> From [log in to unmask] Tue Dec 5 11:59 PST 1995
> Date: Tue, 5 Dec 1995 11:59:27 -0800
> From: [log in to unmask] (Ruth Derksen Siemens)
> Subject: Palimpsest Comments
I forwarded a CASLL comment re: palimpsest to a graduate student who has
been using that metaphor to discuss Mennonite women's readings of
proverbs they quilted. So, with her permission, I am forwarding her
response back to CASLL (assuming I have the technical competence to do so.
> Yes, I agree that students come to universities as palimpsests, but
> perhaps this is our view - not theirs. Having assisted two daughters in
> surviving the secondary school system, I am well aware that most adolescents
> in B.C. have been immersed in systems of authority which require a stable,
> unitary ideology of language. Many students come from schools which both
> establish these fixed forms and then use them to sanction their existence.
> Most students are well taught in the concepts of a monolithic, authoritarian
> ideal writing style (without "run-on-sentences"), and resist any suggestion
> of contingency. They resist any emphasis on multiplicity and adhere strongly
> to the privileging of one "Version" of writing.
> I have tried to shift the emphasis from product to process. To use
> your example, all buried layers of an ancient city have validity - all are
> socially constructed at different times with various methods and ideals.
> Rather than try to erase previous states of knowledge which were influential
> at the time and which still claim adherents, I attempt to percieve them as
> another in a series of contingent versions which constitute the history of
> the student's knowledge and perhaps the student herself. (Whew! a
> On another note, I've formulated some wonderful examples of how the
> proverbs on the quilt function in this contingent, palimpsestic manner. I
> plan to email them to you in the next twenty-four hours, wait for comments
> and then add them to another "version" of the paper.