Saturday, April 14, 2007

HELP w/ citation

I have no idea where I got this quote and citation from:

“The computer classroom has often been hailed as…a social-democratic space, helping to promote a liberatory pedagogy by fostering student resistance, empowering students by decentering the classroom” (Walker 119).

I can't remember anything about reading this, where I got it from, who "Walker" is (jill? Henry?). If anybody recognizes the article? essay? book? this might be from, please contact me.

Walker, Janice R. "Resisting Resistance: Power and Control in the
Technologized Classroom." In _Insurrection: Approaches to Resistance in
Composition Studies_. Ed. Andrea Greenbaum. Albany: SUNY, 2001. 119-32.

Thanks to all those who came to the rescue!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

How do *you* stop procrastinating?

For two days now I've been procrastinating, paralyzed, putting off my prospectus revision. It is due to the department tomorrow, and it feels too big. I can't even get myself to open the proper documents, because it feels impossible to pull it all together by tomorrow.


I've been looking at houses online, reading Cary Tennis columns on Salon, (re)reading e-mails, watching Clancy's "take" on Take 20, rearranging my netflix queue, getting cups of coffee and cappucinos, writing silly blog posts, reading articles on Kurt Vonnegut. I need to


But how?

Monday, April 09, 2007

Timeline of Cultural Studies

Timeline of Cultural Studies
This timeline comes primarily out of the narratives of cultural studies as told by Raymond Williams in “The Future of Cultural Studies,” Lawrence Grossberg in “The Formations of Cultural Studies: An American in Birmingham,” and Stuart Hall’s “Cultural Studies and its Theoretical Legacies.” The connections between cultural studies and composition have been made with the help of Diana George and John Trimbur’s chapter on cultural studies in A Guide to Composition Pedagogies edited by Gary Tate, Amy Rupiper, and Kurt Schick. As each essay stresses, cultural studies is not a stable entity, so every account of its “story”or history is provisional (making this a more difficult timeline to create, as timelines force chronology, than the previous critical pedagogy timeline). With that caveat – here is my timeline:

30s/40s/50s: Raymond Williams in his (1989) piece "The Future of Cultural Studies" (edited transcript from a 1986 lecture) focuses on the influence of cultural studies on adult education during this time period. (This is Williams' "alternative" reading of the history of cultural studies, which he says is normally sited through texts). Williams also points to traces of "what you could now fairly call ' Cultural Studies'" in the works of Leavis and Scrutiny (153).

Appearance of "mass culture" after WWII through "the rationalization, capitalization and technologization of the mass media" (Grossberg 24) is key to the emergence of cultural studies.

1956: British New Left emerges against the backdrop of the Hungarian Revolution -- as Hall points out it (in "Cultural studies and its Theoretical Legacies”) was a moment in which a certain kind of marxism was disintegrating, and this fact problematizes the view of British cultural studies as a marxist critical practice. Notion of this as the founding moment is cultural studies is, according to Hall, a mistake/misreading. And, according to Hall, "there was never a prior moment when cultural studies and marxism represented a perfect theoretical fit" (265).

According to Lawrence Grossberg, the New Left developed, in part, to confront the ways in which traditional marxism failed to address "the beginnings of late capitalism, the new forms of economic and political colonialism and imperialism..." (25).

1957: Richard Hoggart: The Uses of Literacy

1958: Raymond Williams: Culture and Society

1960s: Brought in subcultures that resisted some aspects of dominant structures of power and became part of the focus of work being done in cultural studies.

1963: E.P. Thompson: The Making of the English Working Class

1964 (or 63?): Richard Hoggart founds the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies in Birmingham

1968: Stuart Hall becomes director of CCCS

1969: England establishes its first "open" learning university. This Open University signifies a shift, according to Williams in that tie between cultural studies and adult education; however it is at this moment, sites Williams, that "what became Cultural Studies occurred": Whereas students (in adult ed) had been demanding that education/discussion be in relation to their own experiences and situations and that they retain some right to decide on their own syllabus; the Open University "deliberately" interrupted this. So it was on the one hand popular access, but it also inserted "a technology over and above the movement of the culture" (157). Williams defends the more "more basic right" of these people "to define the questions" (157).

1970s: British cultural studies advances within "the problematic of Marxism" (Hall "Cultural studies and its Theoretical Legacies" 266). Problematic = a struggle, an actual problem.

Ideas of Gramsci radically displace ideas of Marxism within cultural studies (Hall "Cultural studies and its Theoretical Legacies" 267) – Centre trying to produce an "organic intellectual." Gramsci also served a "middle-ground" for those who feared readings of Althusser that took him to “the post-structuralist realm of the necessary lack of correspondence” (because those ignores the materialist question of the role of ideology) (Grossberg 28).

This Gramscian position “defined cultural studies as a non-reductionist Marxism which was concerned with understanding specific historical contexts and formations, which assumed the lack of guarantees in history and the reality of struggles by which historical relationships are produced” (29). Grossberg describes this as a “conjuncturalist theory,” which does not assume all practices equate to culture (anti-totality/humanism of Williams) and recognizes real structures of power. It sees history as being produced by individuals as they struggle within determinate conditions.

Cultural studies emerges as "a disciplinary formation" in the confrontation between the humanistic Marxism of Williams, Thompson, and Hoggart and the anti-humanism of Athusser's structural marxism.

Political and theoretical work being done on gender and sexual orientation “interrupted” the work of cultural studies.

The New Right emerges in Britain, and the "traditional left seemed incapable of offering coherent strategies and responses" (Grossberg 26).

80s/90s— Thatcher regime managed to undermine the infrastructure in Britain, while the left is distanced from the majority of the population (seen in academics/students—in part) and unable to secure ground from which to organize opposition.

These political and historical concerns placed cultural studies in some cases on one side—for example, when it criticized post-structuralism and psychoanalysis for abandoning materialism—but most often CS placed itself between two extremes—for example, Hall’s call for a space for CS between structuralism and culturalism.

1980: Stuart Hall: "Cultural Studies: Two Paradigms" -- reading Williams and Althusser against each other

1986/1989: Raymond Williams: "The Future of Cultural Studies" -- ultimately, Williams does not really see the sense of approaching cultural studies in terms of an intellectual history as it may obscure from us "a historic opportunity for a new Cultural Studies formation" (161)--whose time is now. "Cultural Studies has been about...taking the best we can in intellectual work and going with it in this very open way to confront people for whom it is not a way of life, for whom it is not in any probability a job, but for whom it is a matter of their own intellectual interests, their own understanding of the pressures on them, pressures of every kind, from the most personal to the most broadly political..." (162).

Williams focus on cultural studies’ role in adult education is a point of convergence between cultural studies and composition, as Diana George and John Trimbur point out in their chapter on cultural studies (2001 Tate, Rupiper, Schick 78-9).

Richard Johnson: "What is Cultural studies, Anyway?"

1987: Martin Allor describes the term cultural studies as a "cultural commodity" (Grossberg 21).

1988: John Trimbur: "Cultural Studies and the Teaching of Writing"
Ties in with Williams' account of cultural studies' work in adult education, as Trimbur sees composition emerging out of the need to "represent students and adult learners stigmatized as uneducable because of cognitive deficiencies, the culture of poverty, or the restricted codes of oral culture" (Tate... 80).

1989: Lawrence Grossberg, in "The Circulation of Cultural Studies," describes cultural studies as an ambiguous term used to refer to what had been previously thought of as "critical theory" (i.e. competing theories (lit theory and anthropology; communication and pop culture) of the relation of between society and culture, ideology and art, etc.)

80s/90s: Cultural studies appears on the scene in composition studies (Reagan-Bush era reaction much like critical pedagogy).

1991: Schilb, John. “Cultural Studies, Postmodernism, and Composition.”

1992: Stuart Hall: "Cultural studies and its Theoretical Legacies"-- is not telling the definitive story of cultural studies, not the only way of telling this history of cultural studies. Hall wants to point to certain theoretical moments and what those moments have been like for him. Cultural studies has "no simple origins" (discursive in Foucault's sense of the word). Cultural studies "has a number of different histories" (263).
Entering the era of "post-marxism"

James Berlin and Michael Vivion, eds: Cultural Studies in the English Classroom -- cultural studies restored rhetoric as central to the curriculum displacing the previously privileged (by English departments) poetics.

Lester Faigley: Fragments of Rationality: Postmodernity and the Subject of Composition

1993: Lawrence Grossberg: "The Formation(s) of Cultural Studies: An American in Birmingham" -- Grossberg traces a somewhat brief (with a fairly narrow focus) history of the conception of and debates within cultural studies. He spends a lot of time making clear his point that since its inception cultural studies has been an unstable and changing “field.” While there is no single cultural studies position, it is important to understand its history, its projects that have shaped its identity. He refers to this as cultural studies’ “unity-in-difference.” He offers two histories of cultural studies -- the "normative" or "standard" account and the "war of positions" account -- ultimately arguing that the development of cultural studies is not linear. A linear or teleological account of cultural studies "ignores the continuous debates within and between the positions offered" (31). Grossberg chooses eight theoretical problematics or sites of warfare and then lays out five positions illustrating a more fractured and uneven trajectory of CS:
I literary humanism (Williams and Hoggart)
II effort to define a dialectical sociology
III Centre position (culturalism) -- studies of youth subculture and encoding/decoding mass communication
IV structural-conjuncturalist position
V a postmodern-conjuncturalist position

1994: Composition textbook: Signs of Life in the USA

1995: Karen Fitts and Alan France: Left Margins: Cultural Studies and Composition Pedagogy

1996: James Berlin: Rhetorics, Poetics, and Cultures: Refiguring English Studies.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Timeline of Critical Pedagogy

I am being asked, as part of my prospectus to include a genealogy of both critical pedagogy and cultural studies. In moving toward this goal, I have started to create a timeline of critical pedagogy in order to gain a clear(er) picture of the historical trajectory (a BIG thanks to my friend Shari for her help with all of this).

Here is what I have so far (with the italicized portions being my vague thoughts):

Timeline of Critical Pedagogy

late 19thC./early 20th C: much of American critical pedagogy has its roots in the progressivism of this time period, exemplified in the work of John Dewey and his philosophy of Pragmatism. Dewey's educational philosophy included an emphasis on student-centered learning and participation in democratic life that is also at the heart of much contemporary critical pedagogy.

1970: Freire's Pedagogy of the Oppressed -- the "go to" text for critical pedagogy

1980s: radical educators in the US speak out about education as "sorting mechanism" (McLaren qtd. in Tate, Rupiper, Schick 94) and as an apparatus of reproduction of the ideology and power of dominant groups; boom in critical pedagogy scholarship during Reagan-Bush years (Tate, Rupiper Schick 95).

1980: Shor's Critical Teaching and Everyday Life = critique of community college system

1983: Giroux's Theory and Resistance in Education

1985: Giroux and Aronowitz: Education under Seige

1986: Giroux and McLaren "Teacher Education and the Politics of Engagement: The Case for Democratic Schooling" -- argues for school as "democratic public sphere"

Problem is that twenty years later, after working in various classroom spaces with critical pedagogy, the university's potential as "democratic public sphere" is being infringed upon by corporate interests and a corporate administrative mentality. It is not enough to simply say this space should be democratic, so lets enact that in our classrooms; first we need to carefully make note of the ways in which the space within which our classroom exists (and even that classroom itself) might not be democratic, where and when are the moments in which we do not exercise control or have a voice in our education, our teaching, and so on because of corporate interests.

1987: Shor's Freire for the Classroom: teachers from varied disciplines contributed essays to this collection illustrating the applicability of Freirean pedagogy in their classrooms

In this text, Shor points out that "it's a tricky business to organize an untraditional class in a traditional school.". This difficulty in implementing critical pedagogy when the majority of students are accustomed to receiving some form of traditional, mainstream education is taken up more recently by William Thelin in his works on "blundering", and is an idea that has also become a part of the debate between Thelin and Russel Durst (Jeff Smith, in his article, "Students' Goals, Gatemkeeping, and Some Questions of Ethics), seems to be making an argument similar to Durst's .

1988: Giroux's Schooling and the Struggle for Public Life -- points to "cultural production" as opposed to reproduction b/c Giroux (and Aronowitz) see schools not as merely reproductive apparatuses, but also as sites of resistance (Tate... 96).

The 90s bring in a more cautious approach to critical pedagogy. Hurlbert and Blitz's collection illustrates educators debating and arguing over all aspects of critical pedagogy (in stark contrast to Shor's 1987 celebratory collection); Maxine Hairston expresses great concern over a composition instructor's ability to handle political topics in the classroom, and Gregory Jay and Gerald Graff provide a critique and an alternative ("teach the conflicts") that they'd still justify as radical or progressive.

1991: Hurlbert and Blitz's collection Composition and Resistance

1992: Maxine Hairston makes her now famous attack on critical pedagogy, arguing against the idea of the politicized writing classroom

1993: Jennifer Gore's The Struggle for Pedagogies -- she lays out the differences between Shor's critical pedagogy and Giroux's critical pedagogy, and in so doing, critiques Giroux's scholarship.

1995: Gregory Jay and Gerald Graff's "A Critique of Critical Pedagogy" is included in Michael Berube's and Cary Nelson' Higher Education Under Fire -- in it they site the ways in which critical pedagogy implemented can fall into the "banking model" Freire warns us against.

1999: Pepi Leistyna Presence of Mind: Education and the Politics of Deception

Russel Durst: Collision Course: Conflict, Negotiation, and Learning in College Composition

2000: Amy Lee: Composing Critical Pedagogies

William Thelin and John Tassoni, eds: Blundering for a Change: Errors and Expectations in Critical Pedagogy

2001: Joe Hardin: Opening Spaces: critical pedagogy and resistance theory in composition

Andrea Greenbaum: Insurrections: Approaches to Resistance in Composition Studies

2005: William Thelin: "Understanding Problems in Critical Classrooms"

2006: CCC "Interchanges" Durst/Thelin

Robert Yagelski: "'Radical to Many in the Educational Establishment': The Writing Process Movement after the Hurricanes"

I know I am probably missing a lot. Any suggestions? Offerings? Addendums? Additions?

Now the goal is to actually turn this into a genealogy with the goal of illustrating silences around or gaps in attention to the situatedness of these pedagogical practices, these critical pedagogy classrooms in the corporate university.

giving student feedback -- an observation

This semester I've been giving a lot of feeback to my students via e-mail. I do this for two of their assignments in particular: close readings and group presentations. After a group presents I try to come straight back to my office and type up all the notes I took during the presentation and send them to each group member (along with individual feedback on his/her particular role in the presentation).

What I've been noticing is that students respond! I get an e-mail back. Sometimes the e-mail simply thanks me for my feedback, some point out the specific ways in which the feedback was helpful, some make clear their understanding of a point I've made, some defend themselves, and so on. I love this!

I know this is nothing truly new or earth-shaking. Instructors, including myself, have been responding to students electronically (in various forms) for a long time. Last semester, though, I tended to respond electronically in the form of comments on their blogs. I still do this, but I notice a big difference when I write them an e-mail. Students rarely (to never) pick up the dialogue that I attempt to start when commenting on their blogs -- even with all the in-class time spent talking about the potential for dialogue through these online spaces; however, for whatever reason, they seem much more compelled to hit that reply button. Maybe the "email is for old people" mentality hasn't quite hit my campus yet...?

Monday, April 02, 2007

Day Two: CCCC

Dennis Jerz from Seton Hill and Sally Chandler from Kean University brought along some graduate students and put together a panel/session called “When Student Experts Remix the Discipline: New Media in the Composition Classroom.” And there was pretty good turnout, considering that these graduate students were “up against” the likes of David Bartholomae and Gerald Graff in the Grand Ballroom.

Student 1- Mike Rubino presented on multiple-authored blogs and collaborating in academic environments. He pointed out differences between academic discussion blogs, which seek to toss around various ideas on a shared topic and focused message blogs, which have a singular message they want to get across to the readers.

Student 2- Matthew Harabin presented ways to teach with EBay in order to develop students’ analytical and critical thinking skills.

Student 3- Amanda Cochran studied blog desertion, focusing specifically on why college students desert their blogs. She argued that this is not a “bad” thing, that it actually shows a “wising up” of these students, as they take in horror stories about bloggers who end up being punished (lost jobs, incarceration—such as the Egyptian blogger arrested over his critiques of religion, etc.) over something they’ve written. Students also showed concern over their blogs being inaccurate representations of their writing skills. This “moving on” she argued is a positive representation of students’ understanding of new media. She described students “moving on” to “gated communities” like Facebook and MySpace.

I guess I don’t see MySpace or Facebook (though I have never used the latter) as “gated communities” per se. Anyone has access to them, and there is ample information about the possibility of losing jobs (or not getting hired for one) on account of a myspace profile. Now I am not weighing in on the controversy here over whether or not this is fair or an invasion of privacy or what kind of “space” (public or otherwise) that myspace might be. I’m just not sure that a “moving on” to myspace or Facebook can accurately be described as a “wising up”, but I found the topic of blog desertion interesting. A couple of audience members described it maybe not as desertion per se, but rather as a kind of moving on. I also wasn’t entirely clear on Amanda’s distinctions between academic and social blogging. Isn’t all blogging supposed to be social?

Student 4 – Nadia Lahens presented on fan fiction and entertained the audience with a quote taken from Anne Rice’s website: “I do not allow fan fiction….” Rice goes on to say that writers of fan fiction must obey her wishes (I don’t have the exact quote for this).

During the discussion one audience member mentioned that we all laughed at Rice’s comment, but that to some extent her comment is understandable – that we are all somewhat protective of our own work. I personally laughed at Rice’s comment because it’s not as if Anne Rice created the vampire story herself. Her lack of recognition of her own “remixing,” her own version of fan fiction, is what made me laugh (an annoyed kind of laughter...more like a grunt, I guess).

Finally, Sally Chandler presented on youth culture in the (composition) classroom with a focus on remixing and its reliance on parody. She discussed the differences between digital and material space: digital space is immersive, interactive, symbol mediated, and information intensive. The mindset is or has to be different when working in a digital space as compared to material space. How, she asked, does this affect our teaching of writing? This difference is the same as differences based on race, class, gender that we’ve spent years addressing. Chandler drew on an example from last year’s Cs. She attended a panel on remixing as writing where the panelists showed that students see remixing as standard. Some audience members, however, was concerned about plagiarism and argued that patchwriting is not remixing. The panelists stood their ground, arguing remixing = writing, while Chandler was left agreeing with both sides. Ultimately she argued that we need to re-imagine what constitutes the writing process. Often times our reactions (as illustrated by the reactions of last year’s audience members) are material world reactions where economy is based on scarcity, but, as Chandler points out, the information is economy is not – where the more something is used/circulated, the more it is worth. We need to reassess our view of the writing process based on our use of new media literacy.