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2015 March College English, v77.4

Non-Member Price: $12.50

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Level(s): College

ISBN/ISSN: 0010-0994


College English
Volume 77, Number 4, March 2015

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From the Editor
Kelly Ritter

“But a quilt is more”: Recontextualizing the Discourse(s) of the Gee’s Bend Quilts
Vanessa Kraemer Sohan
Abstract: I analyze the discussions surrounding the Gee’s Bend quilts—beautiful, abstract, work-clothes quilts created by African American women in rural Alabama in conditions of extreme poverty. Originally created for everyday use, the quilts incorporate irregularities and deviations in pattern, design, stitching, and technique that speak to the material conditions in which they were produced. The “high-art” world has come to celebrate the quilts for their modernist aesthetic and in the process has attempted to redefine the Gee’s Bend tradition in particular ways. My study of the quilts builds on the move toward recognizing the multiple media, modes, and literacies in which transnational actors compose. Moreover, I argue that we should view quilting as a technology for communicating African American female literacies. The Gee’s Bend quilters employ quiltmaking as a vehicle to construct their own discourse(s)—a way to (re)write the material conditions of their lives. I argue that the quilters challenge the field’s understanding of what and who counts in the production of writing and how we think about difference and repetition in writing.

Pidgin as Rhetorical Sovereignty: Articulating Indigenous and Minority Rhetorical Practices with the Language Politics of Place
Georganne Nordstrom
Abstract: Pidgin, the Creole identified with “Local” culture in Hawaii, is seldom discussed in terms of its connection to the Hawaiian language and the ways it affirms Native identity. Using Indigenous rhetorics and language politics as frames, I articulate Native Hawaiians’ adoption of Pidgin as acts of Ellen Cushman’s cultural perseverance and Scott Richard Lyons’s rhetorical sovereignty. Using the poem “The Question,” written in Pidgin by Hawaiian poet Noelle Kahanu as an example of Indigenous rhetoric, I discuss how teaching it through this lens, compared to a minority rhetoric lens, captures different histories and experiences and engenders critical awareness of the identities students perform.

Transformations: Locating Agency and Difference in Student Accounts of Religious Experience
Mark Alan Williams
Abstract: Recent scholarship has highlighted discursive constraints students face when writing on religion in college classrooms and has questioned the efficacy of current classroom practices for responding to such students and texts. This article addresses these concerns by positing a translingual framework for responding to students’ religious discourse. It describes how changing conditions create and transform religions and illustrates how religious practitioners participate in those transformations. It rereads texts written by religious writing students, demonstrating how instructors could use translingual responses to help students employ their diverse religious resources in writing to interrogate and intervene in these changing religious contexts.

Material Translingual Ecologies
Jay Jordan
Abstract: Translingual approaches to composition promise to nudge the field fully away from outdated concepts of linguistic diversity, replacing judgments of correctness and assumptions about discrete languages with analyses of local, situational negotiations and pragmatic competence. Yet in fully displacing the monolingual “native speaker” with the translingual composer, the approach replaces one linguistic hero with another—a fully competent “user” who shuttles between languages. This article seeks to extend translingualism’s analysis of (metaphorical) language ecologies into the material surroundings of language contact situations. Drawing on scholarship on affect, vital materialism, and material rhetorics, it suggests an empirical reorientation that diffuses attention beyond human language-using rhetors in order to account for shared rhetorical agency.

Clarifying the Relationship between L2 Writing and Translingual Writing: An Open Letter to Writing Studies Editors and Organization Leaders
Dwight Atkinson, Deborah Crusan, Paul Kei Matsuda, Christina Ortmeier-Hooper, Todd Ruecker, Steve Simpson, and Christine Tardy
Abstract: A concerned group of L2 professionals write an open letter to express their concern that the terms “L2 writing” and “translingual writing” have become almost interchangeable in writing studies publications and conferences and further argue that much will be lost if “translingual writing” replaces “L2 writing.” Each are distinct areas of research and pedagogy: L2 writing is a more technical description applied to writing in a language acquired later in life, while translingual writing describes an orientation to language difference. Without attention to the distinct contributions made by each field, L2 scholarship becomes marginalized in publications, conferences, and hiring practices. The letter authors and endorsers encourage writing studies editors and organization leaders to recognize and understand the difference between the fields so as to ensure a strong and enduring future for L2 scholarship.

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