Scholarly reading blogging interlude: CCC, what’s with the “posters?”

Once again, I’m in that “completely swamped” territory of work stuff, this time more because of grading/assessment project I’ve nicknamed the Googledocs Gradinator 2011 v1.1-1.2.  I’ll probably post about that soon– maybe yet this weekend as I finish up the first batch of grades/comments on projects for English 328.  And I am actually in the process of reading things; right now, it’s Marilyn Cooper’s excellent essay in the most recent issue of College Composition and Communication on “agency,” a concept that proved to be quite thought-provoking in English 505 last fall.  This is an essay that will probably find its way into that class the next time I teach it, and I really will be blogging about that some time next week.

But for the time-being:  CCCs, what’s the deal with these “posters?”

I think this began a few issues ago with one about “the rhetorical situation” (complete with obligatory triangle), and the most recent ones are for “Literacy/Literacies” (December 2010) and “Genre” (February 2011).  Of course, they aren’t posters at all, but rather one page pieces with some kind of graphic element (for “Genre,” it is a word cloud, which strikes me as a sort of odd choice, almost the use of a genre to define “Genre”), and “Literacy/Literacies” was accompanied by an image of the book cover from the 1917 textbook English Composition as a Social Problem. (?????)

As barest of bare bones summaries, I guess they are okay, but honestly, I can’t see giving either one of these to students as some sort of introductory piece to students.  Maybe– maybe— they would be useful if my non-academic Mom asked me something like “dear, I read that people in your field are interested in ‘genre;’ what is that?” but how big of an audience is that, really?  My reading of the validity of all of these posters to date has been “well, sort of,” not because they are not well written and inaccurate, but because they are attempting to define God terms that are too slippery for a less than 500 word summary.

So honestly, does anyone out there have a sense of the purpose of these things?

One thought on “Scholarly reading blogging interlude: CCC, what’s with the “posters?””

  1. I share the confusion and skepticism about their purpose and audience. The “rhetorical situation” one in particular was so poorly composed and opaque as to be incomprehensible to anyone who didn’t already have a thorough familiarity with the concept. What’s the point of offering weak explanations to insiders? Perhaps somebody needs a better understanding of the term means in practice as well as in theory.

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