A Counter-history of Composition: Toward Methodologies of Complexity

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University of Pittsburgh Pre, 2007 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 314 pages
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A Counter-History of Composition contests the foundational disciplinary assumption that vitalism and contemporary rhetoric represent opposing, disconnected poles in the writing tradition. Vitalism has been historically linked to expressivism and concurrently dismissed as innate, intuitive, and unteachable, whereas rhetoric is seen as a rational, teachable method for producing argumentative texts. Counter to this, Byron Hawk identifies vitalism as the ground for producing rhetorical texts-the product of complex material relations rather than the product of chance. Through insightful historical analysis ranging from classical Greek rhetoric to contemporary complexity theory, Hawk defines three forms of vitalism (oppositional, investigative, and complex) and argues for their application in the environments where students write and think today.

Hawk proposes that complex vitalism will prove a useful tool in formulating post-dialectical pedagogies, most notably in the context of emerging digital media. He relates two specific examples of applying complex vitalism in the classroom and calls for the reexamination and reinvention of current self-limiting pedagogies to incorporate vitalism and complexity theory.

 

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Contents

MAPPING RHETORIC AND COMPOSITION
12
CARTOGRAPHY AND FORGETTING
49
REMAPPING METHOD
86
A SHORT COUNTERHISTORY
121
TECHNOLOGYCOMPLEXITYMETHODOLOGY
166
TOWARD INVENTIVE COMPOSITION PEDAGOGIES
207
Toward a CounterHistoriography
259
NOTES
275
BIBLIOGRAPHY
291
INDEX
303
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Page 34 - Romanticism has been analyzed into the distinct 'strains' or ideas which compose it, the true philosophic affinities and the eventual practical influence in life and art of these several strains will usually be found to be exceedingly diverse and often conflicting. It will, no doubt, remain abstractly possible to raise the question whether the preponderant effect, moral or aesthetic, of one or another large movement which has been called by the name was good or bad. But that ambitious inquiry cannot...
Page 42 - It is the unpremeditated and evidently habitual arrangement of his words, grounded on the habit of foreseeing, in each integral part, or (more plainly) in every sentence, the whole that he then intends to communicate. However irregular and desultory his talk, there is method in the fragments.
Page 43 - I define Genius, as originality in intellectual construction ; the moral accompaniment and actuating principle of which consists, perhaps, in the carrying on of the freshness and feelings of childhood into the powers of manhood. By Talent, on the other hand, I mean the comparative facility of acquiring, arranging, and applying the stock furnished by others and already existing in books or other conservatories of intellect.

About the author (2007)

Byron Hawk is assistant professor of English at George Mason University.

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