Re: Assessment/Grading p.o.v.

Bob King (kingbx@HAMLET.UNCG.EDU)
Fri, 30 Aug 1996 15:09:19 -0400

On Fri, 30 Aug 1996, Michael S. Allen wrote:

> if we accept the idea that we are
> composed of different selves, and that different settings, context,
> audiences help compose us--which I take to be the heart of pomo theory in
> writing--then there really is a problem with standardizing anything.

Maybe this is only a problem if we take ourselves and what we do too
seriously in some ways, rather than taking ourselves
seriously-and-not-too-seriously at the same time. Do we have a model for
this? On the practical level, yes, we have the self of the actor or
actress, who "play parts" for the larger purpose of communication,
entertainment, and erudition. On the theoretical level we have
complexity theory, which provides some underpinnings for a more
generalized appreciation and dissemination of the self of the actor or

Mike's references to Pres. Clinton in his post are interesting to me in
this regard, because I think of Pres. Clinton as the first pomo pres.
Commentator after commentator tries to figure out whether he's a liberal
or a conservative and he ends up being neither or both, with a
confidence-of-carriage that baffles them, as if they think he should at
least feel guilty or something! Example: If he's a liberal, he should
want "big government." If he's a conservative, he should want "no
government." Instead he keeps saying, in something like pomo-for-politics
language, that he is for making government better.

Way, way back when, someone on this list was talking about complexity
theory as "the new standard," just now emerging, and I think they were
right on target. There is always a standard, and I think there always
will be one, because humans are social critters. What we're forming is a
new standard, or in Foucault's terms a new "regime of truth," which will
eventually I think look much more like the truth of the actor/actress than
the truth of the pedagogue, but it will still be a truth that other ideas
will be referenced to.

> opposition to the traditionalist, hierarchical, positivist notion of
> writing which most English departments have.

Music is better at truth in advertising. They call some of their places
"conservatories" rather than "universities" or "schools." I think many
universities, schools, and departments are clearly conservatories, but
they just don't name themselves properly (which one would think would be
the *least* they could do, all things considered :)

Bob King