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ERIC Number: ED374422
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994-Mar
Pages: 13
Abstractor: N/A
Research as Lore.
Harkin, Patricia
In attempting to reach their students, college English teachers must take seriously the postmodern sensibility as it is oriented to a culture of commodification. Instructors should face this commodification head-on, using it to show students that they have agency as consumers. This forthright acceptance of the 1990s orientation does more to help teachers reach students than do other theories such as that of Gerald Graff in "Beyond the Culture Wars." Beneath the superficial differences in musical tastes, clothing and hairstyles, the student today, Graff implies, is basically the same as Graff himself was at that age. In "A Constrained Vision of the Writing Classroom," Louise Wetherbee Phelps criticizes Sharon Crowley for her theories which weaken "our conception of students as agents of their own future." Graff and Phelps notwithstanding, today's students are fundamentally different in at least one respect: they do not and cannot have the sense of agency that previous generations have had because the political climate is fundamentally different. If students resist traditional "belles lettres" or postmodern theories of empowerment--as Graff and Phelps suggest--this resistance is substantial; it is rooted in a sense that neither system will provide them with agency. However, instructors who acknowledge the real constraints of commodity capitalism might help students to use this culture to their advantage. Using a Taster's Choice television ad to discuss "Dover Beach" would be one approach for teachers. (TB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A