If educators want to understand and challenge the rhetorical problem of racism, then they will need to rethink and rework the practical life of educational institutions. Practical life involves all of the quotidian activities that students and teachers do in and around the spaces in which they learn, from choosing where to sit to comparing grades. Considered here are the myriad practices associated with reviewing writing and measuring participation. The study suggests how students’ prejudices and predispositions can become both less persuasive and objects of critical reflection as students review each other’s writing in both formal and informal contexts. The study also suggests how respectability rhetoric can become both more persuasive and uncritically endorsed as students measure their own and each other’s participation, even when critical thinking is the metric for such measurement. Thus, the rhetorical processes of (un)critical reflection and persuasion are shown to be products of the quotidian activities that constitute the classroom’s practical life as much as students’ engagement with assigned readings. This should encourage rhetoricians and educators to look beyond the textual, and toward the practical, as they conceptualize and actualize both persuasion and anti-racist education.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. June 2016. Major: Rhetoric and Scientific and Technical Communication. Advisor: Patrick Bruch. 1 computer file (PDF); iii, 287 pages.
Practice and Belief in Composition: Engaging the Rhetorical Problem of Racism.
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