ERIC Number: ED422588
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-Apr
Inscribing Our Work as WPAs: Gendered Bodies and Conflict as Physical Trope.
This paper describes the conflicts Writing Program Administrators (WPAs) face such as: personal, departmental, institutional, regional, and national, and presents possibly solutions for reducing the stress related illnesses attendant with the work. Often administrators' responses are somatic: conflict becomes a physical trope and administrators speak through illness, and conflict as a physical trope could be related to the construction of gendered bodies. Those who might be called "postmodern body theorists" such as Judith Butler, Shannon Bell, Luce Irigaray, and Carl Raschke offer understanding about and possibilities for moving beyond somatic responses. There may be healthier responses that allow for the body to speak, at least metaphorically. Although one WPA is responsible for writing at Portland State University, the university's writing requirements were abolished in 1994, and she therefore lacks any direct authority. As a way of trying to take more control over her body, she has tried to create heuristics for understanding and taking action. She finds that simple perspectives, such as considering questions about locus, process, politics, metaphor, history, existence, and systems, can serve as starting points to allow for a different kind of response to conflict. For her, systems thinking holds the most promise for understanding departmental and institutional conflict. When she looks at conflicts through the aforementioned perspectives, she finds herself continually revisiting notions of gendered bodies. More than one scholar has noted the direct feminized identity of composition studies. Perhaps understanding the gendered, feminized state of the WPA in relation to somatic response can help WPAs speak more through the healthy body and less through the conflicted ill body. (NKA)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A