Writing Matters: Rhetoric in Public and Private Lives

Writing Matters: Rhetoric in Public and Private Lives

Writing Matters: Rhetoric in Public and Private Lives

Writing Matters: Rhetoric in Public and Private Lives

Synopsis

Anyone who laments the demise of print text would find a sympathetic listener in Andrea A. Lunsford. Anyone who bemoans the lack of respect for blogs, graphic novels, and other new media would find her no less understanding. Lunsford is at home in both camps because she sees beyond writing's ever-changing forms to the constancy of its power to "make space for human agency--or to radically limit such agency."Lunsford is a celebrated scholar of rhetoric and composition, and many undergraduates taking courses in those subjects have used her textbooks. Here she helps us see that writing is not just a mode of communication, persuasion, and expression, but a web of meanings and practices that shape our lives. Lunsford tells how she gained a new respect for our digital culture's three v's--vocal, visual, verbal--while helping design and teach a course in multimedia writing. On the importance of having a linguistically pluralistic society, Lunsford draws links between such varied topics as the English Only movement, language extinction, Ebonics, and the text messaging shorthand "l33t."Lunsford has seen how words, writing, and language enforce unfair power relationships in the academy. Most classroom settings, she writes, are authority based and stress "individualism, ranking, hierarchy, and therefore--we have belatedly come to understand--exclusion." Concerned about the paucity--still--of tenured women and minority faculty, she urges schools to revisit admission and retention practices. These are tough and divisive problems, Lunsford acknowledges. Yet if we can see that writing has the power to help prolong or solve them--that writing matters--then we have a common ground.

Excerpt

Andrea A. Lunsford, speaker at the fifteenth annual Jack N. and Addie D. Averitt Lecture Series, embodies the best qualities of a college professor, a profession that calls for its members to be exemplary scholars, dedicated teachers, and (perhaps not often enough) engaged members of their wider communities. Professor Lunsford adds to these expectations an outstanding publication record, a commitment to her students that extends far beyond the classroom, a genuine concern about language and literacy inside and outside the academy, and perhaps most importantly, a fully developed sense of humor (both about herself and her world). Her fourteen books and wide variety of chapters and articles on the history of rhetoric, collaborative writing, intellectual property, and technologies of writing, her work at Ohio State and currently at Stanford University as director of the Program in Writing and Rhetoric, and her speaking engagements and workshop presentations throughout North America attest to her wide influence on graduate and undergraduate students, university and secondary school teachers, and the community at large.

Professor Lunsford’s Averitt Lectures, which have been collected in this volume, demonstrate her enthusiasm for and concern about language and literacy issues. in the first chapter of this book, Lunsford discusses a new course she and colleagues at Stanford designed . . .

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