Academic journal article College Composition and Communication

Going North, Thinking West: The Intersections of Social Class, Critical Thinking, and Politicized Writing Instruction

Academic journal article College Composition and Communication

Going North, Thinking West: The Intersections of Social Class, Critical Thinking, and Politicized Writing Instruction

Article excerpt

Peckham's book begins with a somewhat uncomfortable apology. While he clearly situates himself in the working class, his work as a compositionist at a doctoral granting university brings strong tensions to the foreground. How can he be working class and a member of the professoriate? This fracture point is at the heart of the struggle outlined in his book. His main concern throughout is "how progressive writing teachers like myself maintain social class struc- tures while we think we are working against them" (11). Class is central to his concerns and is the unavoidable conversation. If working class is to be reacted against, or abandoned, then how can he claim his working class history and elevate similar students without either causing them to leave their working class roots, as he did, or by replicating the structure of the university and minimizing their value, blocking them from the growth he espouses to support? This is a hard question, and not a book for the faint of heart. It is filled with the flaws and concerns of an unanswered question. Just identifying the paradox of the individual professor's goals for students and the outcomes of the work as they play out in the university setting is a difficult question to see, let alone to outline and examine carefully. Peckham's position as a student starting without class privilege gives him a vantage point that makes the concern visible, but is also the reason his concerns are so fraught with half statement, partial understand- ing, and portions of answers. Peckham's book opens up the question, and that is a major contribution to the larger discussion in itself. Class as an overlay of how writing teachers (notice, he uses the less elevated term teacher, rather than instructor or professor), and Peckham's book attempts to tease out the difficulty of using language, which is filled with social and economic codes and class markers, to teach language. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.