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2018 November College English, v81.2

Non-Member Price: $12.50

NCTE Member Price: $4.25

Level(s): College

ISBN/ISSN: 0010-0994


“Coal Keeps the Lights On”: Rhetorics of Nostalgia for and in Appalachia
Will Kurlinkus and Krista Kurlinkus
Abstract: In this article we examine nostalgia’s historical role in preparing Appalachia for industrial paternalism and how the coal industry primes a psychology of nostalgic self-sacrifice that keeps longing for coal fresh in Appalachia today. To do so, we develop a rhetoric of nostalgia, an ecology of terms—communities of nostalgia, god memories, nostalgic cruxes, nostalgic othering, and neostalgia—through which we probe what people are nostalgic for, why, and to what ends. Within our analyses, we also illustrate nostalgia’s critical power to reveal gaps in yearning, recover divergent traditional identities, and build emancipatory futures.

Rhetorical Ethics and the Language of Virtue: Problems of Agency and Action
Erica Frisicaro-Pawlowski
Abstract: Composition scholarship has long sought to foster the links between ethical deliberation and writing practice. However, the language employed in accounts of disciplinary ethics frequently reveals a reliance on characterological measures of ethical behavior, where students' writing shapes our perceptions of the self behind the writing. Ethical theories are instructive in illuminating how characterological approaches to instruction can limit the scope of students’ agency in rhetorical decision-making, perpetuating patterns of exclusion in the classroom and restricting our capacity to foster the use of rhetoric as a tool for action guidance. In place of characterological models for teaching ethics in writing courses, I advocate for a dialogic model of ethical writing pedagogy—one that places multiple ethical models (virtue-based, consequentialist, and deontological) in conversation—as a means for focusing attention on action guidance in composing practice.

Religion, Democracy, and Public Writing: Habermas on the Role of Religion in Public Life
Chris S. Earle
Abstract: This essay extends scholarship on religious rhetorics and composition pedagogy by drawing upon Jürgen Habermas’s “translation proviso.” The proviso tasks religious writers and nonreligious audiences with cooperatively translating religious claims into shared terms when questions of policy are at stake. I discuss strengths and weaknesses of Habermas’s proposal and mine its implications for teaching public argument. Though Habermas does specify that writers strive to give “generally accessible reasons,” this essay finds in his account two especially generative pedagogical tenets: 1) that writers should identify, analyze, and respond to the varied conventions of multiple public spheres; and 2) that deliberation requires a stance of critical self-reflexivity which, more than a willingness to listen to the other side, requires all writers to transform their perspectives.

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