Back in the days 
when I could actually muster up some passion...

A Forum Post Dated Tuesday, October 9th, 2007, 8:27 AM 


Our Positions 

in the Field  

        Interestingly, I am neither surprised nor deterred by the realities of the profession as they are outlined by Enos and Harris within the readings. I have always realized that the requirement to publish prolifically would be a key factor in my chosen career, and to be honest that requirement is one of the things that I find most attractive about a life in pedagogy and research. I most definitely want to teach, and look forward to taking a hands-on approach within the classroom, but I also want to research, want to study, want to write, and want to create my own small library of published material. Ego? Perhaps. Maybe I’m just not nearly as different from the pompous, drunken professors of yore as I would like to believe.

        Although not at all surprising, both of the readings are interesting for the ways in which they articulate particular aspects of the scholarly conversation that currently surrounds publishing within academia. Harris, in his discussion of the personal voice within academic writing, directly addresses one of the major developing trends in modern literary journal articles. It is undeniable that the inclusion of the personal voice has become increasingly common in academic writing, and Harris goes to great lengths to outline appropriate and inappropriate usages of the above-mentioned technique as well as to discuss the motivations behind its popularity. While extremely useful when it comes to situating the author contextually in relation to both the article and the outside world, the personal voice can easily be abused, draining scholarly significance and replacing it with narrative and confession. This is a very real issue within the current university environment, a place where Rhet and Comp seeks to establish itself as a respectable academic field, and in which the personal essay and the academic tome strive to come together cohesively. Prepare yourselves, kids. Prepare yourselves.

        And then there is the Enos article. Well, if one puts aside one’s frustration at the author’s use of certain terms and stereotypes that actually further the gender stratification within the field (as I have grudgingly decided to do), this is actually a very educational little piece. In addition to its most obvious goal of outlining the professional situation for women within the Rhet and Comp field, it does an excellent job of illustrating the realities of both publication and pedagogical expectations for anyone going into the field, regardless of gender. In a broad sense, I always knew that a pretty elaborate balancing act was going to be expected. Now I know the actual statistics and details.

        So, let’s see. To recap, publication is not only expected but demanded of us in this field. In order to deal with these demands, we need to find our voices within the worlds of both teaching and publishing, which leads to the inclusion of the personal voice within academic writing, a technique that we can either handle very, very well or very, very badly. It’s going to be a big hassle, and there are going to be lots of glass ceilings that need breaking, as Enos’ statistics demonstrate. We are going to busy, possibly taken advantage of, and most probably unrecognized for our contributions. Nevertheless, we are still going to be required to contribute prolifically.

     Well, it beats working in retail!

This writing sample, excerpted  from an online forum discussion on moodle, was originally posted in response to a pair of assigned articles from Gary A. Olson's Publishing in Rhetoric and Composition. While fairly topical, the writing sample still manages to address and analyze my own potential role in the publish-or-perish field of rhetoric and composition.