Reviewing CW2K: Subtext: Terminology

Conferences and indeed, our field, buzz with key words. They come and go (Buddy, can you paradigm?) but trendy words can be quite useful in the ways they ignite moments and ideas. From the vocabularies of the hundreds of techie teachers who filtered their way into Fort Worth, Texas, this guru-brew of verbosity must include "agency," "hybrid," and "eclectrosphere." Our emphasis on agency may indicate that our field increasingly addresses the politicized nature of education. And a word like "agency" can become a torch for the ways in which we must teach ourselves and students to understand that language is more powerful than electricity, while also using electricity to overcome oppressive language learning contexts.

Perhaps percolating from the automotive field where manufacturers are learning to marry gas and electric engines, "hybrid" is a word that makes sense of who we really are in this time of transition. We are not yet all about electrons, and as we mix online and paper/ink expressions, we are also be keenly aware of how we lack theoretical giants in these post-modern times. The collage of ideas compositionists fuse together in their teachings makes most of us a hybrid of one sort or anther. "Hybrid" is certainly a better sounding word than "pastiche" and makes meaning more specific than "diversity." Hopefully this trendy progression to an "h" word will lead to more hypertexting of 21st Century theory, where we will need new ideas to understand life in our electrosphere. "Electrosphere's" play with "biosphere" dramatizes the progression of our lives online as well as giving new insight to the way the Web has become Main Street. The knowledge ecology of this subtext may be java on a screen, cup, or at the very tip of our next tongue.

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