Monday, November 13, 2006

revising break-ups

A good friend of mine is going through a difficult break-up. I know she would do (and has done) the same for me/us, so D and I have been there for her quite a lot over the past week and a half--providing her with a bed to sleep in, a place to vent and ears to vent to, and substantial (if repetitive) advice. The only problem is that much of the hell that has broken lose in this slowly ending relationship has taken place in the middle of the night. For some reason, this break-up feels as though it is suddenly becoming my/our own. D and I wake up exhausted, having been up for many hours of the night. Time that I would have spent reading and prepping has now been given over to listening. Of course, I know this won't last, and any friend of mine who is in a heap on the floor (though this particular friend is much stronger than that...but close to it at times) is not going to stay there if I/we can do anything about it.

The interesting part of this for me is that it is one of the moments that causes me to be a bit more empathic toward my own students. I often get stories/excuses about lost sleep over helping a roommate or friend. My all too common reaction (though not the one I express to the student) is to let the friend or roommate take care of him/herself so that you can take care of you and your school work. But right now I'm seeing all too clearly the ways in which we do and can (and maybe even should at times) allow the problems of those close to us become our own problems as well.

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I have really been struggling through this most recent revision of my prospectus. I've spent weeks simply (re)working the introduction, and trust me, the amount of time is not reflected in the quality of the introduction. I've now forced myself to momentarily move on to the first couple of chapters, but this morning alone I spent nearly an hour on a paragraph--a paragraph that still appears pretty weak to me.

One of the central questions plaguing chapter one is: How does the quest for disciplinarity work against the counterhegemonic potential of rhet/comp?

I make this claim that

Finally I will argue that composition’s quest for disciplinary recognition has been a distraction—a distraction from our classrooms, a distraction from the current conditions of the corporate University, and a distraction from the ways in which our potentially counterhegemonic position has been subsumed by the popularity of cultural studies/critical pedagogy, or at least when it is used as yet another step in achieving disciplinary recognition, which becomes another step into the corporate world of higher education.


This thought first occured to me while reading the WPA listserv. At times (this was a couple of years back) I felt that so much of the conversation was focused on achieving a certain status as a field that all talk of pedagogy was put on the back-burner. But overall, I'm not sure (yet) how I am going to go about supporting this claim. (Oh! Another moment of empathy for/with my students!)

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On top of all this the coffee shop where I tend to accomplish a lot of my work is playing some mix that just happens to have ALL of my favorite songs on it. I'm not quite sure how they knew, but it is a little distracting.

12 comments:

bowerr said...

This is exactly what I find so annoying about the WPA Listserv. It centers around professionalizing (and administrating) more than pedagogy. The fact that the listserv is addressing issues of organizing and defining student writing compounds this. The Outcomes Statement, the pursuit of documenting of PhD programs in comp-rhet, the job networking and searching advice add as well. Of course, this is the WPA’s purpose. I think if you look at the job placements and publications comp-rhetors make, you'll find ancillary support for your claim. (Yes, this may include tech development.) Textual analysis might prove fruitful too. After skimming John Swales' Genre Analysis today, it seems plausible to me that the dissertation process itself is perhaps one of corporatizing. According to Swales, repetitive signposting and metacommentary comprise much of a dissertation’s textual body. Though I haven't done the analysis myself, it seems the corporate world values these texts/principles.

Hmm, I'll have to think about this further. After last semester, I’m not sure resistance like CS won't always be co-opted.

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