legge's blog

Williams, Rhetorical Agency, and Writing (and a lot of frustration)

Reading this text so closely after coming back from a trip to Atlanta brought a lot of these issues closer than what I would have expected. Close enough that I got angry. Don and I were talking about this. It’s like “internet” angry—those posts on Facebook that you tell yourself you’ll never respond to, but can’t help it and fifteen posts later you can’t believe how hard you are pounding the keyboard. Yeah. So I’m not going to make this post that angry. But seriously?

A Book on the Boundaries

There is just something approachable in Mike Rose's text. Familiar even. He weaves his narrative in flawlessly, smoothly. He knows himself, his students, and introduces us to everything. It's almost like a dinner party with familiar faces and moving conversation. Perhaps this is what makes critics (at least those listed) call this book a classic, seminal text for educators. But this familiarity also highlights some key issues. In fact, some of this text seemed a bit too familiar--and I'm not just talking about the narrative structure here ;)

Teaching to transgress in a (post)9/11 world

I was excited to read bell hooks because I wanted to feel happy. That might sounds simplistic and perhaps hopeful is the better word. But let me give you a quick taste of what we are reading in Postmodern right now and you might understand this need to just feel happy/hopeful about pedagogy...

"The subject, we must understand, is not the biological individual but the discourse effect produced by a dominant ideology whose purpose is precisely to create subjects subjected to the system" (Alcorn, "Changing the Subject of Postmodern Theory")

Structuring Selves Against and With the Other: Keith Gilyard & Language Identity as Self

…In performing a role the individual must see to it
that the impressions of him are conveyed in the
situation are compatible with role-appropriate
personal qualities effectively imputed to him…

A self, then, virtually awaits the individual
entering a position…

Each individual will, therefore, have several
selves, providing us with the interesting
problem of how these selves are related.

Erving Goffman, “Role Distance”
Two Encounters: Two Studies in the Sociology of Interaction


Disclaimer: I think orality is fascinating. I think that studying it is incredibly useful. I’m working it into my thesis. This, of course, means I could probably spend a lot of time just talking/writing about how Victor Villanueva uses orality. Or I could just talk/write about what he says about it. Let’s do that. It’s much more manageable.

News Flash: Language is Important

Good job, Richard Rodriguez—There is nothing like starting out a text with a Robinson Crusoe reference. I want him to be some sort of hipster—making allusions to this novel ironically. But no. Here we have a text that succumbs, or even accepts, the role of the Anxiety of Colonial Influence. And in a way, it makes this book difficult to read as I’m trying to be the sympathetic reader. I know why.

(More) Hunger of Memory

So, anyone I've talked to (or read on this blog), seems to agree: Richard Rodriguez is a jerk who doesn't like his mother. But just in case you want perhaps a little more clarification of what he is discussing in Hunger of Memory, here's an interview with him that Patti Poblete (for those of you who know her) sent after we were talking about the book:


I'm going to assume that this interview won't change any minds about Rodriguez, but here it is nonetheless.

Using the Master's Tools?: The Woodson Version

So far in class, we have only begun to talk about this idea of “using the master’s tools” when discussing both the Booker T Washington and the WEB Du Bois texts. Woodson’s text also is dealing with this issue and in that way, he takes both Washington and Du Bois head on (especially Du Bois). As I read the text, I keep pulling out quote after quote of critique so I won’t include them all here, but Woodson’s style really brings the point home, so yes, this might be a blog post full of quotes.

Humanizing the Institution (and Music)

There is so much to say about Du Bois—comparison to Booker T Washington, the color line, double consciousness, etc. This is an extremely rich text by all accounts. But, based on our discussion last week, I wanted to continue looking at how the Institution functions in these texts. As we saw, Booker T Washington effectively (or not depending on how you want to read it), takes our negative impression of the concept of the institution as slavery and transforms it to a positive view or the institution of education for his audience.

Institutions of Slavery, Race, and Schools

Not many pages into reading Booker T Washington’s autobiography Up from Slavery, you first come across the word “institution.” And it’s not the last. Throughout this text, Washington consistently uses the word “institution” or a similar word to refer to slavery, race, as well as schools. In fact, it was used so many times in such varying contexts that I wanted to know why that word? What meanings or connotations does institution bring to mind that it would seem like such a conscious choice?

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