Adam's blog

I fought the law and the law won

In reading through Williams's work, I was especially interested in her discussions of law school curriculum. I never had an interest in it myself, but I had a number of friends who went from English degrees into law school because they had the sort of critical writing and reading and analyzing skills needed to succeed in the field. Looking at Williams' discussion of the law school tests, though, seemed to paint a very different picture. Like, what is this shit? (84-85). Calculating the tax implications of slavery?

A Rose by any other name

I liked a lot of the stuff Rose was talking about, but I feel like he's repeating a lot the issues/ideas we've already discussed in the class. I also think he focuses too much on rigid structures as the solution to everything. To quote POMO, "heuristics don't solve everything." I worry that it is a bit too much of pulling everyone up to the "norm" decided by those in charge. Beyond that, though, I did really like some of his exploration on where students are coming from and his attempts to contextualize the changing nature of what students need to know.

Teaching to transguess?

bell hooks has a lot of interesting stuff in Teaching to Transgress, so I sort of hopped around to different articles so I could talk about a variety of topics that caught my attention. The first issue I really liked was her view of teacher-student interaction from Engaged Pedagogy. The idea that a teacher needs to be constantly learning in the class alongside his/her students (15) is really cool alongside her idea of empowering students.

Modes of Discourse

One of the most interesting issues from Smitherman's book was her discussion of the different modes of discourse that are central to AAVE speech. Through looking at these modes--call-response, signification, tonal semantics, and narrative sequencing--Smitherman examines the unique character of AAVE and how its elements constitute a structured language complete with its own rhetorical style. Using these four modes we can begin to examine the process of the language itself and how it fits into the wider context of communication in Englishes.

Bootstrappin' the Rhetoric of Narrative

Victor Villanueva's Bootstraps is a difficult book to categorize. The book, in fact, tells me so on the back cover. The book is “unusual” in that “at one level it is autobiographical, detailing the life of an American of Puerto Rican extraction … [and] at another level, the book examines these same issues from a rigorously academic viewpoint.” So autobiographical is not academic. Story is not so studious.

Hunger Games of Memory

Man, I disagree with Rodriguez a lot. Like, mostly. More than half. But you have to place him in a time before some of the good came out of what he decries. Affirmative Action is an issue and a topic that requires more scrutiny than I can give it, but I do think that Rodriguez' issue with it stems from one: his schooling before any type of cultural studies, and two: his insistence on separate private/public language spheres and no bi-lingual education.

The mis-direction of the whole system

In reading Woodson I was surprised by how little has changed in educational systems. I mean, some of the issues Woodson has with teachers in African American schools are STILL problems today, in all institutions of higher education. We're not a meritocracy, no matter what any school official says. Plenty of teachers cling to approaches that don't work. And many institutions are dropping the funding of those that actually realize these facts. Putting aside the larger structures and their impact upon the school, Woodson focuses on teachers as difference-makers in the system.

And now, a rebuttal.

I thought I'd start with Du Bois' calling out of Booker T. Washington. Du Bois gives a fair assessment of Washington's narrow focus, arguing that his focus on industrial schooling and deference to southern whites would only hold African Americans from advancing further in America. I'd like to think our reading last week shows a more nuanced version of Washington, but Du Bois actually says that Washington wants African Americans to give up political power, civil rights, and higher education (87) to submission.

Trust and Testimony: Booker T. Washington's use of anecdote

In making arguments we tend to take a hard line between verifiable claims and personal experience. Although both have their place in rhetoric, we place data above anecdotal evidence that can only support stronger, “factual” information. Booker T. Washington takes advantage of the unique character of storytelling in his autobiography, Up From Slavery, which helps to focus his experiences as both a narrative and a platform for his beliefs.

Syndicate content