Dappled Gee: Shaping a Discipline One Worked Example at a Time

I had to double check one last time, and correct me if I’m wrong, but Gee doesn’t use Lauer’s Dappled Discipline article. But the first part of New Digital Media kept reminding me just so much of that article that I kept ctrl+f every few pages or so. And that’s what is both exciting and interesting about this text. In the same way that Lauer defines and revisions discipline for composition studies, we see Gee beginning the same taxonomy, but we find ourselves on the cusp of just how this discipline can shape up. We are right in the middle of this. And THAT is definitely exciting!

I was gonna name this "Gee Whiz" but Alex beat me to it.

Gee's article, like most of what I read from him, leaves me full of ideas but unsure where to go with them. Inspirational, if lacking in practical. I'll start by saying how much I like this attention being paid to the word "literacy." We throw it around a lot and it's become a go-to word for how people can gain mastery (or at least familiarity) in a field, but especially after Gee's discussion of New Media Literacy vs. New Media Literacies, it seems we're getting back to the heart of the term.

Gee whiz

I’m really interested in the narrative Gee tells about the journey of NLS. I think of the journey rhet comp took on its way to becoming a discipline, or a field depending on who you’re reading. We certainly are better off having become a distinctive discipline: we have a coherent body of knowledge; we have experts; we can articulate what we do; we have skills other disciplines don’t have. I think these all have helped us get to a place of increasing respect in the university.

Living and Learning with New Media Supplemental Quotations

“Our cases demonstrate that some of the drivers of self-motivated learning come not from the institutionalized ‘authorities’ in youth’s lives setting standards and providing instruction but from their observing and communicating with people engaged in the same interests, and in the same struggles for status and recognition, that they are” (24).

“These work-arounds and back channels are ways in which kids hang out together, even in settings that are not officially sanctioned for hanging out, such as the classroom, where talking socially to peers is explicitly frowned upon” (27).

James Gee, Thematic Disciplines, and Problems in Academia

On one hand, Gee’s Digital Media and Learning functions as a metanarrative bringing together the seemingly disparate topics he’s explored through his own research and writing, and on the other hand, it serves as the basis around which to organize a new field, or to use his term a new thematic discipline. In structuring this thematic discipline, he draws together four fields, all of which he has participated (and published) in.


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