Rumsey, Suzanne K. “Heritage Literacy: Adoption, Adaptation, and Alienation of Multimodal Literacy Tools.” CCC 60.3 (2009): 573-86. Print.

In this article the author discusses “heritage literacy.”  Rumsey defines this term as, “an explanation of how people transfer literacy knowledge from generation to generation and how certain practices, tools, and concepts are adapted, adopted, or alienated from use, depending on the context. It is lifelong, cross-generational learning and meaning making; it is developmental and recursive; and like all literacies, it builds over time or “accumulates,” as Deborah Brandt phrased it in her article “Accumulating Literacy.” Heritage literacy, then, describes how literacies and technology uses are accumulated across generations through a decision-making process” (575-6).  As communities and contexts change, members of communities either adapt to the changes, adopt the changes or alienate themselves from the changes.  Heritage literacies also take into account “codified sign systems” that include non-linguistic forms of expression – such as quilts, glyphs, etc.  So, in other words, heritage literacies are multimodal.  Heritage literacies also accept the learner as active in the literation process.  This is an auto-ethnographic piece.

Roozen, Kevin. “From Journals to Journalism: Tracing Trajectories of Literate Development.” CCC 60.3 (2009): 541-72. Print.

In this article Roozen investigates the private and public writing practices of a Mexican-American woman from the middle grades years through her graduation from university.  In so doing, Roozen argues that researchers should take into account private forms of writing (journaling, etc.) because these forms of writing inform the identity of the writer.  While he acknowledges that this sort of work requires a huge effort on the researcher’s part, the ways that text, person, and practice recursively create public, personal, and academic work is what’s at stake.  This is an ethnographic piece.

Jeyaraj, Joseph. “Modernity and Empire: A Modest Analysis of Early Colonial Writing  Practices.” CCC 60.3 (2009): 468-92. Print.

I liked this article.  I suppose this piece is a rhetorical history. . . or at least a history of rhetorical practice.  By investigating early examination writings from the colonial period (1820s-1850s), Jeyaraj makes the argument that some Indian students in the colonial system actually used Modernist philosophy (that was embedded in the curriculum of early Indian universities) to disrupt the traditional Brahmanic social codes (castes) that existed in India for over a millennium before colonial rule.

Nowacek, Rebecca S. “Why is Being Interdisciplinary So Very Hard to Do? Thoughts on the Perils and Promise of Interdisciplinary Pedagogy.” CCC 60.3 (2009): 493-516. Print.

Early in the article, Nowacek identifies an “activity system” as being composed of: a subject, either an individual or a collection of people; an object of attention and the motive (official or unofficial) that drives activity in the system; and the mediational tools (cultural and discursive as well as physical) used within the system.” (494).  After illustrating multiple activity systems, the author acknowledges that interdisciplinarity is actually recognition of multiple activity systems and their interwoven and overlapping components.  Interdisciplinary studies draws on multiple disciplines and “integrates their insights” whereas multidisciplinary studies simply acquaints the student with different systems.  There are numerous difficulties that can arise in co-taught/interdisciplinary courses.  I’ll list a few:
a.    In activity system speak, courses can have different motives.
b.    There can be conflicts in the meditational tools in interdisciplinary classrooms.
c.    Students can encounter “double-binds” wherein they receive “two messages or command which deny each other – and the student is unable to comment on the messages.”
Yet, these double binds can be a place where really productive things can happen.  Yet, interdisciplinary studies are really difficult to teach because of the double binds that instructors themselves face.  The motives, in activity theory speak, are different in each discipline, hence, what is expected from the student is also very different.  Yet, in a Burkean consubstantial moment, the interdisciplinary classroom can be an exercise in identification – through which the shared similarities of academic investigation and writing are productively emphasized.

Peckham, Irvin. “Online Placement in First-Year Writing.” CCC 60.3 (2009): 517-40. Print.

In this article, Peckham describes how placement into his 1st year comp course at LSU needed tweaking.  Instead of relying on the ole’ ACT/SAT score or manual assessment during the first week of class, the writing program used the iMOAT automated online system to allow students to “challenge” their placement.  On average, students challenged about 7.5 percent of the time.  Of those that challenged, some were reassigned.  Overall, the study argued that more work needed done; however, the new iMOAT challenge system seemed to be an improvement over the SAT/ACT model.  Data heavy analysis here.

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