CCR601 – Week Three

Pough, Gwendolyn D.  “’Each One, Pull One’ : Womanist Rhetoric and Black Feminist Pedagogy in the Writing Classroom.” Teaching Rhetorica: Theory, Pedagogy, Practice.  Eds. Kate Ronald and Joy Ritchie. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook, 2006.

Executive Summary:
In this piece, Pough discusses how Womanist ideology can inform Black Feminist Pedagogy in the writing classroom.  Through an analysis of her own experience as a writing teacher using Womanist/Black Feminist texts, Pough examines the tensions toward Womanist and Black Feminist writers that arise in white-dominated  post-secondary classrooms .  She concludes that by utilizing the parrhesian qualities of  Womanist rhetoric to inform Black feminist pedagogy in the composition classroom, instructors are able to “help students move past and ‘transgress’ their own boundaries” toward a social justice of inclusion (81).

bell hooks
Alice Walker
Cheryl Johnson and Shirley Wilson Logan

Quotable Quotes:
“I maintain that the writings of black feminist educators and womanist rhetoricians can offer examples of praxis that cen help us make the writing classroom a space in which critical thinking around diverse issues can ultimately lead to change” (70).

Emergent Strategies for an Established Field : The Role of Worker-Writer Collectives in Composition and Rhetoric
Steve Parks and Nick Pollard

Executive Summary:
While teaching a class dedicated to exploring working-class literacies at a elite University in the US, Parks recognized that most of his students couldn’t identify with working-class discourse; furthermore, their inability to identify caused a marginalization of the few working-class students present.  In response, Parks helped establish working-class literacy initiatives that utilized service-learning and community literacy practices via writers groups and blogs in order to create a federation of writers dedicated to forging new communities rooted in working-class existence.  In making his argument, Parks urges a reconception of contact-zone pedagogy to federation-based community literacy.

De Certeau
Mary Louise Pratt
Ira Shor
Paulo Freire

Quotable Quotes:

“Civic writing. . . would be structured to allow these different populations – the FWWCP, Basement Writers, and SU students – to discuss connections between education and economic class, developing the issue within the contexts of access, disablity, equity, and curriculum.”

“These courses attracted a strong contingent of working-class students who found in the manifesto and community partnerships that grounded the class discussion a tradition of work which enabled them to not only speak, but to use their own experience and skills to interrupt the dominant discourses of privilege in many of their classes and draw in their own experiences as bases of legitimate knowledge production.”

Agnew, Lois. (2009). Teaching propriety: Unlocking the mysteries of ‘political correctness’.  College Composition and Communication 60.4. 746-764.

Executive Summary:

In this article, Agnew argues that a “new pedagogical construction of rhetorical appropriateness” could stem the complaints of students that they are “stifled by ‘political correctness'” in composition classrooms (761).  In forging this new pedagogical construction, Agnew recommends a reclamation of the 18th century concepts of propriety and taste.  In rejecting the 19th century conception of propriety/taste as an “isolated realm of aesthetic experience”, Agnew argues that writing teachers should seriously consider the 18th century formulations of these terms as rooted in “a social capacity developed through critical discussion and rhetorical training that considers issues of audience and context” (756).  As a sister to the Greek concept of kairos, 18th century scholar Hugh Blair’s definition of propriety and taste create ways to link style to communicative goals and social situations (754).  In considering 18th century definitions of taste and propriety in the writing classroom, composition teachers sidestep silencing “entitled to my opinion” approaches while encouraging students to employ taste/propriety in order to develop “ethical subjectivity” while still engendering a respect for the “shared social decisions about appropriate language” (761).


Hugh Blair

Sharon Crowley

John Poulakos


Quotable Quotes:

“Such an effort [teaching taste and propriety] might help students recognize that appropriate language does not have to be externally imposed, concieved of as a punishment that destroys their rhetorical intentions, but instead can provide them with the flexisbility they need in order to achieve true rhetorical agency” (749).

“He [Blair] shares with both classical and contemporary theorists the assumption that rhetors who cultivate skills he strives to teach will ultimately embody the ethical sense that accompanies propriety, which becomes rhetorically constructed as discourse that is responsive to audience” (755).

“While advocating that individuals yield to the ill-defined ‘common feelings of men’ unquestionably holds the danger of a powerful collective imposing its standards on powerless individuals, the current state of public discourse suggests that we have swung too far in the direction of abandoning individuals to their independent assesments of what constitutes appropriate discourse, since such judgements often rely upon a determination to exert autonomous choice without regard for social consequences” (756).

Writing From Souces, Writing From Sentences – Rebecca Moore Howard

Executive Summary:

In this piece, student writing is analyzed with an eye toward the kinds of source integration students do when composing essays.  In the analysis, the researchers viewed student source integration with an eye toward summary, patchwriting, paraphrasing, and direct copying.  The researchers found that student often patchwrote, paraphrased and copied; however, they didn’t often use summary.  This discovery led the researcher to ask whether the students actually were working with the sources, or merely sentences in the sources.  In fact, “Plagiarism is difficult to avoid if one is constructing an argument from isolated sentences pulled from sources” (15).


Rebecca Moore Howard


Quotable Quotes:

“Our observations also raise questions about problems students may have with source-based writing, problems that are both prior to and foundational to their correct citation of sources.  Citation counts for little if what is being cited is a fragmentary representation of the source.  Plagiarism is difficult to avoid if one is constructing an argument from isolated sentences pulled from sources” (15).

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