Topics in Language and Rhetoric: Writing Across Difference
Recent debates about the role of language, culture and identity in the teaching of writing—especially as these factors inform how we approach difference and diversity—have simultaneously enriched and complicated our ideas about how we can make productive use of them in our curricular and pedagogical practices. This course will review emerging literature that focuses on theoretical and pragmatic efforts to reimagine their place in the teaching of writing by reconstituting them as dynamic conceptions that Rosi Braidotti calls figurations: languages-in-motion, cultures-in-transition and identities-in-practice. Our analysis and discussion of writing across difference will be further enhanced by introducing a fourth dynamic concept, citizens-in-the-making, to the mix. These figurations will frame our conversations about ways to create conditions in the writing classroom under which disenfranchised students can empower themselves by acquiring the rhetorical orientation and the discursive tools they need to navigate the ever-changing terrain of their everyday lives in and beyond the academy. You’ll be required to keep a critical journal of your reading for the class (2-to-3 pages per week), give a group presentation on one of the three assigned scholarly books, and write a 12-to-15 page essay on a topic of your choice due at the end of the quarter.
• Smit, David W. The End of Composition Studies. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP,
• Goldblatt, Eli. Because We Live Here: Sponsoring Literacy Beyond the College
Curriculum. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, 2007.
• Flower, Linda. Community Literacy and the Rhetoric of Public Engagement. Carbondale:
Southern Illinois UP, 2008.
• A collection of essays on writing across communities, language, culture, identity and citizenship will be made available through the UW Library’s course reserves.