Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Kelsey Forkner, Susan George, Josette Lorig - Pedagogy, Literature, WAC

Kelsey Forkner, Susan George, Josette Lorig - "Making Ends Meet: Literature Pedagogy, Faculty-Graduate Student Teamwork, and Undergraduate Literacy"

Presentation Focus
Literature Pedagogy, Writing Across the Curriculum, TA-Faculty relations, 'scaffolding', General Education, Writing in Lit Courses, Unorthodox teaching practice

Abstract
"Under the direction of Dr. Weeks, our panel conducted a semester-long Independent Study in pedagogical practices sought, found and developed in ENG 125, a G.E. Literature course. Discussions of best teaching practices often presuppose optimal circumstances. But real courses are usually implemented under conditions which are given rather than chosen. Learning how to reconcile the conflicting ends of an actual course can help build confidence and develop strategies for future use. In this presentation—a project group of three graduate assistant teachers—describe and evaluate strategies and techniques for implementing a large multipurpose lecture-discussion literature course taught to non-literature majors in the General Education sequence of a middle-sized state university. We will discuss 1. the contingencies of the course, 2. sources of guidance consulted, 3. the practical methods or devices we developed, and 4. the more general lessons we learned not only about teaching literature but also about student literacy, which is defined here as advanced skill in reading and writing, as well as an understanding of literature and the language in which it is expressed or discussed. Concisely put, we asked ourselves what could be done to reach more students and provide a useful takeaway for non-majors. In other words, what's in it for them? We were after a literature pedagogy that could help us teach a more balanced class without pandering or oversimplifying. "

Irene Taylor - computer literacy; feminist and ageist theories

M. Irene Taylor - "An Examination of Studies of Computer Literacy Acquisition among Older Adults"

Abstract
When looking at the impact of computer technology on composition studies, it is the young adult who has been the primary subject of study. In comparison, concerns of the older adult in the acquisition of computer literacy have not seen the level of attention that the growth of an aging population warrants. This paper addresses the need for research in the field of computer literacy among the older adult population while considering the risk posed by ageist bias in the design of studies as well as the interpretation of their results. The call for these studies stems from the inherent presence of computers in the lives of people starting in childhood through their senior years. While I look primarily at studies conducted by researchers in the field of rhetoric and composition, I also consider work by scholars in gerontology, sociology, and computer sciences. Relying on both feminist and ageist theories as a framework for my findings, I conclude that even the most well-intentioned scholar (myself included) is at risk of making assumptions based on an ageist bias. As an increasing number of older adults return to school to develop the skills to either advance in their current careers or embark on new ones, it is critical that we equip educators with both the hardware design and pedagogical theory that best meets the needs of this growing cohort.

Ana Roncero Bellido - code meshing, contact zone, Latina identity, Mestiza Consciousness

Ana Roncero Bellido - "Telling to Live, Telling to Survive"

Abstract
Mary Louise Pratt underscores the political character of testimonios as she posits them as “a contemporary creation of the contact zone” where “autoethnography, critique, and resistance have reconnected with writing” (35). Indeed, in their collection of testimonios, Telling to Live, The Latina Feminist Group embraces this use of testimonio, particularly through the juxtaposition of English and Spanish and her refusal to adapt to Standard versions of these languages and traditional modes of autobiography. Thus, this presentation argues that code switching and code meshing entail an act of rhetorical resistance, hence underscoring the power of testimonio to challenge the patriarchal, imperialistic forces oppressing Latinas. To do so, this presentation posits the following questions: What motivates The Latina Feminist Group to code mesh? How does the use of Spanish affect the comprehensibility of the texts? How do these testimonios become representative of the “text(s) of the contact zone”? And consequently, how does the use of code meshing contribute to the construction of the Mestiza Consciousness (Anzaldúa) and the Decolonial Imaginary (Pérez)? Ultimately, this presentation concludes that this use of testimonio participates in the rhetorics of survivance as explained by Malea Powell: “survival” of the Latina feminist epistemology and experience, and “resistance” to imperialism

Josette Lorig - Gender and Sexuality Studies

Josette Lorig - "The Representation of Female Desire in Alan Moore's Lost Girls"

Abstract
This paper investigates the representation of female desire in Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie’s pornographic comic, Lost Girls, reading it up against other pornographic comics, Japanese josei (“ladies comics”) and the graphic narratives of Phoebe Glockner and Kominskey-Krumb. The paper ultimately criticizes the way in which the text reinscribes this desire into a set of pornographic conventions that reaffirm male-identified viewers, crediting the latter texts for their willingness to construct a multifaceted depiction of women’s sexual lives that is not always ascetically ideal. Lost Girls is exemplary for the way in which it puts women into productive dialogue with other women, conceptualizes women as both sexual and sexualized, and refuses to imagine adolescent sexual experiences as only abusive and predatory. However, in focusing explicitly on the lost girls’ flash back sequences and the full size splash pages within them, this paper sets out to argue that Lost Girls is so deeply immersed in a world that appeals to fantasies of masculine power and the idealization of women’s bodies that any truths of women’s actual sexual lives or erotic pleasure are obscured. The comic ultimately undermines any attempts to create a fully fleshed out feminist text or a pornographic text for women. "

Francesco Levato - Poetry, Creative Writing

Francesco Levato - "Semi-peripheral: Spaces of Deviation, Abjection, Madness"

Abstract
"Semi-peripheral: Spaces of Deviation, Abjection, Madness" is a mash up of critical theory, poetry, science, and an examination of the works of H.P. Lovecraft as an (other)world-system, through the theoretical frames of world-systems analysis (Immanuel Wallerstein), heterotopic spaces (Michel Foucault), and abjection (Julia Kristeva). The work is a move towards blending creative and critical texts into a more seamless whole; creating resonances between different texts, paratexts, practices and entities, while simultaneously attending to creative, critical, and materialist concerns. The poems are based on chance operations (a variation/combination of Bernstein’s Acrostic Chance method and John Cage’s Mesostics) that use (other)world texts (fictional books located in Lovecraft’s mythological system) as seed texts, and a series of source texts including the Collected Works of H. P. Lovecraft, and a combination of obscure books referenced in Lovecraft’s stories. Language from the source texts is collected via procedure, then reworked to shape the final poems. The prose sections blend critical theory with quotations from Lovecraft’s short story, The Call of Cthulhu."

Kate Brown - Feminist disability studies, fat studies, cyber feminist rhetoric

Kate Brown - "Temper, Temper: Diet Talk as Legitimacy in Women's Food Memoir"

Abstract
In her memoir Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My Appetites, Kate Christensen writes passionately about favorite foods, memorable meals, and their connection to her often troubled childhood. She describes in detail the tastes and sensations that tie food and eating to these moments. Despite the book's focus on the role of food and eating in her life, Christensen includes explanations of how dieting corrected moments when her love of food became too intense. Caloric restriction acts as a rhetorical metaphor that authorizes Christensen to love food because the reader knows she didn't go far enough to get fat. This demonstration of self-control, in turn, increases her rhetorical agency as a rational, disciplined subject. In this presentation, I will use _Blue Plate Special_ to show how food memoirists use dieting for weight loss as an authorizing move to adhere to a cultural script that only allows certain bodies to write about enjoying food.

Kayla A. Bruce - Food memoirs, identity formation, rhetorical analysis, embodiment in texts

Kayla A. Bruce - "Embodied Rhetoric: Women’s Food Writing"

Abstract
I think that the explosion in food memoir is saying and doing something significant in our current cultural and societal climate. I believe that the work that food memoirs are doing in the field of life writing is significant in three ways. The first is the way that writing about food can help the author, and the reader, process experiences and memories by giving them a tangible object on which to focus thoughts and emotions. The second is that they legitimize these everyday personal and communal experiences, and reveal that the truths of those situations are worth being communicated to a larger audience. The third is that they challenge different cultural scripts than other texts such as: pleasurable experiences are not valuable experiences to study, or experiences of food do not significantly impact our constructions of self and the world. They way that food memoirs help “consumers” process, legitimize, and challenge their own experiences and identities is significant because few texts allow this kind of exploration in such a seemingly familiar space that readers can relate to. I want to examine the significance of food memoirs in general by looking at two specific texts: Kate Christensen’s Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My Appetites and Molly Wizenberg’s A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes From My Kitchen Table. These two texts are significant to the food memoir explosion through their autobiographical food experiences that show the construction, as well as construct, their individual and communal identities.

Evan J. Syverson - Feminism, Historical Perspectives

Evan J. Syverson - "Changing Portraits: Feminism, Masculine Failure, and the Virgin-Whore Dichotomy in Twentieth Century American War Literature"

Abstract
Several major American authors of 20th century war fiction utilize the motifs of the enemy and women. The depiction of these motifs, however, changes with each successive author, from William Faulkner to Ernest Hemingway to Joseph Heller. These authors represent a shift in the portrayal of women's roles, from traditional, domestic roles to empowered, independent roles. The enemy, meanwhile, is transformed from a foreign “other” into an internal “us,” as individual complacency begins to be characterized as the biggest threat to one's life. Examination of the primary texts, secondary scholarship, and historical information all suggest that the growing sense of agency among women actually represents the answer to the moral questions these authors raise regarding complacency. Women are the vanguard of these authors' shared worldview.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Terri F. Coleman - Postcolonial Theory, Feminist Theory, Linguistic Anthropolgy

Terri F. Coleman - "The Name Game: Confronting Colonial Language and Naming in Contemporary Native American Literature"

Presenter Bio
Terri Coleman is a first year master’s student in the area of English Literature at Eastern Illinois University. She is interested in how language reflects and reinforces cultural norms, especially in reference to race, class and gender. Her current research focuses on portrayals of mixed-race characters, especially women, in historical and fictional texts.

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