• LangRhet Dissertation Workshop: Molly Parsons

    by  • April 4, 2017 • Uncategorized • 0 Comments

    Join us for a dissertation workshop with

     Molly Parsons

    PhD candidate in English and Education

    Who is the Writer in the Center?:

    Identity, Difference, and Safety Work in Writing Center Consultation

     Wednesday, April 12, 1:30-3:30 p.m.

    Angell Hall 3154

    RSVP with this URL: https://goo.gl/forms/EWv92PFOSK7W7Ef13

    A copy of the chapter will be e-mailed to attendees. Light refreshments will be served!

    Chapter preview:

    This chapter presents findings from a study of writing center practice and draws heavily on the Stephanie Kerschbaum’s (2014) theorizations of difference. The chapter takes up the notion of the typified writer, who is sometimes molded in scholarly accounts of practice, or, as I’ll show, who is sometimes constructed by undergraduate consultants in the course of training and practice in the writing center. “Who” the writer is or is understood to be and the writer’s identity—defined broadly—influences practice, and, particularly, opportunities for relating in the center Consultants’ generalized portrait of writing center attendees paints them as younger (first-year and sophomore), less-experienced, less-confident, less-independent, less-skilled, and more prone to stress and anxiety than the “average” university student or, importantly, than the consultants, themselves.

    I discuss how consultants’ recognition of identity markers in sessions may compel them to relate in particular ways to the writers with whom they work—as “experts” rather than “peers,” or as vital “helpers” for those who are less-independent. Often, consultants’ approaches in sessions appear to be connected to their recognition of difference or points-of-affiliation between themselves and the writer. When consultants mark difference, for example, there is a tendency do so through what I call “safety work”or  through attempts to minimize a writer’s discomfort in a session and draw attention away from perceived dissimilarities between the writer and consultant.

    I’ll invite workshop participants to think with me, especially, about a subset of data from interviews and recorded consultations that are characterized by racial difference.

    We hope to see you there!


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