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ERIC Number: EJ862165
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 22
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 50
ISSN: ISSN-1534-9322
Canon as Palimpsest: Composition Studies, Genre Theory, and the Discourses of the Humanities
Brauer, David
Composition Studies, v37 n2 p9-30 Fall 2009
"Profession 2005" begins with a series of essays titled "The Future of the Humanities." Without exception, the authors contend that literary studies must reaffirm, or in some cases reassert, its connection with the humanities in order to retain viability for the foreseeable and distant future in American higher education. In the words of Robert Scholes, the humanities serve to "[remind] us that we have a responsibility to the great works of the past and to those students who may benefit from coming to know and appreciate them." While they stop short of proclaiming that primary texts of literature would share the level of "first order discourse" that many in English Studies afford to theory, these voices insist that the humanities must remain viable in higher education and that they must be emphasized in scholarship, teaching, and even in evaluations for tenure and promotion. They offer no long-term prescriptions as to the curricular or scholarly formulation of the humanities in the contemporary university, but they do set the table for such reflection and discussion. In this essay the author hopes to augment the critical reflection on these matters with a focus on their implications for Composition Studies. Even though many scholars in this field have distanced themselves from literary studies, and not without good rationale and fair-minded intentions, the discipline may benefit from cultivating a relationship with the meta-discipline of the humanities. When viewed as a set of interacting, historically contextualized discourses, the humanities offers a focus of inquiry that is more broadly contoured, more open to revision, and more critically accessible than has been recognized by many voices eager for a more autonomous definition of Composition Studies. The author contextualizes this point in reference to some notable voices in the discipline, then incorporates genre theory in order to foster a connection between Composition Studies and the humanities. Thus, the author hopes to answer the call of the essayists mentioned above and in so doing enhance the positions of both fields of academic inquiry. (Contains 17 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States