Sep 192013
 

Here’s some information about literacy narratives database I mentioned during our recent program meeting:

The Digital Archives of Literacy Narratives (DALN) is a publicly available archive of personal literacy narratives in a variety of formats (text, video, audio) that together provide a historical record of the literacy practices and values of contributors, as those practices and values change.

The DALN invites people of all ages, races, communities, backgrounds, and interests to contribute stories about how — and in what circumstances — they read, write, and compose meaning, and how they learned to do so (or helped others learn). We welcome personal narratives about reading and composing all kinds of texts, both formal and informal: diaries, blogs, poetry, music and musical lyrics, fan zines, school papers, videos, sermons, gaming profiles, speeches, chatroom exchanges, text messages, letters, stories, photographs, etc. We also invite contributors to supplement their narratives with samples of their own writing (papers, letters, zines, speeches, etc.) and compositions (music, photographs, videos, sound recordings, etc.).

Also, the book Tamera shared an excerpt from in that meeting was Peter Elbow’s Vernacular Eloquence: What Speech Can Bring To Writing.

Summer reading

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May 182012
 

I arrived at this work with dual interests: the struggle of new writing teachers and the political theory of Hannah Arendt. When I started to work with Arendt’s three-part theoretical construct of labor, work, and action, which she establishes most fully in her 1958 work The Human Condition, as a model for studying new writing teachers, I had to confront the interdependence, balance, and, at times, interchangeability of these three concepts. They are in orbit with each other. Each offers ways of thinking about writing instruction, the writing classroom, and teacher development. However, as soon as we begin to match theoretical pieces to real-life teachers, the delicate tensions amid the concepts intervene to underscore the unpredicability, distinctiveness, and play within and among writing teachers themselves. In other words, there is nothing simple to say about writing teachers. From my efforts to apply Arendtian analysis, I learned, first, that I cannot put real people and real situations into neat categories.
First Semester: Graduate Students, Teaching, Writing, and the Challenge of Middle Ground

I’ve just begun reading Jessica Restaino’s new book, and already it’s giving me plenty to think about in terms of how I approach both teaching my own FYWP classes and how I mentor graduate student instructors. I expect I’ll have plenty to say about it in practicum next fall — and if others are interested in reading it, too, perhaps we could have a discussion. (The college library purchased a copy at my request, which will be available whenever I return it.)

In addition to the Restaino book (and plenty of fiction, and research for a novel), I plan to reread Dobrin & Weisser’s Natural Discourse: Toward Ecocomposition, because I’ve been working with some ideas from it for a couple of years now and want to reconsider the text through that experience. I’m also reading Net Locality: Why Location Matters In A Wired World, by our Emerson VMA colleague Eric Gordon. It’s not rhet/comp, but it’s helping me think about the materiality of genre and text, especially in the types of place-based field guides and proposals I ask my WR121 students to write.

So let us know: what’s on your reading list for the summer?

May 162012
 

Following up on a link I posted recently about the rhetoric of computer programs, I’m intrigued by this description of 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10, a new book by Ian Bogost, Nick Montfort, and others:

This book takes a single line of code–the extremely concise BASIC program for the Commodore 64 inscribed in the title–and uses it aa a lens through which to consider the phenomenon of creative computing and the way computer programs exist in culture. The authors of this collaboratively written book treat code not as merely functional but as a text–in the case of 10 PRINT, a text that appeared in many different printed sources–that yields a story about its making, its purpose, its assumptions, and more. They consider randomness and regularity in computing and art, the maze in culture, the popular BASIC programming language, and the highly influential Commodore 64 computer.

I Remember

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Jan 132012
 
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Inspired by the underground classic, I Remember by Joe Brainard, Shane Allison takes us on a fragmented, lustful, and poetic tour of his life, from a turbulent childhood in Florida to his life in New York City. Allison’s book is an epic poem/memoir full of frozen moments that capture a sexual, cultural, and emotional coming of age.
@ Future Tense Books

When I teach memoir in WR121, I often use Joe Brainard’s I Remember as an introduction because students respond well to the “pared down” presentation of the genre. I add to it Georges Perec’s borrowing of Brainard’s method, and after having students write their own “I Remember” memoirs we talk about the differences that emerge across gender, generation, and location. It looks like Shane Allison’s new book I Remember could be a useful addition, because it’s more contemporary to our students and grapples (as Brainard’s does) with issues of gender and sexuality familiar to Emerson classrooms.

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