Thursday, June 30, 2005

What is writing?

This still isn't really what I thought I would post since I still want to post something that responds more to the many many good thoughts circulating out there on Jeff's, Jenny's, Derek's, Collin's, Robert's, Clancy's (et. al?) , but for now, just this slightly more fleshed out version of #1 below.

Which is this: Why do books designed to introduce new composition teachers to composition (like the two Fulkerson compares) actually deal very little with writing itself? With, I might say, rhetoric? This connects up, I think, with Robert's point about Fulkerson's somewhat dismissiveness about Covino's rhetoric chapter in the Tate et al. collection. But, really, every time I've taught the course for new teaching assistants, I've asked myself this question. I get information about rhetorical thinking in where I can, but the anxiety always seems to be on how more than on what. Or is it an anxiety created by ourselves (ie, by our discipline)? How to teach writing divorced from what are we teaching. Of course it's also all connected up with labor issues (why do we ask people without knowledge of writing qua writing to teach writing anyway?). But it makes for a curious discipline, no? A discipline in which the question, pace Fulkerson, is "what is good writing," as if we all already had decided what writing is.

And this connects, I think, with the technology question, too (see Jeff and Collin, esp.). Whether technology is seen as techne, as invention, or whether technology is seen as just another way of saying paper and pen.

(I'll add links in a moment or in the morning; sorry to all those I've referred to without linking. Update: Done!)

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