Assuming The Positions (Pitt Comp Literacy Culture) by Susan Miller

By Susan Miller

Winner of the 1999 Mina P. Shaughnessy Prize for notable examine e-book within the box of educating English language, literature, rhetoric and composition.

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About the Author

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Extra resources for Assuming The Positions (Pitt Comp Literacy Culture)

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The persistence of the uses of commonplaces and their generic realizations in this collection are outlined in chapter 1. Writing and preserving homemade texts is a highly sanctioned, enduring family practice that links the individual to diverse discourse communities. But in the specific economy of republican citizenship, commonplace books were also material sites that produced cultural property. Chapter 1 stresses this reformed purpose for the often noted humanistic gathering of cultural wisdoms, a purpose that later commonplace books only partially enact.

But the ordinary writing in folder after folder of this collection requires little of the drudgery we have been so well schooled to expect in reading it. Making these holograph texts available and suggesting theorized ways to explain their results has rewarded me, as I hope it does others, with participation in the discursive energies that I try to make visible. Moments of quaint sententiousness are certainly overcome by the surprising Page 13 insecurity, self-aware humor and pride, sly seduction, courage, rage, and grief that make a catalogued collection of commonplace volumes a living construction of American discursive culture.

But they move those traditions into family and individual sites for composing, not merely for storing, artifacts of vernacular literacy. Unlike the humanist gatherings of earlier commonplace volumes, which were largely repositories for copied exempla and moral sayings, these texts comprise a pivotal "textual memory" that we can unpack without falling prey to nostalgia for an irretrievable cultural past. They are a graphic site of participatory policy making through cultural continuities and social inventions, not a medium that merely transmits either schooled perceptions or those experienced outside textuality.

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