CFP: [Professional] CCCCs Panel: Revisiting the Bartholomae/Elbow "Debate"

full name / name of organization: 
Ellen C. Carillo
contact email:

Recently, in an effort to “reawaken the discussion of voice” in the
teaching of composition, Peter Elbow argued that we should “learn to
adopt contrary stances toward voice—reading texts through the lens of
voice and also reading them through the lens of ‘text’ or not-voice”
(“Reconsiderations: Voice in Writing Again: Embracing Contraries,”
College English, November 2007). Elbow contends that in taking this
approach not only in discussions of voice but in our scholarship more
generally, we will “be wiser in our scholarly thinking and writing” and
will be “released from dead-end critical arguments that are framed by the
unexamined assumption that if two positions seem incompatible, only one
can be valid.” Many of the initial responses to Elbow’s “debate” with
David Bartholomae on voice (and other related issues) were in fact “dead-
end critical arguments” because of the oversimplified (to the point of
caricature) versions of Elbow’s and Bartholomae’s ideas upon which this
scholarship depended.

I am interested in putting together a panel that revisits in more
complicated and nuanced ways the Elbow/Bartholomae debate (and
potentially the scholarship surrounding it) in order to imagine how all
of this has shaped and continues to shape composition. This panel
responds directly to the CCCC's call for panel proposals that explore
what we have learned from “the major waves made by rhetoricians and
compositionists in the past 60 years.”

I am open to a range of approaches to the “debate,” including those that
discuss its impact on (your) specific teaching practices and scholarship,
as well as how you imagine (more broadly) its impact in terms of
curricula, disciplinarity, undergraduate/graduate programs, the field of
composition, and research approaches. Proposals that explore voice
specifically and/or other issues, problems, and concerns that emerged
from this “debate” are also welcome as are papers that draw on the work
of Elbow and Bartholomae in unexpected ways.

If interested in participating, e-mail a one-page abstract by April 30,
2008 to

Ellen C. Carillo, Ph.D.
Department of English, University of Pittsburgh

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Received on Tue Apr 15 2008 - 11:06:52 EDT

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