Re: Reassessing our practices

Bob King (kingbx@HAMLET.UNCG.EDU)
Thu, 15 Feb 1996 11:56:38 -0500

Bob King wrote:

> > monologue *is* a
> > unifying factor across all "types" of essays.

Steve Kraus then wrote:

> Well, I guess we're just going to have to disagree. To me, suggesting
> that these "types of essays" are all the same because they are one form
> or another of monologue makes about as much sense as saying these essays
> are all the same because people use language to write them or they're all
> done on paper.

Bob King then responded:

Please note that I didn't say that types of essays are all "the same." I
used the phrase "unifying factors" to suggest that there are *some*
features which essays have in common, as indeed I think there must be
for the word 'essay' to have any meaning whatsoever.

If you hold to your (implied) view that there are no common features which
make an essay an essay, then I think you evacuate the meaning of the word
entirely. When you do this, I think you open the door to seeing the whole
world in terms of "the essay." Then, having evacuated the meaning of
the word 'essay' in your theory, the ironic result is that your practice
comes to be thoroughly infused with essay writing. Bingo -- disciplinary
knowledge is reproduced and reinscribed right before our very eyes!

But I am, as you seem to be, willing to call it a disagreement
and leave it at that. What I've gotten from our exchange is what I take
to be an interesting look at disciplinary processes (the intertwining of
language, theory, and practices in ways which reinscribe certain ways of
framing the world), and I'm interested in that kind of thing. I hope
you've gotten something from our exchange that is of interest to you as

For now, since I am with those who recognize "conversational writing" as
a kind of new kid on the block, I'm going to start picking up on the
thread of "distance learning" or whatever! Cheers, and no hard
feelings. I've enjoyed the exchange overall, even though it has been
frustrating to me at times.

Bob King