A fascinating discussion is underway here, and I think I've found one of
those Burkean moments to toss a line in. In 1997 I published an article on
US/Can. business writing practices in the *Journal of Business
Communication* using theory from intercultural communication studies to
provide a framework for analysis. One of the basic building blocks of those
kinds of arguments, though, is idea that we have more or less impermeable
borders that exist between countries (not to mention identifying cultures
with citizenship status). Since then I've been working on a follow-up piece
that takes recent work in cultural studies and nationality to reassess the
idea that we have largely separate cultures that are divided by political
And more than this, I think our sense of nationalism and sense of being
Canadian is to some extent produced by the situations we find ourselves in.
Which is to say that sometimes I feel more Canadian--my sense of being
Canadian is brought to the fore of my conciousness--while maybe most of the
time it is more a latent possiblity (I pass for American, at least until I
say /zed/ or fail to say /prawcess/).
My reading in transnational identities suggests that an easy distinction
between the two countries would really miss the point. It is much more
complicated than that, especially for someone like myself but also for our
field where so much of the work has been done in the US.
DePaul Univ., Chicago
At 12:59 PM 3/7/99 -0800, you wrote:
>Re: Cathy and Russ's recent comments on (1) "American style"
>composition approaches and (2) the theoretical positions
>of those who teach "bottom up," skills-based courses
>I'm _very_ interested in the whole issue of how cultural
>context affects what & how we teach--working with Henry, it
>would be difficult to ignore such issues, eh? But, as
>someone who has been accused (in print) of importing
>USAmerican ideologies into my critical & editorial practices,
>I'm wary of putting too much emphasis on an "us/them"
>framework. The 49th parallel is a highly permeable boundary,
>especially when it comes to the free trade of ideas. I'm
>uncomfortable with dividing up the field into process and
>product orientations--with the US championing process
>pedagogy, and Canada left arguing for well-edited products.
>A lot of process-oriented teaching & learning gets done
>(in English) here in Canada. What we lack is support
>for programs, journals, and organizations that would
>help "institutionalize" this teaching & learning? Inkshed/CASLL
>seems an important exception to this rule.
>Part of the problem, as Cathy suggests, may be a kind
>of "frame conflict" between theory and practice--though
>I suspect that some forms of deconstruction and even
>PoMo are highly compatable with what's being described as
>the "mechanistic" approach to language & literature.
>> What I find truely perplexing, however, is that some of these (often well
>> meaning) folk who advocate such mechanistic courses often have intense
>> theoretical backgrounds in deconstruction, culture theory, various forms of
>> postmodernism etc. These positions contradict their actual practices in
>> ways that I find difficult to fathom. Do their brains turn off or what?
>> And by the way I think it is cheaper to run a "mechanistic" course--no
>> drafts, multiple choice grammar and style tests.
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Russ Hunt <[log in to unmask]>
>> To: [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
>> Date: March 3, 1999 7:57 AM
>> Subject: Re: Issues in Composition at Cdn. universities
>> >Seems to me this is quite consistent with Rick's take on style-
>> >centered as opposed to effect-centered pedagogies.
>> >> What counts now as "American" style compostition are many of the
>> >> practices that many of us currently advocate. So for example
>> >> interactive workshops, attention to invention, drafts,
>> >> collaborative projects etc. etc. are often viewed (within English
>> >> departments) as strange foreign and not-to-be trusted practices.
>> >> What counts as "Canadian" seems to be the mechanistic style focused
>> >> courses as present in many of the handbooks that have been revised
>> >> into "Canadian" editions.
> < < W.F. Garrett-Petts > >
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