Re: elite/elitism (fwd)

Steve Krause (krause@MIND.NET)
Sat, 12 Oct 1996 10:15:53 -0700

Carolyn Dean wrote:

>Yes, fycomp teachers must teach their students to follow directions, and
>part of this is indeed following a 'master narrative' insomuch as they have
>to learn what it is to be inside the box before they can break out of it.
>Many of my fycomp students can't use the language effectively in simple
>constructs. I'm not sure that introducing them to pomo language would get
>them past those problems - nor would immersing them in real-time postmodern
>dialog. (Perhaps you have to be mo before you can be pomo?)

I guess the point of my previous post wasn't clear, Carolyn, which has a
certain rich irony given the point I was trying to make. I don't see my fy
comp class as a place to read Baudrillard or Jameson or Lyotard or whoever
(though I think things like _America_ by Baudrillard might go over pretty
well in fy comp), nor do we dwell on the language of postmodern theory in
my fy comp classes. However, I presume a postmodern culture/society within
which my fy comp class (and yours and everyone else's) exists. In other
words, I think pomo is a philosophy/ aesthetic/ epistemology/ etc. that is
very much with us, visable and apparent is all sorts of things my students
and I read, watch, see, and write. It is NOT merely limited to some
"difficult language" books and articles discussed in graduate seminars.
It's everywhere all the time. In fact, I think most of my students are so
"pomo" they don't even realize there really is a "mo" most of us are
familiar with.

More important though, I completely reject the claim you seem to be making
here, that fy comp is a place to focus on grammar, to get down the five
paragraph form down, to learn "proper behavior," to merely understand the
rules (as if there are "THE RULES," as if fy comp alone can prepare
students along these lines). I reject the idea that as a fy comp teacher,
my job is to essentially "box" students-- that is, clean and package them,
prepare them for shipping to the rest of the University machine, ready for
consumption and participation in the "real" classes. I reject the notion
that theorizing about pomo or anything else is the sort of thing only
doable by grad students and some juniors and seniors-- fy students can
certainly do this too. And I reject the notion that fy comp is just about
teaching "effective language constructs," since most of my pedagogical
practices are based on theories and concepts articulated by folks
(pomo-types and otherwise) who rejected concepts like this as long as 20
years ago.

So, while you (like my culture studies colleagues I mentioned in my
original post) might view fy comp as somehow seperate from the rest of
higher education and you might be assuming that postmodern theory is
somehow "just a theory" that has no implications beyond an academic
conference or an advanced seminar. "Postmodernism" and "fy comp pedagogy"
are not "apples 'n oranges;" they are one in the same.

Steve Krause * Department of English * Southern Oregon State College
1250 Siskiyou Blvd. * Ashland, OR 97520 * Office Phone: 541-552-6630
School e-mail: * Personal e-mail: