Thursday, July 10, 2008

calling for a center

in her plenary address at WPA this evening, Andrea Lunsford shared her concerns about rhetoric and composition/writing studies/writing and rhetoric studies (whatever), lamenting that it is so very fragmented that we are missing opportunities to evolve as a discipline ... evolve, at least partly in ways that move us beyond our associations with First Year Composition (which she sees as incredibly valuable but historically limiting and potentially contributing to said lack of a dense and substantial center, not to mention a contributing factor in interdepartmental -- lit/rhet-comp -- conflicts).

 Lunsford called for us to commit to planning and attending a National Summit at which we might begin to map the contours of a new, . . . "something." she grappled for the words and at one point sort of whispered that this blueprint for our "new" discipline would generate programs that we would refer to as "Super . . . something" (at Stanford, she says, they long for a "something" that they refer to as "Worldwide Domination," which their Program in Writing and Rhetoric seems, to me, to approach, and i say this out of pure, rabid envy). but so as for what we will call our "new" field and the programs that emerge from it -- she hadn't worked it out.

it was a provocative and engaging talk, but i left puzzled and, naturally, reflecting upon the sad state of affairs at my own institution regarding r/c's situation within the English department.

so but look for a call for that National Summit. it does sound super.

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