5531 Readings for October 6

I thought I’d post a couple quick notes about the readings for 5531 this week. This is briefer than posts for 8011, because they are not required for 5531… This week, we handled the following: Gage Gage, J. T. (1991). On “Rhetoric” and “Composition”. In E. Lindemannn & G. Tate (Eds.), An Introduction to Composition Studies (pp. 15-32). New York: Oxford University Press. This study tackled the meanings of “rhetoric,” “composition,” and “rhetoric and composition.”  He comes to a conclusion that seems altogether commonplace: Rhetoric is “reasoning down from wholes to functional parts” (30) Composition entails the process of “reasoning Read More …

Reflections on October 4 readings for 8011

A critical turn Most of this week’s readings come out of the cultural or critical studies orientation. (Blyler and Thralls and Blyer explore this orientation in general terms; Longo employs it in her history of technical writing.) The only exception is Smagorinsky. I’ll share some observations about the first three, along with some questions I have about the critical/cultural orientation. Then I’ll consider Smagorinsky briefly. Blyler Blyler, N. (1998). Taking a political turn: The critical perspective and research in professional communication. Technical Communication Quarterly, 7(1), 33-52. (Page number here refer to Johnson-Eilola, J., & Selber, S. A. (Eds.). (2004). Central Read More …

Tripped up by “structuralism”

In what is likely to be another blow to my classroom ethos, I need to correct an error I introduced into the discussion in 5531 Composition Pedagogy last Wednesday. A classmate asked about what “structuralism” is. I confidently described it as arising from the linguistics of the Frenchman Ferdinand de Saussure, embodied famously in the work of the Prague School (a movement, not an institution) of linguistic theory, a leading figure of which was Roman Jacobson. So far, so good. But then I characterized it roughly as the notion that we can understand a subject (like language or culture) by Read More …

Rhetoric and WHAT?

What the hell is ‘rhetoric and scientific and technical communication’?

That’s a question I’ve gotten from almost everyone who has asked what field I’m doing my PhD in. This post is my working definition, subject to much revision in the coming months, no doubt. Let’s start with “rhetoric”… Read More …