Posting in a hurry: Okay, I’m not teaching a course on the eighteenth-century novel. Rather, I’m teaching the second of our composition courses. Like Chuck, I’d like to design an election-themed course, and I would also like to incorporate some student blogging. I’m thinking of using linguist Deborah Tannen’s book Argument Culture: Moving from Debate to Dialogue. (Booksense) My training in teaching composition is mostly in rhetoric with a smidgen of linguistics (thanks to Linda Coleman and Jeanne Fahnestock). Thus, I do not intend to offer expertise on politics or policy issues because my knowledge of these things is no greater than the average citizen’s. Instead I will focus students’ attention on the discourse of the campaigns, the news outlets, and the various commentators, and I will provide students with a variety of critical tools for analyzing that discourse. My own take (not particularly original or especiallly insightful, I’ll admit) is that American citizens are not well served by the prevailing political discourse, which is more focused upon scoring quick points with the media than it is with thoughtful consideration of the issues.
- Does it have to be this way?
- Can we understand how this situation came to pass?
- What might we do to remedy the situation?
I welcome all input for planning this course. And, although I’m still not sure about this idea, can anyone suggest some election-themed fiction? Works do not have to be contemporary.