This is an excerpt from an assignment for an class where I expanded on a threshold concept from Andrea A. Lunsford. In the section "Writing is Performative" in the Naming What We Know she identified ways in which writing is performative. I looked closely at digital texts and how performance is shaped by this new global and pervasive medium for writing.
From texts, to tweets, to posts people are reading more frequently than ever before. These messages and posts are not novels a lot of the times they are short. In the brevity of these texts and tweets is performance lost?
Digital communication comes with it's own perils but it does not mean that performance is lost. It just takes on new forms. Performance still occurs but on an increasingly minuscule scale. Each comma, period, capitalized letter, and emoji is used to change a message. The tone of a text can be changed by using no period, a period, or an ellipses.
Texts and tweets often get dismissed as not being able to engage in discussion in a productive manor. They are inherently “share-able,” ideas and thoughts that are meant to be distributed to others. They are called too short and flippant to be epistemic.
Digital texts are at times more thoughtful than people give them credit for. They can produce new knowledge and thought. People are more connected than ever and that has lead to more diversity in opinions being shared. All day people encounter new lines of thought and are asked to look at a situation from a different perspective.
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Here is an excerpt from a case study replicated on David Beard's "The Case for a Major in Writing Studies: The University of Minnesota Duluth” but adapted for Santa Clara University.
In following Beard’s justifications for the major of Writing Studies at Minnesota those same principles will be applied to Santa Clara. Looking at whether the same differentiations between Writing Studies and other majors are applicable, whether there is a need for the Writing Studies and whether these classes can provide the knowledge and experience needed for a Writing Studies to meet its goals as a program.
A[nother] unique option SCU provides students is the Individual Studies major. If students want to pursue Writing Studies as a major they could submit these classes plus the relevant electives, acquire a faculty advisor to support them, and potentially propose this program to the University. If students show interest this could be implemented as a major in the future. The ISP has been established just for the purposes of designing multidisciplinary majors. This could be a viable option into integrating Writing Studies into SCU.
Considering the size of the SCU student population it would not be wise to make Writing Studies a major without a test run. The path of Individual Studies is a great opportunity to give Writing Studies a trial run. After a few students try it out an informed decision could be made about the place a Writing Studies program would have at this university.
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This is an excerpt from a piece of writing that is a response to an article by Patricia Bizzell, "‘Contact Zones’ and English Studies" (1994). I recognize the learning potential of contact zones in English classrooms but also take note the problems of implementation.
Contact zones are social spaces where cultures meet, clash, and grapple with each other, often in contexts of highly asymmetrical relations of power, such as colonialism, slavery, or their aftermaths as they are lived out in many parts of the world today”
-Mary Louise Pratt, “Arts of the Contact Zone” (1991)
Bizzell works off of Pratt’s original definition and applies it directly to English studies. She wants an overhaul of the old structure—that focus on categorizing works in chronological or literary periods—a system that undercuts works by women, gay, and ethnic writers by shoving them in the wrong categories or labels them “criticism.” They are singled out as being not of the norm as compared to the canonical texts of English studies. This takes away legitimacy from these perspectives and enforces biases of the past...
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Here is an excerpt from an assignment I wrote for my Intro to Writing Studies class. It is written in response to a reading from the book "Naming What We Know" and a threshold concept about how writing address, invokes, and creates audiences.
“[Social media], It's performer and audience melded together. What do we want more than to lie in our bed at the end of the day and just watch our life as a satisfied audience member.”
Bo Burnham, Make Happy (2016)
It is a bit nauseating to follow all these [online] threads after while and it is why writing on the internet has become a complicated thing to unravel. Sometimes it is impossible to distinguish author, text, and audience because these are not exclusive categories. The bigger question seems to become if the relationship between writer and audience is more blurred than ever does it change the dynamic of meaning making?
From personal experience the quick response from social media is not always great for meaning making. It can depend on the platform and what kind of text is produced but mostly the meaning is short-lived. When I use my instagram I think a lot about the caption, the image, and the cohesiveness of this product with how it represents what version of myself I want to present. A lot of this internal effort is kind of wasted because it results in a glance and a like from most people. Personally I’ve found instagram and a lot of social media (while enjoyable at times) is not fulfilling in creating meaning...
....It is ordinary that we all try to narrate our lives and try to fit it into a cohesive story but it is much stranger that we know our audiences to our lives and works. If I was to pick out a factor that is fundamentally shifting the balance between author and audience it would be the way social media makes us feel like an audience member to our own story.
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