Worrying this bone just a minute more . . .
> The academic essay, either in or out of the classroom, need not be
> read by only one person; need not be addressed to only one person,
> rhetorically or otherwise; and need not be written exclusively "to"
> or "for" one person.
I agree -- but I'd argue that as soon as it's really read by someone
other than an assessor, it becomes something other than that
academic essay, and I don't mean only because it's _construed_
differently, but also because it will exhibit different textual
features. Remember that we're still talking in the context of
Will's question about the rhetoric of the essay on literature. That
genre (I argue) doesn't have real readers.
> Nor can I accept your construction of the writer (in the classroom,
> I assume) as "certainly" not seeing herself in a dialogic
> relationship with the instructor. Yes, the classroom is in one
> sense (but not in all senses, not monolithically) an artificial
> venue wherein, to be sure, academic essays of the kind you are
> describing are often written. But that is not the whole story.
I'd never argue it was the whole story -- it's not the whole story in
my classroom, I think (hope). But I'm saying that in order to change
things we have to make radical changes, not simply minor changes in
how assignments are phrased or treated. We need to rethink the
social structure of the classroom. Or so I think.
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