Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Yancey, "Made Not Only in Words"

Yancey, Kathleen Blake. "Made Not Only in Words: Composition in a New Key." CCC 56.2 (2004): 297-328.

Yancey repeatedly points out to the 2004 CCCC audience in San Antonio that "we have a moment" primed for composition in a new key. This new composition involved expanded notions of writing brought about with rapidly changing digital technologies. Yancey's pastiche text celebrates contributions from past chairs while establishing composition in a new key relative to four aspects or considerations:

1. Writing outside of school; electracy as a legitimate third literacy;
2. Disciplinary background; FYC as raison de etre;
3. Programmatic change (new curriculum, renewed WAC, writing majors);
4. Curricular control and assessment.

Yancey explains that the new model of composition is anchored by the circulation of writing, the canons of rhetoric (which are co-operating, not discrete), and the deicity of technology (312). She also notes that much of what came about conceptually with process has gone unquestioned and that we should wonder why writing for teacher continues to prevail.

"At this moment, we need to focus on three changes: Develop a new curriculum; revisit and revise our writing-across-the-curriculum efforts; and develop a major in composition and rhetoric" (308).

"Never before has the proliferation of writings outside the academy so counterpointed the compositions inside. Never before have the technologies of writing contributed so quickly to the creation of new genres" (298).

"And I repeat: like the members of the newly developed reading public, the members of the writing public have learned--in this case, to write, to think together, to organize, and to act within these forums--largely without instruction and, more to the point here, largely without our instruction" (301).

"Relevant to literacy specifically, we can record other tremors, specifically those associated with the screen, and in that focus, they return us to questions around what it means to write" (304).

"What should be the future shape of composition? Questioning the role of technology in composition programs--shall we teach print, digital, composition, communication, or all of the above?--continues to confounds us" (306).

"Thinking in terms of circulation, in other words, enables students to understand the epistemology, the conventions, and the integrity of different fields and their genres" (313).

"This new composition includes rhetoric and is about literacy. New composition includes the literacy of print: it adds on to it and brings the notions of practice and activity and circulation and media and screen and networking to our conceptions of process. It will require a new expertise of us as it does of our students. And ultimately, new composition may require a new site for learning for all of us" (320).

"These are structural changes--global, educational, technological. Like seismic tremors, these signal a re-formation in process, and because we exist on the borders of our own tectonic plates--rhetoric, composition and communication, process, activity, service and social justice--we are at the very center of those tremors. (321)

Terms: "reading circles" (300), "writing circles" (301), digital morphing (307d), transfer (315), deicity (318).

Related sources:
McLuhan, Marshall. Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. 1964. Cambridge: MIT P, 1994.
Prior, Paul, and Jody Shipka. "Chronotopic Laminations: Tracing the Contours of Literate Activity." Writing Selves, Writing Societies: Research from Activity Perspectives. Ed. Charles Bazerman and David Russell. Fort Collins, CO: The WAC Clearinghouse, and Mind, Culture, and Activity, 180--238. 1 June 2004 <>.
Trimbur, John. "Composition and the Circulation of Writing." CCC 52.2 (2000): 188--219.
Bookmark and Share Posted by at September 13, 2006 8:23 AM to Writing Technologies