SSR #3

Nastasia Vasconcells

ENGL 300: Texts and Contexts

14 May 2018

SSR #3

The Importance of Documents

Summary:

Scrolling Forward discusses the significance of documents. The roles a document plays, the different types of documents, the history of documents, etc. Chapter 11 is the concluding chapter in this book. David Levy says, “We’ve managed to create a technological infrastructure that allows us to produce digital forms in a flash and distribute them in unlimited quantities nearly anywhere in the world in an instant” (p.196) He continues to say, “And more than ever before, we think of these new, virtual documents as mere carriers of information, and information nutrients that need to be squeezed out of them and quickly ingested” (p. 196). A document is not the same as it once was, especially in the technological era. Documents are important because they are recorders of information and no matter how technological a document might become, society will always need them.

Synthesis:

Documents are everywhere, even places one might not recognize. Chapter 6 of What Writing Does and How it Does it says, “Every day we encounter texts that hold together words, drawings, colors, charts, photographs, animations sound, video and so on” (Bazerman, Prior, & Wysocki p. 123). Texts are documents and from that description, they are in many shapes and forms. Any of these texts/documents could be on screen, on paper, and/or both. School is a prime example of how people/students encounter the variety of forms. PowerPoints can have colors, charts, animations, text, etc. and that is only one form of technology that presumably students encounter on a daily basis. Reading the school newspaper would also provide a student with the same interaction with the different forms. Documents are used to communicate and those items show the variety of ways people can connect through a piece of paper or on screen document.

Feminist Research in Theory and Practice discusses forms of research. Research could not be done without the use of documents. The introduction of this book states, “A method is a technique, a tool for doing research, for gathering evidence, for collecting data. Examples include surveys, interviews, focus groups and conversation analysis” (Letherby p.5). Imagine the difficulty of not being able to write down evidence or data, and conducting things like surveys seem almost impossible without the use of a document. Writing or typing things down in research is crucial to have correct results.

Documents are not only in many shapes and forms they have different purposes. One purpose is to persuade. Feminism and Affect at the Scene of Argument states, “Rhetoric refers to the use of speech or writing to persuade. All the texts that I [Tomlinson] consider in this book are trying to ‘persuade’” (Tomlinson p.21). The author is not saying all texts/documents persuade, just the ones she is discussing in this book. Persuasion can influence someone and this can be done through speaking or through documents. Those documents can be hand-written, typed, emailed, etc. The form of the document does not matter, but one job it could have is to persuade.

Another job a document could have besides persuading is reaching out and connecting with someone. Chapter 5 in Scrolling Forward says, “While letter-writing lacked the immediacy of contact we’ve come to expect from our newest communications technologies, it had and still has certain benefits, not at least that it leaves a tangible product, something that can be held, kept, reread, and treasured” (Levy p.78). An actual paper document provides that feeling, and while technology doesn’t exactly provide that intimacy, it could provide it in different ways. For example, an email can be printed, a picture can be shared, a letter can be scanned, etc. While the book argues technology lacks intimacy and letter-writing does not, intimacy can be made just in different ways. The same message is sent, just in different formats. Either way, the document is important for reaching out, connecting and communicating with someone.

Chapter 1 of Scrolling Forward discusses a particular document, a receipt. A receipt is a document that holds a lot of information and predictably, it is something that people see on a daily basis. This document teaches what someone bought, where someone bought that something, when, and for how much (Levy p.7). The chapter discusses the history of the receipt, “This little receipt is a historical document” (Levy p.8). The receipt has undergone many changes, a receipt was once a human who witnessed purchases and now many skip the paper with technological transactions. Receipts tell a story of “the way financial transactions are orchestrated in our culture. The receipt is meant to function as proof of purchase…or to return or exchange the items purchased” (Levy p.16) Receipts document the exchange of goods and services. They communicate, are different sizes and shapes, are pieces of evidence, are forms of persuasion (to get money back), a connection, and more. A receipt is a prime example of how documents are important.

Questions:

  1. Will the paper receipt completely disappear? It would be better for the environment, but could it actually be done since some people do not have access to technology?
  2. When I was in Elementary/Middle School, all of my paper assignments were handwritten. In high school, we transitioned to typing papers. Do students still handwrite papers in lower grades or is it all on technological now?
  3. Recently, schools have taken teaching cursive out of the curriculum. Will this trend continue and handwriting altogether be eliminated with the use of technology?

Word Count: 922

Works Cited

Bazerman, Charles, and Paul Prior. What Writing Does and How It Does It: an Introduction to Analyzing Texts and Textual Practices. Routledge, 2009.

Letherby, Gayle. Feminist Research in Theory and Practice. Open University Press, 2003.

Levy, David M. Scrolling Forward: Making Sense of Documents in the Digital Age. Arcade Publishing, 2016.

Tomlinson, Barbara. Feminism and Affect at the Scene of Argument: beyond the Trope of the Angry Feminist. Temple University Press, 2010.

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Feminism 4/30/18

  1. People disliked Hilary for many reasons. They said she was unrelatable, cold, etc. They also did not like her because she was a woman and they did not want a woman as a president. So they voted for Trump instead, even though they might not have supported his arguments.
  2.  Rapper T.I. said, “A woman cannot be president because they’re too emotional and make rash decisions.” In response to this, Oprah Winfrey said, “Honey child, hush your mouth, you don’t know what you’re talking about.” As many know, Oprah is a very successful woman who has been publically displayed emotions from happy to sad. If Oprah believed that she was too emotional to be respected as having valid arguments, she would not be the successful woman she is today.

https://www.medicaldaily.com/female-anger-impassioned-women-are-dismissed-emotional-and-tend-lose-influence-357440

3. Women as CEOs does not mean the equality in the business world. It still takes women longer to become CEO, they do not get paid the same, having a family seems to hinder a woman CEO, women are held to higher standards than men, etc. Even though it is great that women are CEOs and the number is rising, this does not mean they are treated the same as male CEOs.

https://richtopia.com/women-leaders/female-ceos-gender-equality

SSR #2

Nastasia Vasconcells

ENGL 300: Texts and Contexts

18 April 2018

SSR#2

Grammar Rules vs. Neighborhood Dialect

Summary:

In the very beginning (in the introduction) of Reading Chinese Fortune Cookie by LuMing Mao, the point of interconnecting and embracing cultural heritages is developed. Mao claims, “different nations and communities are becoming more and more vocal and insistent on claiming their distinctive identities and on celebrating their cultural heritages” (p.1). Embracing one’s cultural heritage is when things such as language, food, wealth, etc. are inherited from past generations, maintained in the present and preserved for the benefit of future generations. One example from Reading Chinese Fortune Cookie of a cultural item would be the Chinese fortune cookie as it assimilates cultures by using a written message in a pastry. However, academic institutions, especially for the language division, often challenge cultural heritage. Grammar rules, academic discourse, and English as a school subject in general challenges to conform one’s cultural language and dialect. (Even though the Chinese fortune cookie is not being changed, other aspects of culture, in general, are challenged.)

Synthesis:

Chapter 5: “Code-Switching and Second Language Writing” in What Writing Does and How it Does it by Charles Bazermine and Paul Prior, discusses how one may switch from dialect to dialect when speaking depending on the circumstances. One may switch from their neighborhood dialect at home to their academic dialect at school. On page 98, code-switching is defined as, “a phenomenon in which speakers switch back and forth between two separate languages or dialects to include or exclude other participants, to portray a particular nuance or to establish solidarity” (Bazermine and Prior). In an academic environment, teachers may want their students to speak similarly and if one spoke with their dialect it would not establish solidarity. This is a common requirement in schools, to teach students generally the correct way to speak even if that means leaving culture behind.

In chapter one of Bootstraps: From an American Academic of Color, the author Victor Villanueva, Jr. discusses the differences between academic dialect and cultural dialect, which he had interacted with throughout his life. On page 8, Villanueva states, “Language was supposed to be precise: ‘don’t split infinitives,’ ‘use the plural in the subjunctive,’ ‘don’t use double negatives.’ Yet… I understood there were different rules on the block.” This means Villanueva knew that there was a time for using “proper” academic language and a time for cultural slang on the block. This is similar to how one may speak to a professor, with professional style, but with friends, one may have a more relaxed and hip style of speaking. Instead of the academia accepting his cultural way of speaking, he was taught the rules of English and had to learn when the proper time was for each way of speaking.

Voices of the Self: A Study of Language Competence by Keith Gilyard explains personal experiences that he lived through as a black American. Black English is the term for the dialect black Americans speak. This dialect lacks grammar and seems to have its own set of rules. Growing up in a Black English household, Gilyard had to learn the “standard English” that was spoken in school. Gilyard says, “I have explored how I, as a native Black English speaker in an urban public school environment, acquired Standard English language skills” (p. 11). It’s assumed that Black English was not accepted as a way of speaking in his school and Gilyard had to change his way of speaking. Some examples of Black English that he spoke are, “What is they doin?… you gon git in trouble and git a beatin too” (Gilyard, p. 18, 19). The English taught in schools would most likely want those two statements changed to: “What are they doing?” and “you are going to get in trouble and get a beating too.” Grammar is not being used or used correctly in the first two statements, but that is the way Black English is spoken. Gilyard learned the rules and changed his speech for academic settings.

A Teaching Subject chapter one examines the differences between dialects in writing. It discusses the British vs. English way of schooling and the differences between honest, personal writing and academic discourse writing. This relates to dialect because one’s dialect influences the way one thinks, talks, and writes. On page 6, Joseph Harris claims that “on the one hand, there is a continuing need to legitimize English as an academic field with its own specialized subject and methods of study. On the other hand, English has long been valued precisely because it seems more than just another specialized area of study because it offers a place where different kinds of knowledge can be brought together and related to personal experience.” English as an academic field is when one uses proper writing and speaking according to the rules. Using personal experience would relate to where someone is from and that includes his or her culture and dialect. Knowing when it is best to use which style is hard to decipher.

Knowing when to use which style should not be an issue for students according to A Teaching Subject. It examines how student’s rights should be stressed in schools, not whether they’re using academic dialect or cultural dialect, because at the end of the day which is actually correct and according to who’s standards? Harris discusses how “growth theorists argued for an acceptance of the individual’s own language or dialect, with a resulting de-emphasis on teaching correct or standard forms” (p.9, 10). Accepting one’s dialect is important for professors/teachers to do otherwise it can cause great strain on a student. This is seen in Voices of the Self: A Study of Language Competence by Keith Gilyard, “So if I criticize elements of the school system, let it not be said that I am ungrateful. I learned a lot, but I had to foot the psychic bill for any success I managed to attain” (p.70). He is saying that school is important and learning the rules is important. However, changing who people are, where they come from, how they say things, and teaching them that it is wrong, should not be accepted. Gilyard had to change the way he spoke in classrooms to academic discourse and at home to cultural dialect, but he should not have had to according to A Teaching Subject.

The theories and methods studied in chapter 3 of in What Writing Does and How it Does it, help to define ethnography of communication. The ethnography of communication “aims at describing how communication works within different cultures” (Bazermine and Prior, p. 61). This theory shows how different cultures impact communication and therefore create different dialects. Both academic and cultural dialects are a part of communication and the environment in which those are developed influence the way people speak and write. Being aware of one’s communication style will reflect on one’s culture and dialect.

Questions:

  1. What are some ways to implement the acceptance of one’s cultural dialect into academic discourse?
  2. Do students realize when they code-switch? Or is it more of a natural occurrence?
  3. What ways have you viewed or encountered the influence of academic dialect or cultural dialect?

Word Count: 1207

Works Cited

Bazerman, Charles, and Paul Prior. What Writing Does and How It Does It: an Introduction to Analyzing Texts and Textual Practices. Routledge, 2009.

Gilyard, Keith. Voices of the Self: a Study of Language Competence. Wayne State Univ. Press, 1991.

Harris, Joseph. A Teaching Subject: Composition since 1966. Utah State University Press, 2012.

Mao, LuMing. Reading Chinese Fortune Cookie: The Making of Chinese American Rhetoric. Utah State University Press, 2014.

Villanueva, Victor. Bootstraps: from an American Academic of Color. National Council of Teachers of English, 1993.