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Experimental Writing in Composition

Experimental Writing in Composition: Aesthetics and Pedagogies

PATRICIA SUZANNE SULLIVAN
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt5vkdkr
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    Experimental Writing in Composition
    Book Description:

    From the outset, experimental writing has been viewed as a means to afford a more creative space for students to express individuality, underrepresented social realities, and criticisms of dominant socio-political discourses and their institutions. Yet, the recent trend toward multimedia texts has left many composition instructors with little basis from which to assess these new forms and to formulate pedagogies. In this original study, Patricia Suzanne Sullivan provides a critical history of experimental writing theory and its aesthetic foundations and demonstrates their application to current multimodal writing.Sullivan unpacks the work of major scholars in composition and rhetoric and their theories on aesthetics, particularly avant-gardism. She also relates the dialectics that shape these aesthetics and sheds new light on both the positive and negative aspects of experimental writing and its attempts to redefine the writing disciplines. Additionally, she shows how current debates over the value of multimedia texts echo earlier arguments that pitted experimental writing against traditional models. Sullivan further articulates the ways that multimedia is and isn't changing composition pedagogies, and provides insights into resolving these tensions.

    eISBN: 978-0-8229-7815-2
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-16)

    InExperimental Writing in Composition: Aesthetics and Pedagogies, I critically examine the role that theories of “aesthetics” (variously defined) play in major composition pedagogies. Scholars in composition and rhetoric such as Peter Elbow, Wendy Bishop, Winston Weathers, Lillian Bridwell-Bowles, Patricia Bizzell, Geoffrey Sirc, Gregory Ulmer, Cynthia Selfe, and Jeffrey Rice (among others) argue for the importance of teaching experimental and alternative styles of writing—including mixed genres, fragmented texts, collages, experiments in grammar, and various multimedia texts—alongside or instead of the traditional forms and genres employed in college composition classes, such as five-paragraph themes, personal essays, literary essays, argument...

  2. 1 EXPERIMENTAL EXPRESSIVISM: AUTONOMY AND ALIENATION
    (pp. 17-44)

    Contemporary arguments for experimental writing in composition, with their emphasis on the individual student, echo many of the concerns of expressivist composition of the 1960s and 1970s. Thus, if we want to understand the calls for experimental writing in our time, we need to consider some history of composition, particularly the legacy of expressivism in contemporary composition, as well as the aesthetics asserted and implied by its legacy. After all, expressivism in the 1960s and 1970s helped forge and hold a place in composition for writing as art and for the student writer as artist. This historical understanding of the...

  3. 2 EXPERIMENTAL WRITING AND THE POLITICS OF ACADEMIC DISCOURSE: COMPOSITION’S INSTITUTIONS
    (pp. 45-75)

    As I showed in the previous chapter, while expressivists who argue for the teaching of experimental writing often critique academic discourse (not only in the forms of current traditionalism but also in the newer cultural studies or rhetorical versions), they are more concerned with the student as individual, his or her honest or authentic writing/self, and therefore relegate social or ideological concerns to the background. Compositionists who advocate experimental writing in service of multicultural, social constructionist, or postmodern pedagogies similarly challenge the hegemonic ideologies associated with academic writing. But they tend to foreground the ways in which alternative forms of...

  4. 3 THE CRISIS OF JUDGMENT IN COMPOSITION: EVALUATING EXPERIMENTAL STUDENT WRITING
    (pp. 76-102)

    The presence of arguments in composition for experimental writing can be seen both as a response to a crisis of value and judgment in composition and as an attempt to bring about such a crisis. Some teachers of writing are uncertain about the value of teaching academic writing in an increasingly multicultural or postmodern educational environment. They might want to empower and liberate students from the constraints of conventional academic writing in order to better allow them to represent their social realities, or to critique the limits of dominant forms of writing, or to explore new perspectives and knowledges outside...

  5. 4 COLLAGE: PEDAGOGIES, AESTHETICS, AND READING STUDENTS’ TEXTS
    (pp. 103-146)

    Numerous cases for the teaching of collage in composition have been made, both explicitly (see Elbow, Weathers, Nies, Owens, Fontaine and Quaas, Ulmer) and by example in textbooks (see assignments in bothText Book[Scholes, Comley, and Ulmer] andWays of Reading[Bartholomae and Petrosky]). The claims made for the value of the collage form are numerous. Some, such as Peter Elbow, claim that the collage requires no expertise and thus allows student writers to make use of intuition and tap into the unconscious workings of their minds with ease and good results; others claim the collage is an excellent...

  6. 5 POSTSCRIPT: TOWARD A MULTIMODAL COMPOSITION
    (pp. 147-160)

    As with experimental writing, arguments for multimodal composition suggest that especially through the use of new technologies, students may be better allowed to express their individual experiences, articulate marginal or underrepresented social realities, as well as critique the limits of dominant sociopolitical discourses and the institutions that perpetuate these discourses. Additionally, such arguments to expand the composition curriculum include not only print texts generated by the resources of alphabetic literacy but also other media such as digital video, Web pages, social networking applications, mobile applications, audio texts, and even in some cases sculptures and performances. Not surprisingly, arguments in composition...