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From Blob to Form: Teaching the Paragraph as a Rhetorical and Cultural Meme Dr. Melvin Hall

21 апреля 2021
From Blob to Form: Teaching the Paragraph as a Rhetorical and Cultural Meme Dr. Melvin Hall
From Blob to Form: Teaching the Paragraph as a Rhetorical and Cultural Meme Dr. Melvin Hall
Form always makes one tacit statement – it says: I am a definite form of existence; I choose to have character and quality; I choose to be recognizable; I am – everything considered – the best that could be done under the circumstance, and so superior to a blob. Norman Mailer Cannibals and Christians

If, in a work of art, the poet says something, let us say, about a meeting, writes in such a way that we desire to observe that meeting, and then, if he places that meeting before us – that is form. While obviously, that is also the psychology of the audience, since it involves desires and their appeasements.     Kenneth Burke Counter Statement

This webinar approaches the theory and pedagogy of the paragraph as a rhetorical and cultural meme – a protean “[form] of cultural transmission, or imitation” that has a psychological and cognitive effect on both reader and writer. A paragraph’s form changes from culture to culture, discourse community to discourse community, and discipline to discipline. Yet, it is always, mutatis mutandis, a paragraph – the place where cognitive permanence and change meet – a linguistic artifact of cultural identification.  For example, the English paragraph can be one sentence of 373 words, as John Milton wrote in 1641 or a fragment of four words, as Ann Fadiman wrote in 1999. Quantitatively, a paragraph’s typographical shape – its visual form – affects how writers think on paper and readers interpret meaning. Qualitatively, a paragraph’s cognitive / ideal form contains the psychological acts of meaning making and emotion made present in the writer reader relationship.  This webinar demonstrates how instructors can use the paragraph’s quantitative and qualitative features to pedagogical advantage in the writing classroom.  First, we discuss a theoretical and historical framework for considering the paragraph as a meme, situating the study of the paragraph within theories of Composition and Rhetoric that go beyond brittle formalism. Second, we discuss several examples of paragraphs and their cultural features taken from different discourse communities and languages. Third, we discuss writing assignments, scalable for beginning to advanced writing courses, that play with paragraphs’ typography and content using word processors. The webinar will be interactive asking participants to discuss paragraphs’ various features (quantitative and qualitative) and writing students’ struggles with paragraphing.  Ultimately, the goal of the webinar is for writing instructors to explore the paragraph as a heuristic meme/form situated in cultures and discourse communities.  

Спикер: Melvin Hall, PhD in Composition and Rhetoric, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA; Assistant Professor of English, Prince Sultan University, Saudi Arabia

Регистрация на вебинар: https://rossiyskaya-akademi-org.timepad.ru/event/1594003/

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