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CCCC 2001 in Review: L.6 Multigenre Papers: Roots, Methodology, and Craft

Chair: Tom Romano

Tom Romano presented "Crafting Unity in Multigenre Papers."

Romano starts all of his classes with a poem. Today, he began the session with "On Guard" by Marge Piercy. Next, Romano explained that Michael Ondaatje's The Collected Works of Billy the Kid inspired Romano to consider multigenre writing. Then Romano talked briefly about earlier roots, citing John Dos Passos. Multigenre thinking challenges the academic notion that "this is the way writing is done." Multigenre papers are about the "countryside of the soul." Romano believes that multigenre challenges help him to encourage students to write about that they are passionate about. Multigenre papers, according to Romano, should include paradigmatic thinking and should add media as well as several genres. In addition to constructing "beautiful arguments," Romano wants students to see ideas through narrative and metaphor and he articulated this very idea with multigenre expertise. As he supported his argument for multigenre writing he also told the story of his wife's breast cancer, mastectomy, and recovery. Romano moved and taught the audience with his ideas as powerfully as any 4Cs session I've ever attended.

Michelle Tremmel presented "Multigenre Writing and Bakhtin."

Tremmel's paper intended to connect Bakhtin's ideas to multigenre papers. She read her academic paper intelligently and well, but it was hard to shift audience gears. She linked dialogism to multigenre thinking in terms of texts not needing to be original and not conclusive so much as needing to continue the conversation of ideas with the sharing of language. She called this a double voiced discourse that resists a synthesis expressed solely in one voice as explained by Bakhtin's description of a polyphonic novel.

Mary Fuller presented "Multigenre Research: Toward a New Methodology."

Fuller offered excerpts from her students' work with multigenre research to make the point that complex ideas and understanding issues is difficult and that multigenre writing encouraged students to deepen literacy with more complex writing processes.

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