Retold in fairy tale language for a class assignment
In a distant past, there existed a feudal society, and in this society, there was not yet a public...moreRetold in fairy tale language for a class assignment
In a distant past, there existed a feudal society, and in this society, there was not yet a public sphere. In fact, public referred to nobility, and everyone else was common (6). However, with the rise of capitalism and the bourgeois class came the commercial trade in news (15), and a public sphere began to emerge between the private sphere of life and the government (23). This public sphere was composed of the bourgeoisie, mostly male property owners, who used reason to debate public issues (27-29). In western Europe and America, these citizens engaged in dialogue in coffee shops, newspapers, and letters — that is, they debated in largely private spaces that created publics. Public opinion began to develop, but this wasn’t the public opinion we conceive of today: instead, it was formed through public debate, not through polling or other more modern mechanisms (66).
An aim of the public sphere was to abolish the domination of the state, and constitutional governments were set up to connect the law to public opinion (81-82). A central value of the bourgeois public sphere was inclusiveness — that as the bourgeoisie grew, so too would access to the public sphere. However, as the public enlarged, public opinion changed from the result of ongoing dialogue to a coercive force (133). This is largely because as the liberal state became a welfare state, it encroached on the private lives of people, or “stateized” society (142); the public sphere became less politicized (140). In part, this was caused as economic struggles became political struggles, and the state began to protect families and individuals, through education, workers’ rights laws, and welfare (155). Consumer culture also arose, so that a debating public sphere was replaced by an advertising public sphere; public debate became administered and consumed (164). The state began to “‘address’ its citizens like consumers” (195). Public opinion and propaganda began to be used in order to gain good will and justify legislation (177). The public sphere became “refeudalized” by the state and others looking to gain publicity.
The bourgeois public sphere has since passed away, and in its stead we have the modern notions of public opinion and publicity, as well as private individuals not engaged in a public, rational debate. Good bye, dear bourgeois public sphere. You are missed.(less)
In Multiliteracies for a Digital Age (2004), Stuart Selber takes a "post critical" stance (one which admits that technologies are here to stay, so we...moreIn Multiliteracies for a Digital Age (2004), Stuart Selber takes a "post critical" stance (one which admits that technologies are here to stay, so we should consider how to use, deploy, and question them "in ways that align with, and productively challenge, the values of the profession" [8:]) in order to develop a model of literacy for students in a computer age. This model involves three types of literacy: functional, critical, and rhetorical.
Selber seeks to recover the word "functional," which has come under understandable scrutiny for its rote attention to skills at the expense of critical and rhetorical actions, and argues that functional literacy is still crucial because students must be able to control technologies, understand online environments, compete for work, and use the language of the powerful (35). He outlines five parameters of a functionally literate student: students can achieve their educational goals, understand social conventions (and thus, that functional literacy is social), use specialized discourses, manage their online world, and manage technological impasses (45).
Critical literacy is the ability to question and analyze computers as cultural artifacts, and challenge the values of those artifacts (81). For Selber, a critical approach involves four parameters: a critically literate student is able to be critical about the perspectives of design cultures, the contexts of use, the institutional forces that shape use, and popular representations of computers (96).
Rhetorical literacy is the ability to produce texts using technologies, to be authors (139). He argues for four parameters of rhetorical literacy: persuasion, deliberation, reflection, and social action (147). He focuses largely on interfaces, noting that students need to develop a scrutiny for how interfaces persuade and to design their own interfaces. Students need to deliberate through interface problems, understanding that these are "wicked problems" that are constantly being deliberated and have no clear cut solutions (only better solutions) (153-154). (less)
In this fine collection, Wysocki, Johnson-Eilola, Cynthia L. Selfe, and Sirc provide a chapter or two each arguing about an aspect of new media and co...moreIn this fine collection, Wysocki, Johnson-Eilola, Cynthia L. Selfe, and Sirc provide a chapter or two each arguing about an aspect of new media and composition studies, and then a section offering classroom activities with rationales. This is the second time I've read it (January 2010), and I found even richer than the first time.
Just a few key notes that I want to remember from this text:
Wysocki: Because writing teachers are practiced in situating writing in context and situating writers, then new media studies can benefit from the input of writing teachers, and writing teachers are well-suited to implement new media in the classroom (5-7). Wysocki argues persuasively to pay attention to the materiality of texts (10-15) and defines "new media texts" as "those texts that have been made by composers who are aware of the range of materialities of texts and who then highlight the materiality: such composers design texts that help readers/consumers/views stay alert to how any text—like its composers and readers—doesn't function independently of how it is made and in what contexts. Such composers design texts that make as overtly visible as possible the values they embody" (15).
Selfe: Selfe encourages us to understand that literacies aren't a matter of linear progression: new ones don't replace older ones, and new ones do not necessarily continue, but instead might disappear (49). Her second lesson explains that "new media literacies play an important role in identity formation, the exercise of power, and the negotiation of social codes" (51). Selfe also encourages composition teachers to incorporate new media texts into class, to expand their notions of what counts as composition, because to do otherwise (to neglect new media) is irresponsible to how people communicate (54-55). Selfe also provides an argument for including visual rhetoric in composition courses (67-74).
Sirc: Drawing on the art of Joseph Cornell as a model, Sirc argues against the formal essay and instead for what he calls "box-logic," which involves the juxtaposition of already-made objects. He claims that "notions of articulate coherence, conventional organization, and extensive development seem irrelevant" (115). Arguing that students should be designers, not essayists (121), Sirc views the Internet as a virtual urban arcade where writers engage in "textual journeys" to study texts, employ them in their own designs, and annotate them (122).
Wysocki: Wysocki argues that much discussion of visual rhetoric and graphic design relies on notions of beauty developed in the eighteenth century that create the idea of universal beauty, but that this is harmful to understanding how bodies and history influence texts and their reception (149-152). Her case example, an advertisement with a naked women, shows how these notions lead us to see the woman not as a woman, but as a shape (152). The guidelines offered by graphic design are not neutral, but actually shape ourselves — thus, teaching visual in composition courses cannot just be about form (158-159).
Johnson-Eilola: Through a discussion of intellectual property law and court cases, Johnson-Eilola shows how "For better or worse—or, in fact, for better and worse—texts no longer function as discrete objects, but as contingent, fragmented objects in circulation, as elements within constantly configured and shifting networks" (208). A few lessons: writing cannot be separated from economics; students must be showed how information is not neutral, composition cannot ignore the database background of reading and writing online (e.g., search engines are a form of writing; writing is a form of architecture) (212, 218-220, 225).(less)
I enjoyed this quite a bit, but I don't think it's nearly as good as everyone claims. I've read more enjoyable graphic novels, or ones that have chall...moreI enjoyed this quite a bit, but I don't think it's nearly as good as everyone claims. I've read more enjoyable graphic novels, or ones that have challenged me as a reader and thinker more. I mean, overall, it's good, but the hype is over, um, hyped? The ending is strong, and I think it does end better than the film version. I'd still highly recommend it, though!(less)
In "The Theory and Politics of the Public/Private Distinction," Jeff Weintrab unpacks the "complex family" of oppositions between private and public....moreIn "The Theory and Politics of the Public/Private Distinction," Jeff Weintrab unpacks the "complex family" of oppositions between private and public. Often the terms are used in contrast with each other, and the use of one term may be referring to the definition of the other. Particularly, Weintrab sees two oppositions: hidden vs withdrawn, and individual or part vs collective or whole (4-5). These are deployed in four different normative or descriptive ways: 1) liberal-economic: the public is the state administration and private is the market economy 2) republican-virtue: public is political community and citizenship 3) Ariès and others: public is sociability 4) Some feminists: private is family and public is larger economic and political arenas (7) Note: Sennett, Ariés, and Arendt see the increase of intimacy in public as harming sociability, making "dead public space" (24).
In "'Two Different Sorts of Commerce'— Friendship and Strangership in Civil Society," Alan Silver argued that intimate friendship is a product of the impersonal order of modern states and economics (44). Drawing largely on Scottish philosophies like Adam Smith and Hume, Silver shows how the intimate sphere developed as a place to be in anti-instrumentalist relation with others (67). He also noted the change in the meaning of stranger, from foreigner to someone you don't yet know (54).
In "Nationalism and the Public Sphere," Craig Calhoun explains that nationalism is not inimical to democracy, but instead is linked to the formation of political publics (100). Calhoun also corrects Habermas, arguing that identities are not created in private prior to entering a publIc, but are also formed in public relation to others and nationalism (86). Additionally, "we should understand the public sphere to be a sphere of publics" (100).
In "Humankind as a System: Private and Public Agency at the Origins of Modern Liberalism," Daniela Gobetti argues that Natural Law theorists of the eighteenth century sought to untie the traditional notion of agency as wrapped up in the private/public distinction (that citizenship was contingent on private property) and instead made it possible for modern thinkers to consider citizens as autonomous agents (129).
In "Rethinking Privacy: Autonomy, Identity, and the Abortion Controversy," Jean L. Cohen seeks to recover the right to privacy as a woman-friendly common good that protects autonomy and plurality (136-137). Personal privacy, she argues, has become conceptually separated from other notions of the private: "private property, freedom of contract, or 'entity' privacy (that is, attached to the patriarchal family unit)" (139). She also wants to understand privacy as embodied, and revise the notion that we "own" our bodies — for Cohen, "bodily integrity is central to an individual's identity and should be protected by privacy rights as fundamental" (160).
In "The Displacement of Politics," Jean Bethke Elshtain expresses strong concern about what she calls "the displacement of politics," the blurring of boundaries between private and public to the point that "everything gets construed as 'political'" and we begin to attach positions or ideas to identity (171). That is, we no longer judge based on what someone says or does, but by what they are (175). Elshtain argues that a separate private sphere from the public is necessary for a thriving public discourse (180).
In "Public and Private in Theory and Practice: Some Implications of an Uncertain Boundary," Alan Wolfe draws on the work of Irving Goffman and Jürgen Habermas to show that Goffman undervalues the public and Habermas undervalues the private. While the boundaries between public and private are slippery, they are necessary for the social, a third realm of life "intermediate between public and private" (182). Wolfe calls the "social" (drawing on Arendt) "a realm of distinct publics" (196).
In "Home: The Promise and Predicament of Private Life at the End of the Twentieth Century," Krishan Kumar follows the work of Philippe Ariés in understanding the home as a central private area that defines modernity. In the medieval ages (in the West), the home was both public and private, being very permeable, but that the home became a place to secure identity and fulfillment away from the public (206-210). However, the rise of the private family also led to the contraction of the public sphere, according to Ariés (221). Kumar sees this privatization going even further, where the home has become more like a hotel, modeled on the market with excluded, private individuals who live together, rather than a home (224-230). Kumar concludes the the partitioning of the home off from public spelled its doom: it was too small of a community to protect itself from society's invasions (231).
In "From Public Housing to Private Communities: The Discipline of Design and the Materialization of the Public/Private Distinction in the Built Environment," David Brain examines the logics and repercussions of "modernist" and "postmodernist" architecture in regards to the public/private distinction, showing that neither of these conceptions necessarily builds an adequate "public space." For Brain, a public space does not just mean that people are visible to each other, but rather must be both inclusive and enable "social actors to recognize its public character and to act meaningfully, appropriately, and efficaciously within it" (245). Brain analyzes Brasilia as paradigmatic of modernist architecture, arguing that "the city is intensely privatized" to the point of "undermining the vitality of both private and public life" (253, 254). Postmodern architecture, exemplified by the resort suburb of Seaside, Florida, winds up creating a public space of limited sociability with "a convenient minimum" of citizenship (261).
In "Rediscovering the Social: Visiting Practices in Antebellum New England and the Limits of the Public/Private Dichotomy," Karen V. Hansen argues that the feminist body of scholarship that sees the 19th century as "separate spheres" aligned with the public/private distinction is a limited view that "needs to be fundamentally reassessed" (272). Hansen examines the visiting practices of women in Antebellum New England, and argues for "a four-part orienting model: the public, the private, the market economy, and the social" (293). For Hansen, "the social captures a field of activities and relationships that transcend the boundaries of households but are not predominantly shaped by the logic of the state or the market" (293). (less)
In Race, Rhetoric, and Technology (2006), Adam Banks explores African American rhetoric — the discursive practices used by individuals and groups towa...moreIn Race, Rhetoric, and Technology (2006), Adam Banks explores African American rhetoric — the discursive practices used by individuals and groups toward full participation in American society (2-3) — in relation to technology, especially in regards to access. He questions the digital divide binary because they focus solely on access to tools without questioning the full meaning of access. Banks proposes understanding access in terms of meaningful access, which involves a) meaningful access, b) functional access (the knowledge and skills to use a tool), c) experiential access (the access to make a tool relevant to one's life), d) critical access (ability to assess the benefits and costs of technologies), and e) transformative access (the use of technology for inclusion and transforming the conditions of inclusion) (41-42, 45).(less)
Probably my favorite science fiction series. I loved this the first time I read it, around 2001. This time through, I didn't finish, but I might pick...moreProbably my favorite science fiction series. I loved this the first time I read it, around 2001. This time through, I didn't finish, but I might pick it up again when I'm not reading a dozen other things.(less)
In Literacy, Sexuality, Pedagogy, Jonathan Alexander argues that literacy and sexuality are intricately linked and argues that composition should pay...moreIn Literacy, Sexuality, Pedagogy, Jonathan Alexander argues that literacy and sexuality are intricately linked and argues that composition should pay attention to a critical sexual literacy. He defines sexual literacy as "the knowledge complex that recognizes the significance of sexuality to self- and communal definition and that critically engages the stores we tell about sex and sexuality to probe them for controlling values and for ways to resist, when necessary, constraining norms" (5)—or more succinctly as "an intimate understanding of the ways in which sexuality is constructed in language and the ways in which our language and meaning-making systems are always already sexualized" (19). Taking feminism, critical pedagogy, and queer theory as his grounding, Alexander shows how students are developing sexual literacy in their literate lives outside of the classroom and shares his own and other teacher's experiences of developing students' sexual literacy in the classroom. While many may think that sexual literacy is necessary only for queer students, or for straight students to "tolerate" or "accept" queers, Alexander makes a compelling case that critical sexual literacy is necessary for all citizens—we all have sexualities and we are sexual citizens, he argues.
Since I'm already sympathetic to Alexander's argument, I think he makes his case quite well. The examples from his classroom and others' classrooms help to ground what he is discussing in material and situated practices. Alexander's use of transgender and transexual theories and rhetorics to help the reader understand that gender (and thus sexuality) is always in transition (not that everyone is transgender, but that our genders are always changing) is an interesting insight. What I found most fascinating was his chapter on the rhetoric of marriage and how students created critical, intelligent arguments about marriage that moved beyond the gay/straight marriage debate and into realms of polyamory, historicizing marriage, and other issues about what constitutes a family.
Alexander closes with a chapter on resistance, and discusses how he has found little student resistance in discussing sexual literacy in his classroom. This is largely because students are interested in the topic, resulting in stronger writing from students as well. He thinks that the largest resistance will come from other faculty, who will, despite his argument, feel that sex/uality is too personal for the composition classroom. However, I agree with Alexander that he's argued quite well that sex/uality and sexual literacy is a very public issue.
Great book overall. I think even if you're uncomfortable with sex/uality, his chapter on marriage rhetoric is useful in considering how to "teach the conflicts" in Gerald Graff's terms without relying on the same-old pro-con debates that students often fall into.(less)
Robinson knows how to play with your sympathy with this one. I found myself alternating between compassion and disdain for some of the central charact...moreRobinson knows how to play with your sympathy with this one. I found myself alternating between compassion and disdain for some of the central characters, but ultimately, I think Robinson puts your emotions where he wants them. The book has a climactic ending that doesn't disappoint.(less)