Clueless about Class in Academe

Clueless about Class in Academe shAron o'dAir Gerald Graff is "eternally optimistic." So says Shirley Brice Heath in her review of Clueless in Academe. This optimism accounts for his focus in Clueless, which aims not toward "wide-sweeping structural changes in universities (or any schooling, for that matter)" but toward "the small manners" that might make a difference in professors' and students' lives--the "promise of having students learn to write across genres," for example, or of bringing "their understanding of popular culture into classrooms" in order to mimic more readily what Graff inelegantly calls the academy's "arguespeak." Manners, of course, do make a difference in social life and, according to Jane Tompkins, Graff's allow him "to imagine a curriculum where we all argue with each other constantly, and our students do the same...[but] without doing harm" (2003a, 251). Tompkins thinks Graff just doesn't see "the dark side of human nature that conflict taps into...the pale ire, envy, and despair, the mean, grasping, ego-driven behavior that all too often motivate scholarly and intellectual debate" (251). Perhaps not, but since first proposing we "teach the conflicts," Graff surely has endured plenty of abuse, plenty of conflict, and yet he perseveres, responding again and again to critics http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png symploke University of Nebraska Press

Clueless about Class in Academe

symploke, Volume 17 (1) – Oct 23, 2009

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Publisher
University of Nebraska Press
Copyright
Copyright © University of Nebraska Press
ISSN
1534-0627
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Abstract

shAron o'dAir Gerald Graff is "eternally optimistic." So says Shirley Brice Heath in her review of Clueless in Academe. This optimism accounts for his focus in Clueless, which aims not toward "wide-sweeping structural changes in universities (or any schooling, for that matter)" but toward "the small manners" that might make a difference in professors' and students' lives--the "promise of having students learn to write across genres," for example, or of bringing "their understanding of popular culture into classrooms" in order to mimic more readily what Graff inelegantly calls the academy's "arguespeak." Manners, of course, do make a difference in social life and, according to Jane Tompkins, Graff's allow him "to imagine a curriculum where we all argue with each other constantly, and our students do the same...[but] without doing harm" (2003a, 251). Tompkins thinks Graff just doesn't see "the dark side of human nature that conflict taps into...the pale ire, envy, and despair, the mean, grasping, ego-driven behavior that all too often motivate scholarly and intellectual debate" (251). Perhaps not, but since first proposing we "teach the conflicts," Graff surely has endured plenty of abuse, plenty of conflict, and yet he perseveres, responding again and again to critics

Journal

symplokeUniversity of Nebraska Press

Published: Oct 23, 2009

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