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Rhetorics, Poetics, and Cultures


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Rhetorics, Poetics, and Cultures is James Berlin's most comprehensive effort to refigure the field of English Studies. Here, in his last book, Berlin both historically situates and recovers for today the tools and insights of rhetoric-displaced and marginalized, he argues, by the allegedly disinterested study of aesthetic texts in the college English department. Berlin sees rhetoric as offering a unique perspective on the current disciplinary crisis, complementing the challenging perspectives offered by postmodern literary theory and cultural studies.



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Published 01 March 2003
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Rhetorics, Poetics, and Cultures Refiguring College English Studies
James A. Berlin
Afterword Janice M. Lauer
Response Essays by Linda Brodkey Patricia Harkin Susan Miller John Trimbur Victor J. Vitanza
Lauer Series in Rhetoric and Composition Series Editors, Patricia Sullivan and Catherine Hobbs
T L S  R  C honors the contributions Janice Lauer Hutton has made to the emergence of Rhetoric and Composition as a disciplinary study. It publishes schol-arship that carries on Professor Lauer’s varied work in the history of written rhetoric, disciplinarity in composition studies, contemporary pedagogical theory, and written literacy theory and research.
Rhetorics, Poetics, and Cultures
Rhetorics, Poetics, and Cultures Reîguring College English Studies
James A. Berlin
Afterword by Janice M. Lauer
Response Essays by Linda Brodkey, Patricia Harkin, Susan Miller, John Trimbur, and Victor J. Vitanza
Parlor Press West Lafayette, Indiana www.parlorpress.com
Originally published in 1996 by the National Council of Teachers of English as part of the Refiguring English Studies series.
Grateful acknowledgment is made toJAC for permission to reprint the following works: Linda Brodkey, “Remembering Writing Pedagogy,”JAC 17 (1997): 489-93; Patricia Harkin, “Rhetorics, Poetics, and Cultures as an Articulation Project,”JAC 17 (1997): 494-97; Susan Miller, “Technologies of Self?-Formation,”JAC 17 (1997): 497-500; John Trimbur, “Berlin’s Citizen and First World Rhetoric,”JAC17 (1997): 500-2; Victor J. Vitanza, “Aesthetics, Party Lines,”JAC17 (1997): 503-5.
Parlor Press LLC, West Lafayette, Indiana 47906
© 2003 by Parlor Press All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America
S A N: 2 5 4 - 8 8 7 9
Library of Congress Control Number: 2003102885 (Paper and Cloth)
Berlin, James A., 1942-1994 Rhetorics, poetics, and cultures : refiguring college English studies / (Lauer Series in Rhetoric and Composition) Includes bibliographical references and index. 1. English philology-Study and teaching (Higher)-United States. 2. English language-Rhetoric-Study and teaching-United States. 3. Poetics-Study and teaching (Higher)-United States. 4. Language and culture-United States. 5. Pluralism (Social sciences). I. Title. II. Series.
ISBN 0-9724772-5-X (Acrobat eBook) ISBN 0-9724772-8-4 (Paper) ISBN 0-9724772-9-2 (Cloth)
Parlor Press, LLC is an independent publisher of scholarly and trade titles in print and multimedia formats. is book is also available in cloth and paper, as well as in Acrobat eBook Reader and Night Kitchen (TK3) for-mats, from Parlor Press on the WWW at http://www.parlorpress.com. For submission information or to înd out about Parlor Press publications, write to Parlor Press, 816 Robinson St., West Lafayette, Indiana, 47906, or e-mail editor@parlorpress.com.
Acknowledgmentsix Introductionxi
Part One: Historical Background1 1. Building the Boundaries of English Studies3 2. Where Do English Departments Really Come From?18
Part Two: The Postmodern Predicament41 3. Postmodernism, the College Curriculum, and English Studies 434. Postmodernism in the Academy605. Social-Epistemic Rhetoric, Ideology, and English Studies83
Part Three: Students and Teachers103 6. English Studies: Surveying the Classroom105 7. Into the Classroom123
Part Four: Department Directions157 8. Sample Programs and Research159 9. A Closing Word189
Jim Berlin’s Last Work: Future Perfect, Tense193 Remembering Writing Pedagogy195 Linda Brodkey
Rhetorics, Poetics and Culturesas an Articulation Project202 Patricia Harkin
Technologies of Self?-Formation207 Susan Miller
Berlin’s Citizen and First World Rhetoric211 John Trimbur
Aesthetics, Party Lines215 Victor J. Vitanza
Afterword219 Janice M. Lauer
Works Cited221
I would like to thank the Purdue Center for Humanistic Study for a semester’s support and Purdue University for a sabbatical semester, both of which came at crucial times in the work on this manuscript. I would also like to thank the universities that encouraged me in this project by inviting me to share parts of it with them. The manuscript has profited from a number of critical readings. I would especially thank Patricia Bizzell, James Cruise, Lester Faigley, Geraldine Friedman, Janice Lauer, Vincent Leitch, Alan McKen-zie, George Moberg, and James Porter. I also thank the anonymous readers for NCTE, who offered detailed comments on the text, and Steve North, for continued editorial and personal support. Finally, I want to thank my sons, Dan and Christopher, and my wife, Sam, for sharing with me the best gifts that life has to offer. Parts of this manuscript have appeared elsewhere in different forms: “Rhetoric, Poetic, and Culture: Contested Boundaries in English Studies,”The Politics of Writing Instruction: Postsecondary, eds. Richard H. Bullock, John Trimbur, and Charles I. Schuster (Portsmouth, NH: Boynton /Cook-Heinemann, 1991); “Composi-tion Studies and Cultural Studies: Collapsing the Boundaries,”Into the Field: Sites of Composition Studies,ed. Anne Ruggles Gere (New York: Modern Language Association, 1993); “Freirean Pedagogy in the U.S.: A Response,”(Inter)views: Cross-Disciplinary Perspec-tives on Rhetoric and Literacy,eds. Gary A. Olson and Irene Gale (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1991); “Compo-sition and Cultural Studies,”Composition and Resistance,eds. C. Mark Hurlbert and Michael Blitz (Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/ Cook-Heinemann, 1991); “Literacy, Pedagogy, and English Studies: Postmodern Connections,”Critical Literacy: Politics, Praxis, and the Postmodern,eds. Colin Lankshear and Peter L. McLaren (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1993); “Poststructuralism, Cul-tural Studies, and the Composition Classroom: Postmodern Theory in Practice,”Rhetoric Review11.1 (1992): 16-33.