Student Writing Made Visible: Questions About Publication (WIDE-EMU 12)

(mis)conceptions of (un)expected student writing

enter: chorus of trepidation, consideration, and action. sing from the homogeneity of what writing is. listen closer, the notes hum discord. breaking from the chorus, we can hear a line: what does it mean to publish student writing?

Breaking from the chorus,  Chelsea Lonsdale, Becky Morrison , and I, graduate students and instructors invested in the teaching of composition, desire to amplify this, gain volume with the addition of voices. We question, what does it mean to publish student writing, pulling threads to follow in inquiry: audience, what  (student) writing (what it can(not) look like/sound like) is, and what publishing is/isn’t/can/can’t be.

I am unraveling what it means to publish (verb. action?):

1. prepare and issue for public sale

2. print in a book or journal so as to make it generally known

3. prepare and issue the works of a particular writer

4. formally announce or read

There are further threads, to publish as an adjective (descriptor?) too: publishable, from the stem of Old French puplier; from Latin publicare, to ‘make public’; from publicus, a blend of Latin poplicus ‘of the people’ and pubes ‘adult’. At a public university, how is the action of publishing envisioned? And where does that definition come from? HowWhy does(n’t) student writing become published?

paper/web

classroom/institution

institution/beyond…

commodity/value

value/reputation

value/accomplishment

value/visibility

visibility/reception

reception/conception

conception/misconception

misconception/misunderstanding

misunderstanding/unexpected

unexpected/expected

unexpected/value

How can we negotiate the spaces of dichotomy in what is (un)/expected?

exeunt: notions of singularity, static frames, and temples of paper

enter (not to exit): questioning our ideologies, methodologies, (in)actions

C(CCC)ing is Believing

Not sure how a month has slipped by, but (March 21-24) I attended my first Conference on College Composition and Communication in St. Louis: Writing Gateways. With my fellow EM-Journalers, we presented a poster chronicling our first year as a publication – “Lessons in Generative Design, Publishing, and Circulation: What EM-Journal’s First Year Has Taught Us” (the podcasts for our poster can be found here). The poster session was pretty cool (even though it’s kind of separate from the rest of the conference) because it allows for gawking, exploration/interaction, and conversation to varying degrees, dictated by the passerby (do I want to just look at this? Do I want a closer look? Do I want to talk about this? etc.). I think we were well received, and not only had the interest of various institutions, but are publishing our poster in Kairos.

There were too many sessions of interest to attend, but I picked the following:

Wednesday, March 21- arrived

  • “Master’s Degree Consortium of Writing Studies Specialists” John (Dunn) and Derek’s (Mueller) meeting (EMU folk)

Thursday, March 22

  • “Stories Take Place” Malea Powell’s Chair’s Address
  • A + B Digital Poster Sessions – we presented during the A session
  • C.31 “Bodies Writing in Space: Rhetorics of Natural-User Interfaces” Marilyn Cooper (chair), David Reider, Anne Frances Wysocki, Kara Van de Graaf
  • D.29 “Gateways into the Disciplines: Navigating Different Disciplinary Contexts to Support Writing Across Campus” Nicole Guinot Varty (chair), Becky Morrison, and Dave Nassar (EMU folk)
  • E.22 “Composing Lived Time in Material Form” Kathleen Blake Yancey (chair), Devon Fitzgerald, Erin R. Anderson, and Jody Shipka

Friday, March 23

  • F.05 “Gateways of Grateways? Rethinking, Re-envisioning, Remediating Composition’s Materials and Practices (a New Media Spin)” Justin Hodgson (chair), Anthony Collamati, Bump Halbritter, and Doreen Piano
  • G.12 “The Visual and the Spatial in Multiliteracies: Gateways to Rhetorical Potential” Jennifer Wave (chair), Robin Snead, and Dana Gierdowski
  • H.13 “Latour and Rhetoric: Kairos, Contingency, Techne” David Lynch (chair), Scott Barnett, Marilyn Cooper, Carl Herndl, and Anne Frances Wysocki (respondent)
  • J Featured Session “Access: A Happening” Jay Dolmage (chair), Samantha Blackman, Qwo-Li Driskill, Paul Kei Matsuda, Margaret Price, Cindy Selfe, Melanie Yergeau, and Amy Vidal
  • K.23 “Multimodality, Visual Rhetoric, and Marshall McLuhan” Stephen McElro (chair), Ron Brooks, Browyn T. Williams, james Jackson, and Michael Tardiff

Saturday, March 24

  • L.18 “Everyone Knows This Is Nowhere: Writing in the Musical Age” Jeff Rice (chair), Jenny Rice, Geoffrey Sirc, and Thomas Rickert
  • M.22 “Don’t Crash the Gates, Craft Them!: Reconsidering the Craft of Writing” jeff Rice (chair), David M. Grant, Kristin Prins, and Sergio Figueiredo

I got to see who is creating the scholarship that interests me so much, the ideas that initiate and connect and reinforce my own thinking, and discover new fragments to collect and come back to. Derek was even nice enough to introduce us (Chelsea, Adam and me) to Jeff and Jenny Rice and Geoffrey Sirc (me as the girl who checked out hoarded his book from the library for over a year). I found out I didn’t get the GAship while there, but found myself excited at really contemplating the pursuit of a PhD for the first time. It seems like something I can do. At this conference, with this work and this group of people for support, I feel like an academic – not just a student of an academic institution. CCCC left me feeling like I can do work that matters (and maybe that work will continue on at the University of Kentucky…).

WIDE-EMU ’11 recap

WIDE-EMU Twitter stream on Storify via Steve Krause. We all tweeted throughout the conference and the stored conversations can be viewed here. A little chaotic at times, but cool things usually are.

Reflection: As first conferences go, this unconference was pretty cool. Mental stimulation, first presentation, and #beerrhetorics at Ypsi’s Corner Brewery made me feel like a real graduate student. Despite my shaky hands, my voice gave a coherent presentation that even catalyzed conversation (who cares if it was polite or otherwise).

WIDE-EMU talk

page tectonics: a fluxus rhetoric
(unconference talk)

(drop these pages to the floor.)

Plate tectonics is a scientific theory which describes the large scale movements of the Earth’s lithosphere, which is broken up into tectonic plates. These plates move at one of three types of plate boundaries:
convergent (collisional)
conservative transform
divergent (spreading)

Along these boundaries is where the Earth is active: earthquakes, volcanic activity, the building of mountains, and the creation of trenches. The key principle of plate tectonics is that the lithosphere exists upon the fluid-like asthenosphere. Activity occurs between plates, between geologic mediums, as a kinetic phenomenon.

I don’t want to extend this metaphor beyond usefulness, but at this moment, as I consider digital composition, I can’t escape this concept of fluid medium – a plastic space. Page tectonics, or experimentation with composition as fluxus.

This idea is not new, but time has not dulled it into popular adoption or even acknowledgement. What I will explore here is new insomuch as it is a different composition than I’ve mixed before. It is fragments, as it should be. Anne Wysocki, in “Opening New Media to Writing: Openings and Justifications”, pulls the old rug of writing out from under our feet – the lush, intricately woven one that only ever existed as an imaginary comfort anyhow. But it is not to be replaced by another, instead composition should exist as scraps, weaves, bits and pieces of matting and colorful material for consideration, and if they seem at all useful, to arrange as seen fit.

In similar fashion, Geoffrey Sirc’s “BOX LOGIC” calls to our attention that the means/media are not as important as the expressive/conceptual use they provide.Traces of work whose nodes can be linked and unlinked into whatever combinations work for the at-hand design circumstances. Not a focus on the simple action of combining materials, but how and why these combinations are brought into fruition.

In new media composition, texts are designed to make as overtly visible as possible the values they embody. In “awaywithwords: on the possibilities in unavailable designs”, Wysoski asks us to look beyond what we see as constraints, to not only ask what is expected by a particular audience in a particular context but what they might not expect, what they might not be prepared to see. In unavailable designs we see what beliefs and constraints are held with the readily available, the conventionalized. Labeling materials unavailable perpetuates available efficiency as cultural dominance. Artist Marcel Duchamp, when reflecting on the cultural movements (or lack thereof) in art, replied

There is no spirit of revolt-no new ideas appearing among the younger artists. They are following along the paths beaten out by their predecessors, trying to do better what their predecessors have already done. In art there is no such thing as perfection and a creative lull occurs always when artists of a period are satisfied to pick up a predecessor’s work where he dropped it and attempt to continue what he was doing. When on the other hand you pick up something from an earlier period and adopt it to your own work an approach can be creative.

The writer is a composer who designs in collections and connections. William Burroughs described this as “media being”, an individual who mixes and is mixed, who composes with media by commutating, appropriating, visualizing, and chorally structuring knowledge.

Composition is an understanding of how media shapes our view of the world and our ability to communicate within it. In “media being” we step beyond the multi-media view of electronic/digital to “intermedia” – the activity between media, between modes – the message being composed. Artist George Maciunas was concerned with this happening space; one of the founding members of Fluxus, he spoke of a desire to participate socially without definitive characteristics. His focus was not on a procedure or style or process but on social activities – the materiality of composition. Fluxus is “the step by step elimination of the Fine Arts…to redirect the use of materials and human ability into socially constructive purposes”.

I am not interested in a digital rhetoric or a new theory of writing that settles into a static state, only to resemble too closely that antiquated rug. I am for composition that doesn’t allow me to stand comfortably in one place too long (leaving foot imprints on the ground). In “The Store” Claes Oldenburg speaks of art in the lower case, the everyday. He speaks

I am for an art that is political-erotical-mystical, that does something other than sit on its ass in a museum.
I am for an art that takes its form from the lines of life itself, that twists and extends and accumulates and spits and drips, and is heavy and coarse and blunt and sweet and stupid as life itself.
I am for an art that grows up not knowing it is an art as all, an art given the chance of having a starting point of zero.

And I am for an art that doesn’t crumble under its own weight of pretention as plates shift and mix. I am for an everyday art that exists in the attitude, in the at this moment, in fluxus.