Nodes from Class

Here’s a Cmap
of the development of modern composition studies, roughly
reproduced from notes on the board during Tuesday’s
712. I went
back and snapped a digital photo of the
chalkboard yesterday
(preserved from the day before with a "Please do not erase"). Then, to
develop the Cmap, I inserted the
photograph as a temporary background to approximate the spatial arrangement of
links and nodes. After that, I quick-shopped a
to emphasize the past few decades as phases of disciplinary
development (fluctuation, upheaval, etc.). And finally, I shifted around a
few of the nodes, repositioned other stuff, tinkered with color schemes and sent
off a draft for future–ongoing–revisions. The map of complandia?
Certainly not; not in any perfected, exhaustive or territory-analog kind of way. But one map of complandia. Next I need to
figure out how to set up Cmaps on a server for collaborative map-making.
I’ll argue that this model holds promise for 1.) mapping complex histories; 2.)
exploring incongruous accounts of disciplinary formation, extradisciplinary developments
running through those formations, and sub-disciplinary peaks and valleys (rising
and falling, trends, etc.); and 3.) charting disciplinary mythologies and
imaginaries through the idiosyncrasies of individual and group
percept-cartography (granted, I don’t know that there is such a thing as
"percept-cartography"; I’m making that part up on the fly). Although this
map came together during a single class session, it could be updated, for pretty much any course, let’s say, over several weeks, possibly accounting for emerging ties and
emerging locative criteria/rationale as the course unfolds.

“We Are Coming” – Logan (1999)

In 691 (Method~ologies) this week we’re considering historical methods and
reading for such methods specifically through the Shirley Wilson Logan’s work in
"We Are Coming": The
Persuasive Discourse of Nineteenth-Century Black Women
.  In the
preface, Logan speaks briefly to her method: "Since rhetorical analysis requires
an understanding of the formal features of a text in conjunction with its
historical context, I consider pertinent historical details–biographical,
social, political and cultural.  Moving from the historical, I address
various characteristics of a chosen text in the light of these details. 
The selection of characteristics is informed by classical rhetoric and its
twentieth-century reconstructions.  My hope is that these discussions might
also add to a clearer understanding of nineteenth-century culture and of the
ways in which the persuasive discourse of nineteenth-century black women adapted
itself to its multiple audiences and multilayered exigencies" (xvi).  As
well as any passage I could locate, these few sentences give a fairly complete,
succinct overview of the project.

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Only Slightly Less Burdened

In case you were wondering, I’ve been fending off a
stalwart northeastern head cold.  That explains (no it doesn’t, yes it
does–okay, only partially) recent entries at EWM.  I’ve also been
buttoning down the canvas for a wild week ahead; the reading load has spiked (an
entire January Sunday getting to know Emig’s Web of Meaning), and, in
another course, I’m first into the fray as presenter of chapter one from White’s
Tropics of Discourse on Thursday morning.  Knees high, leading the
parade.  And so I’ve been prepping obsessively, combing over stuff I think
I mostly get. 

And since I felt apprehension throughout last semester
about bringing academic work into this blogspace, I’m turning over a new leaf
and issuing an exclusive early release of the summary that goes with that
presentation of White’s first chapter here, before it’s circulated anywhere
else.  And then I’m going to eat; after that: give two-thirds of the house
members free haircuts (that’d be me and Ph.).  I’d love feedback on the
summary, if you’re up for it.

Oh, and one other thing, dear blogosphere, I need a CCCC
room-share in SF.  The west coast swank-elite wants dang near 200 clams each
night, and for that, I can probably stay awake for three days.  But
seriously, low needs room-share, 50:50. NCTE used to offer a web-board for
practical matches such as the one I’m seeking; where is that now?  The only alternative is to re-draw the strapped personal budget for conference travel. Ideas? Folks known to be in the same bind?

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Fitzgerald, 2002, “A Rediscovered Tradition”

Kathryn. "A Rediscovered Tradition: European Pedagogy and Composition in
Nineteenth-Century Midwestern Normal Schools." CCC 53 (2001): 224-250.

Big Idea
Midwestern normal schools at the turn of the nineteenth century were fertile
sites for promising pedagogical mixing which brought together student-centered
European practices (attributed to Heinrick Pestalozzi and John Frederick Herbart)
with the populace-serving, democratizing missions of normal schools. 
Fitzgerald’s historical account of the Oshkosh conference of 1900 elaborates
these forces through descriptions and analysis of the archival gems pointing
back to the important work of the normal composition teachers of the era. 
Pestalozzian and Herbartian pedagogies generally favored student-centered rather
than content-centered approaches.  As a result, the normal schools in
Wisconsin served as a stage for these pre-Dewey practices to foment toward
efficacy, while shrugging off strict adherence to textbook lessons, adopting a
more compassionate, respectful view of students’ linguistic competence and
preferring demonstrations of understanding–often in the form of writing and
students teaching to other students–over rote memorization and recitation.
Fitzgerald’s essay ends with a plug for the study of teaching practices in
contemporary and historical contexts (quartered by regionalism and
institutionality).  She also emphasizes–at the end–the role of teaching
in the curriculum as vocational/professional/normal schools have been subsumed
into grand research conglomerates where pedagogy is relegated to servile rank
and often viewed as a necessary but unpleasant burden. 

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