7300: Research Methods (Fall 2015) – Weeks 1-3

This space will hold my thoughts and ideas regarding journal readings and seminar discussions. Dr. Ray suggested the format be one of a “commonplace book” so I envision this blog as a sprinkling of random thoughts which I will attempt to weave together in some sort of logical fashion.

A quick summary of the class and what I have learned/been intrigued by thus far…

The first week and second weeks I was intrigued by the research being done in this field, specifically comp, rhetoric, and technical writing. It was interesting to profile a scholar, and interesting to hear the work of other students. One discussion that captured my attention was a scholar by the name of Peter Elbow. He researches writing process and reaching people where they are. I did some of my own research and ended up ordering his book Writing Without Teachers. Awesome book, very interesting, and I have several pages marked and highlighted. His thoughts on the process of writing, specifically freewriting can be connected with Anne Lamott and Julia Cameron’s teaching on creativity. Good stuff. I also found the writingstudiestree.org website incredibly interesting.

Week 3 was all about Comparative Rhetoric. I honestly had no idea what to expect. I was driving home from my office one day and I thought about the comparative rhetoric articles I needed to read before class, and the 10-million details that were floating around in my head: work projects, family, my kids, my Mom, remembering to pay credit card bill, what we were going to have for dinner, how many more weeks before I can actually have a regular yoga practice again… Seriously I almost laughed out loud thinking, “Could I have picked any other degree? Rhetoric? I’m going home to read articles on comparative rhetoric…and I’m actually looking forward to this.”

So, week 3’s readings were great. Mao’s article, Beyond Bias, Binary, and Border: Mapping out the Future of Comparative Rhetoric was for sure the stand out article for me. Some key phrases and thoughts include:

“To tether such an initiative to his name, or to what he has been credited to stand for, not only creates instant credibility and authenticity but also provides a welcome boost for China’s overall drive to peacefully exert its political and cultural influence on the world stage on the heels of its economic success.” My thoughts: Indeed, the world is flatter and this is the very reason rhetoric is important and why we study it.

On p.212 of the article Mao says, “…how do we study, let alone represent, discursive practices that have hitherto been ruled as anything but rhetoric and that calls for a different set of terministic screens?” Great connection here to Kenneth Burke.

On p.215 his “facts of essence” and “facts of usage” are stating that the study of rhetoric is dynamic…almost living and breathing…it isn’t static or flat lined.

I also found Keith Lloyd’s article interesting from the standpoint that I recognized many of the concepts from ancient texts I studied when I took yoga teacher training.

Class discussion was really good: JSTOR–how have I not known about this?! Excellent class discussion regarding where everyone is in their graduate work. We have a good mix of students and I’m enjoying the class.

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