Beyond Argument: Essaying as a Practice of (Ex)Change by Sarah Allen

By Sarah Allen

Views ON WRITING | sequence Editor, SUSAN H. MCLEOD | past ARGUMENT: ESSAYING AS a convention OF (EX)CHANGE deals an in-depth exam of the way present methods of pondering the writer-page relation in own essays could be reconceived based on practices within the "care of the self" - an ethic wherein writers resembling Seneca, Montaigne, and Nietzsche lived. This strategy gives you to revitalize the shape and tackle a few of the issues expressed by means of essay students and writers concerning the loss of rigorous exploration we see in our scholars' own essays - and infrequently, even, in our personal. In pursuing this procedure, Sarah Allen offers a model of subjectivity that permits efficient debate within the essay, between essays, and past. | SARAH ALLEN is affiliate Professor within the English division on the college of Northern Colorado in Greeley, CO, the place she serves as a Rhetoric and Composition pupil and instructor. Her paintings has been released in Rhetoric evaluate and in academic Philosophy and concept; she additionally has publication chapters in Writing areas: Readings on Writing (Parlor Press) and in examine Writing Revisited: A Sourcebook for lecturers (Heinemann). Her scholarship often explores the ethics of the non-public essay, and this paintings informs her instructing, as she works to find the main priceless and potent methods of aiding scholars in attractive with tricky, dense fabric and in producing complicated, rigorous writings in their personal.

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Extra resources for Beyond Argument: Essaying as a Practice of (Ex)Change

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What if Peter Elbow decided to give up on the concept of voice and confessed it to be no-longer productive or useful? What if David Bartholomae became an Expressivist? Yet, there are many scholars—important, field-changing scholars—whose work evolves over the course of a career. Patricia Bizzell’s Academic Discourse and Critical Consciousness, for example, can be read as a narrative of the evolution in her thinking about academic discourse and of students’ (and the field’s) relation to academic discourse.

Via this conceptualization of the subject, I discover a mode of engagement that enables productive debate, a mode of engagement that isn’t about argument but is about exploring ideas, a mode of engagement in which writers take seriously the texts of others, of themselves, and are effected by their engagement with them. To further explore what this different mode of engagement might look like, the fourth chapter takes one kind of meditative practice in self writing and examines it much more closely.

In short, it is in the essay that one can see clearly his/her own subjectivity. However, the whole exercise stops at looking/seeing. There is nothing in the conventions of the personal essay that requires anything more than that. There’s nothing in them that requires students to challenge (or change) what and/or how they see. In sum, assumptions about the genre and, in particular, about the writer-page relation in the genre can prove problematic. Consequently, this chapter examines the more generic conception of the relation between the writer and the page in the personal essay.

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