From our memory to our field of study…

Reflecting on the field of Writing Studies

Reading I think there is some momentum building now for our class as a whole.  It was wonderful to start our discussion this week with some reflective freewriting (a low stakes write-to-learn approach) while connecting with our own memories of how we learned to write, as well as how we were taught to write.  I think this is an important reference point to keep in mind as we embark on the journey of considering theory & practice today (and how an understanding of writing has indeed evolved).  I am also pleased that we had a chance to apprehend the formal field of Rhetoric & Composition in order to understand our own place in an ever growing field.   Some key issues that reverberate for me based on our shared reading of Lauer’s ‘Rhetoric & Composition”:

-The fact that in the past rhetoric and reasoning functioned at the center of civic culture (Consider the peril of our working democracy today….what role does reasoning play in civic discourse?);

-The complex relationship between reading & writing (…I think we will turn to this complex relationship over and over again with questions of our own);

-Does writing construct or merely transmit knowledge?;

-Is writing social or individual?;

-The disciplinary politics of writing – how writing is often understood as a teaching practice verses a research pursuit.

I have shared your excellent notes from class on our site for your reference.  It will be interesting to circle back to these opening freewrite questions as we close our semester to yield more insight into the overall journey.

The Danger of the Single Story

After our opening discussion of Janice Lauer’s article on the field of Writing Studies and  Rhetoric & Composition, we turned our attention to our Equity Unbound conversation.  This week the theme is “Empathy & Bias“.  What better time to engage in such reflection than a time when the American political landscape bears profound evidence of a failure to listen and imagine what it might be to be in somebody else’s shoes.  As our legislators struggle with personal testimony and an understanding of what it takes to fill the position of the highest court of justice in the land, we took some time to consider the danger of a single story vs the importance of many stories.  To listen to a story you do not know is just as critical an act as having the space to be able to tell a story.  Make no mistake, stories are the key to human understanding in the face of difference. And they are intimately connected to human power.  Stories generate a power to yield,  shape, and transform our perception.

Together we watched Chimamanda Ngaozi Aditchie’s TED talk called the Danger of a Single Story:

We also contributed a “flash” twitterchat (which is still unfolding on our #unboundeq hashtag for those jumping in asynchronously from different parts of the globe).  Your responses were insightful and prompted so much more reflection.  A glimpse of a few #unboundeq moments here:

We will continue to reflect on Equity Unbound‘s two week theme of  Empathy and Bias as we pick up on our general discussion for next week.

What is up for next week?

Looking forward to Monday!

Dr. Zamora

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