Teaching in the 21st Century: Adapting Writing Pedagogies to the College Curriculum

By Alice Robertson; Barbara Smith | Go to book overview

perhaps should see ourselves as belonging to that class of “primitives” whose blind investment in machinery of Reason tends to inhibit creative solutions. Perhaps an effort to escape from these terms, an effort of straining to understand, would remind us that the machinery of “Reason” in the academy may be our own fetish.


NOTES
1
Richard Rorty, “Intellectuals in Politics, ” Dissent (Fall 1991): 483–510.
2
For a helpful overview of Arnold's status in the academy see Matthew Arnold, Culture and Anarchy ed., Samuel Lipman. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994), especially Gerald Graff, “Arnold, Reason, and Common Culture, ” 186–201.
3
See E.D. Hirsch, Cultural Literacy (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1987); and Richard Rodriguez, The Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez (New York: Bantam Books, 1988), 143–72.
4
Ann Murphy, “Transference and Resistance in the Basic Writing Classroom: Problematics and Praxis, ” CCCC 40 (May 1989), 177.
5
Kurt Spellmeyer, “Too Little Care: Language, Politics, and Embodiment in the Life-World” College English 55.3 (March 1993): 265–83.
6
Shirley Bryce-Heath, Ways With Words (Cambridge: Cambridge Univerisity Press, 1991).
7
Frederic Harrison. Autobiographic Memoirs (Vols. I and II). (London: St. Martin's Press), 78.
8
The book-length version of my argument discusses how the new vocabulary that Harrison and Arnold construct ends up informing George Eliot's representation of workingmen in Felix Holt, The Radical, which is the final link in helping reshape the way we think of (or represent to ourselves) working-class students. Questions of representation, both literary and political, lie at the heart of this new vocabulary—but one that is largely misunderstood because Eliot (with the help of Harrison and Arnold) has created an unprecedented workingman who straddles class boundaries and rejects Victorian middle-class ideology in his refusal to adhere to the bildungsroman's frequent definition of progress: that of rejecting one's own class. Instead, he hovers between classes and offers the readers a new paradigm for the working-class man. His efforts to educate the workingmen of his village (which mirror the efforts of Harrison) and wrest them from the control of cynical political agents end in violence. Ultimately, he is punished as much for the radical reconstruction of the workingman he attempted as for the actual violence he commits. All of this remains invisible without the context provided by Harrison's and Arnold's sense of a culture inflected by dissent.

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