Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Funny blog by the Oatmeal


The Mt. Oread Manifesto on Rhetorical Education 2013

This manifesto discusses how speaking and writing have become separate disciplines over the last 100 years and how members of both disciplines tried in the 20th century to reintegrate them because they have similar objectives. According to Clyde Dow, these are "clear thinking, judgment, evaluation, organization, methods of development, vocabulary, good informal usage, and knowledge of how language influences others and ourselves" (qtd. in Mt. Oread Manifesto). I can definitely see these objectives manifesting in both disciplines. 

The main difference is that writing instruction tries to achieve them through the written word, and speech focuses on verbal delivery. It is as if the same thought processes can go into both activities, speaking and writing, but the method of delivery is different, and each method carries its own intricacies. For instance, the idea of using a clear vocal speaking style is part of the speech discipline; in writing there would be more emphasis on a clear writing style. There is somewhat of a difference between speaking clearly and writing clearly. However, both can involve clarity of thought processes. Still, it does make sense to integrate speech and writing to some extent! They are both crucial aspects of human communication that pedagogically require emphasis on thought.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Question 3

3.         “. . . questions about the psychic, political, and social effects of information are as applicable to the computer as to television. Although I believe the computer to be a vastly overrated technology, I mention it here because clearly, Americans have accorded it their customary mindless attention; which means they will use it as they are told, without a whimper. Thus, a central thesis of computer technology—that the principal difficulty we have in solving problems stems from insufficient data—will go unexamined. Until, years from now, when it will be noticed that the massive collection and speed-of-light retrieval of data have been of great value to large scale organizations but have solved very little of importance to most people and have created at least as many problems for them as they may have solved”(Postman 161).

Question: “What is [‘the Internet’]? What kinds of conversations does it permit? What are the intellectual tendencies in encourages? What sort of culture does it produce?” (Postman, Ch. 6; slightly modifiedJ) If television was “the command center of the new epistemology” (Postman 78), what is the epistemology of the Internet, and how can or should that affect our understanding of rhetoric? What is the ideology of digital culture? What is its relationship to issues of race, sexuality, disability? How might we understand “the public sphere” online?

Question 2

2.         “. . . for nearly forty years—from the 1920s through the 1960s—rhetorical theory was  treated largely as an exercise in intellectual history. . . .  By the mid- to late-1960s dissatisfaction with this approach to rhetoric began to grow. It became increasingly clear that however important the intellectual history of rhetorical theory was to our understanding of rhetoric as a discipline, the pressing need was to develop ‘new’ rhetorical theories that would adapt our understanding of rhetoric to the changing conditions of the new era” (Lucaites and Condit, “Introduction” to Contemporary Rhetorical Theory: A Reader 8).

Given the list of theorists and works we’ve read (or referred to) this semester, how would you characterize the “intellectual history” of rhetorical studies in the 20th century?  Sketch out that history with reference to specific theorists and works, as well as the “changing conditions of the new era.” [see attached “Timeline”]

Question 1

1.  Like many academic disciplines, rhetorical studies has been challenged by a variety of voices from the “margins.”  It has also been or become a site of radical resistance.  Explore some of these challenges and/or this “resistance.”  In particular, consider the relationship between the politics of rhetorical study (for example, rhetoric and feminism, rhetoric and critical race studies, rhetoric and heteronormativity), and continuing debates over the relationship(s) between rhetoric, truth (or Truth), epistemology, and doxa.

On "What makes rhetoric rhetoric"

I've been reading the Hauser supplemental article today--"Teaching Rhetoric: Or Why Rhetoric Isn't Just Another Kind of Philosophy or Literary Criticism"--and I love it.

I've been teaching composition courses since 2002, and I didn't really learn a lot about the rhetoric side of composition prior to teaching. I've always had my own spin on why I teach composition and why I teach it the way I do--I'm post-activism, and when I was teaching in Chicago, I worked at four to five schools at a time for up to ten hours a day for four days a week. I'd just finished an MA in Women's & Gender Studies and had been feeling a little bad about  myself as a person because I simply didn't have time for "making the world a better place" like I did as a student. In my prior English MA program, I'd been president of the LGBTQ Alliance on campus, put on our first gay prom, and a "Queer-In" activist event that involved microphones and loud speakers at the center of campus with people reading radical texts. As an MA student at Roosevelt, I brought Alix Olson to perform one semester, and the next semester, I brought Judith/Jack Halberstam to come speak. If you aren't swooning over that, it's probably because she's a English/gender/queer studies person. After doing those types of things for four years, I was doing nothing. Nothing except teaching.

One day, one of the jobs I was working asked for a new CV and teaching philosophy, and in the philosophy we were required to use one source to help justify our teaching practices. That's when rhetoric, unbeknownst to me, came into my life. I discovered Susan Jarratt.

Jarratt's "Feminism and Composition: The Case for Conflict" opened my eyes to the teaching practices I was already using in the classroom. I hadn't realized that there was a whole world of theory about the hows and whys of teaching composition.

If I had read this article by Hauser years ago, when I was feeling unsure about going to graduate school to study Composition & Rhetoric. His breakdown of why rhetoric is and why it's different than "just teaching composition" with its commitment to civic engagement and commitment to "'capacitating' the individual student to lead the life of an active and responsible citizen" (40). This is what I do in my classroom! I've moved my activism from the outside arena into my classroom. My focus went from commas to helping students interrogate the cultural beliefs foisted on them from childhood. As Hauser says, "Teaching rhetoric involves teacher and student in a continuous journey to uncover personal beliefs and the reasons for holding them" (42). My own beliefs were uncovered and shaped by interaction with my students as their beliefs were uncovered and shaped by interaction with me.  The differentiation of rhetoric from "just teaching composition" or philosophy or literary criticism really hit home with me because the commitment to teaching embedded in rhetoric is why I value teaching rhetoric, I think.

What kinds of responses did you all have to Hauser? Am I the only one who wishes she would have read this article years ago? Are there other articles, like my Jarratt article, that have really impacted you as a teacher-scholar?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Why don't we talk about AIDS anymore?

From time to time I have thought about this, because as I have said in class before I watch ton of documentaries, and needless to say I have watched several about the AIDS epidemic and how people first responded. To me, it seems that once people equated AIDS with the gay community those who were not gay were no longer concerned and decided to not really make it a priority any more. Thus, we now see the detrimental affects that it had on the gay community. However, as we all should know by know AIDS can infect anyone, so when I came across this article and read the comments


I was reminded why AIDS has been put on the back burner. There was a tremendous amount of gay-bashing, sometimes supported by religious beliefs. Naively, I was somewhat surprised by the amount of these comments. How can we fight an epidemic if people's belief systems don't allow them to do so?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Ferguson Decision equates to Boycotting Black Friday?


I thought this article tied nicely into our discussion tonight (i.e., how we talked about how digital technologies have the capability to promote change, we, as a society, have just not effectively used them as such--at least not in the US).

I don't want to make it seem like I am questioning the goodwill or good intentions of the people who are attempting to protest by boycotting Black Friday. What I question is why they think putting pressure on corporate America will effect the police force and the judicial system? I also doubt that sitting out one day of Christmas shopping will make a difference, because I don't think many people will be willing to forgo Christmas shopping altogether, and then doesn't that defeat the purpose?