ENG696D Weekly Assignments



1/21    Reading Publics and Politics

We will open our discussions by considering New Literacy Studies as our opening frame, and then we will follow through to consider the eighteenth-century expansion of the reading public and the creation of the essay as a blurred genre.  Please read these pieces, and if you have time to read ahead, you will find Foucault’s essay for next class very helpful in understanding these developments.

If you are interested in learning more about New Literacy Studies, you may also want to read “What’s ‘new’ in New Literacy Studies: Critical approaches to theory and practice” by Brian Street, a leading contributor to paradigm.


1/28    Literate Modes of Self-Representation and Self-Determination

To provide an initial set of case studies, we will consider the literacy acquisition narratives and statements on self-determination by several representative figures.

Also, if you would like to develop a fuller sense of Douglass’ historical experience, including how he taught himself to write in the margins of his master’s schoolbooks, you should scan the Columbian Orator, the first book that Douglass bought for himself.  While we may tend to read this work as a textbook, those with limited access to education used such texts for self-instruction.  If you have the time, consider what lessons Douglass would have drawn from selections such as a Dialogue Between a Master and Slave and an Oration on the Powers of Eloquence.


2/4     The Rhetoric of Enlightenment

In this class, we will focus on the texts that shaped the transition from classical to modern rhetoric as education expanded to readers who were not versed in ancient languages.  The secondary reading focuses on Blair’s and Campbell’s American contemporaries.  Blair and Campbell influenced figures such as Witherspoon (a former classmate of Blair’s) as well as the textbooks and self-instruction manuals that popularized English studies in the next century.

  • George Campbell’s Philosophy of Rhetoric (1776). (Packet)
  • George Jardine’s Outlines of a Philosophical Education (1818). (Packet)
  • Hugh Blair’s Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres (1783). (Packet)
  • “Republican Rhetoric,” Evolution of College English (56-86).
  • Patricia Harkin’s “Historicizing Rhetorical Education” book review
  • 2/7 Draft of Book Review due to D2L, with responses due 2/10 and revision due on 2/14. 

The complete online versions will provide you with a broader sense of George Campbell’s Philosophy of Rhetoric (1776) and Hugh Blair’s Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres (1787).

2/11    What’s Public in Education

In this and the next class, we will examine how the expansion of cheap print literacy converged with the institution of state-mandated schooling to expand and consolidate the proprieties of literate usage and taste.  Common schools, sometimes termed dame schools, provided rising numbers of women with the means to earn an independent living as teachers and writers.  Be prepared to speak briefly about the focus and framing of your evolving research project.

  • Michael Warner’s “Publics and Counterpublics”
  • Horace Mann, “On Education and the National Welfare” (1848) (Packet)
  • Samuel Newman. A Practical System of Rhetoric (1832). (Packet)
  • Almira Hart Phelps. “Rhetoric, Criticism, Composition.” Lectures to Young Ladies (1833). (Packet)
  • “When Colleges Were Literary Institutions,” Evolution of College English 87-123.
  • Book Review due in my departmental mail box on 2/14. 

If you are interested in reading further into the transformation of the modern public sphere by print literacy, you may also wish to read Simon Susen’s “Critical Notes on Habermas’s Theory of the Public Sphere” (which examines the impact of the diversification of the contemporary public sphere by newer technologies.  A copy Jürgen Habermas’s Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere is also available on line.


2/18    Developing Your Critical Lexicon

The distinction between organic and traditional intellectuals is but one of the critical formulations that Antonio Gramsci developed to explore how dominant cultures script the modes of expression that are set out for marginalized groups. Intellectuals who identify with such groups face assimilationist pressures to speak with propriety, while at the same time they also face questions about how they can claim to represent groups with which they identify, but whose experience they may not share.  For examples, we will examine how and what antebellum women learned and taught.

Gramsci's Selections from the Prison Notebooks is available on line.

2/25     Constituting Publics

Following on the chapter on the expansion of the reading public from the first class, we will explore the limitations of liberal models of natural rights and democratic deliberation by considering how Cherokee leaders unsuccessfully sought to claim their rights to self-determination by establishing schools, identifying themselves with literate self-improvement, and forming a representative system of self-governance, only to be dispossessed and sent West on the “Trail of Tears.”

For research on Cherokee rhetoric, consult the work of Ellen Cushman, who has published The Cherokee Syllabary: Writing The People’s Perseverance.    To read about rights rhetorics, you may wish to consult E Pluribus Unum: America in the 1770s, 1850s, and 1920s, especially A Rhetoric of Rights

  • Draft of Literature Review Due 3/1, with responses due 3/3 and revision on 3/8.
  • Be prepared to nutshell the argument of your literature review in class.


3/4     Abolitionist and Suffragist Movements

With the expansion of literacy and schooling, rising numbers of women and minorities began to claim the right to represent themselves in politics and in print.  Abolitionist and suffragist movements are good sites for assessing how rhetoricians frame issues to challenge prevailing assumptions and mobilize social movements.  We will not be able to get to them all, but I wanted to give you a set of the diverse genres, voices, and frames.  We will pay particular attention to Allen, Truth and Douglass, especially Douglass’s “Self-Made Men,” which we will contrast with Stanton’s “Solitude of Self” to consider the modes of subjectivity that were set out for readers and listeners. 

  • Ellen DuBois’s "The Radicalism of the Woman Suffrage Movement
  • Sojourner Truth’s "Ain't I a Woman?" (1851); “Address to the . . . American Equal Rights Association” (1867). (Packet)
  • Frederick Douglass’s “The Meaning of the Fourth of July to the Negro,” (Packet)  
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott’s Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions (1848). (Packet)
  • Susan B. Anthony’s “Is It a Crime for a Citizen of the United States to Vote?” (1872). (Packet)
  • Revised Literature Review Due 3/8, both to my mailbox and on line.

For an example of how framing theory can be used to study social movements, read Owen Whooley's "Locating Masterframes in History."  Social movement theories provide a rich set of interpretive categories that are useful in studying how groups frame issues to foster not only collective action but also various forms of identity politics, which have been studied in terms of “new social movements.”  Most relevant is Craig Calhoun’s “’New Social Movements’ of the Early Nineteenth Century.”  You will also find additional primary readings in the packet: Richard Allen’s “An Address,” Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s “Address to the National Woman Suffrage Convention, ”Susan B. Anthony’s “Is It a Crime for a Citizen of the United States to Vote?” (1872), Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s “Solitude of Self," Margaret Fuller Ossoli’s Woman in the Nineteenth Century (Packet)


3/11       Locating History: Two Case Studies of Local Histories

Beth Leahy and Juan Gallegos will attend this class to discuss their research on how print literacy affected the complex interactions of education, class, language, and ethnicity in nineteenth-century New Mexico.  Juan will discuss his dissertation proposal and Beth will discuss the essay she has revised for her comprehensive exams.  I will be out of town and will miss this class.  Please be prepared to discuss your research interests with Juan and Beth.

Regional studies can be enriched by drawing on ethnic and gender studies, as evident in Miroslava Chavez-GarcÍa’s “The Interdisciplinary Project of Chicana History: Looking Back, Moving Forward”


3/25     Archiving Teaching Writing

In this class, we will continue the discussion of historical research methods.  We will continue the discussion of local histories, but we will expand our frame of reference to consider how archives of professional practices such as journals and national reports can be used to frame studies of institutional and social practices.  As a case in point, we will consider the constraints imposed on the teaching of composition by the oppressive working conditions that have been the norm for over a century.

For oppositional methodologies, you may wish to consider Luz Calvo’s review of Methodology of the Oppressed and Linda Tuhiwai Smith’s Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples, or if you have more time, Chela Sandoval’s Methodology of the Oppressed, particularly the conclusion.


4/1     Teaching in Publics

We will continue our discussion of research methods with an eye to helping you reflect on your own research and writing as you work on your seminar papers.  To aid with that process, we will consider an argument for including an explicit methods section in historical studies, and then we will consider three models for the studies you are working on along with the source materials for one of the studies

  • Draft of Proposal Due 4/4, with responses due on 4/7 and revisions due 4/11.


 4/8     The Progressive Movement’s Contributions to Service Learning, Community Literacy, Ethnography, Action Research, and Critical Pedagogy

Before turning to your presentations in the last classes, we will draw together our discussions of social movements, civic perspectives on rhetoric, reflexive and situated historiographies, to consider whether they might provide a progressive disciplinary paradigm.   In this and the next period, we will reflect on this overall question by examining aspects of the progressive era.

  • Revised Proposals Due on 4/11, both to my mailbox and on line.


4/15    A Pragmatic Stance on the Critical Potentials of Creativity

We will examine Dewey’s aesthetics to explore how the political potentials of creative and reflective writing and reading become more apparent when we think of art not as an object but as an experience.  To follow through on the implications of this perspective, we will examine the significance of two figures within English studies who developed creative and situated models of the pragmatics of creative writing, reading, and teaching.

If you are interested in reading further, take a look at Dewey’s Experience and Education, Duane Roen and Nicholas Karolides retrospective on Rosenblatt, and this summary of the second chapter of her Literature as Exploration.  If we had more time, we would follow up to explore the “new pragmatists” such as Stanley Fish and Richard Rorty, perhaps using Kenneth Burke to make the connection, as David Blakesley details in “Kenneth Burke’s Pragmatism—Old and New.”  A related line of development can be traced back to Rosenblatt’s impact on early reader-response theory. 


4/22     Expanding Our Field of Vision to Deepen Our Field of Work

From our studies in the seminar, we will reflect upon why composition, English education, and outreach all ended up peripheral to our profession’s sense of itself.  Our discipline’s failure to invest its intellectual capital in its institutional work helps to explain how the emergence of rhet/comp as a field of research has had so little impact on the exploitation of comp teachers, and why a managerial mindset too often characterizes composition studies.

  • Draft of Seminar Papers on 4/25.

4/29     Group 1 Presentations/Workshops

5/6     Group 2 Presentations/Workshops

Attachment Size
1 literacy practices theorypassword.pdf941.14 KB 941.14 KB
2 keller-cohen colonial and contemporary literac psswrdy.pdf805 KB 805 KB
3 harkin historicizing rhetoric reviewpsswrd.pdf859.08 KB 859.08 KB
4 Susen 'Critical Notes on Habermass Theory of the Public Sphere psswrd.pdf324.76 KB 324.76 KB
4 warner publics and counterpublics psswrd.pdf157.1 KB 157.1 KB
5 hershberger Mobilizing women, anticipating abolition, & the struggle against indian removal psswrd.pdf2.72 MB 2.72 MB
6 bacon and mcclish AA literary societies and rhet ed psswrd.pdf3.35 MB 3.35 MB
7 calhoun new social movements and early 19th psswrd.pdf545.68 KB 545.68 KB
8 chavez-garcia chicana history psswrd.pdf262.82 KB 262.82 KB
8 Fehler SW Settlement houses psswrd.pdf113.71 KB 113.71 KB
9 borderlon What should teachers do psswrd.pdf172.38 KB 172.38 KB
9 calvo review of decolonizing methodologies psswrd.pdf140.99 KB 140.99 KB
9 Ritter Archival Research in Composition Studies psswrd.pdf155.5 KB 155.5 KB
9 leplattenier archival methodologies pssword.pdf1.18 MB 1.18 MB
connors overwork &underpay psswrd.pdf1.56 MB 1.56 MB
thomas Training for Teaching Composition in Colleges psswrd.pdf1.06 MB 1.06 MB
9 Fitzgerald 19th C writing assignments psswrd.pdf599.88 KB 599.88 KB
Rosenblatt Theory and Practice.pdf1.62 MB 1.62 MB
13 course packet.doc652 KB 652 KB
2013 history of college english syllabus-2.doc1.58 MB 1.58 MB
round removable type pssword.pdf4.03 MB 4.03 MB
10 National Survey of Freshman Composition.pdf536.15 KB 536.15 KB
buck recent tendencies psswrd.pdf262.4 KB 262.4 KB
13 griswold reading class psswrd.pdf116.33 KB 116.33 KB
buck what is rhetoric article psswrd.pdf76.48 KB 76.48 KB