In Before Shaughnessy: Basic Writing at Yale and Harvard, 1920–1960, Kelly Ritter uses materials from the archives at Harvard and Yale and contemporary theories of writing instruction to reconsider the definition of basic writing and basic writers within a socio-historical context. Ritter challenges the association of basic writing with only poorly funded institutions and poorly prepared students.
Using Yale and Harvard as two sample case studies, Ritter shows that basic writing courses were alive and well, even in the Ivy League, in the early twentieth century. She argues not only that basic writers exist across institutional types and diverse student populations, but that the prevalence of these writers has existed far more historically than we generally acknowledge.
Uncovering this forgotten history of basic writing at elite institutions, Ritter contends that the politics and problems of the identification and the definition of basic writers and basic writing began long before the work of Mina Shaughnessy in Errors and Expectations and the rise of open admissions. Indeed, she illustrates how the problems and politics have been with us since the advent of English A at Harvard and the heightened consumer-based policies that resulted in the new admissions criteria of the early twentieth-century American university. In order to recognize this long-standing reality of basic writing, we must now reconsider whether the nearly standardized, nationalized definition of “basic” is any longer a beneficial one for the positive growth and democratic development of our first-year writing programs and students.
Why do totalitarian propaganda such as those created in Nazi Germany and the former German Democratic Republic initially succeed, and why do they ultimately fail? Outside observers often make two serious mistakes when they interpret the propaganda of this time. First, they assume the propaganda worked largely because they were supported by a police state, that people cheered Hitler and Honecker because they feared the consequences of not doing so. Second, they assume that propaganda really succeeded in persuading most of the citizenry that the Nuremberg rallies were a reflection of how most Germans thought, or that most East Germans were convinced Marxist-Leninists. Subsequently, World War II Allies feared that rooting out Nazism would be a very difficult task. No leading scholar or politician in the West expected East Germany to collapse nearly as rapidly as it did. Effective propaganda depends on a full range of persuasive methods, from the gentlest suggestion to overt violence, which the dictatorships of the twentieth century understood well.
In many ways, modern totalitarian movements present worldviews that are religious in nature. Nazism and Marxism-Leninism presented themselves as explanations for all of life—culture, morality, science, history, and recreation. They provided people with reasons for accepting the status quo. Bending Spines examines the full range of persuasive techniques used by Nazi Germany and the German Democratic Republic, and concludes that both systems failed in part because they expected more of their propaganda than it was able to deliver.
For nearly twenty-five years, English studies has been focused on two terms: politics and ethics. However, the institutional emergence, development, and relationship of these two concepts have yet to be examined. Between Politics and Ethics: Toward a Vocative History of English Studies traces the development of politics and ethics in contemporary English studies, questions the current political orientation of the discipline, and proposes a rethinking of the history of English studies based on a “vocative” dimension of writing—the idea that writers form a virtual community by “calling to” and listening to other writers.
In a series of interrelated discussions, James Comas examines the historical trends leading to recent confusion regarding ethics and its relation to the politics of English studies. Through close, rhetorical readings of texts by Judith Butler, Stephen Greenblatt, Edward Said, and others, Comas argues that this confusion is largely the result of a “political turn” that resists theorizing itself. In addition, he argues that work on ethics by Wayne Booth, Geoffrey Harpham, and J. Hillis Miller reflects an uneasy dialectic between the ethics and politics of reading and writing. In response to this discord, Comas turns to the theories of Emmanuel Levinas and Maurice Blanchot, as well as to the examples of Georges Bataille and Kenneth Burke, and proposes a vocative approach to assessing English studies and its history. In doing so, this volume offers a thoughtful reassessment of English studies that affects our understanding of the rhetoric of disciplinary histories.
The teacher-student conference is standard in the repertoire of teachers at all levels. Because it's a one-to-one encounter, teachers work hard to make it comfortable; but because it's a pedagogical moment, they hope that learning occurs in the encounter, too. The literature in this area often suggests that a conference is a conversation, but this doesn't account for a teacher's need to use it pedagogically. Laurel Johnson Black's new book explores the conflicting meanings and relations embedded in conferencing and offers a new theoretical understanding of the conference along with practical approaches to conferencing more effectively with students.
Analyzing taped conferences of several different teachers and students, Black considers the influence that power, gender, and culture can have on a conference. She draws on sociolinguistic theory, as well as critical theory in composition and rhetoric, to build an understanding of the writing conference as an encounter somewhere between conversation and the classroom. She finds neither the conversation model nor versions of the master-apprentice model satisfactory. Her approach is humane, student-centered, and progressive, but it does not ignore the valid pedagogical purposes a teacher might have in conferencing. Between Talk and Teaching will be a valuable addition to the professional library of writing teachers and writing program administrators.
Sidney I. Dobrin, J.A. Rice, and Michael Vastola Utah State University Press, 2011 Library of Congress PE1404.B48 2011 | Dewey Decimal 808
Beyond Postprocess offers a vigorous, provocative discussion of postprocess theory in its contemporary profile. Fueled by something like a fundamental refusal to see writing as self-evident, reducible, and easily explicable, the contributors rethink postprocess, suggesting that there is no easily defined moment or method that could be called postprocess. Instead, each contribution to this collection provides a unique and important example of what work beyond postprocess could be.
Since postprocess theory in writing studies first challenged traditional conceptions of writing and the subject who writes, developments there have continued to push theorists of writing in a number of promising theoretical directions. Spaces for writing have arisen that radically alter ideological notions of space, rational thinking, intellectual property and politics, and epistemologies; and new media, digital, and visual rhetorics have increasingly complicated the scene, as well.
Contributors to Beyond Postprocess reconsider writing and writing studies through posthumanism, ecology, new media, materiality, multimodal and digital writing, institutional critique, and postpedagogy. Through the lively and provocative character of these essays, Beyond Postprocess aims to provide a critical site for nothing less than the broad reevaluation of what it means to study writing today. Its polyvocal considerations and conclusions invest the volume with a unique potential to describe not what that field of study should be, but what it has the capacity to create. The central purpose of Beyond Postprocess is to unleash this creative potential.
This collection of highly readable essays reveals that research is not restricted to library archives. When researchers pursue information and perspectives from sources beyond the archives—from existing people and places— they are often rewarded with unexpected discoveries that enrich their research and their lives.
Beyond the Archives: Research as a Lived Process presents narratives that demystify and illuminate the research process by showing how personal experiences, family history, and scholarly research intersect. Editors Gesa E. Kirsch and Liz Rohan emphasize how important it is for researchers to tap into their passions, pursuing research subjects that attract their attention with creativity and intuition without limiting themselves to traditional archival sources and research methods.
Eighteen contributors from a number of disciplines detail inspiring research opportunities that led to recently published works, while offering insights on such topics as starting and finishing research projects, using a wide range of types of sources and methods, and taking advantage of unexpected leads, chance encounters and simple clues. In addition, the narratives trace the importance of place in archival research, the parallels between the lives of research subjects and researchers, and explore archives as sites that resurrect personal, cultural, and historical memory.
Beyond the Archives sheds light on the creative, joyful, and serendipitous nature of research, addressing what attracts researchers to their subjects, as well as what inspires them to produce the most thorough, complete, and engaged scholarly work. This timely and essential volume supplements traditional-method textbooks and effectively models concrete practices of retrieving and synthesizing information by professional researchers.
In the formative years of the Methodist Church in the United States, women played significant roles as proselytizers, organizers, lay ministers, and majority members. Although women’s participation helped the church to become the nation’s largest denomination by the mid-nineteenth century, their official roles diminished during that time. In Beyond the Pulpit, Lisa Shaver examines Methodist periodicals as a rhetorical space to which women turned to find, and make, self-meaning.
In 1818, Methodist Magazine first published “memoirs” that eulogized women as powerful witnesses for their faith on their deathbeds. As Shaver observes, it was only in death that a woman could achieve the status of minister. Another Methodist publication, the Christian Advocate, was America’s largest circulated weekly by the mid-1830s. It featured the “Ladies’ Department,” a column that reinforced the canon of women as dutiful wives, mothers, and household managers. Here, the church also affirmed women in the important rhetorical and evangelical role of domestic preacher. Outside the “Ladies Department,” women increasingly appeared in “little narratives” in which they were portrayed as models of piety and charity, benefactors, organizers, Sunday school administrators and teachers, missionaries, and ministers’ assistants. These texts cast women into nondomestic roles that were institutionally sanctioned and widely disseminated.
By 1841, the Ladies’ Repository and Gatherings of the West was engaging women in discussions of religion, politics, education, science, and a variety of intellectual debates. As Shaver posits, by providing a forum for women writers and readers, the church gave them an official rhetorical space and the license to define their own roles and spheres of influence. As such, the periodicals of the Methodist church became an important public venue in which women’s voices were heard and their identities explored.
In a provactive work that brings new tools to the history of philosophy, Karen S. Feldman offers an elegant account of how philosophical language appears to produce the very thing it claims to describe. She demonstrates that conscience can only be described and understood through tropes and figures of langugae. If description in literal terms is impossible, as Binding Words convincingly argues, perhaps there is no such thing. But if the word "conscience" has no tangible referent, then how can conscience be constructed as binding? Does our conscience move us to do things, or is this yet another figure of speech?
Hobbes's Leviathan, Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, and Heidegger's Being and Time dramatize conscience's relation to language and knowledge, morality and duty, and ontology. Feldman investigates how, within these works, conscience is described as binding upon us while at the same time asking how texts themselves may be read as binding.
His "black dog"--that was how Winston Churchill referred to his own depression. Today, individuals with feelings of sadness and irritability are encouraged to "talk to your doctor." These have become buzz words in the aggressive promotion of wonder-drug cures since 1997, when the Food and Drug Administration changed its guidelines for the marketing of prescription pharmaceuticals.
Black Dogs and Blue Words analyzes the rhetoric surrounding depression. Kimberly K. Emmons maintains that the techniques and language of depression marketing strategies--vague words such as "worry," "irritability," and "loss of interest"--target women and young girls and encourage self-diagnosis and self-medication. Further, depression narratives and other texts encode a series of gendered messages about health and illness.
As depression and other forms of mental illness move from the medical-professional sphere into that of the consumer-public, the boundary at which distress becomes disease grows ever more encompassing, the need for remediation and treatment increasingly warranted. Black Dogs and Blue Words demonstrates the need for rhetorical reading strategies as one response to these expanding and gendered illness definitions.
Exploring the role of rhetoric in African American identity and political discourse
Dexter B. Gordon’ s Black Identity: Rhetoric, Ideology, and Nineteenth-Century Black Nationalism explores the problem of racial alienation and the importance of rhetoric in the formation of black identity in the United States. Faced with alienation and disenfranchisement as a part of their daily experience, African Americans developed collective practices of empowerment that cohere as a constitutive rhetoric of black ideology. Exploring the origins of that rhetoric, Gordon reveals how the ideology of black nationalism functions in contemporary African American political discourse.
Rooting his study in the words and works of nineteenth-century black abolitionists such as Maria Stewart, David Walker, and Henry Garnet, Gordon explores the rapprochement between rhetorical theory, race, alienation, and the role of public memory in identity formation. He argues that abolitionists used language in their speeches, pamphlets, letters, petitions, and broadsides that established black identity in ways that would foster liberation and empowerment. The arguments presented here constitute the only sustained treatment of nineteenth-century black activists from a rhetorical perspective.
Gordon demonstrates the pivotal role of rhetoric in African American efforts to create a viable public voice. Understanding nineteenth-century black alienation— and its intersection with twentieth-century racism— is crucial to understanding the continued sense of alienation that African Americans express about their American experience. Gordon explains how the ideology of black nationalism disciplines and describes African American life for its own ends, exposing a central piece of the ideological struggle for the soul of America. The book is both a platform for further discussion and an invitation for more voices to join the discourse as we search for ways to comprehend the sense of alienation experienced and expressed by African Americans in contemporary society.
An intriguing evaluation of the concept of beginnings in the medieval period.
In the first book to examine one of the most peculiar features of one of the greatest and most perplexing poems of England's late Middle Ages-the successive attempts of Piers Plowman to begin, and to keep beginning-D. Vance Smith compels us to rethink beginning, as concept and practice, in both medieval and contemporary terms.
The problem of beginning was invested with increasing urgency in the fourteenth century, imagined and grappled with in the courts, the churches, the universities, the workshops, the fields, and the streets of England. The Book of the Incipit reveals how Langland's poem exemplifies a widespread interest in beginning in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, an interest that appears in such divergent fields as the physics of motion, the measurement of time, logic, grammar, rhetoric, theology, book production, and insurrection.
Smith offers a theoretical understanding of beginning that departs from the structuralisms of Edward Said and the traditional formalisms of A. D. Nuttall and most medievalist and modernist treatments of closure. Instead, he conceives a work's beginning as a figure of the work itself, the inception of language as the problem of beginning to which we continue to return.
D. Vance Smith is assistant professor of English at Princeton University.
Border Rhetorics is a collection of essays that undertakes a wide-ranging examination of the US-Mexico border as it functions in the rhetorical production of civic unity in the United States.
A “border” is a powerful and versatile concept, variously invoked as the delineation of geographical territories, as a judicial marker of citizenship, and as an ideological trope for defining inclusion and exclusion. It has implications for both the empowerment and subjugation of any given populace. Both real and imagined, the border separates a zone of physical and symbolic exchange whose geographical, political, economic, and cultural interactions bear profoundly on popular understandings and experiences of citizenship and identity.
The border’s rhetorical significance is nowhere more apparent, nor its effects more concentrated, than on the frontier between the United States and Mexico. Often understood as an unruly boundary in dire need of containment from the ravages of criminals, illegal aliens, and other undesirable threats to the national body, this geopolitical locus exemplifies how normative constructions of “proper”; border relations reinforce definitions of US citizenship, which in turn can lead to anxiety, unrest, and violence centered around the struggle to define what it means to be a member of a national political community.
Bernadette Marie Calafell / Karma R. Chávez / Josue David Cisneros / D. Robert DeChaine / Anne Teresa Demo / Lisa A. Flores / Dustin Bradley Goltz / Marouf Hasian Jr. / Michelle A. Holling / Julia R. Johnson / Zach Juatus / Diane M. Keeling / John Louis Lucaites / George F. McHendry Jr. / Toby Miller / Kent A. Ono / Brian L. Ott / Kimberlee Pérez / Mary Ann Villarreal
During the 1990s, an unprecedented number of Americans turned to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), an umbrella term encompassing chiropractic, energy healing, herbal medicine, homeopathy, meditation, naturopathy, and traditional Chinese medicine. By 1997, nearly half the US population was seeking CAM, spending at least $27 billion out of pocket.
Bounding Biomedicine centers on this boundary-changing era, looking at how consumer demand shook the health care hierarchy. Drawing on scholarship in rhetoric and science and technology studies, the book examines how the medical profession scrambled to maintain its position of privilege and prestige, even as its foothold appeared to be crumbling. Colleen Derkatch analyzes CAM-themed medical journals and related discourse to illustrate how members of the medical establishment applied Western standards of evaluation and peer review to test health practices that did not fit easily (or at all) within standard frameworks of medical research. And she shows that, despite many practitioners’ efforts to eliminate the boundaries between “regular” and “alternative,” this research on CAM and the forms of communication that surrounded it ultimately ended up creating an even greater division between what counts as safe, effective health care and what does not.
At a time when debates over treatment choices have flared up again, Bounding Biomedicine gives us a possible blueprint for understanding how the medical establishment will react to this new era of therapeutic change.
Rhetoric and composition theory has shown a renewed interest in sophistic countertraditions, as seen in the work of such "postphilosophers" as Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, and Hélène Cixous, and of such rhetoricians as Susan Jarratt and Steven Mailloux. As D. Diane Davis traces today’s theoretical interest to those countertraditions, she also sets her sights beyond them.
Davis takes a “third sophistics” approach, one that focuses on the play of language that perpetually disrupts the “either/or” binary construction of dialectic. She concentrates on the nonsequential third—excess—that overflows language’s dichotomies. In this work, laughter operates as a trope for disruption or breaking up, which is, from Davis’s perspective, a joyfully destructive shattering of our confining conceptual frameworks.
Bridging the Multimodal Gap addresses multimodality scholarship and its use in the composition classroom. Despite scholars’ interest in their students’ multiple literacies, multimodal composition is far from the norm in most writing classes. Essays explore how multimodality can be implemented in courses and narrow the gap between those who regularly engage in this instruction and those who are still considering its scholarly and pedagogical value.
After an introductory section reviewing the theory literature, chapters present research on implementing multimodal composition in diverse contexts. Contributors address starter subjects like using comics, blogs, or multimodal journals; more ambitious topics such as multimodal assignments in online instruction or digital story telling; and complex issues like assessment, transfer, and rhetorical awareness.
Bridging the Multimodal Gap translates theory into practice and will encourage teachers, including WPAs, TAs, and contingent faculty, to experiment with multiple modes of communication in their projects.
Contributors: Sara P. Alvarez, Steven Alvarez, Michael Baumann, Joel Bloch, Aaron Block, Jessie C. Borgman, Andrew Bourelle, Tiffany Bourelle, Kara Mae Brown, Jennifer J. Buckner, Angela Clark-Oates, Michelle Day, Susan DeRosa, Dànielle Nicole DeVoss, Stephen Ferruci, Layne M. P. Gordon, Bruce Horner, Matthew Irwin, Elizabeth Kleinfeld, Ashanka Kumari, Laura Sceniak Matravers, Jessica S. B. Newman, Mark Pedretti, Adam Perzynski, Breanne Potter, Caitlin E. Ray, Areti Sakellaris, Khirsten L. Scott, Rebecca Thorndike-Breeze, Jon Udelson, Shane A. Wood, Rick Wysocki, Kathleen Blake Yancey
No less than other divisions of the college or university, contemporary writing centers find themselves within a galaxy of competing questions and demands that relate to assessment—questions and demands that usually embed priorities from outside the purview of the writing center itself. Writing centers are used to certain kinds of assessment, both quantitative and qualitative, but are often unprepared to address larger institutional or societal issues. In Building Writing Center Assessments that Matter, Schendel and Macauley start from the kinds of assessment strengths already in place in writing centers, and they build a framework that can help writing centers satisfy local needs and put them in useful dialogue with the larger needs of their institutions, while staying rooted in writing assessment theory.
The authors begin from the position that tutoring writers is already an assessment activity, and that good assessment practice (rooted in the work of Adler-Kassner, O'Neill, Moore, and Huot) already reflects the values of writing center theory and practice. They offer examples of assessments developed in local contexts, and of how assessment data built within those contexts can powerfully inform decisions and shape the futures of local writing centers. With additional contributions by Neal Lerner, Brian Huot and Nicole Caswell, and with a strong commitment to honoring on-site local needs, the volume does not advocate a one-size-fits-all answer. But, like the modeling often used in a writing consultation, examples here illustrate how important assessment principles have been applied in a range of local contexts. Ultimately, Building Writing Assessments that Matter describes a theory stance toward assessment for writing centers that honors the uniqueness of the writing center context, and examples of assessment in action that are concrete, manageable, portable, and adaptable.
Aspirations to “whoop” the North notwithstanding, Confederates set their hopes for independence not on the belief that they could defeat the North but on the hope that their armies could stave off defeat long enough for the North to weary of war.
The South’s single biggest opportunity to effect political change in the North was the presidential contest of 1864. If Lincoln’s support foundered and the North elected a president with a more flexible vision of peace on the continent, the South might realize its dream of independence.
In Bullets, Ballots, and Rhetoric, Larry Nelson vividly brings to life the complex state of Northern politics during the election year of 1863. He recounts fluctuations in the value of the dollar, draft resistance and riots, protests against emancipation, political defeats suffered by the Republicans in the elections of 1862, and growing discontent in the border states and Midwest.
Nelson offers an insider’s look at the administration of Jefferson Davis, as it looked for cracks in Northern unity and electoral opportunities to exploit. Bullets, Ballots, and Rhetoric is an engrossing account of a little-known facet of Civil War statecraft and politics.