I agree with you about the problematics of an us vs them mentality, and the
process vs product mentality as well as all other binary oppostions that
However, what I find perplexing is the shifting meaning of what counts as
"American" vs what counts as "Canadian". To me, the most "Canadian"
position is the refusal to remove "reading" (literary or whatever) from the
curriculum of "writing" courses. But I now find myself defending this
practice against charges that this is an "American" importation. Go figure.
At 12:59 PM 3/7/99 -0800, Will Garrett-Petts 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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Catherine F. Schryer
Dept. of English
University of Waterloo
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
(519) 885-1211 (ext 3318)