ERIC Number: ED332188
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Impossible Subjects: Writing, Ethics, and Radical Alterity.
One way to "reinitiate" possible productive responses to the question of the subject for composition theory and pedagogy is to defuse the terror of the "impossible," to "negotiate" with the impossible, and to ask impossible questions. Although there are dangers associated with any critical theorizing about the subject positions of students and/or pedagogues, a new conception of writing, textuality, and ethics could reveal different means for reformulating subjective relations in the writing classroom. Writing, ethics, and radical alterity are impossible subjects; as in "Alice in Wonderland," they are like Cheshire cats smiling down upon an impossible croquet game. It may be that to teach writing it is first necessary to make the impossible writable. When writers try to play the game, the language is like Alice's flamingo, constantly turning around to look at them, and the truths that writers seek are like the hedgehogs on the field who uncurl themselves and scurry away. Whether rescuing or discerning the subject, it is important to remember that the impossible subject, like the Cheshire Cat, is merely a suspended apparition revealing and concealing the abyss below; but, it holds the possibility of the impossible in its very smile. (PRA)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Composition Theory; Textuality
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (42nd, Boston, MA, March 21-23, 1991).