COMPOSITION STUDIES AND CRITICAL PEDAGOGY AS POWERFUL, CRITICAL INQUIRIES INTO THE MISCREATION AND DEMISE OF OTHER PSEUDO-DISCIPLINES, PSEUDO-LITERARY STUDIES AND PSEUDO-ENGLISH STUDIES AT UNIVERSITIES

IN THE FUTURE, ON THIS RIGHTEOUS, HOLY BLOG, I, DR. DIANE K. OLSON,  WILL DEMONSTRATE HOW COMPOSITION STUDIES -- AND COMPOSITIONISTS WHO TEACH CRITICAL INQUIRY AND CULTURAL AND INSTITUTIONAL AND PEDAGOGICAL REFORM IN THEIR UNDERGRADUATE COURSES AT THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK ALBANY  --  OFFER(S) THE MOST POWERFUL, DISCERNING AND SOPHISTICATED CRITICAL EXAMINATION OF THE PROBLEMATIC CREATION AND MISUSE OF OTHER DISCIPLINES WITHIN THE HUMAN SCIENCES AND THE PROBLEMS WITH LITERARY STUDIES IN ELITE UNIVERSITIES, WHICH THE STATE UNIVERSITY AT ALBANY IN NEW YORK, A WORLD-RENOWNED SOCIAL AND CULTURAL JUSTICE AND PEDAGOGICAL REFORM INSTITUTE WHICH WILL BARE ON TOP THE SIGN OF THE CROSS, IN JESUS' AND DIANE'S NAMES, IN THE NEAR FUTURE -- HERE, ME, FOLKS, LOUD AND CLEAR, THE STATE UNIVERSITY AT ALBANY'S PROGRAM IN WRITING, TEACHING AND CRITICISM -- OR COMPOSITION STUDIES, POETICS. EDUCATIONAL REFORM AND CRITICAL PEDAGOGY  AND CULTURAL STUDIES -- WILL BE RESTORED TO ITS GRAND VISION IMAGINED AND WORKED FOR BY THE COMPOSITION STUDIES TEACHING FACULTY WHO WERE EXILED FROM THE DEPARTMENT IN THE 1990's AND EARLY 2000's.  IN ADDITION, ALL OF THE D.A.'ERS WHO RECEIVED THEIR DOCTORATE OF ARTS UP UNTIL THE EARLY 1990's WILL AUTOMATICALLY, BASED ON THE THEORETICAL MERIT OF YOUR MANY SOPHISTICATED THEORETICAL AND POETICAL AND CULTURAL INQUIRY AND PEDAGOGICAL DISSERTATIONS, RECEIVE THEIR PHD'S IN HAND FROM GOD ALMIGHTY HER/HIMSELF ON BEHALF OF THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK AT ALBANY BY THE END OF THIS SUMMER, IF NOT SOONER,  AND EACH OF YOU DA'ERS WILL MAINTAIN YOUR HIGHLY-ESTEEMED DA'S WHICH ARE FAR GREATER THAN A PHD IN ENGLISH AND YOUR DOCTOR OF ARTS DEGREES ARE TO BE UPHELD AND VALUED IN UNIVERSITY WRITING PROGRAMS AND ENGLISH LIBERAL ARTS DEPARTMENTS AND PROGRAMS ACROSS THE NATION DUE TO THE INTENSITY AMD BRILLIANCE AND COMPASSION AND ARTISTRY OF YOUR POETIC WRITTEN SCHOLARSHIP AND DUE WHAT DR. DIANE K. OLSON AND DR. JESUS NIELSEN ARE GOING TO SAY ON BEHALF OF THE GRAND VISIONS FOR COMPOSITION STUDIES AND ITS RADICAL POTENTIAL IN TRANFORMING THE STALE DISCIPLINES AND SO-CALLED ELITE, INTELLECTUALLY BANKRUPT ENGLISH DEPARTMENTS AND SO-CALLED, ELITE, INTELLECTUALLY-BANKRUPT, RUBBISH, FAITHLESS DEPARTMENTS OF "TRANSNATIONALISM" WHICH HAVE WRONGLY ATTEMPTED TO TAKE OVER THE SUNY ALBANY PHD PROGRAM IN WRITING, TEACHING AND CRITICISM WHICH TEACHES TRUE CHRIST-BASED DISCERNMENT, POETICS AND COMPOSITION, AND THE SO-CALLED TRANSNATIONALISTS AND CULTURAL THEORISTS WILL ABANDON THE DEPARTMENT -- IF THE UNIVERSITY HAS NOT FIRED THEM ALREADY FOR ILLEGAL MISCONDUCT IN THE HANDLING OF DR. DIANE K. OLSON'S DISSERTATION AND THE MISHANDLING OF DR. KELLY DUBOIS'S EXAMS AND DISSERTATION AND THE MISHANDLING OF DR. RHONDA CHRISTENSEN REID'S EXAMS AND DISSERATION AND THE ILLEGAL ATTEMPTS, ACCORDING TO UNIVERSITY AND DEPARTMENTAL BYLAWS, TO SUBVERT AND SABOTAGE THE COMPLETION OF PHD DEGREES BY MANY OTHER  SMART, EXTREMELY BRILLIANT, DISCERNING AND CRITICALLY INSIGHTFUL WOMEN COMPOSITIONISTS SUCH AS DR. DIANE K. OLSON, DR. KELLY DUBOIS AND DR. RHONDA CHRISTENSEN, WHO ARE COMING BACK TO SUNY ALBANY TO WREAK INTELLECTUALLY-BRILLIANT HAVOC AND MAYHEM ON THE ILLITERATE, INCOHERENT CULTURAL THEORISTS AND POSTCOLONIALISTS WHO TRIED TO TAKE OVER THE DEPARTMENT AND HOW NOW SEE THAT THEIR ATTEMPTS FAILED -- YES, DISCERNING, POETIC MAYHEM CRITIQUING TO PIECES HOW FALSE AND MISLEADING YOUR ATTEMPTS TO TAKE THE DEPARTMENT OFF-COURSE -- YES, DISCERNING, POETIC, PEDAGOGICALLY-INSIGHTFUL MAYHEM ON THIS BLOG AND ON WWW.WRITINGSTUDIES.COM, WHICH HAS BEEN OWNED FOR FOURTEEN YEARS BY DR. DIANE K. OLSON, WOULD YOU BELIEVE, YOU,  LITERARY THEORY FOOLS WHO TRIED TO DRIVE OUT DR. CY KNOBLAUCH, DR. LIL BRANNON, DR. AMY LEE, DR. BOB YAGELSKI, DR. DON BYRD, DR. RON BOSCO, DR. JUDITH FETTERLY, DR. PIERRE JORIS, DR. JUDITH JOHNSON AND THE HIGHLY-ESTEEMABLE DR. STEPHEN NORTH, WHO DESERVED HIS PHD A LONG TIME AGO AND ALREADY HAS HIS PHD IN GOD ALMIGHTY'S EYES AND WILL RECEIVE THE PHD DIPLOMA WITH HIGH HONORS AND DISTINCTION ITSELF IN THE NEAR FUTURE, POSTDATED TO 1974 WHEN DR. STEPHEN NORTH EARNED A FULL PHD DEGREE AT SUNY ALBANY AND DR. STEPHEN NORTH WHO IS EXEMPTED FROM OUR MAJOR AND ALREADY-WON LAWSUIT -- FINANCIAL AND CIVIL RIGHTS LAWSUIT -- AGAINST THE ENGLISH DEPARTMENT AND SUNY ALBANY ADMINISTRATION AND UNIVERSITY AS A WHOLE, WHO WRONGLY AND MISTAKENLY IGNORED MANY OF DR. DIANE K. OLSON'S LEGITIMATE GRIEVANCES AGAINST THE SUNY ALBANY ENGLISH DEPARTMENT IN THE EARLY 2000's AND WHO FACULTY -- WHO ARE ALL NOW FIRED BY GOD ALMIGHTY HIMSELF BECAUSE GOD ALMIGHTY IS TAKING CONTROL OF THE SUNY ALBANY DEPARTMENT OF WRITING, TEACHING AND CRITICISM, AND DR. DIANE K. OLSON WILL BE RECEIVING HER FULL PHD WITH HIGH HONORS AND DISTINCTION BY THE END OF THIS SUMMER SO THAT SHE CAN FREELY TEACH IN ANY COMPOSITION STUDIES PROGRAM IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA THAT RESEMBLES THE GRAND, SOCIAL JUSTICE AND INSTITUTIONAL REFORM VISION OF THE SUNY ALBANY ENGLISH PROGRAM'S --- AND MARK MY WORDS, SHE WILL BRILLIANTLY TAKE TO PIECES THE FALSE PRETENSES OF ELITE UNIVERSITIES AND DEPARTMENTS OF LITERARY AND CULTURAL THEORY -- WHICH SHE HAD ALREADY STUDIED INTENSIVELY AT THE AGE OF 24 WHEN SHE FIRST ARRIVED AT THE SUNY ALBANY PHD PROGRAM AS AN EXTREMELY ADVANCED PHD GRADUATE STUDENT IN CULTURAL STUDIES/CULTURAL JUSTICE, THEORETICAL DISCERNMENT AND COMPOSITION STUDIES, YES, AT THE AGE OF TWENTY-FOUR, WHEN SHE WAS ALREADY MORE ADVANCED THAN MANY PHD'S IN ENGLISH STUDIES THROUGHOUT THE NATION/USA AND SHE DELIBERATELY, WITH MANY OTHER OFFERS FROM OTHER GRADUATE PHD PROGRAMS, CHOSE, BY HER OWN FREE WILL, TO GO TO THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK AT ALBANY IN HER EARLY TWENTIES, OVER TWENTY YEARS, DURING WHICH SHE HAS CONTINUED TO PRODUCE BRILLIANT AND COMPASSIONATE SCHOLARSHIP/BLOGGING IN THE FIELD OF COMPOSITION STUDIES. SO, MARK MY WORDS, FOLKS, ALL OF THE COMPOSITIONISTS, POETS, POET/THEORISTS AND COMPOSITION/CULTURAL AND PEDAGOGICAL THEORISTS OF THE DA PROGRAM AND THE EARLY PHD PROGRAM OF THE 1990's ARE GOING TO TELL THEIR FULL AND INTELLECTUALLY-BRILLIANT STORIES OF WHAT WENT DOWN IN THAT COMPOSITION STUDIES DEPARTMENT AT SUNY ALBANY IN THE 1990's and EARLY 2000's WHEN THEY -- THE WRITING STUDIES FACULTY -- WERE ILLEGALLY ATTACKED AND HARASSED BY THEN NEWLY-ARRIVED, BUT INTELLECTUALLY-BANKRUPT AND PSUEDO-ELITIST  LITERARY STUDIES AND TRANSNATIONALIST "SCHOLARS" IN THAT DEPARTMENT ON DR. DIANE K. OLSON'S WEBSITE WWW.WRITINGSTUDIES.COM -- THESE WRITING STUDIES FACULTY, ALL NAME ABOVE, ARE GOING TO GO VICIOUSLY AND IMAGINATIVELY AND POETICALLY AND ARTISTICALLY, AGAINST ALL OF YOU PSEUDO-ELITISTS WHO TRIED TO COLONIZE A HIGHLY ESTEEMED PHD PROGRAM IN WRITING, TEACHING AND CRITICISM THROUGHOUT THE NATION AND TRIED TO RUIN ITS EXCELLENT REPUTATION IN THE FIELD OF COMPOSITION STUDIES. WELL, GUESS WHAT, PSEUDO-ELITIST LITERARY THEORISTS AND TRANSNATIONALISTS AND POSTCOLONISTS, WHO ARE INTELLECTUALLY BANKRUPT AND WRITE MEANINGLESS PROSE THAT DOES NOT TOUCH THE GRADUATE AND UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS THAT YOU TEACH, YOU ARE GOING TO BE FIRED FROM THAT DEPARTMENT AS A RESULT OF WHAT DR. DIANE K. OLSON HAS REVEALED TO THE SUNY ALBANY ADMINISTRATION, WHAT SHE IS GOING TO CONTINUE TO WRITE ABOUT REGARDING THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN COMPOSITION STUDIES, POETICS AND CULTURAL STUDIES AND THE INTELLECTUAL FRAUDITY OF LITERARY SCHOLARS AND TRANSNATIONALISTS WHO DO NOT CARE ABOUT TEACHING AND MATTERS OF HEART AND POETICS AND THE ARTS LIKE THE WRITING STUDIES FACULTY DO AND THOSE WRITING STUDIES FACULTY OF THE SUNY ALBANY ENGLISH DEPARTMENT, INCLUDING FORMER D.A.'ERS AT OTHER UNIVERSITIES, WILL BE FREE -- TOTALLY UNHIBITABLY FREE AND LIBERATED -- TO PRESENT THEIR VISIONS AND CRITQUES OF THE FIELD OF ENGLISH STUDIES AND COMPOSITION STUDIES AND THEIR GRAND VISIONS OF WHAT THE DEPARTMENT OF WRITING, TEACHING AND CRITICISM IS SUPPOSED TO BE AND WILL BE IN THE NEAR FUTURE, ON DR. DIANE K. OLSON'S WEBSITE WWW.WRITINGSTUDIES.COM AND NOONE WILL BE ALLOWED TO TOUCH OR EDIT THAT WEBSITE (WRITINGSTUDIES.COM AND WWW.COMPOSITIONSTUDIES.COM, WHICH IS FULLY AND RIGHTLY OWNED BY DIANE K. OLSON AND IS HER INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ALONE -- SO HANDS OFF SUNY ALBANY HACKERS -- NO ONE WILL TOUCH EITHER WEBSITES OWNED BY DR. DIANE K. OLSON  EXCEPT FOR DR. DIANE K. OLSON, SO HEAR ME, SAYS GOD ALMIGHTY AND JESUS, ON DR. DIANE K. OLSON'S BEHALF, ON THIS HOLY DAY OF SUNDAY, JUNE 10th, 2018. SINCERELY AND GREAT LOVE AND VENGEANCE FOR AND ON BEHALF OF ALL OF THE WRITING STUDIES FACULTY AND FORMER WRITING STUDIES GRADUATE DA AND PHD STUDENTS OUT THERE. MY WILL AND VISION, SAYS DIANE K. OLSON, FOR COMPOSITION STUDIES AND POETICS AND COMPOSITION PEDAGOGY WILL PREVAIL OVER ALL ELSE IN GREAT AND PRECISE DETAIL ON THIS BLOG, WWW.COMPOSITION STUDIES, SAYS, I, DR. DIANE K. OLSON, DISTINGUISHED PROFESSOR OF COMPOSITION STUDIES, POETICS AND CULTURAL STUDIES SINCE THE AGE OF 32 ON MANY BLOGS THAT REACH PEOPLE AROUND THE EARTH FOR CHRIST, AN ORDAINED LUTHERAN MINISTER AND A STRONG ADVOCATE OF WOMEN'S AND CHILDREN'S RIGHTS AND BEST, BEST, BEST FRIEND AND FIANCE OF JESUS CHRIST. YOU MADE A HUGE MISTAKE WITH DR. DIANE K. OLSON, SUNY ALBANY AND NY STATE DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL RIGHTS, AND YOUR BANK ACCOUNTS ARE GOING TO BE DRAINED BY GOD ALMIGHYY HERSELF/HIMSELF IN THE COMING MONTHS TO COMPENSATE DR. DIANE K. OLSON FOR OVER FIFTEEN TO TWENTY YEARS OF LOST INCOME DUE TO YOUR SABOTAGING OF  AND UNMERITED, SEXISTT, ILLEGAL (ACCORDING TO BYLAWS OF THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK AND THE STATE OF NEW YORK) JEALOUS, INFANTILE, ILLITERATE ATTACKS ON HER BRILLIANT, UNMATCHABLE TREATISE/DISSERATION ON THE FIELD OF COMPOSITION STUDIES AND COMPOSITION PEDAGOGY, WHICH YOU HAVE WRONGLY BEEN ATTEMPTING TO HACK ON THIS BLOG BUT WHICH WILL BE RESTORED IN THEIR PRECISE AND ORIGINAL DETAIL IN THE VERY NEAR FUTURE. WITH UTMOST SINCERERITY, DR. DIANE K. OLSON -- PLEASE FOLKS, DO NOT MISTAKE A COMPASSIONATE AND LOVING HEART AND WORLD-RENOWNED MISSIONARY FOR JESUS CHRIST WITH GREAT COMPASSION AND GOSPEL LOVE FOR FACULTY AND GRADUATE STUDENTS AROUND THE COUNTRY AS LACKING A BRILLIANT LEGAL, RHETORICAL, SCHOLARLY  AND PEDAGOGICAL MIND, HEART AND SOUL, COVERED IN THE BLOOD OF CHRIST. ELITE ENGLISH DEPARTMENTS THROUGHOUT THE NATION, YOU ARE GOING DOWN, DOWN, DOWN, BY THE HANDS OF DR. DIANE K. OLSON HERSELF AND WRITING STUDIES FACULTY AT SUNY ALBANY AND FORMER WRITING STUDIES GRADUATE STUDENTS OF THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK AT ALBANY, AN ELITE SOCIAL AND CULTURAL AND INSTITUTIONAL JUSTICE UNIVERSITY. SINCERELY -- WITH THE GREATEST HOLINESS AND RIGHTEOUSNESS AND WAGING HOLY WAR ON ELITE UNIVERSITIES THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY WITH GREATEST LOVE AND COMPASSION AND WITH THE UTMOST SINCERITY AND HEART-FELT, INTELLECTUAL DISCERNMENT, SINCERELY YOURS, DR. DIANE K. OLSON


SHOUT OUT TO ALL OF THE BEAUTIFULLY GIFTED, SMART UNIVERSITY TEACHERS OF COMPOSITION OUT THERE WHO DESERVE SO MUCH BETTER THAN HOW YOU ARE MISTREATED AND FINANCIALLY ABUSED BY WRITING PROGRAM ADMINISTRATORS AND UNIVERSITIES

WE ALL HAVE TIMES IN OUR LIVES WHEN WE FEEL BROKEN AND BROKEN-HEARTED -- THE WORLD CAN JUDGE US HARSHLY AND UNFAIRLY AT TIMES -- YET I AM HERE TODAY TO SAY THAT NO MATTER WHAT THE WORLD SAYS TO YOU AND NO MATTER WHAT YOU MAY BE FEELING, YOU ARE ALWAYS AND FOREVER A DEEPLY LOVED AND INCREDIBLY BEAUTIFUL CHILD OF GOD OUR HEAVENLY FATHER AND LORD JESUS. YOU ARE BEAUTIFULLY AND WONDERFULLY AND FEARFULLY MADE BY GOD OUR HEAVENLY FATHER AND GOD AND JESUS LOVE YOU BEYOND MEASURE FOR WHO THEY MADE YOU TO BE, THE PURPOSES THEY HAVE FOR YOUR LIFE AND THE LOVING HEART AND THE SOUL THAT THEY GAVE TO YOU. YOUR LIFE IS AN AMAZING AND BEAUTIFUL GIFT OF LOVE FROM OUR HEAVENLY FATHER, WHO HAS AMAZING LOVE AND COMPASSION FOR YOU AT ALL TIMES. WHAT GOD AND JESUS THINK OF YOU AS THEIR PRECIOUS CHILD IS FAR, FAR MORE IMPORTANT THAN WHAT THE WORLD SAYS TO YOU BECAUSE THE WORLD DOES NOT KNOW YOU AS WELL AS THE GOD, OUR HEAVENLY FATHER, THAT CREATED YOU IN THE WOMB AND KNOWS EVERY WONDERFUL QUIRK AND DETAIL ABOUT YOUR LIFE AND GREATLY LOVES YOU NO MATTER WHAT YOU ARE GOING THROUGH IN LIFE. OUR HEAVENLY FATHER AND LORD JESUS WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU AND VIEW YOU AS THEIR BEAUTIFULLY-MADE CHILD, NO MATTER YOUR AGE OR WHAT IS HAPPENING IN YOUR LIFE. ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT YOUR LIFE IS AN AMAZING AND BEAUTIFUL GIFT OF LOVE FROM OUR HEAVENLY FATHER AND OUR HEAVENLY FATHER HAS WONDERFUL PURPOSES FOR YOUR LIFE, NO MATTER WHAT YOU MAY BE FEELING RIGHT NOW. YOU MAY FEEL BROKEN AND BROKEN-HEARTED, BUT YOU, CHILD OF GOD, ARE BEAUTIFUL BEYOND MEASURE. THAT IS THE GOD-GIVEN TRUTH. IN JESUS' COMPASSIONATE, GLORIOUS, HOLY AND LOVING NAME. LOVE ALWAYS, DIANE


DR.DIANE K. OLSON OPPOSES THE USE AND EXPLOITATION OF ADJUNCT LABOR IN COMPOSITION STUDIES - GOD ALMIGHTY HEAVENLY MOTHER SAYS LOUDLY TO WRITING PROGRAM ADMINISTRATORS STOP EXPLOITING THESE VERY GIFTED TEACHERS OF WRITING WHO DESERVE MUCH HIGHER SALARIES

LORD JESUS OPPOSES THE USE AND EXPLOITATION OF ADJUNCT LABOR IN COMPOSITION STUDIES  AND GOD OUR ALMIGHTY HEAVENLY MOTHER AND GOD OUR ALMIGHTY HEAVENLY FATHER SAYS LOUDLY TO WRITING PROGRAM ADMINISTRATORS THROUGHOUT THE USA STOP EXPLOITING THESE GIFTED TEACHERS OF WRITING WHO ARE CALLED TO TEACH AND NURTURE STUDENTS' WRITING ABILITIES/GIFTS AND WHO DO THE TRUE WORK OF TEACHING AND ARE CONSTANTLY FINANCIALLY EXPLOITED AND ABUSED BY UNIVERSITIES ACROSS THE NATION. THIS SITUATION WITH UNFAIR AND UNJUST LABOR PRACTICES IN HIGHER EDUCATION -- MOST ESPECIALLY IN COMPOSITION STUDIES -- HAS SIMPLY GOT TO STOP IMMEDIATELY BECAUSE WRITING PROGRAM ADMINISTRATORS NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT THESE ARE HIGHLY EDUCATED, EXTREMELY GIFTED TEACHERS OF WRITING WHO DESERVE SALARIES AND BENEFITS EQUAL TO -- IF NOT FAR GREATER THAN -- WRITING PROGRAM ADMINISTRATORS BECAUSE THEY -- COMPOSITION TEACHERS --  ARE CALLED BY GOD ALMIGHTY TO TEACH WRITING AND CARE ABOUT  AND FOSTER STUDENTS' LEARNING AND GROWTH AS COMMUNICATORS AND WRITERS -- SOME OF THE MOST VALUABLE SKILLS THAT STUDENTS IN HIGHER EDUCATION CAN LEARN TODAY -- YET THESE SAME TEACHERS ARE CONSTANTLY EXPLOITED AND FINANCIALLY ABUSED AND SUFFER GREATLY BECAUSE THEY SACRIFICE THEIR OWN FINANCIAL WELL-BEING FOR STUDENTS ALL OF THE TIME AND OUT OF THEIR GREAT LOVE AND COMPASSION FOR THEIR STUDENTS AND THEIR DEEP CONCERN AS TEACHERS WHO ARE CALLED BY GOD ALMIGHTY TO TEACH COMMUNICATION AND WRITING TO STUDENTS. THIS IS FAR GREATER AND MORE VALUABLE WORK THAN SIMPLY ADMINISTRATING OR OVERSEEING THESE TEACHERS AND THERE REALLY IS NO JUSTIFICATION FOR WRITING PROGRAM ADMINISTRATION AT ALL -- PERIOD, NONE AT ALL -- BECAUSE THESE ARE HIGHLY-EDUCATED TEACHERS -- MANY OF THEM PHD'S -- WHO CAN PERFECTLY WELL DESIGN THEIR OWN WRITING CLASSES ON THEIR OWN AND DO NOT NEED ANY ADMINISTRATION OR MANAGEMENT WHATSOEVER SO IT IS TIME TO PERMANENTLY END ALL WRITING PROGRAM ADMINISTRATION AND ALLOW COMPOSITION TEACHERS -- ESPECIALLY ADJUNCTS, PART-TIME TEACHERS OF WRITING AND INSTRUCTORS -- THE SAME STATUSES AS TENURED PROFESSORS AND THE SAME ECONOMIC COMPENSATION AND FINANCIAL SECURITY  AS WRITING PROGRAM ADMINISTRATORS AND FULL-TIME FACULTY THEMSELVES -- BECAUSE THESE COMPOSITION TEACHERS ARE THE  ONES DOING THE TRUE AND NOBLE WORK EVERYDAY IN THE TRENCHES -- IN ACADEMIC OFFICES CONSULTING WITH STUDENTS  AND IN TEACHING CLASSROOMS -- WITH THE STUDENTS THEMSELVES, LABORING EXTENSIVELY  OVER THE EVALUATION OF PAPERS AND PUTTING EXTENSIVE CARE INTO THEIR TEACHING PLANS -- AND THEY -- COMPOSITION STUDIES TEACHERS -- ARE PERFECTLY CAPABLE OF AND FULLY EQUIPPED TO GOVERN THEMSELVES -- WITHOUT ANY OVERSIGHT WHATSOEVER -- AND THEY DESERVE THE HIGHEST SALARIES BECAUSE THEY ARE CALLED BY GOD ALMIGHTY AND PUT HERE ON THIS EARTH BY GOD ALMIGHTY TO FOSTER AND NURTURE STUDENTS' GROWTH AS WRITERS AND COMMUNICATORS. SO, PLEASE, UNIVERSITIES GIVE THESE COMPOSITION TEACHERS -- ADJUNCTS, PART-TIME TEACHERS OF WRITING AND INSTRUCTORS -- PAY EQUAL TO IF NOT GREATER THAN WRITING PROGRAM ADMINISTRATORS AND FULL-TIME FACULTY. LORD JESUS SEES AN INCREDIBLE INJUSTICE AND CONSTANT FINANCIAL ABUSE IN THE FIELD OF COMPOSITION STUDIES THAT CAUSES MANY GIFTED TEACHERS OF WRITING IN HIGHER EDUCATION TO UNFAIRLY SUFFER -- AND TO EXPLOIT COMPOSITION TEACHERS AND THEIR PASSION FOR AND LOVE OF TEACHING -- REMEMBER, LORD JESUS WAS A TEACHER HIMSELF WHEN HE WALKED THE EARTH TWO THOUSAND YEARS AGO -- IS ONE OF THE GREATEST INJUSTICES IN UNIVERSITIES THROUGHOUT THE USA TODAY.  PLEASE UNIVERSITIES AND WRITING PROGRAM ADMINISTRATORS, WAKE-UP TO WHAT YOU ARE WRONGLY DOING TO COMPOSITION STUDIES TEACHERS IN HIGHER ED AND PAY THEM GREATER SALARIES AND PROVIDE THEM WITH FINANCIAL SECURITY BECAUSE THESE ARE GOD'S PEOPLE WHO ARE CALLED TO TEACH AND CARE ABOUT AND NURTURE STUDENTS GROWTH AS WRITERS AND WHICH THEY DO JUST WONDERFULLY WITHOUT ANY NEED WHATSOEVER FOR ANY OVERSIGHT OR ADMINISTRATION. MUCH MORE ON THIS ISSUE OF THE FINANCIAL ABUSE AND SUFFERING WITHIN THE FIELD OF COMPOSITION STUDIES AND THE EXPLOITATION OF COMPOSITION TEACHERS IN THE FUTURE. SINCERELY AND IN JESUS' HOLY AND RIGHTEOUS NAME, DIANE K. OLSON 


DO NOT MISTAKE A COMPASSIONATE AND LOVING HEART FOR JESUS FOR A WARRIOR AND ADVOCATE SUCH AS MYSELF, DIANE K.OLSON,WHO WILL STAND UP AGAINST FINANCIAL, INSTITUTIONAL & SOCIAL INJUSTICES AGAINST WOMEN SUCH AS MYSELF AND OTHER WOMEN WHO FACE FINANCIAL ABUSE

I WOULD ADVISE ANYONE WHO ASSUMES THAT HAVING A HEART FOR JESUS AND GREAT COMPASSION, LIKE I DO, MEANS THAT A PERSON IS UNWILLING TO FIGHT STRONGLY FOR WHAT SHE BELIEVES IN OR DEFEND WOMEN WHO ARE TREATED UNJUSTLY, ESPECIALLY BY UNIVERSITIES SUCH AS I HAVE BEEN, TO THINK AGAIN AND THINK TWICE BECAUSE BELOW THIS LOVING AND COMPASSIONATE SURFACE IS A MIGHTY WARRIOR AND ADVOCATE WHO WILL ALWAYS STAND UP STRONGLY AGAINST INJUSTICES -- ESPECIALLY INJUSTICES AGAINST WOMEN -- IN THE WORLD AND IN UNIVERSITIES. LORD JESUS WAS THE SAME WAY WHEN HE WALKED THE EARTH -- VERY GENTLE AND VERY COMPASSIONATE AND VERY HUMBLE -- YET ALSO VERY MIGHTY AND VERY STRONG AND ANGERED BY THE INJUSTICES AND LACK OF RIGHTEOUSNESS IN THE WORLD -- BOTH WHEN HE WALKED THE EARTH BUT EVEN MORESO NOW AS HE WATCHES OVER WHAT IS HAPPENING ON THE EARTH IN THE YEAR 2017. LIKE LORD JESUS, I AM BOTH A MINISTER OF LORD JESUS' LOVE AND COMPASSION AND GRACE TO THE WORLD AND A MIGHTY ADVOCATE AGAINST OPPRESSION AND ABUSE IN THE WORLD, ESPECIALLY ABUSE AGAINST WOMEN. I HAVE BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ABUSE LATELY AND IN THE PAST AND SO HAVE FEMALE MEMBERS OF MY FAMILY LIKE MY GRANDMA AND MY MOM, AND I WILL NOT -- LET ME REPEAT: I WILL NOT -- STAND FOR THIS TREATMENT ANY LONGER. I HAVE SUFFERED SEVERE FINANCIAL LOSSES (AND SO HAS MY MOM) DUE TO THE SEXIST WAYS THAT I WAS TREATED AS A UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR AND PHD CANDIDATE AND I AM NOW BACK TO WRITING ABOUT THAT SEXISM AND INJUSTICE AND WILL NOT STOP UNTIL THINGS ARE MADE RIGHT FINANCIALLY FOR BOTH MYSELF AND MY MOM AND OTHER WOMEN WHO ARE SUFFERING FINANCIAL AND VERBAL ABUSE. IN JESUS' HOLY, RIGHTEOUS, COMPASSIONATE AND GLORIOUS NAME. SINCERELY, DIANE K. OLSON


THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED AT THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK'S ENGLISH DEPARTMENT WHEN I WAS A PHD CANDIDATE IN COMPOSITION STUDIES AND TRYING TO FINISH MY DISSERTATION WITHOUT PROPER SUPPORT

DEAR GRADUATE DIRECTOR AT SUNY ALBANY'S ENGLISH DEPARTMENT:

GREETINGS. I WAS A PHD CANDIDATE IN THE ENGLISH DEPARTMENT IN COMPOSITION STUDIES, POETICS AND CULTURAL STUDIES AS OF 2006 AND HAD TO STOP PURSUING THE DEGREE/DISSERTATION (WHICH I HAD PUT VERY EXTENSIVE EFFORT, TIME AND MONEY INTO) DUE TO INSTITUTIONAL POLITICS, LACK OF SUPPORT FROM MY COMMITTEE AND LACK OF FINANCIAL RESOURCES. I HAVE RECENTLY CONTACTED STEVE NORTH, WHO WAS MY CHAIR AT THE TIME (MY PREVIOUS CHAIR WAS CY KNOBLAUCH, WHO HAD TO LEAVE FOR UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA, CHARLOTTE IN 1999, THE SAME TIME I RECEIVED A TEACHING FELLOWSHIP AT GEORGIA TECH) YET HAVEN'T HEARD BACK FROM HIM IN SEVERAL MONTHS. I DID HEAR FROM HIM BRIEFLY EARLIER THIS YEAR IN RESPONSE TO A WEBSITE THAT I HAVE www.compositionstudies.com WHICH IS EVIDENCE THAT I AM STILL ACTIVELY AND PASSIONATELY INVOLVED IN WRITING ABOUT ISSUES IN THE FIELD OF COMPOSITION STUDIES. I HAVE ACTUALLY WORKED IN COMPOSITION STUDIES FOR NEARLY 27 YEARS NOW -- SINCE I WAS AN UNDERGRADUATE AND EVEN DID MY UNDERGRADUATE HONORS THESIS IN COMPOSITION STUDIES AND MULTICULTURALISM. THE REASON THAT I WOULD LIKE TO FINISH THE PHD NOW IS BECAUSE I REALLY WANT TO GET BACK TO TEACHING AND I HAVE APPLIED AT MANY UNIVERSITIES THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY (I CURRENTLY RESIDE IN IOWA BUT HAVE LIVED ON THE EAST COAST IN NEW YORK AND ATLANTA, WHERE I HAD AN ABD TEACHING FELLOWSHIP IN THE SCHOOL OF LITERATURE, CULTURE AND COMMUNICATION). I AM A VERY GIFTED AND PASSIONATE TEACHER AND I CURRENTLY FEEL STRANDED IN THE SUBURBS OF WEST DES MOINES, IOWA WITHOUT EMPLOYMENT, WHERE I SHOULD NOT BE -- I SHOULD BE TEACHING RIGHT NOW. I STILL HAVE ALL OF MY DISSERTATION MATERIALS AND WRITINGS IN A BINDER AND MY CV IS POSTED ON MY WEBSITE www.compositionstudies.com (A SITE WHICH I HAVE HAD SINCE 2004). AND I AM STILL VERY PASSIONATE AND INVESTED IN THE ISSUES OF MY DISSERTATION, AS I ALWAYS HAVE BEEN. THE CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH I WAS FORCED TO ABANDON WORK ON MY PHD WERE EXTREMELY UNJUST AND UNFAIR TO ME AND I FEEL AS IF GENDER AND SEXISM HAD A STRONG ROLE TO PLAY IN THE LACK OF SUPPORT AND THE INSTITUTIONAL POLITICS THAT WERE GOING ON IN REGARDS TO MY DISSERTATION. THE PROBLEMS STARTED IN DECEMBER OF 2003, RIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, WHEN I WAS SUDDENLY CONTACTED BY THE CURRENT CHAIR OF THE DEPARTMENT RICHARD BARNEY, WHO I UNDERSTAND IS STILL AT ALBANY, AND TOLD IN AN EMAIL THAT I HAD SERIOUS PROBLEMS WITH MY DISSERTATION DIRECTOR -- PROBLEMS NEVER, EVER CONVEYED TO ME PREVIOUSLY -- YET DR. BARNEY COULD NOT DISCUSS THOSE ISSUES UNTIL AFTER THE CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY. I FELT BETRAYED AT THE TIME AND IN THE DARK ABOUT WHAT WAS GOING ON AND WAS TRAUMATIZED BY THE LACK OF SUPPORT. IT IS STILL VERY FRESH IN MY MEMORY AND IS WHAT EVENTUALLY RESULTED IN THE LACK OF SUPPORT TO FINISH MY DISSERTATION, WHICH I RELUCTANTLY -- VERY RELUCTANTLY -- LAYED DOWN IN JULY OF 2006. I FELT EXTREMELY UNSUPPORTED DESPITE MY EXTENSIVE WRITING AND EVEN THOUGH I DID NOT RECEIVE MY PHD FOR ALL OF THE WORK THAT I DID AND TIME THAT I INVESTED, I HAVE ALWAYS WANTED TO FINISH THE PHD AND IN FACT NEED THAT PHD FOR TEACHING JOBS IN COMPOSITION STUDIES AND FURTHER EMPLOYMENT AND DO REGARD SUNY ALBANY (THE UNIVERSITY AT ALBANY) AS RESPONSIBLE FOR MY ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL STRUGGLES DUE TO NOT BEING ABLE TO COMPLETE THE PHD AND THROWING UP SO MANY INSTITUTIONAL ROADBLOCKS TO ITS COMPLETION.

SO THIS IS WHY I AM ADDRESSING YOU AND THE DEPARTMENT RIGHT NOW, AS I HAVE ALREADY EMAILED DR. STEVE NORTH RECENTLY ABOUT MY STRONG DESIRE TO FINISH THAT DISSERTATION WITH THE PROPER ACADEMIC AND INSTITUTIONAL SUPPORT -- IN FACT, MY NEED TO FINISH THAT DISSERTATION AND RECEIVE MY PHD WHICH I SHOULD HAVE RECEIVED MANY YEARS AGO AND AM MERITED TO RECEIVE BASED UPON ALL OF THE WRITINGS THAT I DID TOWARD THE PHD IN WRITING, TEACHING AND CRITICISM. I HAVE SUFFERED FINANCIALLY WITHOUT IT AND WITHOUT BEING IN AN ACADEMIC ENVIRONMENT AND AGAIN, I FEEL THAT THERE WAS A VERY STRONG GENDER BIAS GOING ON WITH THE BARRIERS THAT I ENCOUNTERED BETWEEN 2003 and 2006.

I CAN BE REACHED AT THE CELLPHONE and THE EMAIL. . IT IS A NY CELLPHONE NUMBER BUT I HAVE RESIDED IN WEST DES MOINES, IOWA SINCE 2006. MY SITUATION CURRENTLY IS EXTREMELY UNJUST AND UNFAIR AND I DO STILL HOLD THE SUNY ALBANY ENGLISH DEPARTMENT AS ACCOUNTABLE AND RESPONSIBLE FOR HOW THIS HAS TURNED OUT.

SINCERELY,

DIANE K. OLSON

Diane K. <dianekolson@gmail.com>
Oct 17

to ggriffith, jlilley
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Diane K. <dianekolson@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, Oct 17, 2017 at 4:19 PM
Subject: REGARDING MY REQUEST TO COMPLETE MY PHD IN WRITING, TEACHING AND CRITICISM AT SUNY ALBANY
To: kcummings2@albany.edu

 

DEAR GRADUATE DIRECTOR AT SUNY ALBANY'S ENGLISH DEPARTMENT:

GREETINGS. I WAS A PHD CANDIDATE IN THE ENGLISH DEPARTMENT IN COMPOSITION STUDIES, POETICS AND CULTURAL STUDIES AS OF 2006 AND HAD TO STOP PURSUING THE DEGREE/DISSERTATION (WHICH I HAD PUT VERY EXTENSIVE EFFORT, TIME AND MONEY INTO) DUE TO INSTITUTIONAL POLITICS, LACK OF SUPPORT FROM MY COMMITTEE AND LACK OF FINANCIAL RESOURCES. I HAVE RECENTLY CONTACTED STEVE NORTH, WHO WAS MY CHAIR AT THE TIME (MY PREVIOUS CHAIR WAS CY KNOBLAUCH, WHO HAD TO LEAVE FOR UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA, CHARLOTTE IN 1999, THE SAME TIME I RECEIVED A TEACHING FELLOWSHIP AT GEORGIA TECH) YET HAVEN'T HEARD BACK FROM HIM IN SEVERAL MONTHS. I DID HEAR FROM HIM BRIEFLY EARLIER THIS YEAR IN RESPONSE TO A WEBSITE THAT I HAVE www.compositionstudies.com WHICH IS EVIDENCE THAT I AM STILL ACTIVELY AND PASSIONATELY INVOLVED IN WRITING ABOUT ISSUES IN THE FIELD OF COMPOSITION STUDIES. I HAVE ACTUALLY WORKED IN COMPOSITION STUDIES FOR NEARLY 27 YEARS NOW -- SINCE I WAS AN UNDERGRADUATE AND EVEN DID MY UNDERGRADUATE HONORS THESIS IN COMPOSITION STUDIES AND MULTICULTURALISM. THE REASON THAT I WOULD LIKE TO FINISH THE PHD NOW IS BECAUSE I REALLY WANT TO GET BACK TO TEACHING AND I HAVE APPLIED AT MANY UNIVERSITIES THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY (I CURRENTLY RESIDE IN IOWA BUT HAVE LIVED ON THE EAST COAST IN NEW YORK AND ATLANTA, WHERE I HAD AN ABD TEACHING FELLOWSHIP IN THE SCHOOL OF LITERATURE, CULTURE AND COMMUNICATION AT GEORGIA TECH). I AM A VERY GIFTED AND PASSIONATE TEACHER AND I CURRENTLY FEEL STRANDED IN THE SUBURBS OF WEST DES MOINES, IOWA WITHOUT EMPLOYMENT, WHERE I SHOULD NOT BE -- I SHOULD BE TEACHING RIGHT NOW. I STILL HAVE ALL OF MY DISSERTATION MATERIALS AND WRITINGS IN A BINDER AND MY CV IS POSTED ON MY WEBSITE www.compositionstudies.com (A SITE WHICH I HAVE HAD SINCE 2004). AND I AM STILL VERY PASSIONATE AND INVESTED IN THE ISSUES OF MY DISSERTATION, AS I ALWAYS HAVE BEEN. THE CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH I WAS FORCED TO ABANDON WORK ON MY PHD WERE EXTREMELY UNJUST AND UNFAIR TO ME AND I FEEL AS IF GENDER AND SEXISM HAD A STRONG ROLE TO PLAY IN THE LACK OF SUPPORT AND THE INSTITUTIONAL POLITICS THAT WERE GOING ON IN REGARDS TO MY DISSERTATION. THE PROBLEMS STARTED IN DECEMBER OF 2003, RIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, WHEN I WAS SUDDENLY CONTACTED BY THE CURRENT CHAIR OF THE DEPARTMENT RICHARD BARNEY, WHO I UNDERSTAND IS STILL AT ALBANY, AND TOLD IN AN EMAIL THAT I HAD SERIOUS PROBLEMS WITH MY DISSERTATION DIRECTOR -- PROBLEMS NEVER, EVER CONVEYED TO ME PREVIOUSLY -- YET DR. BARNEY COULD NOT DISCUSS THOSE ISSUES UNTIL AFTER THE CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY. I FELT BETRAYED AT THE TIME AND IN THE DARK ABOUT WHAT WAS GOING ON AND WAS TRAUMATIZED BY THE LACK OF SUPPORT. IT IS STILL VERY FRESH IN MY MEMORY AND IS WHAT EVENTUALLY RESULTED IN THE LACK OF SUPPORT TO FINISH MY DISSERTATION, WHICH I RELUCTANTLY -- VERY RELUCTANTLY -- LAYED DOWN IN JULY OF 2006. I FELT EXTREMELY UNSUPPORTED DESPITE MY EXTENSIVE WRITING AND EVEN THOUGH I DID NOT RECEIVE MY PHD FOR ALL OF THE WORK THAT I DID AND TIME THAT I INVESTED, I HAVE ALWAYS WANTED TO FINISH THE PHD AND IN FACT NEED THAT PHD FOR TEACHING JOBS IN COMPOSITION STUDIES AND FURTHER EMPLOYMENT AND DO REGARD SUNY ALBANY (THE UNIVERSITY AT ALBANY) AS RESPONSIBLE FOR MY ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL STRUGGLES DUE TO NOT BEING ABLE TO COMPLETE THE PHD AND THROWING UP SO MANY INSTITUTIONAL ROADBLOCKS TO ITS COMPLETION.

 

Diane K. <dianekolson@gmail.com>
Oct 31

to ggriffith, James, kcummings2
DEAR UNIVERSITY AT ALBANY, ENGLISH DEPARTMENT, GRADUATE PROGRAM -- I HAVE NOT RECEIVED A RESPONSE TO THIS LETTER/EMAIL ADDRESSED TO YOU ON OCTOBER 17th, AND THIS ISSUE IS NOT GOING AWAY BECAUSE I SHOULD BE IN A UNIVERSITY TEACHING POSITION RIGHT NOW IN COMPOSITION STUDIES AND CULTURAL STUDIES AND I HAVE SUFFERED FINANCIALLY FROM ALL OF THE INSTITUTIONAL ROADBLOCKS THROWN UP BY THE DEPARTMENT WHEN I WAS TRYING TO COMPLETE MY DISSERTATION AT SUNY ALBANY. I HAVE SUFFERED CONSIDERABLE FINANCIAL LOSS DUE TO WHAT HAS HAPPENED, AND I HAVE NOT RECEIVED THE PROPER INSTITUTIONAL AND DEPARTMENTAL SUPPORT, AS A WOMAN, IN GETTING BACK TO MY TEACHING CAREER. I HAVE AMPLE WRITTEN EVIDENCE THAT I SHOULD HAVE RECEIVED THE DEGREE BY NOW. I DO FEEL, VERY STRONGLY, THAT SEXISM HAS PLAYED A ROLE IN HOW I HAVE BEEN INDIFFERENTLY TREATED BY THE DEPARTMENT AND CAST ASIDE. MY CONCERNS WILL NOT BE CAST ASIDE ANY LONGER -- WHAT HAPPENED IN DECEMBER OF 2003 WAS BLATANTLY WRONG AND HOW I WAS TREATED THEREAFTER WAS ALSO BLATANTLY WRONG, AND I AM ONCE AGAIN REQUESTING THAT THE DEPARTMENT MAKE THINGS RIGHT FOR ME AND GIVE ME THE PROPER ASSISTANCE IN GETTING BACK TO MY TEACHING AND MY CAREER. I HAVE SUFFERED SIGNIFICANT FINANCIAL DAMAGE DUE TO ALL OF THIS.

SINCERELY,

DIANE K. OLSON

DEAR GRADUATE DIRECTOR AT SUNY ALBANY'S ENGLISH DEPARTMENT:

GREETINGS. I WAS A PHD CANDIDATE IN THE ENGLISH DEPARTMENT IN COMPOSITION STUDIES, POETICS AND CULTURAL STUDIES AS OF 2006 AND HAD TO STOP PURSUING THE DEGREE/DISSERTATION (WHICH I HAD PUT VERY EXTENSIVE EFFORT, TIME AND MONEY INTO) DUE TO INSTITUTIONAL POLITICS, LACK OF SUPPORT FROM MY COMMITTEE AND LACK OF FINANCIAL RESOURCES. I HAVE RECENTLY CONTACTED STEVE NORTH, WHO WAS MY CHAIR AT THE TIME (MY PREVIOUS CHAIR WAS CY KNOBLAUCH, WHO HAD TO LEAVE FOR UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA, CHARLOTTE IN 1999, THE SAME TIME I RECEIVED A TEACHING FELLOWSHIP AT GEORGIA TECH) YET HAVEN'T HEARD BACK FROM HIM IN SEVERAL MONTHS. I DID HEAR FROM HIM BRIEFLY EARLIER THIS YEAR IN RESPONSE TO A WEBSITE THAT I HAVE www.compositionstudies.com WHICH IS EVIDENCE THAT I AM STILL ACTIVELY AND PASSIONATELY INVOLVED IN WRITING ABOUT ISSUES IN THE FIELD OF COMPOSITION STUDIES. I HAVE ACTUALLY WORKED IN COMPOSITION STUDIES FOR NEARLY 27 YEARS NOW -- SINCE I WAS AN UNDERGRADUATE AND EVEN DID MY UNDERGRADUATE HONORS THESIS IN COMPOSITION STUDIES AND MULTICULTURALISM. THE REASON THAT I WOULD LIKE TO FINISH THE PHD NOW IS BECAUSE I REALLY WANT TO GET BACK TO TEACHING AND I HAVE APPLIED AT MANY UNIVERSITIES THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY (I CURRENTLY RESIDE IN IOWA BUT HAVE LIVED ON THE EAST COAST IN NEW YORK AND ATLANTA, WHERE I HAD AN ABD TEACHING FELLOWSHIP IN THE SCHOOL OF LITERATURE, CULTURE AND COMMUNICATION). I AM A VERY GIFTED AND PASSIONATE TEACHER AND I CURRENTLY FEEL STRANDED IN THE SUBURBS OF WEST DES MOINES, IOWA WITHOUT EMPLOYMENT, WHERE I SHOULD NOT BE -- I SHOULD BE TEACHING RIGHT NOW. I STILL HAVE ALL OF MY DISSERTATION MATERIALS AND WRITINGS IN A BINDER AND MY CV IS POSTED ON MY WEBSITE www.compositionstudies.com (A SITE WHICH I HAVE HAD SINCE 2004). AND I AM STILL VERY PASSIONATE AND INVESTED IN THE ISSUES OF MY DISSERTATION, AS I ALWAYS HAVE BEEN. THE CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH I WAS FORCED TO ABANDON WORK ON MY PHD WERE EXTREMELY UNJUST AND UNFAIR TO ME AND I FEEL AS IF GENDER AND SEXISM HAD A STRONG ROLE TO PLAY IN THE LACK OF SUPPORT AND THE INSTITUTIONAL POLITICS THAT WERE GOING ON IN REGARDS TO MY DISSERTATION. THE PROBLEMS STARTED IN DECEMBER OF 2003, RIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, WHEN I WAS SUDDENLY CONTACTED BY THE CURRENT CHAIR OF THE DEPARTMENT RICHARD BARNEY, WHO I UNDERSTAND IS STILL AT ALBANY, AND TOLD IN AN EMAIL THAT I HAD SERIOUS PROBLEMS WITH MY DISSERTATION DIRECTOR -- PROBLEMS NEVER, EVER CONVEYED TO ME PREVIOUSLY -- YET DR. BARNEY COULD NOT DISCUSS THOSE ISSUES UNTIL AFTER THE CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY. I FELT BETRAYED AT THE TIME AND IN THE DARK ABOUT WHAT WAS GOING ON AND WAS TRAUMATIZED BY THE LACK OF SUPPORT. IT IS STILL VERY FRESH IN MY MEMORY AND IS WHAT EVENTUALLY RESULTED IN THE LACK OF SUPPORT TO FINISH MY DISSERTATION, WHICH I RELUCTANTLY -- VERY RELUCTANTLY -- LAYED DOWN IN JULY OF 2006. I FELT EXTREMELY UNSUPPORTED DESPITE MY EXTENSIVE WRITING AND EVEN THOUGH I DID NOT RECEIVE MY PHD FOR ALL OF THE WORK THAT I DID AND TIME THAT I INVESTED, I HAVE ALWAYS WANTED TO FINISH THE PHD AND IN FACT NEED THAT PHD FOR TEACHING JOBS IN COMPOSITION STUDIES AND FURTHER EMPLOYMENT AND DO REGARD SUNY ALBANY (THE UNIVERSITY AT ALBANY) AS RESPONSIBLE FOR MY ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL STRUGGLES DUE TO NOT BEING ABLE TO COMPLETE THE PHD AND THROWING UP SO MANY INSTITUTIONAL ROADBLOCKS TO ITS COMPLETION.

SO THIS IS WHY I AM ADDRESSING YOU AND THE DEPARTMENT RIGHT NOW, AS I HAVE ALREADY EMAILED DR. STEVE NORTH RECENTLY ABOUT MY STRONG DESIRE TO FINISH THAT DISSERTATION WITH THE PROPER ACADEMIC AND INSTITUTIONAL SUPPORT -- IN FACT, MY NEED TO FINISH THAT DISSERTATION AND RECEIVE MY PHD WHICH I SHOULD HAVE RECEIVED MANY YEARS AGO AND AM MERITED TO RECEIVE BASED UPON ALL OF THE WRITINGS THAT I DID TOWARD THE PHD IN WRITING, TEACHING AND CRITICISM. I HAVE SUFFERED FINANCIALLY WITHOUT IT AND WITHOUT BEING IN AN ACADEMIC ENVIRONMENT AND AGAIN, I FEEL THAT THERE WAS A VERY STRONG GENDER BIAS GOING ON WITH THE BARRIERS THAT I ENCOUNTERED BETWEEN 2003 and 2006.

I CAN BE REACHED AT THE CELLPHONE  and THE EMAIL. . IT IS A NY CELLPHONE NUMBER BUT I HAVE RESIDED IN WEST DES MOINES, IOWA SINCE 2006. MY SITUATION CURRENTLY IS EXTREMELY UNJUST AND UNFAIR AND I DO STILL HOLD THE SUNY ALBANY ENGLISH DEPARTMENT AS ACCOUNTABLE AND RESPONSIBLE FOR HOW THIS HAS TURNED OUT.

SINCERELY,

DIANE K. OLSON

Diane K. <dianekolson@gmail.com>

Oct 17

 

to ggriffith, jlilley

 

Lilley, James Nov 14
Dear Diane Olson, I am in receipt of your emails, and am writing to respond t...

Diane K. <dianekolson@gmail.com>
Nov 14

to James
Dear James Lilley:

Thank you for the information about pursuing readmission into the program at UAlbany, which I will assume will not cancel out the fact that I passed my qualifying exams and was admitted to PHD Candidacy in January of 2003. Also, per your information, I will also be contacting Dr. Chantelle Cleary with all of the details regarding what I went through between 2003 and 2006 -- what I experienced was so unfair and unjust and is the reason I had to leave the program, especially when I was left without any intellectual or moral support. I know many male PhD students who graduated from UAlbany English who were not left stranded in the situation that I was.

SINCERELY,

DIANE K. OLSON

 

Diane K. <dianekolson@gmail.com>
Dec 15 (1 day ago)

to sn282, Shari, James
Dear James Lilley:

I have reconsidered your email and advice to me from this past fall and want to notify you and the department of English that as a PhD Candidate in Writing, Teaching and Criticism who did a a tremendous amount of writing toward my dissertation that I never received credit for and who feels that I was the recipient of severe and abusive gender discrimination and neglect by the department when I was working to complete the dissertation in a remote rural area with no financial support (and my director wrongly refused to help me apply for a dissertation scholarship and struck out at me in an abusive way in response to a dissertation chapter) that I regard the English Department at SUNY Albany as financially and legally liable for your neglect of my support needs and my situation while trying to complete the dissertation without proper moral, intellectual and financial support. I feel that the way that I was treated by your department was blatant sexism and I also feel that you wrongly making me jump through the hoop of reapplying for admission when I was already a PhD Candidate and the only reason I did not finish was because I lacked the moral, intellectual and financial support to finish and being stranded in a rural area without the financial resources to leave -- to ignore my situation when I kept writing letters to the administration and the department about my situation was sexism and abusive to me and now to make me reapply for admission when I already did a tremendous amount of work toward the PhD is also abusive and sexist. And I regard the department and the university as financially liable for the loss in income that I have suffered as a result of not having the PhD in hand that I need in order to get jobs -- again, see my website www.compositionstudies.com which proves that I have remained active in the field and am very gifted at what I do in composition studies. Your advice to me this past fall is totally wrong and also sexist in making me reapply for admission when I was already a PhD candidate in the department and did NOT -- by my own will -- stop working toward the PhD -- what happened with me being stranded in rural Iowa with no way to get out and no financial nor intellectual nor moral support was ABUSIVE and SEXIST and I am taking action now because I have needed that PhD to get jobs. NO MALE PHD STUDENT WOULD HAVE EVER BEEN LEFT IN THAT SITUATION OR MADE TO REAPPLY FOR WHAT THEY HAD ALREADY WORKED VERY HARD FOR!!! I WILL BE SEEKING LEGAL ACTION FOR THE FINANCIAL AND CAREER DAMAGES THAT I HAVE SUFFERED FOR THE DEPARTMENT'S NEGLECT BECAUSE WHAT HAS HAPPENED HAS BEEN VERY, VERY HURTFUL TO ME. MARK MY WORDS.

SINCERELY,

DIANE K. OLSON


THE RELATIONSHIPS AND TENSIONS BETWEEN COMPOSITION STUDIES, CULTURAL STUDIES AND POETICS (CREATIVE WRITING) IN A GRADUATE PROGRAM IN ENGLISH STUDIES

MY DISSERTATION WAS ENTITLED "'THE OTHER CULTURE WARS: THE CONFLICTS BETWEEN CULTURAL STUDIES, COMPOSITION STUDIES AND CREATIVE WRITING IN A GRADUATE PROGRAM IN ENGLISH STUDIES." THERE ARE MANY REASONS THAT I CHOSE TO DO SUCH A DISSERTATION -- BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY, I WANTED TO SHOW THAT THERE WAS -- AND STILL IS -- A  MIDDLE GROUND TO THESE TENSIONS AND WAYS TO CREATIVELY AND IMAGINATIVELY RESOLVE THE DIFFERENCES THAT WERE CAUSING SO MUCH TENSION AND CONFLICT IN THE GRADUATE PROGRAM THAT I WAS ATTENDING AT THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK AT ALBANY. I HAVE BEEN A GRADUATE STUDENT AND AN INSTRUCTOR -- INCLUDING A TEACHING FELLOW -- IN FOUR DIFFERENT PROGRAMS IN THE USA THAT HAVE HAD A CULTURAL STUDIES COMPONENT, AND I AM VERY IMPASSIONED ABOUT MY WORK AND TEACHING IN CULTURAL STUDIES AND HAVE BEEN SINCE I WAS AN UNDERGRADUATE.  YET I AM ALSO VERY IMPASSIONED ABOUT THE TEACHING OF COMPOSITION AND THEORIES ABOUT THE TEACHING OF COMPOSITION STUDIES, AND HAVE ALSO WORKED IN COMPOSITION STUDIES AND COMPOSITION PEDAGOGY  SINCE I WAS AN UNDERGRADUATE.  IN EACH PROGRAM THAT I HAVE TAUGHT IN, THERE HAS BEEN A DIFFERENT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN COMPOSITION STUDIES AND CULTURAL STUDIES -- YET THERE WAS A PARTICULARLY TENSE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE TWO AREAS WHEN I WAS A PHD STUDENT AT SUNY ALBANY AND MANY OF THE COMPOSITION STUDIES FACULTY ENDED UP LEAVING THE PROGRAM DUE TO THE TENSIONS AND THE LACK OF HOSPITALITY TOWARDS COMPOSITION STUDIES -- EVEN AS THE PROGRAM WAS ONCE A PROGRAM WHERE COMPOSITION STUDIES THRIVED AND SUNY ALBANY HAS SENT MANY OF ITS GRADUATES TO LIBERAL ARTS UNIVERSITIES THROUGHOUT THE USA TO INNOVATIVELY TEACH WRITING, POETICS AND LITERATURE.   YET THERE WERE SERIOUS AND DEBILITATING TENSIONS AND STRUGGLES BETWEEN CULTURAL STUDIES AND COMPOSITION STUDIES AT SUNY ALBANY, WITH MANY OF THE CULTURAL THEORISTS WANTING TO ARGUE THAT COMPOSITION STUDIES WASN'T "RIGOROUS" ENOUGH -- WHICH SIMPLY JUST WAS NOT TRUE AT ALL BECAUSE MANY COMPOSITIONISTS TEACH CULTURAL STUDIES TEXTS AND FRAMEWORKS AS PART OF THEIR COURSES AND MANY COMPOSITIONISTS ARE CONCERNED WITH THE ISSUES OF ACCESSIBILITY IN CULTURAL STUDIES AND MAKING CULTURAL STUDIES TEXTS ACCESSIBLE TO UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS AND WITH USING WRITING TO INTRODUCE STUDENTS TO CULTURAL STUDIES FRAMEWORKS AND WAYS OF RE-ENVISIONING AND CHALLENGING THE CAPITALISTIC SOCIETY THAT WE LIVE IN IN THE USA.  ONE OF THE ISSUES THAT I HAVE WRITTEN ABOUT PREVIOUSLY IS THAT WHEN CULTURAL STUDIES WANTS TO CLAIM "RIGOR," ITS TEXTS AND TEACHINGS BECOME OVERLY DENSE AND EVEN TOO OPPRESSIVE FOR UNDERGRADUATES TO UNDERSTAND AND WORK WITH.  RIGOR IS NOT NECESSARILY A GOOD THING AT THE UNDERGRADUATE LEVEL WHEN TEACHING CULTURAL STUDIES BECAUSE MANY STUDENTS ARE NOT YET PREPARED TO ENGAGE THE DENSE TEXTS AND IF CULTURAL STUDIES TRULY WANTS TO TRANSFORM THE WORLD AND THE WORLDS THAT STUDENTS LIVE IN, THEN IT NEEDS TO BE MORE CONCERNED ABOUT ISSUES OF ACCESSIBILITY AND TRANSLATABILITY THAN WITH RIGOR AND GOING OVER THE HEADS OF THE STUDENTS TRYING TO LEARN ABOUT  CULTURAL RELATIONS, COMPETING VALUES AND POWER RELATIONS IN SOCIETY -- VERY IMPORTANT ISSUES WHEN WE WANT OUR STUDENTS TO BE THINKING ABOUT AND WRITING ABOUT WHAT NEEDS IMPROVEMENT AND REVIVAL AND REFORMATION IN OUR AMERICAN CULTURE AS WE FIND IT TODAY.   AND THERE SEEMS TO BE A HUGE GULF BETWEEN HOW COMPOSITION STUDIES APPROACHES CULTURAL STUDIES AND AIMS TO TEACH ITS FRAMEWORKS AND INQUIRIES TO UNDERGRADUATES, THROUGH WRITING PROJECTS, AND HOW CULTURAL STUDIES AS AN (OVER)SPECIALIZATION TEACHES CULTURAL STUDIES TEXTS AT THE GRADUATE LEVEL.  I WAS WRITING ABOUT THESE ISSUES IN MY DISSERTATION BUT THEN RAN INTO INSTITUTIONAL POLITICS AND RESISTANCE WHEN I WAS TRYING TO COMPLETE MY DISSERTATION.  MANY UNNECESSARY HURDLES WERE THROWN-UP BY SOME OF THE FACULTY -- AS IF THEY DID NOT WANT TO SEE THE MIDDLE GROUND THAT I WAS TRYING TO REPRESENT AND FIND A COMMON, MUTUAL  GROUND BETWEEN COMPOSITION STUDIES, CULTURAL STUDIES AND POETICS AND UNDERSTAND THEIR JOINT AND SHARED INTERESTS AND INVESTMENTS IN TEACHING STUDENTS ABOUT HOW CULTURE IS SHAPED AND HOW CULTURE CAN BE TRANSFORMED.  IT IS SAD BECAUSE SUNY ALBANY'S PHD PROGRAM IN WRITING, TEACHING AND CRITICISM HAS PRODUCED MANY OUTSTANDING AND DEDICATED AND CARING TEACHERS AT THE UNIVERSITY LEVEL WHO AIM TO REFORM THE TEACHING OF COMPOSITION STUDIES AND CULTURAL STUDIES THROUGH THEIR TEACHING AT OTHER UNIVERSITIES.  I AM STILL LOOKING FOR A UNIVERSITY PROGRAM IN COMPOSITION STUDIES THAT WILL TAKE ME ABOARD THIS YEAR (2017) OR NEXT YEAR (2018) TO CONTINUE MY WORK IN THE TEACHING OF COMPOSITION STUDIES, CULTURAL STUDIES AND POETICS, AND I WOULD APPRECIATE HEARING FROM YOUR PROGRAM IF YOU HAVE TEACHING POSITIONS IN THESE AREAS AVAILABLE. MORE ON MY DISSERTATION PROJECT AND  THE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN COMPOSITION, POETICS AND CULTURAL STUDIES ON THIS BLOG IN THE FUTURE. SINCERELY,  DIANE K. OLSON 


TEACHING RIGHTEOUS, HOLY FIRE, HOLY SPIRIT WRITING THAT CHALLENGES AND RESISTS THE INSTITUTIONALIZATION AND CORPORATIZATION OF OUR STUDENTS' EDUCATIONS AND LIVES

WE NEED COMPOSITION COURSES THAT TEACH  RIGHTEOUS, HOLY FIRE, HOLY SPIRIT WRITING THAT CHALLENGE AND RESIST THE CORPORATIZATION AND INSTITUALIZATION OF OUR STUDENTS' EDUCATIONS AND LIVES. WE NEED TO TEACH CREATIVE WRITINGS SUCH AS MICHELLE CLIFF'S "IF I COULD WRITE THIS IN FIRE, I WOULD WRITE THIS FIRE" THAT CHALLENGES AND RESISTS THE OPPRESSION THAT OCCURS IN MANY EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS AND CORPORATIONS.  WHEREVER THERE IS CREATIVE AND IMAGINATIVE RESISTANCE TO OPPRESSION IN THE WORLD TODAY, THERE IS THE HOLY SPIRIT MIGHTILY MOVING ON BEHALF OF LORD JESUS AND OUR ALMIGHTY HEAVENLY FATHER TO CREATE A BETTER WORLD AND BETTER EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCES THAT EMBRACE THE CREATIVE ARTS AND THE GENERATIVE IMAGINATIVE CAPACITY OF OUR STUDENTS AND US, AS TEACHERS, TO RE-ENVISION A WORLD THAT WELCOMES DIVERSITY AND RESISTS OPPRESSION WHEREVER THAT OPPRESSION OCCURS, INCLUDING IN HIGHER EDUCATION TODAY AS IT HAS INCREASINGLY BECOME CORPORATIZED AND WRONGLY PLACES ECONOMIC PROFIT AND SCHOLARSHIP AND RESEARCH ABOVE AND BEYOND THE FAR MORE SIGNIFICANT, IMPORTANT AND VALUABLE WORK OF TEACHING AND ENCOURAGING THE LEARNING AND CREATIVITY OF STUDENTS.  THERE IS SO MUCH THAT NEEDS AND DEMANDS IMPROVEMENT AND REFORM IN OUR UNIVERSITIES TODAY, INCLUDING THE VALUING OF TEACHING AND STUDENTS' LEARNING OVER AND ABOVE ECONOMIC PROFIT AND THE CORPORATIZATION OF HIGHER EDUCATION, WHICH MANY IN COMPOSITION STUDIES HAVE TRIED TO CALL ATTENTION TO AND CHALLENGE AND WHICH MANY, ESPECIALLY IN THE SUNY ALBANY PROGRAM IN WRITING, TEACHING AND CRITICISM HAVE WRITTEN ABOUT AND TAUGHT AGAINST IN THEIR COURSES.   MORE YET TO COME ON THIS BLOG ON THESE ISSUES WHICH ARE VERY IMPORTANT TO ME, AS A UNIVERSITY TEACHER OF COMPOSITION STUDIES AND CULTURAL STUDIES, AND OTHER COMPOSITION TEACHERS WHO HAVE TRIED ADAMANTLY TO SHED LIGHT ON THE PROBLEMS WITH THE CORPORATIZATION AND INSTITUTIONALIZATION OF LEARNING AND THE TEACHING OF WRITING IN HIGHER EDUCATION TODAY.   SINCERELY, DIANE K. OLSON 


MY TEACHING STATEMENT -- DIANE K. OLSON

MY TEACHING STATEMENT
Diane K. Olson

Teaching Statement

In all of the courses which I have taught, writing is conceived as an essential tool for social and critical inquiry into the values, limitations and effects of both the texts at hand and the experiences students bring to their readings of the texts. Inevitably, the courses raise questions about how the educational and institutional contexts in which students study literary texts have shaped the formations of their interpretations and knowledges. The courses also encourage students to think about the social and historical conditions through which the texts were originally produced, as well as the effects of the texts as they have circulated beyond the socio-historical landscape in which they were made. Since my primary interests are in critical ethnography and contemporary discourse theory, my teaching attempts to incorporate inquiries into the relationship between discourse, knowledges, subjectivity and social practices. Even in my lower-division teaching, I want students to question how what they know is contingent upon the discourses and educational practices constructing their knowledges, and thereby question how the various discourses informed by the human sciences, including pedagogical discourses, delimit what is knowable and sayable about the objects of study. In other words, I am concerned with having students inspect and unpack the narrative quality of their knowledges and concomitantly, the generative nature of discourse (as discourse constitutes one's sense of self and otherness and the boundary lines between the 'self' and the 'other') is underscored in my teaching. By using an ethnographic approach, I ask to students to investigate how various educational and disciplinary discourses have informed how they explain and understand the differences between the 'cultural' and the 'natural', the 'normal' and the 'abnormal/deviant', the 'scientific' and the 'mythological' and the 'sane' and the 'mad', and then I ask them to consider how such differentiations serve to disqualify certain knowledges, as well as function to limit their experiences of cultural differences.

No doubt, this is not an easy task, and while I, like many other critical pedagogues, meet with the predictable resistance, I have found that by beginning with readings and writing exercises that ask students to narrate and reflect upon their prior educational experiences, the students are more inclined to identify the constraints and contradictions of those experiences than if I were to ask them to immediately deconstruct the class and gender assumptions underlying a literary text. Drawing upon experiential and subjective knowledges enables them to more concretely envision the dialectics between discourse, knowledge and experience, as they are asked to contrast their narrations with the narrations of theorists like Richard Rodriqeuz, Patricia Williams and Gloria Anzaldua, amongst others. Additionally, students have a more vested stake in problematizing the construction of their subjectivities and in locating the biases within educational discourses and practices. This approach is what Linda Brodkey and other ethnographers have termed 'autoethnography' which emphasizes the critical investigation of representations of 'self' in relationship to 'other' in cultural and institutional discourses. Through adopting an 'autoethnographic' approach to begin courses, I aim to shift the focus away from abstract ideological explanations, instead honing in on questions about the various discourses from which students have derived and constructed a sense of self and of culture. This approach is admittedly informed by my interest in the theoretical work of Michel Foucault and to other post-marxist theorists who have critiqued how the educational institution itself conspires to present unified transcendent subjectivities that are perceived as existing beyond power relations and/or guaranteeing a kind of liberatory space free of power differentials. Thus, rather than holding students individually accountable for their 'complicity' in hegemonic power relations, I begin my teaching efforts with the assumption that educational discourses themselves provide students with a sense of unfettered, autonomous and transcendent agency, which indirectly impedes questions about the limitations and effects of disciplinary knowledges in the human sciences. I am interested in how educational discourses itself, as its linked to the methodologies of the human sciences, actually scripts how students and teachers make sense out of their capacities and roles within the classroom, include the scripted narratives of 'progress' and 'normal, standardized development' that tend to inflect educational discourses. While I remain concerned with teaching the forms of academic discourse to students, my teaching also goes beyond providing proficiency in academic discourses or the introduction to a discourse community, when it asks students to critically scrutinize how their writing and literary experiences have been structured by standardized and traditional assumptions about education and learning.

Every course I have taught has attempted to incorporate the pedagogical philosophies and approaches I have outlined above. As with any teaching statement, however, it is by on means a complete or adequate representation of the discussions and exchanges that happen in the classroom or over the net. Every course is a challenge to interpret and translate these theoretical problematics so that they connect with the students' own inquiries. Given the contingency of knowledge-making, I want to learn form the students how they themselves comprehend the explanatory power of cultural theory, and one way of doing so is through crafting open-ended writing assignments that ask students to bring their experiences to bear critically on the theoretical texts under study. I tend to believe that cultural theory continually reinvents itself, performatively, in the teaching exchanges and in students' writings. One further reason I begin with critical reflection on prior educational experiences is that particularly with cultural studies courses, students are not always prepared for the sorts of questions about cultural and educational practices that are generally repressed in the majority of their other classes. It's been my experience that most students enter literary classes expecting to simply interpret literary texts, not to investigate how the enterprise of literary studies shapes how they interpret and evaluate texts. Recognizing the potential for intimidation, I find that autoethnographic inquiry eases the transition for those students who have not encountered cultural studies frameworks beforehand. Moreover, as far as my research interests are concerned, I have long been interested in how student agency is imagined and constructed across the spectrum of discourses within critical pedagogy, most particularly what I call 'pedagogies of demystification.' A good deal of composition theory in recent years has critiqued the ethics of case studies in which students are represented as embodying 'false consciousness' in need of liberation. Composition theorists such as Kurt Spellmeyer, Linda Brodkey and Ellen Quandahl all have adopted a "foucauldian" lense to inspect how such methodological frameworks actually counter-productively portray a sense of deficiency and lack, a representations that only further justifies and substantiates the interventionary power of teachers and administrators. Each of these composition theorists have called to task the productivity of such explanations in rationalizing the teachers' rights to diagnose what forms of critical knowledge are needed. In contrast, they often advocate a pedagogy that first investigates how students appropriate and use the frameworks of cultural studies to explain the conditions of their lives. Rather than taking the liberatory power of cultural studies to be self-evident, the preceding question is one about the difficulties of and obstacles to translating cultural studies frameworks into meaningful explanations of how power operates in the lived experience of students. In a similar fashion, my predominate concern is with the inevitable gap between the discourses and practices in cultural studies teaching. My research and teaching are intrinsically linked through my efforts to remain attentive to what students do with cultural theory, that is, how they productively use cultural theory, rather than attributing to cultural studies an inherently salvational or liberatory power. Keeping in mind Foucault's warnings about the dual dangers and benefits of any educational or social practice, I try to stay attentive to the shortcoming of cultural studies frameworks at the same time as I advocate and teach their explanatory powers.


FIRST AND FOREMOST, WE NEED TO TEACH STUDENTS TO HAVE FAITH IN THEMSELVES AS WRITERS AND THEIR HEART-FELT, GOD-GIVEN PURPOSES WHEN THEY WRITE

First and foremost, we, as composition teachers, need to teach students to have faith in themselves as writers and their heart-felt, God-given purposes when writing.   Too often, our impulse when teaching writing is to judge students and their writings but so often, that only stymies the writing process and causes students to lose faith in themselves and their purposes as writers.  We need composition studies courses that inspire students to use writing creatively and purposively to understand, imagine and creatively refashion the worlds that they live in -- that is what I would call faith-based, visionary writing that encourages students to pursue their creative, imaginative purposes in writing rather than merely having them perform writing for our evaluation, assessments and judgments -- writing that really has no purpose in the larger world and does not effect social and educational change and seems useless to many students, hence their resistances to writing tasks.  When the focus of writing is on evaluation and judgment, that does not build and encourage students' faith in themselves as writers, so we need to change our focus, as composition teachers, to creating and designing the kinds of writing assignments that do build and encourage students' faith in themselves as writers who have a purpose  in writing/communicating/expressing and have something important to say that matters to the world beyond the classrooms and beyond the university.   We build students' faith in themselves as writers by showing them ways that they can make and use their writing to imaginatively shape and transform and change the social worlds that they inhabit. We build students' faith in themselves as writers when we allow students to write about the issues and concerns that are near and dear to their hearts and that they care deeply about and feel compelled to write about -- and all students -- and teachers, too -- are born with the need to express and the desire to communicate what matters most to them -- that is why expressive letter-writing and song-writing are two of the most compelling forms of communication and resonate with so many people -- because letter-writing and song-writing come from a need to be heard and to interact with other people and effect/move the people who encounter the writing.  Hence, part of building students' faiths in themselves as writers also includes offering them opportunities to engage in these forms of expressive, communicative writing and allowing them to do the writing that they truly love, need and feel compelled to do -- writing that comes from the heart and also from a concern about improving the world and making it a more compassionate, responsive place.  We, as composition teachers, need to understand that our students' often possess fresh and compelling visions of how they would like the world to be and how they would improve the worlds that they inhabit, and by encouraging students to write about their visions for a better world, we are empowering them and teaching them to have faith in themselves as writers and communicators whose words truly matter and have far greater power than simply being evaluated and institutionally judged, as composition teachers are too frequently and unfortunately called upon to do by our universities.  In order to build our students' faiths in themselves as writers, we have to give up our roles as evaluators and taskmasters and imagine ourselves as co-creators and co-visionaries and co-communicators with our students who foster a sense of creative and visionary and heart-felt purpose when writing -- that is the type of writing that most builds students' faith in themselves writers, when they see their writing reaching out to and impacting the world around them and communicating their dearest concerns, especially to engaged listeners. This is the form and type of writing that I aim to teach in my classes -- faith-based, social justice, visionary writing -- and I am still seeking a university that will bring me aboard to teach the forms of writing that I describe and advocate for on this blog. If you teach at or know of such a place, I would be happy to hear about it.   My email address is dianekolson@gmail.com. MORE YET TO COME ON THIS BLOG IN THE FUTURE.   Sincerely, Diane K. Olson 


MY VISION FOR STARTING UP A CENTER FOR COMPOSITION STUDIES THAT FOREGROUNDS ADVOCACY, MINISTERIAL, SOCIAL JUSTICE AND VISIONARY WRITING

I have a vision for starting up a center for writing/composition studies that foregrounds advocacy, visionary, ministerial and social/institutional justice writing -- all forms of writing that I am highly experienced in teaching.  I have taught at the State University of New York at Albany, Georgia Tech in Atlanta and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in composition studies and poetics and cultural studies, and for the past decade, I have been writing and blogging as an advocate and a minister, and I would like to get back to a teaching position soon (in the fall of 2017) where I can teach advocacy and social justice writing, in particular, and hopefully, build this writing studies center on a campus that would be congenial to and welcoming of my vision for the center, as I have outlined this vision in my writings on this blog.  If you are part of a composition/writing studies program that would be interested in hiring me (my CV is posted on the side bar of this website) and allowing me to teach these forms of writing that I am so passionate about and invested in teaching, I would appreciate hearing from you -- I can be reached at the email address dianekolson@gmail.com  and I am currently in Iowa but would be willing to relocate.  I emphasize advocacy writing because we live in a world that is in great need of advocates for the oppressed, vulnerable and marginalized  -- people who can clearly and passionately communicate and advocate for the needs of people who are vulnerable and marginalized and whose needs have been overlooked by our American culture and our institutions.  And I emphasize visionary writing because we need people who can creatively reimagine and reinvent the institutions that currently exist and make them more humane and more compassionate and more responsive to the needs of the marginalized and forgotten of our society. And I emphasize social/institutional justice writing because we need more young people who care about bringing light and justice to those people experiencing oppression -- in all of its various forms -- in our culture and abroad.  And, finally, I emphasize ministerial writing because it is some of the most compassionate and loving and caring writing that our students and ourselves can do to heal what is broken in our culture and in our universities.  These are the four forms of writing that I am very gifted at teaching -- along with my life-long work in poetics and cultural studies -- and I am looking for a university or a college that is welcoming of these visions of writing and would assist me in starting this center for writing and composition studies that features these forms of writing.  I would greatly appreciate hearing from you and your program is you are interested in bringing me aboard as a teaching faculty this fall semester (2017). If you have the opportunity, please read some of my writing on this blog, which further details my visions for  the teaching of writing and composition.  Thank you for your time.  Sincerely, Diane K. Olson 


AS COMPOSITION TEACHERS, WE CAN AND SHOULD TEACH OUR STUDENTS ABOUT THE POWER OF WRITING TO CHANGE THE WORLD AND ADVOCATE AGAINST SOCIAL AND INSTITUTIONAL INJUSTICES

As composition teachers, we can and should teach our students about the power of writing to change the world and advocate against social and institutional injustices.  As composition studies teachers who also work in cultural studies, we need to emphasize to our students that writing is so much, much more than correct grammar and learning the forms of writing -- teaching that focuses only on grammar and formulaic issues neglects and devalues the real power of writing in the real world to impact social change and to advocate for social, educational and institutional issues that are near and dear to our hearts and minds and the hearts and minds of our students.  We must always remember that our students have extensive histories in educational institutions prior to being in our composition classrooms (indeed, some of them very oppressive experiences) and that we can provide our students with opportunities to explore those experiences and histories in ways that allow our students to  imagine and suggest changing those institutions so that our teaching offers students opportunities to understand the power of writing to change the worlds that our students inhabit.  Writing that only focuses on grammar and the forms of writing is often oppressive to students and devalues their desire and need to write about the issues that are near and dear to their hearts and minds and devalues the ways writing is used and operates in the  real world to enact educational and institutional change.  We need to teach our students about the power of language and writing to effect and advocate for educational, social and institutional changes in their lives because this is the kind of writing that engages students in very meaningful and valuable reflection and action on what needs changed in the larger world beyond our classrooms.  More to come on these issues with writing for social, educational and institutional change on this blog in the future.  Again, these are the most valuable and meaningful issues in the teaching of writing in universities -- that is, teaching students to see the value and power of writing in enacting change and transformation in the worlds that they inhabit within and beyond university walls.  Sincerely, Diane K. Olson 


TEACHING OUR STUDENTS TO ADVOCATE AND MINISTER, IN JESUS' NAME, THROUGH THEIR WRITINGS

For the past fourteen years, I have been using my gifts of writing and teaching to advocate for and minister to the broken, afflicted and broken-hearted people of the world.  This has become Jesus' great calling of love and compassion for my life -- to advocate and minister through my writings.   As composition teachers, we need to recognize that we have students, such as myself, who both have a love and adoration for Jesus and a passion for social justice issues and making the world a more just and caring and compassionate place.  As such, we need to create composition courses that allow, encourage and support ministerial and advocacy writing on the part of students in our courses because this is the most valuable, in Jesus' eyes, writing that they can be doing and it is writing that makes a tremendous difference in the world and goes far beyond, in its impact on the world, than writing that is to be merely evaluated and graded.  It is time for a REVIVAL in composition studies and time that we, as composition teachers, change our focus from being taskmasters and evaluators to being encouragers and supporters of writing that ministers to and advocates for the oppressed, broken, impoverished and broken-hearted of the world.  We most definitely are capable of creating composition courses that allow students to use their God-given HEARTS and minds to advocate for social change and social justice in their worlds and to use their Jesus-given HEARTS to express love and compassion to the world and people around them.  These are the most valuable and worthwhile things that our students and ourselves can be doing with their/our writing, which is a blessing and gift that we have all  been given by God.  We do not need to be evaluators and taskmasters because that is not who we are and who we are supposed to be, in Jesus' eyes, when we teach writing.  We need, instead, to create writing assignments that engage students' HEARTS and minds in thinking about ways they can reach out to, re-envision and positively change and transform the worlds and people around them.  These are the types of composition courses that I would like to create, and I would still love to start-up A CENTER FOR COMPOSITION AND WRITING STUDIES that teaches advocacy, ministerial, visionary and social justice writings, and I know that there are other composition studies teachers that can join me in starting-up this center and teaching these invaluable forms of writing to students -- that passionately engage students in writing projects that make an impact on and inspire change in the people and the worlds that they inhabit.  If you are interested in teaching these forms of writings and have a passion for these forms of writing, please either email me at dianekolson@gmail.com or leave a comment in the comments section of this blog. MORE YET TO COME ON THIS BLOG ABOUT TEACHING THESE FORMS OF WRITING IN THE FUTURE.  LOVE ALWAYS, DIANE K. OLSON 


HERE IS ANOTHER ORGANIZATION THAT YOU, AS COMPOSITION TEACHERS, CAN ENCOURAGE YOUR STUDENTS TO GET INVOLVED IN TO MEET PEOPLE'S NEEDS FOR CLEAN WATER

I HAVE WRITTEN ABOUT MY WORK WITH COMPASSION INTERNATIONAL www.compassion.com IN SEPTEMBER ON THIS BLOG -- A HIGHLY WORTHWHILE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY THAT GIVES STUDENTS WHO LOVE AND ADORE JESUS THE OPPORTUNITY TO SPONSOR AND WRITE LETTERS TO IMPOVERISHED CHILDREN THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.  I CONTINUE TO ENCOURAGE COMPOSITION TEACHERS TO GET INVOLVED WITH COMPASSION INTERNATIONAL AND PROMOTE THE MINISTRY TO YOUR STUDENTS WHO LOVE JESUS AND HAVE A PASSION FOR CHILDREN AND FIGHTING POVERTY IN THE WORLD.   TODAY, I WOULD LIKE TO INTRODUCE YOU TO ANOTHER NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION www.hands4others.org THAT YOUR STUDENTS CAN GET INVOLVED IN TO HELP BRING CLEAN, SAFE WATER TO IMPOVERISHED PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD.  HANDS4OTHERS IS A NON-PROFIT THAT EQUIPS AND EMPOWERS STUDENTS TO BE GLOBAL LEADERS.   LOVE ALWAYS, DIANE 


JESUS CARES, VERY MUCH SO, ABOUT WHAT IS GOING ON IN ACADEMIA TODAY AND THE SUFFERING THAT IT CAUSES PEOPLE

I am very glad to not be working in academia  -- although I still have a strong desire to teach composition and cultural studies and poetics, like I have for many years and am very gifted and passionate at doing, if I were receiving the proper and necessary support -- any longer because there are many people in academia who are suffering greatly -- many people with broken hearts -- from its artificial requirements and protocols and false promises -- that is why I have created and, in the past year, have written on www.compositionstudies.com, so as to lead some of those people back to Jesus and let them know that Jesus loves and cares for them beyond measure and is compassionately and lovingly there for them in their hurt and pain. I have also created a website called www.jesusstudies.org because we very much need -- more than anything else -- courses about Jesus and His LOVE AND COMPASSION FOR THE MOST BROKEN, MARGINALIZED AND HURTING POPULATIONS OF THE WORLD -- that is why I went into cultural studies because of my JESUS-GIVEN HEART for the OUTCAST AND MARGINALIZED, only that field has not been effective in the university -- it doesn't move people's hearts and feet to do something about the conditions faced by outcast and impoverished people. But now, I want to teach courses about Jesus and his great love and care for the outcast and broken of this world, such as I write about on www.jesusstudies.org that encourages students to become ministers and advocates to the world around them and use their love and adoration for Jesus -- their JESUS-GIVEN HEARTS -- to serve the worlds around them. I pray today to Our HEAVENLY FATHER AND JESUS THAT THEY PUT ME BACK TO WORK, LIKE I HAVE BEEN DOING THROUGH MY WRITING FOR THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS, TEACHING PEOPLE ABOUT THE GREAT LOVE AND COMPASSION OF JESUS CHRIST AND JESUS GREAT LOVE AND AMAZING GRACE FOR THEM. I PRAY THAT I CONTINUE TO MINISTER TO OTHERS THROUGH MY WRITING AND LEAD MANY PEOPLE BACK TO JESUS AND GROW THEIR FAITH AND THEIR UNDERSTANDING OF THE PRESENCE OF JESUS IN THEIR LIVES AND JESUS' GREAT LOVE FOR THEM. I PRAY THAT I GET TO START MY ORGANIZATION www.jesushearts.org THAT TEACHES CHILDREN ABOUT JESUS AND HOW HE LIVED IN THE GOSPELS AND HIS GREAT COMMANDMENT THAT WE LOVE AND CARE FOR ONE ANOTHER. Please pray for these things for me, if you will please. IN JESUS' BEAUTIFUL, COMPASSIONATE, LOVING AND GLORIOUS NAME. LOVE ALWAYS, DIANE


A WAY THAT COMPOSITION STUDENTS CAN COMPASSIONATELY REACH OUT TO A WORLD IN NEED

I WAS A GIFTED COMPOSITION TEACHER AT THREE MAJOR UNIVERSITIES IN THE USA FOR OVER A DECADE.  THEN GOD CHOSE FOR ME TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT WITH MY LIFE AND MY GIFTS OF WRITING AND TEACHING.  FOR THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS, I HAVE BEEN CREATING AND WRITING WEBSITES THAT TESTIFY TO, MINISTER TO  AND TEACH ABOUT THE GREAT LOVE AND COMPASSION OF JESUS CHRIST AND OUR HEAVENLY FATHER.  I HAVE ALSO BEEN INVOLVED WITH AN ORGANIZATION CALLED COMPASSION INTERNATIONAL THAT SPONSORS CHILDREN IN MANY IMPOVERISHED AND DEVELOPING COUNTRIES AND TEACHES THEM ABOUT THE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST AND CARES ABOUT THEIR HEALTHY GROWTH AND THE OPPORTUNITY FOR THEM TO HAVE A BRIGHT FUTURE THROUGH CHURCH-BASED CENTERS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.  THIS INCLUDES WRITING LETTERS TO THE CHILDREN AND LETTING THEM KNOW HOW MUCH GOD AND JESUS LOVE THEM AND GIVING THEM WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT AND HOPE FOR THEIR FUTURE.  I WOULD ENCOURAGE YOU, AS COMPOSITION TEACHERS, TO THINK ABOUT WAYS THAT YOU CAN GET YOUR STUDENTS TO BECOME INVOLVED IN SUCH MINISTRIES AND FAITH-BASED ORGANIZATIONS SUCH AS COMPASSION INTERNATIONAL, WHICH INCLUDES USING THEIR GIFTS OF WRITINGS TO SHARE THE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST.  WHEN I WAS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS IN THE 1990's, I HAD MANY STUDENTS WHO ADORED JESUS AND WANTED TO WRITE ABOUT JESUS BUT SOME OF THE TEACHERS IN THE PROGRAM DID NOT UNDERSTAND AND WANTED TO CHANGE THE STUDENTS' WRITING.  I BELIEVE, VERY STRONGLY, THAT RATHER THAN CENSORING THESE STUDENTS' LOVE FOR JESUS CHRIST WE NEED TO PROVIDE THEM WITH OPPORTUNITIES TO EXPLORE WAYS THAT THEY CAN SHARE THAT LOVE WITH THE MOSTY NEEDY PEOPLE OF THE WORLD AND THAT INCLUDES USING THEIR WRITINGS AND LOVE OF JESUS AND COMPASSION TO MINISTER TO IMPOVERISHED CHILDREN THROUGH ORGANIZATIONS SUCH COMPASSION, WHICH INCLUDES WRITING LETTERS  THAT GIVE HOPE TO THE CHILDREN THAT ARE BEING SPONSORED.  AND THERE ARE SO MANY OTHER FAITH-BASED, MINISTERIAL ORGANIZATIONS THAT NEED OUR GIFTS OF WRITING, THAT ARE CONCERNED WITH BRINGING JUSTICE TO THE WORLD (SUCH AS INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE MISSION IN WASHINGTON DC)  AND THAT WE CAN ENCOURAGE OUR COMPOSITION STUDENTS TO GET INVOLVED IN.  I WOULD STILL LIKE TO CREATE THE COMPASSION READER THAT I ENVISIONED THIS YEAR (AND HAVE WRITTEN ABOUT ON THIS BLOG SEVERAL TIMES)  SO THAT STUDENTS IN OUR COURSES WOULD HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO EXPLORE, THROUGH THEIR WRITINGS, HOW THEY CAN BE INVOLVED IN COMPASSIONATELY AND LOVINGLY SERVING THE WORLD AROUND THEM, WITH BOTH THE HEART AND LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST AND A PASSION FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUES AND MAKING THE WORLD A MORE JUST AND CARING PLACE.  LOVE ALWAYS, DIANE KAY OLSON

www.savior.world

www.jesuslovesyou.love

www.godlovesyou.co

www.ourheavenlyfather.net

www.amazinggraceministries.org

www.jesusisthehopeoftheworld.com

www.amazinggrace.io

www.faithandpolitics.net

www.compassionfortheafflicted.com

www.jesuslobby.com

www.jesusstudies.org

www.godsvisionforamerica.com

www.newyorkcityministries.com

 http://dianekay.typepad.com/wakeup_america/

 

 

 

 

 

 


TEACHING STUDENTS TO WRITE AGAINST THE GRAIN OF TRADITIONAL ACADEMIC PROSE

WE NEED MORE COMPOSITION COURSES THAT TEACH STUDENTS TO WRITE AGAINST THE GRAIN OF TRADITIONAL ACADEMIC PROSE.  THESE WOULD BE COURSES WHERE STUDENTS IMAGINATIVELY AND CREATIVELY LOOK AT THE LIMITS OF TRADITIONAL ACADEMIC PROSE AND EXPLORE WAYS TO CREATE KNOWLEDGES AND EXPRESS TRUTHS THAT GO AGAINST THE GRAIN OF TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE-MAKING IN THE ACADEMY.  WE NEED TO ENCOURAGE STUDENTS TO EXPRESS THEIR INNER AND OUTER TRUTHS AND BRING THOSE TRUTHS INTO DIALOGUE WITH TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGES IN THE UNIVERSITY.  COMPOSITION STUDIES IS THE IDEAL PLACE TO BRING ABOUT A REVIVAL IN HOW WRITING IS CREATIVELY UNDERSTOOD WITHIN THE UNIVERSITY AND HOW STUDENTS CAN USE THEIR WRITING TO RE-ENVISION THEIR WORK IN OTHER COURSES.


WE NEED TO HAVE GREAT COMPASSION ON THOSE STUDENTS WHO ARE EXPERIENCING WRITER'S BLOCK

WE, AS COMPOSITION TEACHERS, NEED TO HAVE GREAT COMPASSION ON THOSE STUDENTS WHO ARE EXPERIENCING WRITER'S BLOCK, ESPECIALLY BECAUSE IT IS OFTEN NOT THEIR FAULT THAT THE WRITING TASKS THAT WE ARE PRESENTING TO THEM DO NOT APPEAL TO THEIR NEEDS TO WRITE.  WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT ALL STUDENTS POSSESS THE ABILITY TO WRITE AND IF THEY FEEL BLOCKED IN OUR COURSES, IT COULD VERY WELL BE BECAUSE SOMETHING ABOUT OUR COURSES ARE NOT SUITED TO THEIR PURPOSES AS WRITERS.  SO, WHEN STUDENTS ARE EXPERIENCING WRITER'S BLOCK, WE NEED TO EXAMINE, WITH THEM, WHAT ABOUT OUR COURSES ARE NOT SERVING THEIR PURPOSES AND THEN ADJUST OUR COURSES SO THAT STUDENTS WILL FEEL COMFORTABLE WRITING FOR US AGAIN. THIS IS THE COMPASSIONATE RESPONSE THAT WE NEED TO HAVE TOWARDS WRITER'S BLOCK, WHICH CAN OFTEN TEACH US ABOUT WHAT WE NEED TO IMPROVE IN OUR CLASSES.


ACADEMIC WRITING CAN BE OPPRESSIVE TO STUDENTS, WE NEED COMPOSITION COURSES THAT ALLOW STUDENTS TO BE AS CREATIVE AS POSSIBLE

ACADEMIC WRITING CAN BE OPPRESSIVE TO STUDENTS WITH ITS ARTIFICIAL REQUIREMENTS, SO WE NEED TO CREATE COMPOSITION COURSES THAT ALLOW STUDENTS TO BE A CREATIVE AS POSSIBLE WITH THEIR WRITINGS AND THEIR LEARNING.  TOO OFTEN, ACADEMIC WRITING DOES NOT ALLOW STUDENTS TO EXPRESS THEIR RELATIONSHIPS AND UNDERSTANDINGS OF THE MATERIALS THAT THEY ARE WRITING ABOUT IN A CREATIVE MANNER.  SO, WE NEED TO CREATE COMPOSITION COURSES THAT ALLOW STUDENTS TO RE-ENVISION AND RE-IMAGINE THEIR RELATIONSHIPS TO THE CONTENTS OF THEIR OTHER COURSES.  ACADEMIC WRITING IS TOO OFTEN ANTITHETICAL TO THE CREATIVE IMPULSES OF STUDENTS IN THEIR WRITINGS, AND THUS THEY EXPERIENCE RESISTANCES TO THE LITERACY DEMANDS OF ACADEMIC WRITING BECAUSE ACADEMIC WRITING IS NOT ORGANIC AND NATURAL IN THE LEARNING PROCESSES OF STUDENTS. INSTEAD OF THINKING OF COMPOSITION STUDIES AS IN SERVICE TO THE ARTIFICIAL DEMANDS OF ACADEMIC WRITING, WE NEED TO IMAGINE COMPOSITION STUDIES AND OUR COURSES AS RE-ENVISIONING WHAT WRITING CAN DO IN THE OTHER DISCIPLINES WITHIN THE UNIVERSITY AND IN THE LARGER WORLD BEYOND OUR CLASSROOMS.


WE, AS COMPOSITION TEACHERS, NEED AN ETHIC OF CARE FOR WHAT STUDENTS NEED TO SAY/WRITE

WE, AS COMPOSITION TEACHERS, NEED AN ETHIC OF CARE FOR WHAT STUDENTS NEED TO SAY/WRITE IN THEIR WRITINGS.  WE NEED TO TEACH STUDENTS THAT WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY/WRITE IS VALUABLE AND MATTERS IN THE WORLDS BEYOND OUR CLASSROOMS.  STUDENTS NEED TO KNOW THAT WHAT THEY ARE WRITING IS GOING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE LARGER WORLD AND THAT THEIR WRITINGS HAVE A PURPOSE BEYOND SIMPLY TO BE EVALUATED AND GRADED.  IT IS SO IMPORTANT THAT WE CRAFT WRITING ASSIGNMENTS THAT SERVE THESE LARGER PURPOSES FOR STUDENTS, AND IT IS SO IMPORTANT THAT WE RESPOND TO STUDENTS' WRITING IN A MANNER THAT SHOWS THAT WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY/WRITE TRULY MATTERS AND CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO OTHER READERS AS WELL.  STUDENTS NEED TO KNOW THAT THE WRITINGS THEY ARE PRODUCING ARE GOING TO EFFECT, MOVE AND CHANGE READERS BEYOND OUR CLASSROOMS.  I CANNOT SAY ENOUGH HOW IMPORTANT THIS IS FOR OUR STUDENTS AND THAT WE CREATE COMPOSITION COURSES THAT SERVE THESE PURPOSES FOR STUDENTS AS THEY GROW AS WRITERS AND COMMUNICATORS.


I WOULD LOVE TO START-UP A CENTER FOR WRITING STUDIES THAT ADVANCES THE CONCEPTS OF COMPOSITION TEACHING DETAILED ON THIS BLOG

I WOULD LOVE TO START-UP A CENTER FOR WRITING STUDIES THAT ADVANCES THE CONCEPTS OF COMPOSITION TEACHING ADVANCED ON THIS BLOG.  THIS WOULD BE A CENTER THAT IS STUDENT-CENTERED AND ADVOCATES FOR STUDENT WRITING THAT IS PURPOSEFUL AND CREATIVE.  THIS WOULD BE A CENTER THAT TEACHES ADVOCACY WRITING, SOCIAL JUSTICE WRITING, TRANSFORMATIVE WRITING AND VISIONARY WRITING, AND ENCOURAGES STUDENTS TO CONDUCT THEIR OWN WRITING PROJECTS ALONG THESE LINES.  THIS WOULD BE A CENTER THAT ENCOURAGES STUDENTS TO VIEW THEIR WRITINGS AS REVOLUTIONARY AND PASSIONATE AGENTS FOR CHANGE IN THE WORLDS AND COMMUNITIES THAT THEY INHABIT AND THE LARGER WORLD BEYOND THE CLASSROOM.  STUDENTS WOULD BE TAUGHT TO SEE THE RADICAL POTENTIAL OF WRITING TO TRANSFORM AND REENVISION THE WORLD AROUND THEM.  


TEACHING COMPOSITION THAT IMAGINATIVELY REENVISIONS AND CREATIVELY TRANSFORMS OTHER DISCIPLINES AND THE WORLDS STUDENTS INHABIT

AS TEACHERS OF COMPOSITION, WE CAN TEACH STUDENTS TO CREATIVELY AND PURPOSIVELY USE THEIR WRITINGS TO REIMAGINE THEIR WORK IN OTHER CLASSES AND TRANSFORM THEIR RELATIONSHIPS TO THE WORLDS THAT THEY INHABIT.  THIS INCLUDES TEACHING AND ENCOURAGING STUDENTS TO BE AS CREATIVE AS POSSIBLE IN HOW THEY IMAGINE WHAT THEY DO WHEN THEY WRITE AND TEACHING THEM TO UNDERSTAND THE POSITIVE AND TRANSFORMATIVE POWER OF WRITING IN ENACTING SOCIAL AND EDUCATIONAL CHANGES. WE NEED TO TEACH STUDENTS TO IMAGINE WRITING AS AN INSTRUMENT FOR CHANGE AND FOR IMPROVING THE WORLDS THAT THEY LIVE IN AND THE LARGER WORLD BEYOND OUR CLASSROOM.  WE MUST GIVE THEM CREATIVE AND PURPOSEFUL ASSIGNMENTS THAT ALLOW FOR SUCH CREATIVE REENVISIONING.  AS ALREADY MENTIONED ON THIS BLOG, STUDENTS ARE BRIMMING WITH FRESH AND EXCITING IDEAS ABOUT HOW THEIR EDUCATIONAL AND SOCIAL EXPERIENCES CAN BE IMPROVED AND TRANSFORMED, AND WE MUST TEACH THEM THEY CAN USE WRITING TO DO EXACTLY THAT -- TO ENACT THE CHANGES THAT THEY WOULD LIKE TO SEE IN THE WORLD.  WE MUST TEACH THEM TO UNDERSTAND AND USE THE CREATIVE POWER OF WRITING TO CHANGE THE LARGER WORLD BEYOND OUR CLASSROOMS AND GIVE STUDENTS THE OPPORTUNITIES TO USE THEIR WRITING TO CREATIVELY REENVISION THAT LARGER WORLD.


WE NEED TO TEACH STUDENTS TO BE STRONG AND PASSIONATE ADVOCATES THROUGH THEIR WRITINGS

WE, AS COMPOSITION TEACHERS, NEED TO TEACH STUDENTS TO BE STRONG AND PASSIONATE ADVOCATES THROUGH THEIR WRITINGS.  THERE IS A GREAT NEED FOR ADVOCATES IN OUR WORLD TODAY, AND WE NEED TO TEACH STUDENTS HOW TO USE THEIR WRITINGS PASSIONATELY TO ADVOCATE FOR THE OPPRESSED AND MARGINALIZED PEOPLES OF THE WORLD.  THIS IS PART OF MY VISION OF CREATING A COMPASSION READER THAT INTRODUCES STUDENTS, IN PART, TO THE WORK OF HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS AND SOCIAL JUSTICE WORKERS AND INSPIRES STUDENTS TO USE THEIR WRITINGS TO ADVOCATE FOR THE ISSUES AND CONCERNS THAT ARE NEAR AND DEAR TO THEM.  GOOD ADVOCATES ARE ALSO STRONG DOCUMENTARIANS, AND WE NEED TO TEACH STUDENTS HOW TO USE THEIR WRITINGS TO DOCUMENT WHAT NEEDS CHANGED IN THE WORLDS THAT THEY INHABIT AND THE COMMUNITIES THAT THEY ARE INVOLVED IN.  WE CAN TEACH STUDENTS TO USE THEIR WRITINGS PURPOSIVELY TO ADVOCATE AGAINST THE INJUSTICES AND OPPRESSIONS THAT THEY SEE IN THE WORLD TODAY.  WE NEED TO CREATE COURSES IN ADVOCACY WRITING THAT INSPIRE STUDENTS TO USE THEIR WRITINGS TO CHANGE, IMPROVE AND TRANSFORM THE COMMUNITIES AND WORLDS THAT THEY LIVE IN AND THE LARGER WORLD BEYOND OUR CLASSROOMS. 


WE, AS COMPOSITION TEACHERS, NEED TO ENCOURAGE STUDENTS TO BE AS CREATIVE AND PURPOSEFUL AS POSSIBLE WITH THEIR WRITINGS

THE PROGRAM WHERE I WAS COMPLETING MY DISSERTATION AT WAS CALLED WRITING, TEACHING AND CRITICISM; HOWEVER, IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN CALLED WRITING, TEACHING AND CREATIVITY BECAUSE IT WAS THE WORK OF THE CREATIVE WRITERS AND COMPOSITIONISTS IN THE PROGRAM THAT GAVE THE PROGRAM ITS UNIQUE "EDGE" AND TRANSFORMATIVE POWER DURING THE D.A. PROGRAM IN THE 1980's BEFORE THE FACULTY DECIDED THAT THEY NEEDED A PHD PROGRAM INSTEAD OF A D.A..  DURING THE D.A., THE CREATIVE WRITERS AND COMPOSITIONISTS IN THE PROGRAM WERE CREATIVELY REENVISIONING THE WORK OF ENGLISH STUDIES AND THEY BROUGHT THOSE FRESH VISIONS OF THE FIELD INTO THEIR TEACHING IN THE PROGRAM AND AT THE OTHER UNIVERSITIES WHERE THEY WENT TO TEACH AFTER COMPLETING THEIR DEGREES AT ALBANY.  BEING A D.A. PROGRAM THAT ATTRACTED MANY CREATIVE WRITERS WHO WANTED TO CREATIVELY THINK ABOUT INSTITUTIONAL ISSUES PERTAINING TO WRITING AND WRITING INSTRUCTION IS WHAT SET THE PROGRAM APART FROM OTHER DOCTORAL WRITING PROGRAMS.  HOWEVER, WHEN THE FACULTY DECIDED THAT THEY WANTED TO CHANGE THE PROGRAM TO A PHD PROGRAM, THEY BROUGHT IN LITERARY CRITICS AND PEOPLE ROOTED IN LITERARY CRITICISM TO CONSULT ON THE FORMATION OF THE PHD, AND THOSE PEOPLE DID NOT HAVE THE CREATIVE VISION THAT WAS ALREADY IN PLACE AT SUNY ALBANY IN THE 1980'S AND EARLY 1990's.  THESE CONSULTANTS THOUGHT THAT THE PROGRAM NEEDED MORE THEORETICAL CRITICS SO THAT IT WOULD BE CONSIDERED MORE RIGOROUS IN THE FIELD; HOWEVER, RIGOR IS ANTITHETICAL TO THE CREATIVITY AND RENVISIONMENT OF THE PROFESSION AND TEACHING THAT WAS ALREADY GOING ON AT ALBANY SO THE CHANGES AND RECOMMENDATIONS RESULTED IN A LOT OF TENSION AND PROBLEMS IN THE PROGRAM THAT WOULD NOT HAVE EXISTED IF THEY HAD BROUGHT IN A DIFFERENT SET OF CONSULTANTS WHO HAD A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT MADE THE D.A. PROGRAM UNIQUE AND VIABLE IN THE FIELDS OF ENGLISH AND COMPOSITION STUDIES.  THESE CONSULTANTS DID NOT UNDERSTAND THE SIGNIFICANCE OF HAVING A DOCTORAL PROGRAM THAT CREATIVELY RENVISIONED AND REVITALIZED THE FIELD OF COMPOSITION STUDIES. INSTEAD OF TAKING STOCK OF THE GOOD THAT WAS ALREADY HAPPENING IN THE PROGRAM, THEY IMPOSED A STANDARDIZED VISION OF WHAT WAS HAPPENING, GENERALLY-SPEAKING, IN THE FIELD OF ENGLISH STUDIES AT OTHER UNIVERSITIES; HOWEVER, AGAIN, THIS WAS NOT SUITED TO THE CREATIVE AND PURPOSEFUL WORK THAT WAS ALREADY BEING DONE IN THE ALBANY D.A. PROGRAM. INSTEAD, WE NEED MORE PROGRAMS LIKE THE ALBANY D.A. WHERE THEORETICALLY-INCLINED CREATIVE WRITERS AND COMPOSITIONISTS CAN GO TO REIMAGINE THE POSSIBILITIES OF THE FIELD OF COMPOSITIONS STUDIES AND ITS POTENTIAL TO TRANSFORM AND RENVISION THE TEACHING OF WRITING AND THE PROFESSION AS A WHOLE.  


MORE ON A COMPASSION READER FOR COMPOSITION STUDIES

WHEN I TAUGHT WRITING-INTENSIVE POETRY CLASSES AT SUNY ALBANY, I WOULD CREATE AND USE ANTHOLOGIES THAT REPRESENTED THE VOICES OF OUTCAST, SILENCED AND MARGINALIZED POPULATIONS FROM AROUND THE WORLD BECAUSE I WANTED TO GIVE MY STUDENTS A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE ON THOSE PEOPLES WHO ARE NOT SO BLESSED AND FORTUNATE AS WE OFTEN ARE HERE IN THE USA.  NOW, I WOULD LIKE TO TAKE THAT WORK A STEP FURTHER AND CREATE A COMPASSION READER THAT REPRESENTS THE VOICES AND WORK OF FAITH-BASED HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS, SOCIAL ACTIVISTS, ADVOCATES, TEACHERS, MINISTERS, MISSIONARIES AND OTHER SOCIAL JUSTICE ORGANIZATIONS THAT WORK TO IMPROVE THE LIVES OF THOSE OUTCAST, MARGINALIZED AND HURTING POPULATIONS.   I WOULD LIKE FOR THIS READER TO ENCOURAGE STUDENTS TO THINK ABOUT AND WRITE ABOUT HOW THEY TOO CAN COMPASSIONATELY GET INVOLVED IN IMPROVING THE LIVES OF PEOPLE WHO ARE LESS BLESSED AND FORTUNATE THAN WE ARE HERE IN THE MIDDLE-CLASS USA.  I BELIEVE THAT WE, AS TEACHERS, HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO SHOW OUR STUDENTS THAT THERE IS A LARGER WORLD IN NEED OF OUR CARE AND COMPASSIONATE ASSISTANCE WITH WHATEVER GIFTS WE AND OUR STUDENTS HAVE BEEN GIVEN, INCLUDING THE GIFT OF WRITING.  IT IS NOT SUFFICIENT TO ONLY REPRESENT THEIR VOICES AND THEIR NEEDS AND THEIR SUFFERINGS WITHOUT ALSO CONSIDERING WAYS IN WHICH WE CAN COMPASSIONATELY HELP THE OUTCAST AND FORGOTTEN AND IMPOVERISHED PEOPLE OF THE WORLD THROUGH BOTH CALLING ATTENTION TO THEIR PLIGHTS AND EXPLORING AND ENVISIONING OPTIONS FOR ALLEVIATING THEIR PLIGHTS.  THIS IS MY PURPOSE FOR CREATING A COMPASSION READER THAT WILL ASSIST TEACHERS IN INTRODUCING STUDENTS TO THE WORK OF FAITH-BASED ACTIVISTS AND ORGANIZATIONS AND ALLOW STUDENTS TO EXPLORE WAYS, THROUGH THEIR WRITINGS, THAT THEY, TOO,  CAN GET INVOLVED IN THE WORK OF ALLEVIATING AND SOLVING OPPRESSIVE AND IMPOVERISHED CONDITIONS IN THE LARGER WORLD.


WHEN WE THINK THAT WE NEED TO CHANGE OUR STUDENTS, INSTEAD LET US ASK WHAT OUR STUDENTS WOULD LIKE TO SEE CHANGED IN THEIR WORLDS

WHEN THOSE OF US WHO TEACH CRITICAL PEDAGOGY IN OUR COMPOSITION COURSES THINK THAT WE NEED TO CHANGE OUR STUDENTS, INSTEAD LET US ASK OUR STUDENTS, THROUGH OUR WRITING ASSIGNMENTS, WHAT THEY THINK NEEDS CHANGED IN THE WORLDS THAT THEY LIVE IN.   STUDENTS ARE BRIMMING WITH FRESH IDEAS ABOUT WHAT NEEDS CHANGED AND IMPROVED ABOUT THEIR EDUCATIONAL AND INSTITUTIONAL EXPERIENCES, IF ONLY WE WOULD ASK THEM.  STUDENTS COME INTO OUR COURSES WITH EXTENSIVE HISTORIES AS STUDENTS IN OTHER WRITING COURSES, AND WE NEED TO ASK THEM ABOUT WHAT THEY VIEW AS NEEDING IMPROVEMENT AND CHANGE ABOUT THEIR PRIOR WRITING EXPERIENCES AND ABOUT THEIR PAST EDUCATIONAL/INSTITUTIONAL EXPERIENCES.   I THINK WE WILL FIND THAT STUDENTS HAVE A LOT TO SAY/WRITE ABOUT  THEIR EXPERIENCES AS WRITERS AND LEARNERS AND WHAT NEEDS CHANGED ABOUT THOSE EXPERIENCES.  EVERY STUDENT HAS A DIFFERENT EDUCATIONAL AND WRITING HISTORY AND WE HAVE TO TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION THOSE INDIVIDUAL HISTORIES WHEN WE ARE THINKING ABOUT EDUCATIONAL CHANGE AND TRANSFORMATION THROUGH OUR COMPOSITION COURSES AND THE WRITING ASSIGNMENTS THAT WE DESIGN FOR OUR STUDENTS.  WE NEED TO PROVIDE THE KINDS OF WRITING ASSIGNMENTS THAT LET STUDENTS EXPLORE WHAT THEY WOULD DO DIFFERENTLY WITH THEIR EDUCATIONS AND HOW THEY WOULD CHANGE THE WORLDS THAT THEY LIVE IN FOR THE BETTER.  WE NEED TO CREATE WRITING ASSIGNMENTS THAT ALLOW STUDENTS TO CREATIVELY IMAGINE AND ENVISION HOW THEY CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE EDUCATIONAL AND SOCIAL WORLDS THAT THEY LIVE IN. LET US IMAGINE STUDENTS AS CO-CREATORS AND PARTNERS IN INSTIGATING THE INSTITUTIONAL AND EDUCATIONAL CHANGES THAT WE SEEK IN THE WORLD.


RATHER THAN DIAGNOSING STUDENTS' WRITINGS, WE NEED TO LISTEN ATTENTIVELY TO WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY

BEFORE WE BEGIN TO DIAGNOSE STUDENTS' WRITINGS, WE NEED TO PAY ATTENTION TO AND LISTEN TO WHAT THEY ARE TRYING TO SAY THROUGH THEIR WRITINGS.   STUDENTS' NEEDS TO BE HEARD AND UNDERSTOOD FAR OUTWEIGH OUR PREMATURE ATTEMPTS TO FIND ERRORS OR MISTAKES IN THEIR WRITINGS.   OUTSIDE OF THE UNIVERSITY, PEOPLE WRITE IN ORDER TO BE HEARD AND UNDERSTOOD BY THE AUDIENCE TO WHOM THEY ARE WRITING TO, AND STUDENTS, TOO, HAVE A PURPOSE TO BE HEARD AND UNDERSTOOD WHEN THEY WRITE.   WE NEED TO PUT TO THE WAYSIDE OUR TENDENCY TO BE DIAGNOSTICIANS OF STUDENT WRITING AND INSTEAD BE ACTIVE AND ENGAGED LISTENERS OF WHAT THEY ARE TRYING TO SAY/WRITE AND THEIR NEED TO BE UNDERSTOOD.   THIS INCLUDES PROVIDING WRITING ASSIGNMENTS THAT ARE NOT MERELY TASKS TO BE EVALUATED FOR ERRORS BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY PROVIDING WRITING ASSIGNMENTS THAT ENGAGE THE STUDENTS IN PURPOSEFUL, PASSIONATE WRITING FOR US AND A LARGER WORLD AUDIENCE.   STUDENTS NEED TO KNOW THAT THEIR WRITINGS MATTER AND ARE GOING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE BEYOND THE CLASSROOM.


AS COMPOSITION TEACHERS, WE NEED TO BE ADVOCATES OF OUR STUDENTS AND THEIR WRITINGS FIRST

OUR PRIMARY OBLIGATION AS TEACHERS OF COMPOSITION SHOULD BE TO OUR STUDENTS AND THEIR WRITINGS AND THEIR GROWTH AS WRITERS, NOT TO THE LITERACY DEMANDS OCCASIONALLY IMPOSED BY THE UNIVERSITY OR TO OUR CAREERS.  THIS OBLIGATION MEANS THAT WE NEED TO BE ADVOCATES FOR OUR STUDENTS AND THEIR WRITINGS AND WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY/WRITE IN THOSE WRITINGS.  WE NEED TO CARE ABOUT WHAT OUR STUDENTS WANT AND NEED TO EXPRESS IN THEIR WRITINGS AND BE THERE TO HELP THEM BETTER EXPRESS WHAT THEY ARE TRYING TO SAY/WRITE SO THAT THEY CAN GROW AS PASSIONATE, PURPOSEFUL WRITERS.  WE NEED TO BE THERE FOR OUR STUDENTS WHEN THEY WANT TO REACH A LARGER AUDIENCE AND A LARGER WORLD WITH THEIR WRITINGS THAN THAT OF OUR CLASSROOM AND PROVIDE OPPORTUNITIES FOR THEM TO REACH THAT LARGER WORLD WITH THEIR WRITINGS. WE NEED TO SHOW COMPASSIONATE CONCERN AND GIVE COMPASSIONATE ASSISTANCE TO THOSE STUDENTS WHO ARE STRUGGLING WITH THEIR WRITINGS FOR A VARIETY OF REASONS.  AFTER ALL, OUR PRIMARY OBLIGATION IS TO SERVE STUDENTS' PURPOSES AS WRITERS, NOT PURPOSES IMPOSED UPON US AND THEM BY THE UNIVERSITY'S LIMITED UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT THEIR WRITINGS ARE SUPPOSED TO DO OR BE.   WE NEED TO HELP OUR STUDENTS SEE THE POSSIBILITIES OF USING THEIR WRITINGS TO ENGAGE A LARGER WORLD BEYOND THE UNIVERSITIES IN WHICH WE RESIDE.  WE NEED TO BE ADVOCATES FOR A MORE EXPANSIVE VIEW OF WRITING AND WHAT WRITING CAN DO FOR THE STUDENTS AND THE COMMUNITIES AND WORLD IN WHICH THEY RESIDE BEYOND THE UNIVERSITY.


WE NEED TO HAVE COMPASSION ON THOSE STUDENTS EXPERIENCING WRITER'S BLOCK, NOT JUDGING THEM BUT RATHER LOOKING AT WHAT ABOUT OUR COURSES ARE NOT SERVING THEIR PURPOSES AS WRITERS

WE NEED TO HAVE COMPASSION ON THOSE STUDENTS EXPERIENCING WRITER'S BLOCK, NOT JUDGING THEM BUT RATHER LOOKING AT WHAT ABOUT OUR COURSES ARE NOT SERVING THEIR PURPOSES AS WRITERS.  OFTENTIMES, WHEN STUDENTS EXPERIENCE WRITER'S BLOCK IT IS NOT BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT ABLE TO WRITE BUT RATHER BECAUSE THE ASSIGNMENTS THAT WE ARE OFFERING THEM ARE NOT SUITED FOR THEIR PURPOSES AS WRITERS, SO WE NEED TO BE ATTENTIVE TO WHAT ABOUT OUR COURSES ARE NOT WORKING FOR STUDENTS AND THEN CHANGE OUR COMPOSITION COURSES TO SUIT THEIR PURPOSES SO THAT STUDENTS FEEL WELCOME TO WRITE.  WE MIGHT BEGIN THIS CONSIDERATION BY ASKING THE STUDENTS, AT THE START OF THE COURSE, WHAT TYPES OF WRITING DO THEY ALREADY LIKE/LOVE TO DO AND THEN PROVIDING OPPORTUNITIES FOR STUDENTS TO DO THAT WRITING IN OUR COURSES.  WE ALSO NEED TO LOOK AT WHAT ABOUT THE CONTENT OF OUR COURSES IS NOT WORKING FOR STUDENTS AND NOT INSPIRING THEM TO WRITE AND BE PASSIONATE ABOUT THEIR WRITING BECAUSE ALL STUDENTS HAVE PASSIONS THAT THEY WILL MORE THAN WILLINGLY WRITE ABOUT WHEN WE GIVE THEM THE OPPORTUNITIES.  WE NEED TO LOOK AT OURSELVES AS TEACHERS OF COMPOSITION WHO MIGHT NOT BE SERVING THE STUDENTS' PURPOSES AND PASSIONS AS WRITERS, AND THEN HAVE COMPASSION ON THE STUDENTS WHO LOVE TO WRITE BUT MAY NOT FEEL COMFORTABLE WITH THE ASSIGNMENTS AND/OR LITERACY DEMANDS THAT WE ARE PRESENTING TO THEM.  


OUR STUDENTS NEED AND WANT TO BE HEARD FOR WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY/WRITE, NOT NECESSARILY HOW THEY SAY IT

OUR STUDENTS WANT AND NEED TO BE HEARD FOR WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY/WRITE, NOT NECESSARILY HOW THEY SAY IT.  WHEN STUDENTS' WRITING IS DRIVEN BY AN IMPERATIVE TO BE HEARD AND UNDERSTOOD, WE NEED TO RESERVE OUR TENDENCY TO BE CORRECTIONISTS.  INSTEAD, WE NEED TO BE LISTENING TEACHERS WHO WORK TO HEAR WHAT THE STUDENTS ARE TRYING TO SAY/WRITE AND THEN ACKNOWLEDGE WHAT THEY ARE SAYING/WRITING FIRST BEFORE GETTING OUT THE GRAMMAR PENS.   INSTEAD OF CORRECTING THEM, WE CAN VIEW OUR ROLES AS HELPING OUR STUDENTS TO BETTER EXPRESS WHAT THEY NEED/WANT TO SAY/WRITE BY ASKING THEM PROBING QUESTIONS AND PROVIDING HELPFUL COMMENTARY THAT DEMONSTRATES TO THE STUDENTS THAT THEY ARE BEING HEARD AND WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY/WRITE IS IMPORTANT AND MATTERS, TO BOTH US AS TEACHERS AND TO AN AUDIENCE/COMMUNITY BEYOND THE CLASSROOM.    STUDENTS OFTEN WANT THEIR WRITING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN AN ARENA LARGER THAN A CLASSROOM, AND IT IS THE KNOWLEDGE THAT THEY ARE WRITING FOR A LARGER ARENA THAT DRIVES THEIR NEED TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES.  WE, AS COMPOSITION TEACHERS, NEED TO BE MORE THAN SIMPLY TASKMASTERS AND CORRECTIONISTS BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY WE NEED TO BE ATTENTIVE LISTENERS TO AND ENCOURAGERS OF OUR STUDENTS' EFFORTS TO BE HEARD AND UNDERSTOOD FOR WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY/WRITE TO THE LARGER WORLD BEYOND OUR CLASSROOMS.


WE MUST HONOR STUDENTS' GOD-GIVEN PURPOSES WHEN THEY WRITE AND PROVIDE THEM WITH PURPOSEFUL WRITING ASSIGNMENTS

WE MUST HONOR STUDENTS' GOD-GIVEN, HEART-FELT AND PASSIONATE PURPOSES WHEN THEY WRITE AND PROVIDE THEM WITH PURPOSEFUL WRITING ASSIGNMENTS.  WE MUST LET STUDENTS KNOW THAT WE CARE ABOUT THE WRITING THAT IS IMPORTANT TO THEM AND PROVIDE THEM WITH OPPORTUNITIES TO DO THAT WRITING IN OUR COMPOSITION COURSES.  WE MUST ALSO ENCOURAGE OUR STUDENTS TO USE THEIR WRITING PURPOSEFULLY TO REACH OUT TO THE WORLD THAT THEY LIVE IN AND THE COMMUNITIES THAT THEY ARE INVOLVED IN.  WE MUST ENCOURAGE OUR STUDENTS TO USE THEIR WRITING TO INTERACT WITH THOSE COMMUNITIES.   WE MUST LOOK BEYOND OUR UNIVERSITY-GIVEN ROLES OF REMEDIAL WRITING INSTRUCTION AND INSTEAD TEACH THE UNIVERSITY THAT OUR ROLES ARE TO TEACH PURPOSEFUL WRITING AND THAT OUR PRIMARY OBLIGATIONS ARE TO THE STUDENTS' GROWTH AS PURPOSEFUL WRITERS AND COMMUNICATORS AND THE GOD-GIVEN, HEART-FELT, COMMUNICATION-DRIVEN PURPOSES THEY HAVE WITH THEIR WRITINGS.  


IT IS TIME FOR A REVIVAL IN COMPOSITION STUDIES

IT IS TIME FOR A REVIVAL IN COMPOSITION STUDIES, AND WE CAN BEGIN THAT REVIVAL BY MAKING SURE THAT ALL COMPOSITION TEACHERS, MOST ESPECIALLY ADJUNCTS AND T.A.'S, AT ALL COLLEGES AND ALL UNIVERSITIES ARE PAID EQUITABLE, LIVABLE SALARIES THAT REFLECT THE CARE AND DEDICATION THAT THEY PUT INTO THEIR TEACHING AND THEIR CONCERN FOR STUDENTS' GROWTH AS WRITERS.  INDEED, WE CAN BEGIN THIS REVIVAL BY ABOLISHING THE LABELS "ADJUNCTS" AND "TA'S" AND SUBSTITUTING THOSE TITLES WITH TITLES THAT MORE ACCURATELY REFLECT THESE TEACHERS' STATUSES AS COLLEAGUES AND FELLOW COMPOSITION TEACHERS.   WE CAN BEGIN THIS REVIVAL BY ALSO ABOLISHING THE STATUSES OF ADMINISTRATORS AND WRITING PROGRAM MANAGERS THAT PLACE THEM ABOVE THE COMPOSITION TEACHERS WHO DO THE REAL WORK OF TEACHING WRITING TO STUDENTS AND ALLOW COMPOSITION TEACHERS TO SOVEREIGNLY PLAN THE CURRICULA OF THEIR COURSES, IN CONJUNCTION WITH STUDENTS AND OTHER TEACHERS.  WE CAN BEGIN THIS REVIVAL BY ABOLISHING RANK ALL TOGETHER AND RETURNING OUR FOCUS TO THE TEACHING THAT WE DO AND THE NEEDS OF STUDENTS AND THEIR PURPOSES AS WRITERS.  THERE IS SO MUCH THAT NEEDS REFORMATION AND REVIVAL IN COMPOSITION STUDIES RIGHT NOW,  AND IF YOU HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS, PLEASE LEAVE THEM IN THE COMMENTS SECTION OF THIS POST. MORE PROPOSALS FOR REVIVAL AND REFORMATION TO COME ON THIS BLOG IN THE FUTURE.


STUDENTS NEED OUR ENCOURAGEMENT, NOT CRITICISM

STUDENTS NEED OUR ENCOURAGEMENT AS THEY VENTURE FORTH AS WRITERS, NOT CRITICISM WHICH ONLY STYMIES THEIR WRITING.  TO GIVE STUDENTS ENCOURAGEMENT FOR WHERE THEY ARE AT AS WRITERS IS TO EMBOLDEN THEM TO PRESS FORWARD WITH THEIR PURPOSES AND VISIONS FOR THEIR WRITING.   WE NEED TO END THE TENDENCY TO CRITICIZE OUR STUDENTS BECAUSE THEY ARE OFTENTIMES ONLY DOING THE BEST THAT THEY CAN DO AT THE STAGE IN THEIR GROWTH AS WRITERS THAT THEY ARE AT.   WE NEED TO ENCOURAGE OUR STUDENTS TO LAY OUT THEIR VISIONS OF A BETTER WORLD AND EMBOLDEN THEM TO PURSUE THOSE VISIONS.  WE NEED TO LITERALLY GIVE THEM COURAGE TO PURSUE THEIR OWN PURPOSES THROUGH THEIR WRITING, PURPOSES THAT GOD HAS OFTENTIMES PLACED ON THEIR HEARTS.  WE NEED TO RESPECT AND HONOR THEIR VISIONS AND PURPOSES AS THEY CREATIVELY MAP THEM OUT IN THEIR WRITINGS. WE MUST ENCOURAGE -- GIVE STUDENTS COURAGE -- NOT CRITICIZE.   LET US PUT AN END TO CRITICISM IN OUR COMPOSITION COURSES AND ENCOURAGE OUR STUDENTS TO BE AS CREATIVE AND PURPOSEFUL AS POSSIBLE WITH THEIR WRITINGS.


THERE IS A WORLD IN NEED BEYOND OUR CLASSROOMS

THERE IS A WORLD IN NEED BEYOND OUR CLASSROOMS, AND THAT WORLD NEEDS OUR LOVE AND ASSISTANCE, WITH WHATEVER GIFTS WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN BY GOD, INCLUDING THE GIFT OF WRITING.  WE CAN TEACH OUR STUDENTS ABOUT SERVING THE NEEDS OF THE LARGER WORLD AND REACHING OUT TO THE WORLD AROUND THEM WITH COMPASSION, CARE AND LOVE.   COMPOSITION STUDIES IS A SERVICE PROFESSION, AND IT IS TIME THAT WE BROADEN OUR UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT THAT SERVICE TO THE WORLD LOOKS LIKE.  WE HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO NOT JUST BE OF SERVICE TO THE UNIVERSITIES' LIMITED UNDERSTANDING OF WRITING BUT RATHER TO BE OF SERVICE TO THE STUDENTS, AS HUMANS IN NEED, AND THE NEEDS OF THE LARGER WORLD, INCLUSIVE OF THE COMMUNITIES THAT WE LIVE IN AND THE WORLD OUTSIDE OF THE UNIVERSITY. THERE IS A WORLD IN DESPERATE NEED OF OUR WRITING AND TEACHING GIFTS, AND WE SHOULD NOT RESERVE THOSE GIFTS FOR THE UNIVERSITIES' LIMITED VIEWS OF OUR WORK.  WRITING AND TEACHING ARE GIFTS FROM GOD THAT ARE TO BE PUT INTO SERVICE FOR ALL OF HUMANITY, SO IT IS TIME THAT WE BROADEN OUR VISION OF THE WORK THAT WE DO IN COMPOSITION COURSES AND OUTSIDE OF THOSE COURSES.  


A COMPASSION READER FOR COMPOSITION STUDIES

I WOULD LIKE TO CREATE A COMPASSION READER FOR COMPOSITION COURSES THAT INTRODUCES STUDENTS TO THE WRITINGS OF SOCIAL ACTIVISTS, HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS AND OTHER PEOPLE WORKING FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUES IN THE WORLD AND WHOSE FAITH SUSTAINS THE WORK THAT THEY DO.  I CAN THINK IMMEDIATELY OF WRITINGS BY MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., MOTHER THERESA AND DOROTHY DAY, BUT  I KNOW THERE ARE MANY OTHERS THAT CAN BE INCLUDED IN THIS READER.  IF YOU HAVE ANY SUGGESTIONS, PLEASE LEAVE THEM IN THE COMMENTS SECTION OF THIS POST.   I WOULD LIKE FOR THE READER TO TEACH STUDENTS ABOUT HOW THE FAITH AND CONVICTIONS OF THESE WRITERS AND ACTIVISTS DRIVE THEM TO MAKE THE WORLD A MORE COMPASSIONATE AND LOVING PLACE -- A MUCH BETTER PLACE FOR THE OUTCAST, FORGOTTEN AND IMPOVERISHED PEOPLES OF THE WORLD.  THIS READER SHOULD SERVE AS INSPIRATION FOR THE STUDENTS TO THINK AND WRITE ABOUT HOW THEY TOO CAN GO OUT INTO THE WORLD AND MAKE A COMPASSIONATE DIFFERENCE FOR PEOPLE IN NEED.  THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING OF THIS PROJECT THAT I HOPE TO BRING INTO FRUITION SOON.


WRITING IS A COMMUNICATIVE GIFT FROM GOD OUR LOVING CREATOR THAT WE CAN ALL DEVELOP AND USE TO MAKE OUR WORLD A BETTER, MORE COMPASSIONATE AND LOVING PLACE

WRITING IS A COMMUNICATIVE GIFT FROM GOD OUR LOVING CREATOR THAT WE CAN ALL DEVELOP AND USE TO MAKE OUR WORLD A BETTER, MORE COMPASSIONATE AND LOVING PLACE.  WE EACH HAVE THE GIFT OF WRITING, TO VARYING DEGREES, AND WE CAN TEACH OUR STUDENTS TO HONE AND USE THEIR GIFTS  OF COMMUNICATION TO IMPROVE, REIMAGINE AND BRING JUSTICE TO THE WORLD THAT WE AND THEY LIVE IN.   WE NEED TO IMAGINE AND DEVELOP CURRICULUMS FOR OUR WRITING COURSES THAT DO PRECISELY THAT FOR OUR STUDENTS.   I THINK WE WILL FIND THAT WHEN WE ADVANCE THIS CONCEPTION OF WRITING,  STUDENTS WILL BE ALL THE MORE EAGER TO LEARN AND PASSIONATE ABOUT THEIR WRITING.  WE NEED TO TEACH THAT WRITING IS A GIFT TO BE GIVEN BACK TO THE COMMUNITY AND IN SERVICE OF THE COMMUNITIES AROUND OUR CLASSROOMS AND THE LARGER WORLD.


RANK DOES NOT MATTER TO STUDENTS OR GOD, SO IT SHOULD NOT MATTER TO US, EITHER

NEWSFLASH: RANK DOES NOT MATTER TO STUDENTS OR GOD, SO IT SHOULD NOT MATTER TO US, EITHER.  IT IS TIME TO ABOLISH THE RANKING AND TENURE SYSTEM IN COMPOSITION STUDIES AND ENGLISH STUDIES BECAUSE IT CAUSES MORE HEARTACHE AND PAIN THAN IT SHOULD AND IT SIMPLY DOES NOT MATTER IN THE LARGER PICTURE OF OUR TEACHING AND STUDENTS' LEARNING IN OUR CLASSES.  LET US BEGIN TO IMAGINE A PROFESSION WITHOUT RANK AND TENURE, WHERE TEACHING TAKES ITS RIGHTFUL PLACE AS OUR FIRST AND MAIN PRIORITY.


COMPOSITION IS A BROKEN YET MENDABLE FIELD

COMPOSITION IS A BROKEN YET MENDABLE FIELD.  THERE ARE MANY DEDICATED, CARING TEACHERS IN COMPOSITION STUDIES WHO ARE WORKING FOR SUBSTANDARD WAGES, YET CONTINUE TO TEACH BECAUSE OF THEIR LOVE OF TEACHING AND THEIR CARE AND CONCERN FOR STUDENTS.  THESE ARE THE TEACHERS THAT OUR FIELD NEEDS TO VALUE AND UPHOLD IN ITS JOURNALS AND AT CONFERENCES AND THROUGHOUT THE PROFESSION.   MANY OF THESE TEACHERS ARE ADJUNCTS AND TA'S, AND IT IS TIME THAT DEPARTMENTS PAY THEM EQUITABLE SALARIES THAT REFLECT THE WORK AND CARE THAT THEY PUT INTO THEIR TEACHING.  RATHER THAN TRYING TO BE LIKE ENGLISH STUDIES, WITH ITS FOCUS ON PRODUCING SCHOLARLY PAPERS RATHER THAN TEACHING, WE NEED TO BE A PROFESSION THAT PUTS TEACHERS, OF ALL STATUSES, AT THE FOREFRONT OF ITS CONCERN AND UPHOLDS DEDICATED AND CARING TEACHERS AT CONFERENCES AND IN THE JOURNALS AND THROUGH STRONG ADVOCACY FOR IMPROVED SALARIES, ESPECIALLY FOR ADJUNCTS AND T.A.'S.  IT IS TIME FOR A REVIVAL IN COMPOSITION STUDIES, WHERE WE PUT TO REST OUR INSIGNIFICANT CONCERN WITH CAREERS AND CV'S AND PUBLICATIONS, AND RETURN OUR MAIN FOCUS TO TEACHING AND THE NEEDS OF STUDENTS IN OUR CLASSES.  


JESUS PAPERS: FAITH AND COMPOSITION STUDIES

JESUS PAPERS WERE WHAT THEY WERE CALLED BY SOME OF MY COLLEAGUES AT A MIDWESTERN UNIVERSITY WHERE I TAUGHT WRITING DURING THE 1990'S.   THEY WERE PAPERS WRITTEN BY CHRISTIAN STUDENTS WHO LOVE JESUS AND WANTED TO SHARE JESUS' LOVE AND THEIR FAITH IN THE LORD JESUS WITH THE WORLD.  THESE STUDENTS WERE, INDEED, SOME OF THE MOST LOVING AND CARING STUDENTS I HAVE EVER TAUGHT.  I ASK AGAIN TODAY, WHO ARE WE, AS COMPOSITION TEACHERS, TO CENSOR THESE STUDENTS' PASSION FOR AND DESIRE TO EXPRESS THEIR LOVE AND FAITH IN GOD AND JESUS?   FAITH IN THE LORD AND IN GOD THE FATHER IS SOMETHING THAT IS NOT TALKED ABOUT MUCH, IF AT ALL, IN MANY UNIVERSITIES.    AND YET WE ARE A SERVICE-ORIENTED PROFESSION WHERE MANY COMPOSITION TEACHERS TEACH THEIR STUDENTS SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUES AND A CONCERN WITH TEACHING AND TUTORING WRITING IN THE COMMUNITIES AROUND THEM TO MEET THE COMMUNITIES' WRITING NEEDS -- TEACHINGS IN LINE WITH CHRISTIANITY AND CHRISTIANS WHO LIKEWISE FEEL COMPELLED TO SERVE THE NEEDS OF PEOPLE IN THEIR COMMUNITIES.  I WOULD SAY THAT WE HAVE MUCH TO LEARN FROM AND SHARE WITH OUR STUDENTS WHO LOVE JESUS AND BELIEVE IN COMPASSIONATE SERVICE TO HUMANITY, IN JESUS' NAME.  


COMPASSIONATE TEACHING INSTEAD OF CAREERISM IN COMPOSITION

GOD DOES NOT CARE HOW MANY LINES ON THE CV YOU HAVE, RATHER GOD CARES ABOUT HOW COMPASSIONATE, KIND AND LOVING YOU ARE TO YOUR STUDENTS AND COLLEAGUES THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.   IT IS TIME WE SET OUR PRIORITIES WITH GOD'S PRIORITIES IN COMPOSITION AND RECOGNIZE, VALUE AND UPHOLD THOSE CARING, DEDICATED TEACHERS WHO HAVE GREAT COMPASSION AND LOVING KINDNESS FOR THEIR STUDENTS.  


WE OUGHT TO LET STUDENTS WRITE ABOUT WHAT THEY LOVE AND NEED TO WRITE ABOUT

Even though they are young and learning still, students have passions and needs to express themselves -- passions that oftentimes God has placed on their hearts.  We ought to let students write about those passions and what they need to write about from their hearts, even as we can still introduce them to social justice and world issues that may be new passions for them.  We can teach and learn from students at the same time and allow them to be who God made them to be instead of thinking that we need to change them.  Oftentimes, when we think we need to change our students, instead our students are the ones who end up changing us with their fresh and passionate views on the world.  


the exploitation of composition teachers

What the public doesn't often know is that many composition teachers teach for substandard wages, while putting in extra hours of work, carefully responding to  numerous student essays.    Many composition teachers suffer from these conditions -- the low pay and long hours.   What goes unreported is that many composition teachers are adjuncts or T.A.'s, and those statuses are used by administrators to justify low wages.  Meanwhile, these adjuncts and T.A.'s are oftentimes the most dedicated teachers that your students could have, spending extra hours in office hours with students and tediously responding to student essays. Many adjuncts and T.A.'s in composition studies are, in fact, more dedicated, caring teachers than the full-time professors who teach upper level courses.  This is not always true, but it is often the case.  People think that when they hear "adjunct" or "TA" that that is a teacher who is not as well-trained as a full-time professor but nothing could be further from the case because in many universities there is extensive training for adjuncts and TA's, and because of this, they are actually better teachers than the full-time professors who scoff at teaching lower division courses.  So, there is so much that the public doesn't know and realize about the exploitation of composition-teaching adjuncts and T.A.'s. 


atomization: the field (of composition) from afar

This presentation revolves around a concept that I have been using to holistically diagnose the central issues hindering the field of composition studies -- pedagogically, institutionally and, alas, economically -- and that concept is, as I have conceived  it, "atomization."  Atomization is theoretically derived from Michel Foucault's genealogical analysis of penal and pedagogical institutions in his now  30-year-old "Discipline and Punish" [Surveiller et Punir].  One of the primary tenets of Foucault's book was outlined in his chapter "Docile Bodies," wherein he talked about how power is enacted through a process of "partitioning" or progressively dividing up institutional spaces and groups into smaller fractions so as to facilitate the observation and tracking of individuals [pp. 142-149]  Now, obviously, "Discipline and Punish" has often been used in composition pedagogy for the purpose of theorizing the classroom space and the surveillance technologies [or gazes] used in those spaces to "normalize" students and their behaviors.   For instance, Jennifer Gore's "The Struggle for Pedagogies" has been taught in many composition theory courses since its publication in 1993.

In this presentation, however, I would like to take Foucault's analysis of "partitioning" to yet another level, i.e., the level at which it interfaces with James Sledd's analysis of the "divide and conquer" approach used to "intimidate" faculty and, in effect, obstruct them from recognizing their joint and shared economic interests with the untenured [see point 37 in "Disciplinarity and Exploitation" By Sledd, "Workplace"]   Indeed, if one reads Foucault's historical study and Sledd's contemporary manifesto in conjunction with one another, one begins realizing that they share in the same root analysis of the central problem plaguing composition studies, i.e., the problem of atomization whereby the "partitioning" serves to prevent individuals from recognizing themselves as part of a collective whole possessed of mutual and binding interests and thus mitigates any perceived "threat" of revolt or rebellion.  As Foucault puts it, "This machinery works space in a much more flexible and detailed way.  It does this first of all on the principle of elementary location or partitioning.  Each individual has his own place and each place its individual.  Avoid distribution in groups, break up collective dispositions, analyze confused, massive or transient pluralities" [pg. 143]  See also William V. Spanos' The End of Education, pg. 36, for further explication.

Now, I would like to take both Foucault's and Sledd's analyses to the next level -- the level above all of the traditional frays, where one can begin seeing all of the myriad of ways in which the field and composition teaching --  both universally and locally -- have been partitioned and 'atomized' to the intellectual and financial detriment of the whole -- both composition teachers and students.  For one, students suffer from 'atomization' -- that is the atomization of their writing life -- when they must move discontinuously from one writing assignment to the next  -- one writing class to another  -- with no or few opportunities  to advance writing/intellectual projects of their own from course to course.  Faculty, as well, suffer from the atomizing effects of the grading [or evaluative] process as they must shift from paper to paper, breaking down the energies and concentrations necessary for their own writing lives as they are transformed into disciplinary agents for the institution.  Furthermore, as Sledd has observed, disciplinary rank itself is also a form of atomization that works against the interests of the whole.   Thus, with this presentation, I would like to explore these many ways -- and then some -- that atomization is at the root of our disciplinary discontents. 

 


from The Struggle for Pedagogies

From the Struggle for Pedagogies by Jennifer Gore:

"- Women are silenced, objectified and made passive through the course content and the pedagogical style of most college classrooms.  (Maher, 1985b , p. 31)"

"- The silencing, humiliating and devaluing of girls and women is the outcome of patriarchal pedagogy regardless of how progressive or authoritarian that pedagogy might be.   It is built into the educational establishment itself, operating as institutional sexism even where it is not built into the deliberate assumptions and intentions of teachers in patriarchy. (Morgan, n.d., p. 23)"

Gore's quotations here remind me of how when I was working on my dissertation, I was repeatedly silenced through the ignoring of my attempts to respond to misinterpretations of my work.  I was even told not to respond in a very authoritarian manner.  And I was told that my dissertation director "would not and could not honor" a chapter that I had put a great deal of labor and thought into and which he misinterpreted.  So, absolutely, women are silenced by patriarchal pedagogy, and I have experienced it firsthand.


from my journal

 I was writing about how oftentimes creative writing emerges at the point where students and/or writers feel repressed and constrained by their lived experiences.  Students/writers then write against the grain of that repression and those constraints.  When I was at Albany, other students and a few faculty liked to talk about the nexus of discourse or the the nexus of critical and creative discourse, without talking about the psychological conditions that bring about the nexus or when critical discourse no longer serves to represent what is going on inside the interior, psychological landscape of a person.   Creative discourse is oftentimes a reaction against critical discourse, a blossoming out of the heart and soul from repressed circumstances. This was what was found in Michelle Cliff’s writing – a Jamaican-British mulatto who wrote against the oppressive British schooling that she received.  Her writing was beautiful, evocative and soulful.  She wrote a creative essay entitled, “If I Could Write This In Fire, I Would Write This In Fire” – which evoked the strength she felt from  her anger at what aspects of her personality and experiences as a Jamaican had to be repressed by her British style of education.  But those who talked about the nexus at Albany did not consider the psychological conditions that brought on someone like Michelle Cliff’s writing. And I felt that it was important to call attention to the psychological conditions that produce creative writing in relationship to critical writing so as to understand what enables its production.  It’s not something, in other words, that we can simply ask students to write without having them live through some repressive circumstances.  Yet many students have experienced repressive circumstances in their educational and/or institutional experiences.  I would encourage my students to write about their academic histories and what was beneficial and what was repressive or difficult for them.

 

 


organic cultural theory

Organic theory is derived from lived experience.  It's the feeling of being oppressed, suppressed, repressed -- it's the voice that rises up against suppression and oppression.  What it is not is rational nor analytical nor methodological.  Rather, it begins with a feeling of being oppressed by a misrepresentation of self.  It begins in the interior of the self, with pressure being put on the self by what it is not.

So many within cultural studies want to theorize  oppression as if it were an object of study that can be methodologically identified.  But this approach too often ignores how oppression begins with a feeling -- a feeling of being misrepresented or being silenced or ignored.  Writers -- as opposed to theoreticians --seek to represent these feelings as they bubble up.  You see such writing in Michelle Cliff's If I Could Write This In Fire, where she writes about the feeling of being mulatto and  yet white enough to be afforded the privileges of a British education.

Organic theory is about running up against constraints and feeling those constraints deeply enough that one wants to write against them.  Reform begins with running up against social constraints.  Resistance to those constraints is a feeling.


from an earlier blog, circa 2006

the divide

How fortuitous that The Valve cccc’s entry took a turn towards race and rhetoric in composition studies because my next entry -- to complement the previous Foucault quote -- was going to be about this kindred passage from Toni Morrison’s “The Site of Memory:”

“Authors arrive at text and subtext in thousands of ways, learning each time they begin anew how to recognize a valuable idea and how to render the texture that accompanies, reveals or displays it to its best advantage. The process by which this is accomplished is endlessly fascinating to me. I have always thought that as an editor for twenty years I understood writers better than their most careful critics, because in examining the manuscript in each of its subsequent stages I knew the author’s process, how his or her mind worked, what was effortless, what took time, where the ‘solution’ to a problem came from. The end result -- the book -- was all that the critic had to go on” (305).

And does not this passage illustrate, in a nutshell, the very crux of the general differences between most composition and literary scholarship? Perhaps, when processing and defending against the never-ending indictments against composition studies, it might be worthwhile to return to the very root of the disciplinary divide, as suggested by Morrison here: the literary critic or archivist most often arrives upon the literary scene after the text has been created and the artistic process has been terminated and then interprets/judges the text -- and frequently the author’s intentions, as well -- on the basis of the discrete textual/aesthetic artifact [or, in the immediate case, the conference presentation title] and not on the basis of the selective, ragged and oftentimes conflicted process that produced it. Theoretically speaking, by contrast, compositionists -- at least in some circles -- are most concerned with howliterature or any piece of writing, for that matter, was/is actually made through the selective, evaluative process of sorting through the “thousands of ways” each text might be composed or each argument made. This usually entails teaching students how to be editors of their own work -- not indicting them for errors and mistakes. Rather thanjudging texts deficient [or, say, judging compositionists inadequate to the scholarly task of explicating race relations] -- “[c]riticism that hands down sentences sends me to sleep” -- the speculative, genealogical question becomes, why did this specific text or discursive thematic [e.g., the repressive hypothesis] appear at this juncture and not some other? The practitioner question also becomes: what conditions -- social, technological, economic, psychological, pedagogical, etc. -- made this particular text possible/viable and not some other? These sorts of questions, of course, both inevitably politicize the composing process and turn compositionists into interdisciplinary generalists by default -- and what’s wrong with that when the alternative is usually that of indentured servant to instrumentalist conceptions of literacy? Or to ask, what evaluative processes allowed this text to emerge from the field of possibilities and not some other? Or to ask, what selective economies delivered this text into an archive/canon and not some other -- or delivered this student into a remedial course and not some other? After all -- and as the rest of Morrison’s essay/lecture underscores -- it seems difficult to assume that any archival or disciplinary research gives us the full and complete picture of how discursive practices and [cultural] identity historically intersect, especially if we are talking about race relations in America and the extremely limited access to literacy education pre-1900’s and the self-protective, repressive forces at work in the composing process of most slave narratives, as Morrison points out. Undoubtedly, these critical inquiries into the composing/archival process may seem, to some, far afield from the traditional common-sense and populist expectation that composition teachers serve as diagnosticians of error and police students’ rhetorical coherency. Yet theoretically demarcating these evaluative differences [between literary studies and composition] is, perhaps, the only way to reclaim the field as something other than that subservient remedial or remediating enterprise that it has long been expected to serve as -- and hasn’t such a revisionary project been the motivating force behind much comp theorizing? Denouncements of theory aside, composition theory at its best has moved fluidly between practice and theory, and has long possessed the capacity to deliver composition practitioners from these problematic, constraining assumptions about remedial literacy education; it need not exclusively -- or at all -- superficially serve as a status symbol for “jet-setting” scholars or as institutional currency for tenure, if more pressing efforts were made to articulate its relevance in the public domain and outside of the limited conference milieu. The contemporary problem wrought by the blogosphere, though, is that anyone with a blog and an internet connection can come along and render the long history of composition theory’s dealings with these stereotypes null and insignificant by simply pronouncing the hackneyed, unmeritorious argument that “Johnny/Jane can’t read” and that we must therefore blame the already-severely-underfunded field of composition teaching for not doing its anticipated, menial job as police force and rhetorical sanitizer. And so, deja vu, composition is perpetually sent back to square one, as if it hasn’t dealt with these conservative arguments a thousand times before.

And the interesting and quite timely thing is that Morrison does, in fact, explore these issues [earlier on in her essay, “The Site of Memory”] as they relate to slavery and post-slavery narratives from the 1800’s and 1900’s and the ultimate limitations of archival research when it comes to depicting the whole of lived experience from the eras:

“Yet no slave society in the history of the world wrote more -- or more thoughtfully -- about its own enslavement.The milieu, however, dictated the purpose and the style. The narratives are instructive, moral and obviously representative. Some of them are patterned after the sentimental novel that was in vogue at the time. But whatever their eloquence or form, popular taste discouraged the writers from dwelling too long or too carefully on the more sordid details of their experience. Whenever there was an unusually violent incident, or a scatological one, or something ‘excessive,’ one finds the writer taking refuge in the literary conventions of the day. ‘I was left in a state of distraction not to be described’ (Equiano). ‘But let us now leave the rough usage of the field ... and turn our attentionto the less repulsive slave life as it existed in the house of my childhood’ (Douglass). ‘I am not about to harrow the feelings of my readers by a terrific representation of the untold horrors of that fearful system of oppression ... It is not my purpose to descend deeply into the dark and noisome caverns of the hell of slavery’ (Henry Box Brown).

“Over and over, the writers pull the narrative up short with a phrase such as, ‘But let us drop a veil over these proceedings too terrible to relate.’ In shaping the experience to make it palatable to those who were in a position to alleviate it, they were silent about many things, and they ‘forgot’ many other things. There was a careful selection of the instances that they would record and a careful rendering of those that they chose to describe” (301).

And, so, by this account, Morrison came along a century or so later and fashioned it her obligation and duty to imaginatively render the missing, unspeakable “interior life” that had been withheld -- by virtue of fear and by the necessity of survival -- from the composing process and thus from the surviving literary archives. As such, could one accuse Morrison, of all people, of “excessively politicizing and racializing” literature? To do so would be virtually unimaginable, given Morrison’s iconic status -- and yet somehow such an indictment is permissable against composition, even as it often shares similar inquiries and concerns as those articulated by Morrison above. To speak of double standards. And one cannot fail to note how popular Morrison has been in her endeavors to imaginatively restore that interior life, thus -- by matter of sales figures and a Nobel prize alone -- rendering economically circumspect any instrumentalist arguments about the irrelevance or “excessiveness” of “racial and political themes” to public expections about literacy instruction -- as opposed to corporate and administrative expectations, from whence most of the unfounded mal-literacy accusations derive. In fact, what really appears to be at issue here is not so much the politicization of composition instruction as much as it is the denial of its status as a literary/creative/documentary art of equal standing with literary criticism/scholarship and with more to teach than simply clarity and conciseness.

And I share in the more recent questioning as to why is it that Bauerlein imagines the field of “race studies” as requiring specialized expertise before “properly handled” or taught whereas he seems to assume, like many traditionalists before him have, that virtually anybody -- e.g., ex-congressman, CEO’s and manufacturers -- is capable of passing judgment on the vast field of composition studies and diagnosing literacy skills without “years of study”? What does it mean to cordon off a cultural identity and assume that one can only speak “responsibly” about “racial identity and race relations” when millions of folks live the variable experience and the traditions of blackness/whiteness every day? The underwriting pedagogical assumption there appears to be that of a scholar who thinks knowledge flows unidirectionally down from the archives and the experts to the people -- rather than dialogically emerging from within the classroom and from the interactions between disciplinary knowledges and lived experiences.

And let’s get real here: isn’t the truth of the matter that given the demographics of the field’s practitioners, composition studies has not been racialized enough?

 

 


A Reversal of Influence: How Composition Studies Might Transform the 'Institution' of Cultural Studies

From my 2004 cccc's presentation, "A Reversal of Influence: How Composition Studies Might Transform the 'Institution' of Cultural Studies"

Although the relationship between cultural studies and composition is configured differently in every department, more often than not, cultural studies takes on the institutional clout of literary studies/theory, while composition studies is left to struggle against the status-quo perceptions of its remedial functions -- even when composition incorporates cultural studies approaches.  (see Miller, Textual Carnivals)  And although many compositionists simultaneously work from within cultural studies paradigms in both their teaching and research, cultural studies as a disciplinary entity is, nonetheless, often imagined as a 'rigorous' specialization set apart from the more 'menial' labor of teaching composition courses.  Such an institutional hierarchy persists in many English departments, frequently regardless of how many composition theorists practice cultural studies (e.g., James Berlin & Michael Vivion's Cultural Studies in the English Classroom), and this presumption about where cultural studies institutionally resides inevitably impacts how composition studies is thought of in relationship to cultural studies, i.e., as a mere recipient of cultural studies' theories.  Michael Berube has taken note of this problem in his book The Employment of English. (87)  However, Berube's proposed alternative is actually not all that 'new' since composition studies has sought, in many ways, to make cultural theory relevant and useful to undergraduates over the past decade.  Indeed, I would argue that the specialization of cultural studies and its institutionalization in a manner resembling literary studies traditions (see Sosnoski, Token Professionals) has occluded how the various appropriations of cultural studies within composition studies might restore relevance to the field of cultural studies.

"Similar to how Susan Miller proposed in 1991 that composition possesses a transgressive potential in relationship to literary studies (i.e., the carnivalesque of the 'non-literary'),  I am proposing that a transgressive potential exists in relationship to cultural studies insofar as composition studies often invites students to envision 'canonical' cultural studies texts in dialogue with their lived experience.   For as much as experiential writing has been occasionally disparaged  by critiques of expressivism, experiential writing deployed within cultural studies-oriented composition classrooms potentially teaches us how cultural studies texts actually function (or matter) for students to the extent that students are invited to articulate, through writing assignments, how they comprehend the explanatory powers of cultural theory in relationship to their lives.  In this sense, composition studies has developed an understanding of cultural studies that constitutes an implicit critique of how cultural studies has been institutionalized in many English courses, most especially in regards to the problem of its limited effects beyond the classroom as a consequence of encouraging reverence and specialization.  This presentation will explore how composition studies' understandings of cultural studies teaching might transform the way cultural studies has become entrenched as a specialization in English studies.   How might we break down the artificial hierarchy between composition studies and cultural studies so that composition studies might be granted the status to interrogate how cultural studies is practiced within English departments (rather than perceived as merely influenced by cultural studies)?   How might composition studies overcome its marginalized status so as to be seen as offering a viable critique of and alternative to the institutionalization of cultural studies?"