views the acquisition of literacy as a dynamic moment for African American women, not only in terms of their use of written language to satisfy their general needs for agency and authority, but also to fulfill socio-political purposes as well.
Traces of a Stream is a showcase for nineteenth-century African American women, and particularly elite women, as a group of writers who are currently underrepresented in rhetorical scholarship. Royster has formulated both an analytical theory and an ideological perspective that are useful in gaining a more generative understanding of literate practices as a whole and the practices of African American women in particular. Royster tells a tale of rhetorical prowess, calling for alternative ways of seeing, reading, and rendering scholarship as she seeks to establish a more suitable place for the contributions and achievements of African American women writers.
Translation and Power
Maria Tymoczko University of Massachusetts Press, 2002 Library of Congress P306.97.S63T7 2002 | Dewey Decimal 418.02
The contributors to this volume see translation as an activity that takes place not in an ideal neutral site but in real social and political situations, with parties who have vested interests in the production and reception of texts across linguistic and cultural boundaries. Translation is not simply a process of faithful reproduction but invariably involves deliberate acts of selection, construction, and omission. It is inextricably linked to issues of cultural dominance, assertion, and resistance—in short, to power.
Although governments, churches, publishing firms, and other powerful institutions may influence the translation process, many translators have found ways to resist that influence and have used translation to introduce new ideas and modes of expression. Exploring the nexus of translation and power, the essays in this volume offer a wide variety of examples, across multiple languages and societies. They range from case studies of historical episodes in which translation has played a role in the assertion of political and military power, such as an 1840 treaty between the British and Maori that continues to be a source of conflict in present-day New Zealand, to analyses of the work of specific translators, such as Germaine de StaÃ«l and Gayatri Spivak. Along with examining how translation contributes to ideological negotiations and cultural struggles, the essays reveal the dimensions of power inherent in the translation process itself—in the relationship of translator to author, source text, and translated text.
In addition to the editors, contributors include Rosemary Arrojo, Michael Cronin, Sabine Fenton, Camino Gutiérrez Lanza, Christopher Larkosh, Alexandra Lianeri, Lin Kenan, Carol Maier, Paul Moon, Adriana S. Pagano, and Sherry Simon.
Translingual Inheritance tells a new story of the early days of democracy in the United States, when English had not yet become the only dominant language. Drawing on translingual theory, which exposes how language use contrasts with the political constructions of named languages, Elizabeth Kimball argues that Philadelphians developed complex metalinguistic conceptions of what language is and how it mattered in their relations. In-depth chapters introduce the democratically active communities of Philadelphia between 1750 and 1830 and introduce the three most populous: Germans, Quakers (the Society of Friends), and African Americans. These communities had ways of knowing and using their own languages to create identities and serve the common good outside of English. They used these practices to articulate plans and pedagogies for schools, exercise their faith, and express the promise of the young democracy. Kimball draws on primary sources and archival texts that have been little seen or considered to show how citizens consciously took on the question of language and its place in building their young country and how such practice is at the root of what made democracy possible.
What has gone wrong with discourse and deliberation in the United States? It remains monologic, argues Patricia Roberts-Miller in Voices in the Wilderness, which traces America’s dominant form of argumentation back to its roots in the rhetorical tradition of 17th-century American Puritans. A work of composition theory, rhetorical theory, and cultural criticism, this volume ultimately provides not only new approaches to argumentation and the teaching of rhetoric, composition, and communication but also an original perspective on the current debate over public discourse
Both Jürgen Habermas and Wayne Booth—two of the most influential theorists in the domain of public discourse and good citizenry—argue for an inclusive public deliberation that involves people who are willing to listen to one another, to identify points of agreement and disagreement, and to make good faith attempts to validate any disputed claims. The Puritan voice crying in the wilderness, Roberts-Miller shows, does none of these things. To this individual of conscience engaged in a ceaseless battle of right and wrong against greedy philistines, all inclusion, mediation, and reciprocity are seen as evil, corrupting, and unnecessary. Hence, the voice in the wilderness does not in any real sense participate in public deliberation, only in public pronouncement.
Arguing that our culture’s continuing affection for the ethos of the voice crying in the wilderness is one of our more troubling inheritances from the early American ambivalence to public discourse—including the Puritan denigration of rhetoric—Roberts-Miller contends that the monologic discourse of the Puritans in fact contains within it arguments for dialogism. Thus, the history of rhetoric can provide much richer fields for reimagining discourse than heretofore credited. Roberts-Miller concludes by extending her findings into their practical applications for argumentation in the public sphere and in the composition classroom.
Through fresh readings of texts ranging from Homer's Iliad, Swift's Tale of a Tub, and Austen's Emma through the United States Constitution and McCulloch v. Maryland, James Boyd White examines the relationship between an individual mind and its language and culture as well as the "textual community" established between writer and audience. These striking textual analyses develop a rhetoric—a "way of reading" that can be brought to any text but that, in broader terms, becomes a way of learning that can shape the reader's life.
"In this ambitious and demanding work of literary criticism, James Boyd White seeks to communicate 'a sense of reading in a new and different way.' . . . [White's] marriage of lawyerly acumen and classically trained literary sensibility—equally evident in his earlier work, The Legal Imagination—gives the best parts of When Words Lose Their Meaning a gravity and moral earnestness rare in the pages of contemporary literary criticism."—Roger Kimball, American Scholar
"James Boyd White makes a state-of-the-art attempt to enrich legal theory with the insights of modern literary theory. Of its kind, it is a singular and standout achievement. . . . [White's] selections span the whole range of legal, literary, and political offerings, and his writing evidences a sustained and intimate experience with these texts. Writing with natural elegance, White manages to be insightful and inciteful. Throughout, his timely book is energized by an urgent love of literature and law and their liberating potential. His passion and sincerity are palpable."—Allan C. Hutchinson, Yale Law Journal
"Undeniably a unique and significant work. . . . When Words Lose Their Meaning is a rewarding book by a distinguished legal scholar. It is a showcase for the most interesting sort of inter-disciplinary work: the kind that brings together from traditionally separate fields not so much information as ideas and approaches."—R. B. Kershner, Jr., Georgia Review
Ever since Horace Mann promoted state supported schooling in the 1850s, the aims of U.S. public education have been the subject of heated national debate. Whose Goals? Whose Aspirations? joins this debate by exploring clashing educational aims in a discipline-based university classroom and the consequences of these clashes for "underprepared" writers.
In this close-up look at a White middle-class teacher and his ethnically diverse students, Fishman and McCarthy examine not only the role of Standard English in college writing instruction but also the underlying and highly charged issues of multiculturalism, race cognizance, and social class.
In 1883 the editor of a penny newspaper stood trial three times for the "obsolete" crime of blasphemy. The editor was G. W. Foote, the paper was the Freethinker, and the trial was the defining event of the decade. Foote's "martyrdom" completed blasphemy's nineteenth-century transformation from a religious offense to a class and cultural crime.
From extensive archival and literary research, Joss Marsh reconstructs a unified and particular account of blasphemy in Victorian England. Rewriting English history from the bottom up, she tells the forgotten stories of more than two hundred working-class "blasphemers," like Foote, whose stubborn refusal to silence their "hooligan" voices helped secure our rights to speak and write freely today. The new standards of criminality used to judge their "word crimes" rewrote the terms of literary judgment, demoting the Bible to literary masterpiece and raising Literature as the primary standard of Victorian cultural value.
Born in a time of anxiety, Words and Worlds examines some of the disquieting challenges that societies now face. Through an inquiry into a political lexicon of commonsense words, ranging from democracy and revolution to knowledge and authority, from inequality and toleration to war and power, the contributors to this book trouble the self-evidence of these terms, bringing into view the hidden transcripts and unexpected trajectories of many settled ideas, such as the human sense of belonging or the call for openness and transparency in research and public life. The case studies conducted over five continents with the tools of eight different disciplines challenge the ethnocentric assumptions, false moralism, and cultural prejudices that underlie much discussion on corruption or even the virtue invested in resilience. The critique of the ubiquitous use of crisis to characterize our times shows how this framing obscures the unjust conditions of existence and the violence of everyday life. Together the essays in this volume offer a fresh look at the deeply connected worlds we inhabit in solidarity and in discord.
Contributors. Banu Bargu, Veena Das, Alex de Waal, Didier Fassin, Peter Geschiere, Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi, Caroline Humphrey, Ravi Kanbur, Julieta Lemaitre, Uday S. Mehta, Jan-Werner Müller, Jonathan Pugh, Elizabeth F. Sanders, Todd Sanders
On the premise that words have the power to make worlds, each essay in this book follows a word as it travels around the globe and across time. Scholars from five disciplines address thirteen societies to highlight the social and political life of words in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. The approach is consciously experimental, in that rigorously tracking specific words in specific settings frequently leads in unexpected directions and alters conventional depictions of global modernity.
Such words as security in Brazil, responsibility in Japan, community in Thailand, and hijāb in France changed the societies in which they moved even as the words were changed by them. Some words threatened to launch wars, as injury did in imperial Britain’s relations with China in the nineteenth century. Others, such as secularism, worked in silence to agitate for political change in twentieth-century Morocco. Words imposed or imported from abroad could be transformed by those who wielded them to oppose the very powers that first introduced them, as happened in Turkey, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Taken together, this selection of fourteen essays reveals commonality as well as distinctiveness across modern societies, making the world look different from the interdisciplinary and transnational perspective of “words in motion.”
Contributors. Mona Abaza, Itty Abraham, Partha Chatterjee, Carol Gluck, Huri Islamoglu, Claudia Koonz, Lydia H. Liu, Driss Maghraoui, Vicente L. Rafael, Craig J. Reynolds, Seteney Shami, Alan Tansman, Kasian Tejapira, Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing
The Writer as Migrant
Ha Jin University of Chicago Press, 2008 Library of Congress PS3560.I6Z46 2008 | Dewey Decimal 818.54
As a teenager during China’s Cultural Revolution, Ha Jin served as an uneducated soldier in the People’s Liberation Army. Thirty years later, a resident of the United States, he won the National Book Award for his novel Waiting, completing a trajectory that has established him as one of the most admired exemplars of world literature.
Ha Jin’s journey raises rich and fascinating questions about language, migration, and the place of literature in a rapidly globalizing world—questions that take center stage in The Writer as Migrant, his first work of nonfiction. Consisting of three interconnected essays, this book sets Ha Jin’s own work and life alongside those of other literary exiles, creating a conversation across cultures and between eras. He employs the cases of Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Chinese novelist Lin Yutang to illustrate the obligation a writer feels to the land of his birth, while Joseph Conrad and Vladimir Nabokov—who, like Ha Jin, adopted English for their writing—are enlisted to explore a migrant author’s conscious choice of a literary language. A final essay draws on V. S. Naipaul and Milan Kundera to consider the ways in which our era of perpetual change forces a migrant writer to reconceptualize the very idea of home. Throughout, Jin brings other celebrated writers into the conversation as well, including W. G. Sebald, C. P. Cavafy, and Salman Rushdie—refracting and refining the very idea of a literature of migration.
Simultaneously a reflection on a crucial theme and a fascinating glimpse at the writers who compose Ha Jin’s mental library, The Writer as Migrant is a work of passionately engaged criticism, one rooted in departures but feeling like a new arrival.
Until recently, American composition scholars have studied writing instruction mainly within the borders of their own nation, rarely considering English composition in the global context in which writing in English is increasingly taught. Writing in the Devil’s Tongue challenges this anachronistic approach by examining the history of English composition instruction in an East Asian country. Author Xiaoye You offers scholars a chance to observe how a nation changed from monolingual writing practices to bilingual writing instruction in a school setting.
You makes extensive use of archival sources to help trace bilingual writing instruction in China back to 1862, when English was first taught in government schools. Treating the Chinese pursuit of modernity as the overarching theme, he explores how the entry of Anglo-American rhetoric and composition challenged and altered the traditional monolithic practice of teaching Chinese writing in the Confucian spirit. The author focuses on four aspects of this history: the Chinese negotiation with Anglo-American rhetoric, their search for innovative approaches to instruction, students’ situated use of English writing, and local scholarship in English composition.
Unlike previous composition histories, which have tended to focus on institutional, disciplinary, and pedagogical issues, Writing in the Devil’s Tongue brings students back to center stage by featuring several passages written by them in each chapter. These passages not only showcase rhetorical and linguistic features of their writings but also serve as representative anecdotes that reveal the complex ways in which students, responding to their situations, performed multivalent, intercultural discourses. In addition, You moves out of the classroom and into the historical, cultural, and political contexts that shaped both Chinese writing and composing practices and the pedagogies that were adopted to teach English to Chinese in China. Teachers, students, and scholars reading this book will learn a great deal about the political and cultural impact that teaching English composition has had in China and about the ways in which Chinese writing and composition continues to be shaped by rich and diverse cultural traditions and political discourses.
In showcasing the Chinese struggle with teaching and practicing bilingual composition, Writing in the Devil’s Tongue alerts American writing scholars and teachers to an outdated English monolingual mentality and urges them to modify their rhetorical assumptions, pedagogical approaches, and writing practices in the age of globalization.