Thursday, March 10, 2005

Contexts for comp (a comment)

Becky's blog doesn't seem to want to accept my comment (unless it really did accept it, in which case several duplicate comments may appear), so I'm going to comment here instead. I'm replying to "Self-antifoundationalism," which contains a link to notes from a presentation she gave at Syracuse. The talk was called "Global Perspectives on Language Standards in Composition Classrooms," and it offers an eye-opening glimpse of what else was going on in the world during the time that so-called current-traditional rhetoric was on the up and up. (I'm against the term "current-traditional," but I'll save that for another day.) At any rate, here's my comment:

A morass? Hardly. I didn't realize you were doing this kind of historical work now. Bringing in that extended context is what I was originally trying to do in my diss (back when I was doing my diss), then it became more focused and some of the context got lost. This is amazing and important work you're doing: re-visioning the history of composition so that we see more than the narrow halls of English departments. It's so odd how easy it has been for our field to write histories that ignore most of the history that created the conditions of possibility for fy writing. The examples in the paper you linked to are really stunning: "Four of the seven convicted of the 1886 Haymarket bombing at a labor rally in Chicago were executed. In that same year, John Genung published his Practical Elements of Rhetoric." Yes. That puts a rather different spin on the history, doesn't it?

Are you presenting on this, by chance, at the Cs?

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